Thank You For Reading My Blog

This blog is about my life as a fly fisherman, guide, and fly fishing instructor in and around Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fly Tying Tutorials

Here are some videos I filmed over the past few days. Some simple and very effective patterns. No need for googley eyes on poppers, no need for flash and extra bling. Just easy to tie, minimal ingredient patterns. You can buy the 'foam depot' at Home Depot. For the other foam material, you can contact me for an order.

Shad Flies 

Bass & Striper Popsicle

Super Clouser  

 Steelhead & Striper Popsicle

Stupid Easy Foam Beetle

 Medium Foam Hopper

 Small Foam Hopper / Ant

 Large 'Foam Depot' Bass Bug

Small 'Foam Depot' Bass Bug

Japanese Beetle (Brown Trout Crack)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

2102 DC Cherry Blossoms & Fly Fishing The Tidal Basin

Kirsi and I took our morning naps on this World Water Day, got up, and headed down to the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. If you have never been to DC during this magical event, you really should get here. As the weather has been crazy warm recently, the blossoms peaked way earlier than expected. The river is way warmer than it should be, and everything is green-all of this about a month early.

Parking was a nightmare. We luckily got a spot along the river and I threw Kirsi into her backpack, grabbed my hip bag, my 8wt rod and we took off.

Loads of people about. Kids, lots of kids. Elderly, young, couples, sun dresses, foreign and domestic tourists, puppies, strollers, strollers, strollers, people in suits, people in running gear. Its great to see so many people out and about enjoying nature.

My pics don't do justice to the beauty of this spot. When the breeze blows and the petals fall, its like being in a fairy tale. If you want some of the coolest pics, go to this site:

 The black trunks contrast with the blossoms.
 This reminded me of 'Sunday Afternoon....' the iconic pointillism painting 

 Look at all these people! 100 years these trees have been here. Survived floods, beavers, back casts, vandals, hurricaines, and politics
 Jefferson. It was super overcast and I couldn't get the light correct. I also don't know how to use all the functions of my camera.
 Big snakehead surfacing to breathe. I ended up breaking my rod when I set the hook on what I thought was a fish and it turned out to be a snag. Mix that in with the fact that I forgot Kirsi's bottle and she was not happy, we did not spend as much time here as we wanted.

 If you could only see the petals blowing here, it was like snow.

 This woman was painting. I was able to get her picture while the petals blew.

 I proposed to THW in this area back in 2002.

 This one captures the petals in the air!

 Wow, didn't realize the person in the red was in that gap when I took this picture. That makes my day. Enlarging it, I noticed its an elderly couple, he has his hand on her back helping her along. That is even better.

 The light shines through.

 View from the car in traffic.
 Tulips are popping up in this garden.
 2nd to last shot.
 Thats it folks. Until next year.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recent Trip Pictures | Shad + Bass

The weather around here has been perfect. So nice, I am trying to get out everyday. I've been taking the bay lady with me to fish for fun and to guide. Thank goodness Walter lent me a backpack for babies.

We've had temps in the upper 70's to low 80's, no humidity, bluebird skies, and light breezes. We have spent the majority of the time up at Chain Bridge. Here are some herring pictures from the other day. No polarized lens either. Thats how clear the water has been.

 And this red 'inch' worm came down. Looks just like some sort of midge pupae we fish.
 Last Sunday was the last day at 4 Mile for a while. Ha that rhymes. I met 3 clients out there. Russell by far landed the biggest fish. We were throwing a tandem rig of foam hopper, damsel nymph, and tiny bead head nymph. This bass took the damsel, I saw the damsel dissapear into the fish's mouth and shouted 'set the hook' and Russell was into a fight. The fish was bigger than it looked in the water and of course, the pics don't do justice.
 Brad later landed probably 25-30 fish. Two times he had a double hookup. And of course, as soon as we packed up the gear to leave, the sun came out.
 Today found us at Chain Bridge. Kevin hooked into several hickory shad and white perch with several shots at some MONSTER snakeheads and some huge bass. We lost a bunch of fish too. Weather could not have been more perfect.

All fish pictured were caught on damsel nymphs!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Snakehead Sighted | Shad Caught

Met client Dan at Chain Bridge this morning. Beautiful weather. Wish every day was like this.

