Monthly Archives: November 2023

20 Incher – 11/29/2023

20 Incher 11/29/2023 Photo Album

The 20 incher has evolved as a workhorse fly from my fly box, especially during the early spring season, when I desire deep drifts on an indicator nymph set up. I weight all my 20 inchers, and that, combined with the heavy wire 2X long hook produces a fly that sinks rapidly. I like to pair a 20 incher with an RS2 in the early going.

I encourage the reader to click on this 11/24/2020 report on the 20 incher, as it contains additional links to older posts with a materials table and background information on my introduction to this classic fly created in Colorado.

When I counted my 20 incher supply, I realized that I needed to tie two more to increase my inventory to my desired level. I tied two additional models for my friend.

Ultra Zug Bug – 11/27/2023

Ultra Zug Bug 11/27/2023 Photo Album

For more in depth background information on the ultra zug bug, I suggest clicking on this link to my post of 12/07/2014. This fly is very simple and easy to tie, yet it can be amazingly effective at times. I particularly like to deploy it in the early season from March through early May, before run off sends me to stillwater locations.

During 2023 I only depleted my supply by a modest amount, so I tied six additional UZB’s for my storage boxes. I kept four for myself and donated two to a friend. Give this simple fly a try, and you will not regret it.


Salvation Nymph – 11/25/2023

Salvation Nymph 11/25/2023 Photo Album

For the last two seasons the salvation nymph has been unequivocally my top producer. Historically it ran neck and neck with the beadhead hares ear nymph, but during 2022 and 2023, the salvation nymph clearly moved to the top of the list. I have written a report on the salvation nymph every year, as I tie a new supply, and these posts contain much information about this outstanding fly. I suggest you start with last year’s post, and that report provides links to other years.

Occasionally someone asks me why they are unable to find this fly, when they perform an online search. If you type tungsten salvation nymph, you will find photos of this fly and online sources to buy them. My version is the same except that I typically use a brass bead rather than the more expensive tungsten. I actually just completed a Google search, and I found a very well done tutorial on tying the tungsten salvation nymph on YouTube by walkyourlinedesigns. I watched it, and it is quite well done. Give it a look, if you are interested in tying a salvation nymph.

When I counted my supply of this productive fly, I determined that I had 76 remaining in my various storage compartments. I approached the vise and cranked out another 24 to reach 100, and then I added five for a friend. I can say with certainly that this fly will catch a bunch of fish in the coming year.


Hares Ear Nymph – 11/18/2023

Hares Ear Nymph 11/18/2023 Photo Album

My post of 11/04/2023 covers everything related to the beadhead hares ear nymph including a link to the materials table. I continue to rate this fly among my top producers; and, therefore, I attempt to enter each new season with a stock of 100. I began coating the wing case and head wraps with Solarez UV resin last year, and I continued this practice with my November 2023 tying efforts.

When I counted my inventory of beadhead hares ear nymphs, I learned that I had 86, so I tied an additional fourteen and then I added five more for a friend. I am anxious to drift some hares ear nymphs through deep runs and pockets in 2024.

Bear Creek – 11/14/2023

Time: 11:30AM – 1:45PM

Location: Between Morrison and Evergreen

Bear Creek 11/14/2023 Photo Album

A predicted high of 71 degrees in Denver, CO prompted me to make another drive to a Front Range stream on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. I regretted my choice of extremely low Boulder Creek on Sunday over Bear Creek, so I made the small stream that flows through Morrison my destination.

I made the forty-five minute drive to a favorite spot along Bear Creek, and the dashboard thermometer registered 59 degrees. I pulled on my black Under Armour long-sleeved shirt under my fishing shirt, and I assumed that this would be adequate given the temperature and the likelihood of it rising, while I was on the creek. I rigged my Orvis Access four weight, and I tromped to the edge of the stream. I was surprised to encounter snow coverage on both sides of the small creek, but the flows were decent and in the 17 – 20 CFS range.

I rigged my line with an olive body size 14 hippie stomper and dangled one of my new olive perdigons beneath it on a 2.5 foot dropper, On my tenth cast to a nice run, I snagged an overhead tree limb, and I was unable to reach it for rescue, so I pulled directly on the line and snapped off the valuable perdigon. Needless to say I was not happy with this ominous start to my Bear Creek fly fishing day. Rather than risk additional losses on the small stream with tight vegetation and trees, I replaced the perdigon with a salvation nymph.

I continued fishing upstream until 11:45AM, at which point I broke for lunch. The section where I began was next to a steep hill that blocked the sun’s rays, and it felt like the temperature was in the low forties instead of the fifties. I was quite chilled after thirty minutes of fishing, and the Santa Fe was twenty yards away, so I returned to the parking lot to eat my lunch, and I added my North Face light down coat as an extra layer.

While eating lunch I pondered my fly offerings, and I decided to supplement the salvation nymph with a small size 18 apricot egg fly. I returned to my exit point and worked my way upstream between noon and 1PM, and I managed to land three brown trout. Two were in the seven inch range, and one was a twelve inch prize, although it was extremely lean. I also connected temporarily with two trout and landed a small brown that was beneath my six inch minimum. Surprisingly these trout were located along the edges of runs of moderate depth. The slower moving deep pools that suggested trout habitat did not produce. Two of the landed browns snatched the salvation, and the skinny twelve incher gobbled the egg fly.

