An update to Jump Creek Flies

As many may know I started up an online Fly Shop in the last couple years, and I recently redesigned the website.  I believe the new design is a big improvement and offers much more room for expanding my  inventory of products.  So head on over to www.jumpcreekflies.com and check out our new look, and while your at it, take advantage of our Grand Opening Special.  With any purchase of a dozen or more flies get 6 more flies of your choice FREE! 

It's never too early to start thinking about your next trip to the river!


iPhone Photography

I ruined my third "waterproof" camera in Maui this spring. This is a large reason you have not seen many posts from me lately. I enjoy taking pictures, but I take pictures while I am enjoying some other outdoor activity. Most of my activities involve water in some way so a waterproof camera is a must. This spring on a trip to the island of Maui I found out that waterproof cameras are great, until you forget to latch the door to the camera card, and battery cover. So having now ruined three $300 cameras, I decided it was time to take a rest from hauling a camera with me everywhere I go. This summer when I have come across a shot that I wanted to capture, I found my Iphone as the handiest tool. It was always with me, but I did avoid taking it near water for obvious reasons. Here are a few pictures from this past spring and summer shot with the Iphone:
 (Click on each image for a larger view.)

 I used the free version of the Adobe Photoshop app for all the processing. Well a few weeks ago, feeling brave, and fairly pleased with the photo taking abilities of the iPhone, I decided to invest in a Lifeproof case for it. Rather than investing $300 in a new waterproof camera, I decided to give this route a try and use my iPhone in some more hazardous conditions. So far the case has been great. I do not have a tripod that fits the iPhone with the case on it though so it limits the pictures I have been able to get. But it does provide me with the piece of mind to go ahead and put the iPhone in my pocket under my waders, just in case I feel like snapping a few pictures on my fishing trips. It didn't take long to test the cases waterproof abilities. I took a spill while wading a week after installing the case, and got soaked pretty good. The phone was on the side that received the bulk of the water, and it had no problems. I still plan on eventually getting a new waterproof camera, but for now the iPhone is working well.
And here are a few shots of flies using the iPhone as well:


Searching for West

This is an incredibly well made film that kind of describes the period of life I find myself in now.  And having just taken the oldest of three kids off to his first day of kindergarten, I can say this is by far the best time of my life.  It's an adjustment sometimes hitting pause on the things that have been so much apart of your life for more important things, but it's an adjustment with incredible rewards. 

The film is worth watching for the cinematography alone.  Enjoy.

Searching for West from Helio Collective on Vimeo.


A Couple Fly Pics

BWO Bubbleback Emerger

Standard BWO


What I Learned This Week on the River - Episode #1

This post can also be found on my blog at www.jumpcreekflies.com.

Most weeks I get out fishing at least once. And every time I go I learn or in some cases relearn something. So I hope to pass on these little items on a somewhat weekly basis. These tips can be about pretty much anything related to fly fishing and some may help you, some may not. Take them for what they are worth.

So on to this weeks items.  Two things happened that were "light bulb" moments when I was on the water this week. Lets start with an, "oh duh" moment to establish that I can be pretty blockheaded at times.

 #1)For a long time I have fished with fly patterns that use CDC and thus my favorite floatant to carry on the water is of the powdered desiccant variety, such as Frogs Fanny or Doc's Dry dust. These types of floatants do a great job with CDC, but  when you open the bottle and apply it to the fly, the fine powder tends to stay airborne a long time. To avoid inadvertently breathing any of this stuff in, which I can't imagine would be good for you, I have always turned my back to any wind or breeze, and applied the powder to the fly, thinking the breeze would carry the powder away from me. However, I still managed on occasion to somehow breath a little in and it was getting old. Finally I realized the swirling current coming around my back was not always carrying the powder away from me but in fact sucking it right back into me. I was creating an eddy and we fishermen know what eddies do.  Well ***ding*** the light bulb went on yesterday, and I figured out that the best way to make sure the excess powder gets blown away from me is to turn sideways to the wind when applying this product to a fly. It works much better.

Well now I feel silly as that was probably pretty obvious, but my lungs thank me today for finally thinking of this.

#2)Now on to an a actual fly fishing item. Fish can be feeding in a spot, but it's good to ask yourself, where is the food they are eating coming from?  Another pretty obvious tip, but one that is good to remember on the water, so I don't feel bad bringing it up. Here is what I mean by that.

Exhibit A

Refer to the above rudimentary drawing to visualize this scenario.  This week I was fishing  to a lonely riser that was feeding in the very center of a 2 foot by 2 foot area in the midst of three boulders in the stream. My only real approach to the fish was from the rear right of the fish, just because of the way the rocks were situated. Because I had this defined area that the fish was in, between these rocks, I just assumed that any fly that flowed through this area would be on the fish's radar. The way the rocks were situated, and the way I had to approach the lie, the easiest way to fish this was going to be to cast just to the right of Rock 1 in the picture, and let the current push the fly through the middle of the area. It seemed logical that if the fly floated right through the center of the area the fish was rising there was a good chance it would see my fly and hopefully rise to it. After making several fruitless casts I wondered about my fly selection, but as is usually the case, it is often more about our presentation than it is about the fly we are using, so I stuck with it.

