Good morning! Woke up this morning with a day off. Think I’ll go to the Conejos River to see if the salmon flies are hatching yet. This is by far my favorite hatch to fish! Huge dries and feisty fish. I’ll keep you updated.
I’ve been working on a few flies lately. Right now I have an unfinished Ondine that I must complete soon. Also I have a new flytying video that should be ready next week. In this one, I am tying a claret jay from start to finish. The first version of the video will be sped up and will have cool music. The second release will be normal speed along with narrations. Should be good!
I’ve been slacking a bit on my blog posting lately. The weather has been fantastic and I have been busy between chasing trout and taking my annual trip to Texas. The fishing has been fantastic on the Cimarron River with flows ranging from 30 to 40 cfs from the dam. The Holy Waters has been outstanding and becoming more and more popular. So popular that it has been very difficult for me to check out. If you are wanting to see for yourself then I recommend that you book ahead of time. The Culebra Creek has been great fishing as of late and I expect the flows to be rising more and more as the downstream demand for water increases. This will make for some great fishing with cranefly larva and blood worms (San Juan Worm).
I have been tying lots of flies for my guiding season, and I am still messing with classic salmon flies from time to time. As mid spring is here, I find myself on the water more and at the tying vise less.
Van Beacham will be conducting a guide school during the last week of May. Anyone who is interested in learning how to become a guide should contact him by email. email@example.com
We have a new addition to my family! We just adopted a new yellow lab named Boomer. He will make a fantastic fishing and boating dog! He’s a full grown puppy who is very clumsy with his fully developed body and underdeveloped brain. I’m sure that he’ll come around and become a well adjusted river companion.
See you on the river!
Spring Break is here! Just yesterday I noticed that 4 out of 5 cars in the Taos area have Texas license plates. It’s a mixture of big Suburbans, Tahoes, Z71 trucks, Silverados, and a couple of SUV’s of the foreign persuasion. It’s a welcome sight as the temperatures are now near 60 degrees. This is the time of year when I learn to share our little paradise called Taos. The Ski Valley is hopping, the parking lot at the Red River fish hatchery is full, and it’s near impossible to get a table at a restaurant without a 45 minute wait. Time to be surrounded by multitudes of folks in town who are in vacation mode. The thing is, I am now in work mode. Mellow fly tying winter is coming to a close, and the calendar is starting to fill. This is the time of year when I feel very fortunate to have access to many many miles of river that is privately owned, where there are no full parking lots, and no worries of wondering if this particular hole was fished 30 minutes ago. If you have ever lived in a resort town for long, then you know what I’m talking about. If you are one of the visitors, I hope your vacation is full of awesome experiences. Spring fever is upon us all, and summer is right around the corner. Time for me to get to work. I wish I could say “See you on the river!” Truth is, I may not see many on the river. At least I hope not. That’s why I work for a guide service called “Solitary Angler”. If you’d like to join me for an uncrowded experience, you’d better call our shop and book a trip with me. I’ll take you to a place where there’s more fish than people.
On Saturday March 17th St. Patrick’s Day I will be at the Tailwater Gallery and Flyshop in Taos tying a Green Highlander. At the end of the day, I will give the fly to a lucky winner of our drawing. Stop by the Tailwater Gallery and Flyshop and put your name in the jar! I’ll be there from 10-5. This will give you a chance to watch the fly being tied and to check out my latest flies!
Just fished the Culebra Creek today and I’m pleased to say that it is fishing well. Despite heavy winds, I managed to land several big browns on midge larva patterns and a couple on a blue winged olive dry. The flows are looking good for this time of year and I expect it to only get better!
Pike fishing on the Rio Grande is picking up in some secret spots in the late mornings and tailing off in the afternoon as the flows raise from snowmelt.
Spring Break is upon us, so if you are coming to the Taos area and you’re not a skier, come fishing with me! I’ll show you where the good spots are while making sure your fly rod stays bent.
It’s now March, so that means only one thing. Spring pike season is beginning! The Rio Grande is just teeming with Northerns who are anxiously awaiting a tasty “meal”. Go ahead, cast a fly into a slow pool and see what happens! The calendar is starting to fill up for pike trips, so book yours soon!