By one o’clock my hands were gnarled and aching appendages. In spite of my best efforts to dry them after handling fish and stripping my wet line, the evaporation effect predominated, and the discomfort made fishing seem like a chore rather than fun. I exited the stream with the intent of returning to the car to call it a day, but then I had second thoughts. What if the stream curved around and flowed through full sunlight? I hiked in a northwestern direction along the packed snow trail, until I encountered a footbridge. The hill along the southwest side of the creek was more distant and lower, and this allowed the sun to bathe the creek in sunlight. I could not resist the temptation to cast my line in the warm sunshine, so I spent another thirty minutes prospecting the stream above the pedestrian bridge. Alas, I was unable to tempt a single trout; and, in fact, I never saw evidence of the existence of the cold water species in this section; however, my comfort level rose, and I focused on laying out nice long casts to promising runs.

By 1:45PM the lack of action convinced me that it was time to call it a day, and I trudged back to the car. Three small fish in 1.75 hours of fly fishing in mid-November was respectable, but the bone numbing fingers experience was not something that I wished to replicate. I might consider fishing a larger river in a wide valley with stronger sun penetration for any future fly fishing excursions, before I call it quits for 2023.

Fish Landed: 3

Boulder Creek – 11/12/2023

Time: 11:30AM – 1:00PM

Location: City of Boulder

Boulder Creek 11/152/2023 Photo Album

I should have gone to Bear Creek. Have you heard that familiar refrain? No, I haven’t either, but that is my current thought, as I approach my computer to record this brief report on my day of fly fishing on 11/12/2023. A high in the mid-sixties was predicted for Denver on Sunday, so I could not resist the call for a day of late season fly fishing. I mentioned my desire to my son, Dan, that I might visit Boulder Creek within the city of Boulder, and he remarked that perhaps his family could pay me a visit. That explains my single minded focus on Boulder Creek. On Thursday during my physical therapy, my exercise specialist, Nate, related that he spent recent time on Bear Creek, and he experienced reasonable success; thus, my opening sentence.

At any rate Jane decided to accompany me at the last minute, so we loaded her road bike on the Santa Fe hitch rack, and we made the relatively short drive to Boulder. Jane planned to log a nice ride on the trails of Boulder, while I prepared for a few hours of fly fishing. I planned three hours maximum. The temperature was in the upper fifties, so I pulled on my fleece hoodie. My fly fishing stick of choice was my Orvis Access four weight, as I did not anticipate battling any lunkers. As I slid my right foot into my stocking foot wader and then stepped down to seat my foot in the boot, I flinched at the sensation of something piercing my heel. I pulled off the right leg and examined the heel of my boot, but nothing was amiss. Next I felt the bottom of my hiking sock, and I was surprised to discover one of my streamers stuck in the heel of my sock! I was perplexed regarding how it got there, and amazed that the hook found its way into a point side up position.

Low and Clear

I hiked downstream for .5 mile, and Jane walked her bike along beside me, at which point I cut to the creek to begin my November fly fishing outing. Jane reversed direction and cycled westward into Boulder Canyon. As we ambled along the creek, I remarked to Jane that I was concerned about the low flows and the extreme clarity of Boulder Creek. I anticipated very challenging conditions, and little did I know how accurate that assessment would prove to be. When I returned home, I checked the flows, and they were a meager 14 CFS.

Lunch View

I began my quest for late autumn trout with an olive body hippie stomper and a beadhead hares ear nymph. I persisted with this combination for my entire time on the stream, and I managed to land one nine inch brown trout toward the end of my fly fishing outing. I covered the entire 5 mile that I hiked in 1.5 hours, and the only fish I saw was the brown trout that I was able to net. I witnessed no rises, nor did I spot darting fish escaping my wading. I skipped wide shallow sections, and focused on deep pools and deeper entry runs at the top of pools,; and, eventually I skipped the pools and cherry picked the moving water with some depth.

My One and Only Trout

Brown Trout Came from the Point of the Rock on the Left Bank

Where were all the fish? Did they congregate somewhere for a massive spawning orgy? I have no answer for that question. I should have listened to Nate and made the short drive to Bear Creek. In Fact, with nice weather in the forecast for this week, I may yet undertake that trip.

Fish Landed: 1

Olive Perdigon – 11/04/2023

Olive Perdigon 11/04/2023 Photo Album

On 10/03/2023 I was fishing on the Eagle River with my friend Dave G. In the first hour I landed two small fish, while Dave G. netted several very nice rainbows, with one in the twenty inch range. I was using a Pat’s rubber legs and RS2, so I swallowed my pride and asked Dave G., if I could borrow one of his flies that was savored by the Eagle River trout. He graciously handed me a size 16 olive perdigon, and the switch proved to be a winner, as I went on to land a bunch of hard fighting rainbows, and all clamped their mouths on the perdigon. This caught my attention.

I avoided losing the perdigon, and I took it to Charlie’s Flybox on one of my return drives after playing pickleball. Charlie himself waited on me, and I handed him the fly and asked him to select the matching hooks and beads that were required to replicate the popular perdigon. A few days later I settled in at my fly tying station, and I produced ten new olive perdigons that matched the fly that Dave G. gave me. The fly is actually quite simple to produce, as it consists of a tail of grizzly hackle fibers, an olive thread body, a copper tungsten bead and a jig hook. The hardest aspect of this tie is threading the slotted bead on to the hook and positioning it properly on the angled neck of the jig hook. Also the finishing steps involve applying UV resin, and that can be a somewhat delicate process. I advise using too little resin and not too much. I used a black marker to create the spot on top of the bead and extended it over the upper collar of the fly, and then I applied thick resin to fill in and smooth the gap between the bead and abdomen. Once I dried this with the UV torch, I applied thin UV resin over the entire body of the fly and carefully avoided hitting the tail.

I am amazed at how heavy the tungsten bead is compared to the brass beads I normally use. I suspect much of the success of this fly accrues from the density of the bead and the fast sink rate. Of course, the price of tungsten beads is another drawback, but if the effectiveness matches my experience on 10/03/2023, I will pay the steep price.