ARE YOU ICE-OFF READY?
With the Colorado weather doing whatever it wants this time of year, ice off can be difficult to pin down.
One year we're slinging slip indicators and chronomid's in early April and the next we may be left to our own devices (tailwaters & freestones) until May. One thing is for certain, when ice off happens your box should already be well stocked, your terminal tackle organized and your wading gear ready for the fish of a lifetime.
For the rest of April we are placing a laser focus on Colorado's still-water fishing season and the steps you should take to prepare for it.
First things first - Check your fly boxes:
There's nothing worse than waiting all year for ice-off only to hit the water with 1 fly pattern that's producing fish. Generally speaking you should stock your box with no less than 3 of any pattern you're confident in. Better yet, have at least 6 so you can bribe your fishing partner to pay for dinner on the way home. Stillwater flies are generally only $2-4 each while a destination elk burger might set you back $15!
Second tip - Fly line:
If you're serious about stillwater fishing and you want to make the most out of it you'll need 2 fly lines: Floating and intermediate sink. Post ice off we rely more heavily on our floating lines to suspend leeches, chronomid's and other aquatic imitations. Once we hit the latter part of spring we'll be lining up rods with the intermediate sinking approach to swim damsel's and
Third tip, Layering because spring in the Rockies is unpredictable:
Before you hit your favorite stillwater spot this spring double check that you didn't stick a hole in your waders this winter slipping all over the ice. This might seem obvious before any trip but trust us when we say there is almost nothing worse than standing in a wet pair of long-john's all day. On the flip-side, depending on where you're fishing this spring it's not uncommon to see 40 degree temps at dawn and 75-80 degree temps by 2pm. Dress accordingly!
Finally - Keep Grinding!
Bobber fishing chronomid's, presenting callibaetis dries on a windy day and slow stripping swimming damsel's all have something in common. These three main disciplines of stillwater fishing are all an art of patience. If you're lacking in the attention span department it's sure to be a long season. In the words of Scott Kennedy, one of our Golden Fly Shop guide's, "Grind it out because sure enough one of these days the bobber will go down!"
FLY OF THE WEEK: VIDEO
-- The Balanced Leech --
This weeks FOTW is the balanced leech.
The Balanced Leech is a staple fly in any stillwater anglers fly box. It's highly effective on trout, smallmouth bass and nearly any species you can find in your local stillwater gem.
Earlier this week we sat down at the vise in the shop with GFS associate Conor Hendricks to film his favorite variation of this fly!
SUGGESTED MATERIAL LIST:
- 60 degree jig - Hanak 480 BL #6
- 17mm pin
- Tungsten 1/8'' - Red
- UTC 140 - Brown
- Tail: Marabou - Brown
- Flash: Krystal Flash - Rusty Brown
- Body: African Goat Dubbing- Golden Stone & Fl Orange
Suggested Tools: vise, scissors, bobbin, bodkin,
brush, whip finish, Super Glue or UV Glue
Remember that a material list is a good starting point but feel free to adapt the fly design for your needs!