Monthly Archives: February 2024

Clear Creek – 02/20/2024

Time: 11:30AM – 3:00PM

Location: West of Golden, CO

Clear Creek 02/20/2024 Photo Album

A predicted high temperature of 64 degrees in Denver, CO on February 20 was a clear invitation for this devoted fly angler to visit a stream. The one drawback to this plan was the forecast of wind gusting to fifteen miles per hour, but I decided to risk the short drive to Clear Creek in spite of this projected adversity.

Near the Start

The dashboard temperature upon my arrival was 51 degrees, so I suited up with my Under Armour long sleeved thermal shirt and North Face light down coat along with my billed cap with earflaps. I pulled my rain shell over my light down to act as a windbreaker, and I assembled my Loomis two piece five weight. By 11:30AM I was perched along the stream and anxiously anticipated my first casts of the new year. The creek was mostly clear in the area that I chose to fish with small residual ice shelves along the banks; however, I was never forced to venture on to unstable undercut ice.

First Fish of 2024

I rigged my five weight with a size 8 yellow fat Albert, and beneath it I attached a black mini leech and size 18 crystal stone nymph. Between 11:30AM and 12:15PM, I prospected upstream and cherry-picked locations with slower current and depth. I managed to experience two temporary connections, before I paused for lunch in a sunny spot along the north bank. One of the trout that showed interest in my flies sipped the fat Albert, and I was shocked by this action, which may have contributed to my loss of the fish. At some point in the morning I swapped the crystal stone for a beadhead hares ear nymph.

Twenty Incher

After lunch I once again reconfigured my lineup, as I exchanged the mini leech for an emerald caddis pupa, and I moved the hares ear to the upper position on my dropper lines. This combination failed to interest the fish, so I paused once more, and in this instance I replaced the hares ear with a 20 incher in the top position. In a short amount of time I realized that I found a winning combination, as I landed four rainbow trout in a matter of thirty minutes. Three nabbed the 20 incher and one consumed the emerald caddis pupa. I deployed the 20 incher as a means to generate deeper drifts, and surprisingly it became the food of choice for some Clear Creek rainbow trout. The rainbows were likely holdover stockers, but I was quite pleased to land them and in so doing register my first fish on the 2024 fish counter. The largest was probably twelve inches, with the others in the ten to eleven inch range.

Largest on the Day

This sudden dose of success spurred me on, and my eagerness for more action allowed me to block out the numbness of my hands and the increasing loss of feeling in my feet. For the remainder of my time on the creek I covered quite a bit of territory, and I landed a small brown trout and a seven inch rainbow. The brown trout was a greedy little guy, as he ate the fat Albert, and the fly fell out of the rainbow’s mouth, so I was unable to determine the object of its hunger. During this time period I endured another pair of temporary connections.

A Brown Trout Joins the Catch List

By 3:00PM I approached a bridge, and this offered an easy exit, so I grabbed the opportunity to transform my feet from frozen stumps into feeling digits. Tuesday, February 20 was a respectable start to my 2024 fly fishing season. I landed six trout and interacted with four more in three hours of fishing. The wind gusted periodically, but I paused during the worst of it. The most productive water was the seams, where fast deep runs sliced through deep pools to create a shelf pool. The trout apparently rested in the relatively low velocity depths and picked off food items, as morsels tumbled by. Landing fish in February was a noteworthy event for this fair weather angler, and weather will dictate my next fly fishing outing.

Fish Landed: 6

Source of a Trout

Purple Haze – 02/16/2024

Purple Haze 02/16/2024 Photo Album

The purple haze has slowly gained relevance in my fly box over the last several years. For more information regarding my introduction to this fly, please click on this link to last year’s post.

I find myself increasingly resorting to this fly, particularly during the mid-summer time frame, when I desire a large and visible mayfly imitation. The white wing post makes the fly reasonably easy to track, and the purple body seems to be a surprising fish attractor. The purple haze is a solid favorite with my float trip guide, Reed, and I have simply expanded my usage from there.

I experienced minimal shrinkage during 2023, so I added two more flies to my purple haze supply. I am quite anxious for purple haze season in 2024.

Gray Stimulator – 02/14/2024

Gray Stimulator 02/14/2024 Photo Album

The gray stimulator is the stimulator equivalent of an Adams. The gray color seems to cover all bases, and the bushy, high floating dry fly is a superb searching pattern under nearly all occasions. My post of 01/29/2020 is a great starting point to understand the applications and versatility of a gray stimulator.

I counted my inventory, and I was relatively satisfied with my supply, so I produced only two additional models to stay in practice.

Yellow Stimulator 02/13/2024

Yellow Stimulator 02/13/2024 Photo Album

My post of 02/22/2022 is particularly enlightening when it comes to yellow stimulators. I pluck one of these from my fly box quite often in late June and early July when golden stoneflies and yellow sallies are in their prime emergence period, but they also work as great searching patterns throughout the summer.

I produced five additional copies to replenish my fly box for the upcoming season, and I am ready for dry fly action around the corner.