We got to the river a little before 0900. The herring were thick. We worked on casting techniques. Dan had a brand new Orvis Clearwater set up. Very nice rod, very nice reel. His line was so slick......(how slick was it?)...that I had trouble threading it through the guides.

We had a few shad and herring chase his fly and a few take it. Dan set the hook to late and we lost a few. As he was casting I noticed a HUGE snakehead, probably over 24 inches swim by. It got my heart racing. I can't believe they are already awake. The river is almost 60 degrees. It wasn't till the 3rd week in April last year that we saw them. The fish went down into the rocks (mind you, the visibility right now is way over 5 feet).

Dan cast to it several times with no luck. The cormorants were flying over, the gizzard shad appeared and started to break the surface. White perch began to school up on the bottom. As Dan's time finished up, we fished together. I hooked into a nice hickory shad on a damsel nymph dropper. I have this injury to my right wrist where any pressure on it hurts. I couldn't fight the fish. Time to call up and make an appointment with an orthopedist.

Dan and I walked out about 11:40. He had to pick up a birthday cake before the store closed, I had to pick up carrots, chicken stock, and red lentils at the corn store.

What turned out to be an awesome morning was ruined as I sat down here to type. I Look out the window to my left and its broken. Some knob golfer who sucks hit hit the ball past the dog leg by 50 yards, over a hill, through 3 story pine trees, and broke our 2nd story window. The wife saw a golfer walking around our building around 11am and didn't think about things. It was probably the bonehead who broke our window. The ball would have fallen below by Chicago Lady's windows. There is a pile of broken glass down there.

Make that 1 broken screen, 2 broken windows, 1 broken windshield by the golfers on this course. I've never broken any windows with a fly. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Shad & Herring Are In | Identification

So the last blog post was to inform you of best times to fish for the shad. Today I was out and I can say that the herring are in. Dan from TPFR caught a hickory shad today so there is confirmation that they are in too.

If you have issues in  your identification of these anadramous fishes, please use the following links:

  1. PA Fish & Boat Shad & Herring Identification 
  2. PA Fish & Boat Part 2 
  3. Maryland DNR Identification   
  4. Va Tech Virtual Aquarium  
Be sure to de-barb your hooks, bring a giant trash bag to clean up after the scum that litter, and have your DC license visible on your clothing.

Happy fishing. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

3 Most Important DC Spring Fishing Websites

Its that time of year folks. The days are getting longer, forsythia and cherry trees are in bloom. Girl scout cookies and Cadbury cream eggs are in our bellies. The shad are also here. They arrive with the cherry blossom gapers.

There are three pertinent websites you need to follow for successful shad fly fishing on the Potomac. We are using the data at Little Falls. This is just above where we all fish.
Here they are:

1. United States Geological Survey (USGS) stream flow data.

Use this site to monitor the current stream flow. You don't want to be out fishing for shad if the water is above 6.5 feet. There will be too much water, the fish will be spread out, and there will be lots of debris floating down. 
Use this site to monitor how much 'junk' is in the water. The USGS sends out some sort of beam into the water and depending on how much dissolved particles are in the water, the stream bounces back slower or something like that. What does that mean to you? Mud. The river will be like chocolate milk and the fish won't be able to see your flies.

Last tid bit of this site is water temperature. The consensus on the river is that shad start to arrive once the river is above the 50F degree mark. Use the right hand side of graph for F and the left for C.

2. The next most important site is the National Weather Service (NWS) National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced hydrologic flow data. This basically means what the river level is like today and what it will look like for the next week-how will the river rise or drop depending on the precipitation outlook.

I won't fish it if its above 6.5'. Fletchers won't let boats out if its above 5'. So pay attention, look ahead at the predicitons for the dates you plan to fish.

3. The Shad Cam. This is a camera in a dam down in Richmond. It shows whats swimming upstream. Its not the Potomac but its about a week or so ahead of us. So if the fish are thick down there on a Monday, you can bet they will be thick up here by Saturday.