I’m now on my 3rd batch of hooks. Experimenting with several styles and shapes can be fun! I’ll probably have some hooks up for sale after I have enough made. The weather has been great for fishing and/or skiing! Presidents Day weekend is upon us, so get out there and have some fun! I have a few new flies that are displayed at the Tailwater Gallery for sale, so if you happen to be coming through Taos, stop by and check them out!
I’ll be at the Bob Gerding show in Albuquerque this weekend all day Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be working on a couple of flies, so if you’re in Alb. this weekend, stop by my table! Also, I’m proud to say that I survived the making of my first blind-eye salmon hook. It’s a 5/0 with a Phillips bend. I also used Aaron Ostoj’s Black Japan for the finish. This hook came out so nice that I can’t wait to complete my first real batch of these!
Recently got back from Mexico and chasing bonefish and barracudas. Sophia and I flew to Cozumel, took a ferry to Playa del Carmen, caught the bus to Tulum, and rode a crowded van for 2 hours down a bad gravel road. At the very end of this road sits a wonderful small fishing village called Punta Allen. This place was amazing. Laid back vibes and Mayan fishing guides. I took a trip with Pancho Xe from Pesca Maya fishing guide service. Caught several large bonefish and a few nice barracudas. Fun day!
I just got back from the Fly Fishing Show in Denver. This years’ show was fantastic. I got to spend some time with several world renowned fly tyers. Enrico Puglisi showed me some great ways to tie patterns for permit and bonefish for my upcoming trip to Mexico. I got to spend some time with several front range salmon fly tyers as well. Charles Vestal and Scott Stisser were there tying trout patterns but never skipped a beat when the subject was changed toward classic fly tying. Friday night was the time for the film festival. There are a ton of new great films coming out very soon!
Coming home to Taos is always a relief. As I approached our new house up a one lane dirt road, I no longer felt tired, broke, dirty and hungover. I love where I live!
My first batch of hooks is almost finished! Also, I am finishing up with an old decorative fly pattern called “Nelly Bly”. This may be the last fly that I tie for a while. My wife and I are closing on a new house this week, and then the moving fiasco will ensue. I imagine that I should be set up to tie again after a couple of weeks. Merry Christmas everybody!
So what do you get for the fly fisherman who has everything? One of my flies, of course! From now until Christmas, I am offering free shipping on any of my flies that I currently have for sale. I have several new flies that I just posted for sale that can be found on the drop down menus.
Awoke this morning to a winter wonderland. Ahh, time to make some powder turns! I have just added several new flies for sale that can be found in the drop down menus “Classic Salmon Flies” and one addition to “Freestyle Salmon Flies”. For some reason I have only been able to get these to show up on the drop down menus. Check out my new Baron, Childers, Black Dog, Tippetiwitchet, and my favorite, The Dutchess. I have also included my new fly labelled “The Thunderhead” which is in the Freestyle Flies section.
I have also begun to make my own blind eye hooks. I have recently found that by making my own hooks, I can have a bit more control over the outcome of a fly. This is a process that I am still learning, especially since I have not completed my first batch yet. I’ll keep y’all posted on the outcome of these new irons…
Guided a great trip on the Red River yesterday. It was a day of morning snow and midday sun. The browns are still making their way up the stream to spawn, and they are eager to grab bugs. The snowy morning made sure that we were pretty much the only ones on the river. Today however, is a different story. 30 mph winds and temps in the low 40′s make for great fly tying weather. I still have plenty of flies for sale that I haven’t added to the website inventory. I’m still figuring out how to fully tweak this new website! Stay tuned…
Here it is… My new freestyle fly that I named the “Thunderhead”. The photo doesn’t do this one justice. I tied this one with iridescence in mind. Also, I wanted to go for a nice and thick hackle job. I figure it went well especially since you can barely see the silk body with tri-ribbing ; ) Not too sure yet how I want to display this one. I may have to give it some thought over the next couple of days.
As of today, I am working on a fresh new freestyle fly. It’s being tied on a Ronn Lucas hook which is the last one I have. I had a couple of iridescent peacock feathers laying around, and I have been itching to use them in a fly. I finally got around to hitching up some thread to the iron and I think it’s coming along very nicely. I should be done with this one tomorrow. I promise I’ll post pics of this one, especially since I think this is one of the better freestyle flies I have designed in a while.