Deer Hair Caddis – 02/11/2024

Deer Hair Caddis 02/11/2024 Photo Album

The deer hair caddis is very effective for prospecting lakes and small streams. In recent years I enjoyed quite a bit of success utilizing light gray and olive-brown size 16 deer hair caddis in a tandem dry fly arrangement along with a more visible lead fly such as a stimulator or hippie stomper. This combination seems to work quite well in small mountain streams. My post of 02/22/2021 provides solid supplemental information about the deer hair caddis.

I counted my deer hair caddis flies and determined that I needed nine additional in olive-brown and seven in light gray. I also carry light yellow and tan, but my supply of those body colors was adequate. I approached my Renzetti vise and churned out nine additional in olive-brown and seven of the light gray color. Bring on the spring, summer and fall caddis hatches.


Green Drake Comparadun – 02/06/2024

Green Drake Comparadun 02/06/2024

Review my post of 02/07/2023 for the latest modifications of my green drake comparadun tying method. If you read this post, you will learn that there are occasions, when the parachute style loses its effectiveness, and in these instances I default to the comparadun. I suspect the large and dark fanned -shaped wing better represents the dark fluttering wing of a natural western green drake, and this explains its desirability during the heart of the hatch. This is not always the case, but I like having some in my fly box for that eventuality.

I concluded that my supply of comparaduns with moose mane tails needed to be augmented, so I produced seven new ones on a winter day. One is earmarked for my friend, Nate, and the remainder will get added to my fly storage container. I cannot wait for the green drakes in 2024.

Parachute Green Drake – 02/05/2024

Parachute Green Drake 02/05/2024 Photo Album

My post of 02/05/2023 does an excellent job of summarizing my takeaways from tying the parachute green drake over many years. It also contains a link to the previous year post, and you can trace my parachute green drake evolution back through time should you have the desire.

It is no secret that I love fishing to western green drakes, and who wouldn’t? Slap a highly visible size 12 or size 14 on your line and be confident that any fish in the vicinity will search them out and crush your fly. I have experienced days, when I only observed a pair of naturals, yet the resident trout could not resist my offerings. The trick is locating western green drake emergences on western rivers and streams. The timing differs substantially between freestone and tailwater drainages, with tailwaters lagging the freestones significantly.

My supply of parachute green drakes dwindled a bit during 2023, so I manufactured six new imitations for the upcoming season. One of these was donated to Nate, and the other five replaced shrinkage in my fly boxes. I have four months to wait for green drake action.


Mini Chubby Chernobyl – 02/04/2024

Mini Chubby Chernobyl 02/04/2024 Photo Album

I encountered an Instagram video of a tier producing a mini chubby Chernobyl, and I was instantly struck with the desire to add a few of these to my collection of flies. Why? Because quite often I am frustrated by repeated refusals to the large surface fly in a dry/dropper, and this translates to the fish ignoring the trailing dropper flies. Could a smaller-sized chubby Chernobyl resolve this problem? Downsizing has often been a successful strategy for overcoming the large fly refusal syndrome.

The mini chubby is very similar to its larger cousin. The main difference is possessing only one large poly wing instead of two. In addition, the tying video I viewed did not take the time to cover the segment thread wraps with dubbed turns. These two modifications make this fly somewhat faster to tie.

For my first effort in mini chubby production I churned out six; five for my fly boxes and one for my friend. I am anxious to test my downsizing theory on trout in 2024.

Fat Albert – 02/03/2024

Fat Albert 02/03/2024 Photo Album

It is difficult to supplement my post of 01/23/2023 with relevant information. If you are interested in this fly click on the link to my previous year narrative. This fly receives quite a bit of usage as the surface fly that accompanies double nymphs in a dry/dropper configuration. In addition to serving as an extremely effective strike indicator, it attracts its share of eats along the way.

I counted my fat Alberts and determined that I needed six to replenish my supply for the 2024 season. I dumped my damaged fly canister, and four old fat Alberts with missing legs materialized. I refurbished the handicapped hoppers and tied three new versions, and this allowed me to gift one to my friend, Nate. I am now fairly certain that I have adequate fat Alberts to get me through the upcoming season.

Chubby Chernobyl – 02/03/2024

Chubby Chernobyl 02/03/2024 Photo Album

Every year, when I encounter chubby Chernobyls on my fly tying checklist, I vow to use the large foam attractor fly more frequently. During 2023 I probably deployed the large-winged foam bomb with the same frequency as the previous season.

For an informative read on my experience with the chubby, check out my post of 01/24/2023. This report also provides links to older posts, should you desire more information on chubby Chernobyls. Quite a few tying tutorials are available on YouTube, should you wish to travel down the road of tying your own.

I counted my supply of chubbys and determined that I needed to tie three additional flies. I approached the vise and cranked out three, and this included one for my exercise specialist, Nate. I accompanied Jane on a visit to a local Joann’s store, and I purchased five sheets of 2MM foam of varying colors. One of the colors was lavender, and I was so intrigued with the unique shade, that I produced two lavender chubbys with purple bodies. I gave one of these to Nate. It will be interesting to see, if I use the purple and whether a trout will succumb to the allure of lavender and purple.