If you need some s had flies, shoot me an e-mail

Monday, March 5, 2012

Breckenridge Colorado Winter 2012 | DSLR Images

I finished the drive back last night. It was a long drive. I left 0700 on Saturday and got back here at 745pm Sunday night. The weather was cold and snowy with lots of wind on the return leg. To entertain myself, I counted roadkill and urine jugs on the side of the road. I counted 29 dead skunks. 

You'll have to listen to the podcast (post shortly) to get more details. I'll give brief captions here. 

Here is my carp fly box. A motley group of just about everything.
Someone living along the South Platte River in Denver. I was quiet as I waded past.
Dead mouse along stream. Note to self about size etz for tying purposes.
A dude I spoke to. He has no car so he walks the entire length. Three fly rods, 2 for trout and 1 for carp.
A sign along the 'REI Hole' where I was skunked.
I find the 'I70 Hole' and finally find carp after walking for 3 hours.
A dead rooster in the river??

A homeless camp was next to this spot too. I had several opportunites to sight fish for carp but it was cold and dark and I don't think they were biting. Dave Maynard hooked into a monster here a few days later as the temps rose.

My first trip out with Tenkara. Landed a tiny fish. Still my first trout on Tenkara.
Looking down into the Blue River canyon below Green Mountain reservoir.
Looking upstream at the dam. It was friggin freezing.
These are not in order :( Oh well. THW and dr jones in the condo. He is working on a Deschuetes Brewing Co.
BL, THW, and dr jones.
Ok, back to the Blue. Here is my car in the lot on the edge of the canyon and my footsteps in the snow. Post holing.

My ice axe to help me climb out.

The big hill where I climb out. Not fun. Done it 3 winters and I'm not doing it again. Didn't catch any fish, didn't see any fish. It was pretty and scenic and all, but not worth the 40 min drive in the snow.
The drive back in the snow. As I did a lot of driving on this trip, there will be a lot of car shots.
Out of order again. Sheesh. This is the stairs down to the start of the canyon.
A Kreelex fly. Didn't live up to the expectations.

The roads were better on the drive back. I stopped at the Blue in Dillon to fish.
No luck up top. Then I got down to the spot where I had seen fish a few days before. I took of my indicator and put on a size 14 bead head pheasant tail and an egg. I swung the fly through the hole and WHAM. This brute slammed my fly and took off. It was awesome. Should have spent the entire day here.

Fishing in Silverthrone. Saw this dude. Midges were coming off. I couldn't get anything to eat. BTW, I was supposed to fish with Tom the other day (canyon) but there were 80mph gusts of wind in Denver and his fence blew away. He had to fix it. And the tunnel was closed anyway. He wouldn't have been able to get there anyway.

Tying flies with my new Regal vise at the condo. Stocking up for shad season.

I landed a plastic bag down in Silverthrone.
Off to South Park and the Dream Stream.

Cows, they are everywhere out here. This one passed me by as I re-rigged a leader. Super windy. Wasn't worth the time I spent.
This one was close.
Cute baby (prob taste good too)

Aww, it tripped.

A herd of antelope ran in front of the car.

Down to Elevenmile. I had planned on fishing the canyon, plunge pools, big streamers, fun.  Thats my favorite type of fly fishing. You know this cus you listen to the podcast right?
So scenic.
Roads through rock.

I get to the top to look at the first set of water. I see trout rising EVERYWHERE. I tie on a midge rig with my Tenkara rod and have the most fun fly fishing in A LONG TIME. Sight casting to rising fish. Flies this small - and it was awesome. Loads of fun for 3-4 hours.

A midge in my midge box. Look at the center of the frame above and to the right of the cream egg.

Time to head back to town.

Big storm on the way. I drove through snow the whole way back.

A quick stop for tamales and Bison chile at Dorothy's. Soo good. Had to have a tamale on the spot.
Almost 12,000' registered on my altimeter.
The roads on the way down the mountain. Not fun.
Cool ice formed on my hubs.
Back to the Blue. A Burnese mountain dog on the back of a flat bed truck in front of me, it just got off the INTERSTATE!
A huge rainbow that was foul hooked. Released back to the river.
Driving home. Saying goodbye to the Blue.
dr jones in the back.
Parts of Kansas are beautiful.

St. Louis arch at night.

Mistletoe clusters in Kentucky.
W.VA mountains. Almost zero visibility.

The famous rocks people climb.

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