Colorado Fly Fishing

In the middle of October the crew took a trip out to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Yampa River, known for its big rainbows and browns, flowed right through town. Our first stop was Steamboat Flyfisher to grab a few flies and some gear. The guys in the shop were super helpful and pointed us toward some great spots on the river. If you’re ever in the area, definitely stop in and give them a visit, they run an awesome shop.

We started fishing a stretch on the Yampa right in town. The water was a bit high and stained, so we rigged some nymphs and started hitting the pockets and runs behind the many boulders. Noah stuck a nice brown swinging a white conehead wooly bugger, but he popped off right at the net. After a few minutes of tossing flies without any results, we decided to move to a more familiar stretch.

braden's colorado rainbow trout

One of Braden’s fat rainbows

Next we hit a piece of water where I actually caught my first trout on a fly. The river split into a side channel and flowed past a big pond that held plenty of stocked rainbows. Braden pulled a few fat stockers from the pond on a dry, and I busted off couple strong rainbows in the river dredging an indicator nymph rig. My 6X tippet was no match for the hefty rainbows and heavy current, and more than a few fish shot off downstream and shredded my line. The 6X was the only tippet I had, so unfortunately none of the bigger trout made it to the net. I ended the day with two little ‘bows on a #16 Frenchie.

Dry fly rainbow

Dry fly rainbow

Monday brought snow and some nasty conditions on the river, but I hit the water anyway. The fishing was pretty slow, and I honestly wasn’t fishing very well. I briefly connected on a few good trout before they popped off.

We fished a new stretch a ways upstream from town on Tuesday. A slow meandering river and rising trout greeted me as I strung up my rod. The trout were steadily sipping olives in the slow water and riffles. I made a few casts with a BWO parachute, but quickly got refusals. A fly change later, I stuck a rainbow on a #20 CDC BWO Comparadun, but he popped off after a decent fight. I pricked a few more fish before discovering the hook was bent out. Braden put a fat 17 incher in the net before we called it a night.

Elk River

The snowmelt made some trouble for us on Thursday. A habitat improvement project blew out the river, so after an hour of flogging the chocolate milk we wandered up to the Elk River hoping to pull some rainbows from the icy water. The frigid water temps from the recent snowmelt made things tough, and I only managed one rainbow on a #12 Mercer’s Micro May. The river was gorgeous, though, with mountains and pines towering above the rushing water.

Mountain Whitefish! Noah stuck this whitey on a midge that he tied while fishing the Elk River.

Mountain Whitefish! Noah stuck this whitey on a midge that he tied while fishing the Elk River.

The three of us hit the Elk again on Friday morning for the last day of the trip. Snow fell softly as we dredged the pocketwater with nymphs and split shot. Again, the fishing was pretty slow, but Noah stuck a nice mountain whitefish on a midge, his first on a fly. Later in the afternoon we hiked and fished a small lake up in the mountains that supposedly held cutthroats and a few grayling. The other two only fished a few minutes before deciding to hike in the thin layer of snow that blanketed the bank. I trekked over to the dam and pulled a gorgeous 17 inch cutthroat from the crystal clear water on a #12 Chickabou Bugger. A few casts later I hooked into another good fish. After a short fight, I put a grayling in the net! I was pumped! Cutthroats have been on my dream list for a long time, but I never imagined I’d catch a grayling, not to mention getting both within a few minutes! I released it back into the icy waters and decided to call it a day.mountain lake in colorado


Awful pic, but a beautiful fish

SAMSUNGIt was an awesome trip, and though the trout could have cooperated a bit better, it was great to fish out west! Winter is officially here in Minnesota, and its time to tie some flies or hit the ice for a few panfish…

Tight Lines,


Wood Duck Soft Hackle

The duck feathers from early season hunting have been begging me to tie a few flies, so when they came out of the freezer a few nights ago I had to sit down and stock the boxes. Wood duck feathers are some of my absolute favorites to tie with. The chocolate brown feathers on a hen wood duck are awesome for Baetis-style flies, and since Baetis are hatching right now on the streams, I decided to go with a BWO theme. I’ve been wanting to tie a soft hackle with the tiny feathers on the shoulder of a duck’s wing, so I tied up this little soft hackle emerger that ended up faintly resembling a BWO…

Wood Duck Soft Hackle

Wood Duck Soft Hackle

  •  Hook: Nymph or wet fly hook of your preference
  • Bead: Gold brass
  • Thread: Brown 8/0 UNI (I used black on this one)
  • Tail: Chocolate brown hen wood duck breast/neck feather fibers
  • Body: Brown thread
  • Rib: Fine gold copper wire
  • Thorax: Natural red squirrel
  • Hackle: Dark brown duck soft hackle feather (not sure what it’s called but I used the small feather on the top side of the wing close to the body)



CDC Parachutes

I have a ton of CDC on my hands right now from the past duck hunting season. All this CDC has led to some experimenting, and lately I’ve been playing around with CDC dubbing loop hackle. I tied these two parachutes using a CDC fibers in a dubbing loop in place of the standard chicken hackle. It can be a little tricky to get the “hackle” to behave, but I’m pretty happy with the results. These guys should work pretty well on the flat water where the trout demand a little more realistic fly.

cdc parachute tied with a cdc dubbing loop hackle

Hook: #16 Mustad Signature Series fine wire dry fly hook
Thread: Olive 8/0 UNI
Tail: Lemon wood duck
Body: Gray “Adams” superfine dubbing
Post: Fibers from a brown wood duck breast feather
Hackle: Natural gray CDC fibers in a dubbing loop


Hook: #16-22 Mustad Signature Series dry
Thread: Olive 8/0 UNI
Tail: Barred mallard flank over cream, gray, or blue dun antron
Body: Olive micro tubing
Post: Cream or blue dun antron
Hackle: Natural gray CDC fibers in a dubbing loop
Thorax: Olive hare’s ear dub with a little bit of Ice Dub 


Tight Lines,




Easter Fly Tying

Some hatches that have popped off the vice recently:

“Red Hot Chili Bomber”

Red Hot Chili Bomber

Hook: #16 dry
Thread: 6/0 red UNI
Tail: Moose body hair
Body: Tying thread
Wing: White deer hair or calf tail, tied ausable bomber style
Hackle: Grizzly

A (big) Ausable Bomber variation tied for small stream brook trout.


Greedo BWO

Hook:#18-22 nymph
Thread: Olive 6/0 UNI
Bead: 5/32 gold brass
Tail: Brown duck flank fibers, hen hackle fibers, pheasant tail fibers, or whatever else you have laying around
Abdomen: Olive Micro Tubing
Thorax: Olive hare’s ear dubbing
Wing bud: Brown goose biot

I tied this one up to imitate the plentiful small BWO nymphs I have been seeing in my home waters. I think the micro tubing does a nice job of getting a segmented body.


Hook: #12-16
Bead: Gold brass
Thread: Olive */0 UNI
Tail: Two split brown goose biots
Abdomen: Olive Micro Tubing
Wingcase: Mottled brown turkey or hen quill slip
Thorax: Olive hare’s ear dubbing
Legs: Olive Micro Tubing

I have been playing around with micro tubing a lot lately. This nymph is basically a copper john with micro tubing instead of wire and some legs. I don’t have a name for this one yet. Any suggestions?

I haven’t had the chance to fish any of these flies yet, so tie some up and let me know how they do.

Have a happy and blessed Easter!

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