I have been experiencing a bit of “tyers’ block” lately, and this one may just be the right dose to get me back in the groove of things. My next fly that I will be tying is going to be “in hand” without the use of a vise. I know that is how the folks did it back in the day so I figure I need to give it a try soon!
I’ll keep y’all posted.
Yesterday was a crazy day on the Culebra! I was fishing with a friend who helped me put this site together. We got some footage of a nice brown that I landed. This fall has been epic! Weather has been nice, and the fish are very eager to tackle a fly.
Happy corduroy day! At least the first thing that comes to mind when I see 11/11/11 I think of the corduroy pattern.
Just ordered some Pearsall’s Gossamer Silk today, so I am counting the days until it arrives. Upon the arrival of this tying silk, I am looking forward to teaching myself how to better tie the classic flies in-hand. That just means that I will use no vise to hold the hook, just the use of my fingers to hold everything while I wrap the thread. I’ll keep ya posted, sounds like an adventure, for sure!
Amazing day on the Chama River below El Vado dam! I took one of my favorite clients out for a day of chasing some big fish and here’s a taste of what happened.
After a two hour drive from Taos, we pulled up to the river and got out of the truck. Jim (my client) said “Boy, that water sure looks a bit too murky to be fishable. Are you sure there’s fish in there?” I said not a word as we put our waders on. I rigged us up, donned my backpack and big net, and we started hiking down stream. Wading the Chama is a bit like walking over greased bowling balls. After an hour of hiking and more stream crossing, I took off the backpack and told Jim we would start fishing. It was an amazing looking bend of river that had boulders, riffles, seams, eddys, and big holes. It looked perfect. As I guided Jim through that first river bend for the next hour with not so much as a tug on the line, I decided to move us a bit upstream. We came across a giant riffle run with great medium speed water. I told Jim “just keep drifting your flies over and over again through these riffles.” After 20 or so drifts BANG! He had a fish on. I pulled out my net, and scooped it up. It was a nice 16 inch Rio Grande Cutthroat! I was amazed. We snapped a photo, released it, and Jim went back to fishing. About three drifts later, BANG! Another fish. We netted it, and it was a 22 inch brown! Snapped another pic, and began fishing again. I said to Jim “if you catch a rainbow, you just got a Chama grand slam.” He grinned wide as he kept drifting his flies. BANG! His line began to tighten and his reel screamed. A big rainbow lept out of the water and shook its head. We landed it, took a pic and laughed at the fact that this river must be listening to us. I asked Jim: “What do you want this time?” He told me that he would love to hook a big male brown with a hook jaw. He began casing. I am not kidding when I tell you this but the very next drift, Jim’s strike indicator took a plunge, he then gave it a quick hook set. This HUGE brown lept out of the water, made a splash like a Sea World whale, and ran like nobody’s business. All of the sudden, Jim’s line went limp. This fish had straightened out the hook! Guess that’s what happens with 2x tippet.
Here are some pics from that magical day:
Here is my new Jock Scott that I tied on a 5/
0 Aaron Ostoj hook. It’s technically a “variant” since I chose to tie this one with an ostrich herl head. The original pattern just calls for a laquered head. Here’s the recipe:
Tip: silver twist
Tag: yellow floss
Tail: golden pheasant crest and indian crow
Butt: black ostrich herl
Rear Body Section: yellow floss ribbed with flat tinsel
Body Veiling: toucan
Butt: black ostrich herl
Front Body Section: black floss ribbed with flat tinsel and silver twist
Hackle: black rooster
Underwing: white tipped turkey tail
Wing: bustard, mottled turkey, turkey dyed red, blue yellow, lady amherst pheasant
Topping: golden pheasant crest
Horns: blue and yellow macaw
Head: black ostrich herl
Hook: Aaron Ostoj 5/0 blind eye
Hook Eye: spanish silkworm gut
Check out this video that was done last year on our Wyoming water. This one features Van Beacham (owner of Solitary Angler) and Jamie Baldonado chasing some HUGE browns! Enjoy!Monster Fontenelle Browns
Guided a trip on the Red River yesterday and boy was it crowded! Despite all of the other anglers, I was able to get my clients into about 10 fish each. Looked to do some fishing today, but the wind is blowing 30 mph with temps in the high 20′s. Looks like a fly tying day. I’ll probably finish the Jock Scott that is in my vise! (pics to come)