Then I noticed that while the fish was in fact feeding in the middle of this area, where my fly had been floating directly over, there were two currents coming together here, and it occurred to me the fish may be positioned to feed on bugs coming from the current pushing off of the left shoulder of Rock 2 (again see above picture). I had cast to the current flowing off the lead rock because it was easier to get my fly drifting from there, to where the fish was feeding, and this current coming from the right was a much tougher cast. The window of where my fly could land without spooking the fish on one side, and getting caught up on Rock 2 on the other side, was much smaller. It was worth a shot though.  I loaded the rod and some how managed to drop the fly in that little window on the first cast, and sure enough the fish was all over it. Lesson learned, or relearned, and I will probably have to be reminded of it again one of these days.

It was a rewarding week on the river and with these reminders I hope we all can keep our lungs clear of "Frogs Fanny" and our flies in the correct feeding lane of hungry fish.

Tight Lines.


Still got it and, I (heart) dual purpose flies

I went a whole month without fishing. Yes it's true. I didn't like it either. Actually the drought stretched almost two months. The last time I was on the water was around my Birthday in early December. So for the first month in almost three years, I did not catch a fish in the month of January this year. That's my sob story, but there is only one way to fix this problem. It was time to take action.

This winter has been fairly busy, but still there is no excuse. My fly tying has taken off and really kept me busy but that is definitely not an excuse. Honestly I do enjoy tying a good fly almost as much as fishing, so the time spent at the vise these last couple months has been very enjoyable. Maybe that's one reason I haven't fished as much. Keeping busy tying scratched that itch just enough. But still there comes a time when a person just has had enough and needs to hold the cork,waive the stick, and put some of those creations from the vise in front of some fish.

There is a moment of self doubt when I pick up an activity again after a little time off. Each winter the first time I hit the ski slopes, I always wonder on the lift ride up the mountain for that first run if I have completely forgotten how to ski. In the case of skiing my fear is often very legitimate though as I take my first run of the year tumbling down the mountain. So as I drove up the road to the river yesterday I wondered if in two months off from fishing I had forgotten how to properly present a #22 midge to a wily brown trout.

However as I pulled up to the first run I wanted to check out and looked down into a stretch of water filled with rising trout, instinct took over and I became a flurry of activity. Waders on, Boots, Fly rod rigged, off to the water without even a second thought of how well I would be able to present a fly to these fish. Then as I reached the edge of the water it hit me. This is real. The frantic pace at which I had gotten ready quickly shifted to a much slower gear, and every step in the calm section of river was made with extreme caution not to make any sudden movements that throw ripples over these fish, and tip them off to my presence. Getting my wading legs under me proved interesting. In my eagerness I placed a boot on the side of a hidden rock and slipped a bit. Careful. Pausing to give a chance for the slight disturbance this caused to subside I saw the fish were still slurping away. No harm no foul. But now the doubts were back.

These fish were not going to just come to the net. They were feeding in a calm slow moving section of river on midges, and from my experience, more likely half emerged midges, not the fully hatched adults that littered the surface. I tied on a Harrops Transitional Midge, one of my favorite midge patterns and took aim at the closest snout.

First cast, you guessed it, the back cast got caught up in a bank side willow I had misjudged my proximity to. After slipping a few times getting in, and not wanting to wade back to the shore if I could help it, I took the lazy route and tugged on the fly a few times and was pleasantly surprised when it popped free still attached to the tippet. Without examining the fly I loaded the rod and dropped a fair cast in the feeding zone of the nearest trout. Sure enough, my fly selection had been spot on, as if on cue the trout rose and grapped the bug. I set the hook, but it popped free. Oh well I had got a take, my confidence was improving. But it quickly turned to frustration.

The next three fish all had the same story. I would finally get a good drift, have them take, and have the hook come free on the set. I am just rusty I thought. But I decided to take a look at the fly. Well it seems the fly I was using was missing a key ingredient. The hook point. Apparently popping the small fly out of the willow, had broken the hook at the bend, so I was practicing the ultimate in catch and release techniques. As I examined my fly box for a replacement I realized that this had been the only transitional midge pattern in my box. So much for all that time at the vise, apparently tying every pattern but the Harrops Transitional midge.

So I resorted to trying out several patterns over the next 15 minutes, mostly they all were meant to mimic the adult midge, but I tried to modify and fish them as much like the transitional as possible. It wasn't working. The fish ignored every other fly. Then I had an idea. I have a mayfly emerger pattern I tie that uses a similar CDC bubble on the back of the fly that really works well during the appropriate mayfly hatch. The Bubbleback Emerger.

This picture is of the PMD version of the fly, but I tie a BWO version that is darker and on the whole I tie it in smaller sizes. So I wondered, even though there were no BWO's to be seen, if this pattern would pass well enough for a transitional midge. I tied on the smallest one I had, and made my approach to a big snout rising regularly just off the bank along a partly visible boulder jutting from the water. It didn't take long to find out if the fish would take this fly as a midge. The fly landed and wasn't on the water for more than a couple seconds when that fish rose and engulfed it. And with the help of an actual hook point on this fly, I was connected to my first fish of 2012.

As the fish took to the air, then ripped up river, then back down, I simply put my head back and breathed a huge breath of fresh air, relishing the moment. The fish was a healthy 18 incher that didn't come in without a fight. Finally a fish to hand.

As the hour wore on I hooked and landed 5 more fish on the BWO Bubble Emerger in the midst of a blanket midge hatch, and discovered a new use for one of my favorite mayfly emerger patterns. Life is good, and I can still catch fish. Ahhhh.