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Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy Fly Fishing Show

Ok guys short but sweet......

Have a stinkin good holiday from me to you!

This holiday is usually a pretty special one for me because not only do I get to take a couple of days off to fish for myself, but sometimes santa even brings me some sweet fly fishing shwag....Lets get barebones here....Santa, if you are reading my blog please give a shout out to my boys over in Medford, Oregon, to send me out one of those new 10' 5wt Platinum Switch Rods. Ok, I mean we have had one on the rack for a few days, but I can't take that one right, wouldn't be kosher. So, Santa bring it home this Christmas.

Ok guys, weather wise, Im pretty sure it might be summer again tomorrow, it was 65 freakin degrees today, and based on reports (of course I am stuck in the shop), fishing was consistant enough to land people in the double digits for fish to the net. So people, enjoy part of your holiday on the river, as it seems we won't be in too much of a winter wonderland.

To wrap it up, it is crucial for everyone to make it to the Fly Fishing Show this year January 7, 8, and 9! So, if you have made it past your Post New Years coma (extreme hangover) come down to the Denver Merchandise Mart to see us and what looks to be the best crew of fly fishing celebrities in the history of this show!

Why should you come to the show, allow me to count the ways:

1. Lots of cool stuff, places and people to oogle at....
2. Lots of great show specials on great equipment!
3. Lots of free shwag (stickers, posters, brochures, mexican mustaches, etc.)
4. Most Importantly, SoCO Guides will have bar none the coolest booth there, and this year will be side by side with our new legit Destination Travel Service, Cross Current Travel. And.....Free Trip Give Away with yours truly!

Make it happen my peeps, we will see you there!

Jingle, Jingle, Jingle etc., and a Merry Christmas to All!


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Fall Browns Are In!

The Browns are in the South Platte aka Dream Stream and in major fashion. These fish can be extremely hard to sight, hook and land; however, there are some good oppurtunities for very large fish. Our trips this week have seen several ten pound class fish to the net, and many quality fish over 20". After a trip several days ago, I took a few swings myself and was fortunate enough to hook a very good buck (28x19, 12-1/2 pounds)-picture above. Fish are in and fishing can be good, but this is one of those moments I will take to say, if you want a shot at one of these fish, book a guide......preferably ours, who are on the water every day wroking on these fish........

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Alaska Fishing was Tremendous, but the Ark is on Fire!

So, I made it back from the largest state in the Union in one piece, which is always nice.......My last blog post explained the unexpected that is always present when heading to Alaska; and I tell you what this trip was nothing short of that in a great way. I enjoyed every second of my month up there, and experienced some new and great things! The people, the weather, the rivers, and the fish were all very Alaskan as always. Upon arrival I was delayed from flying south for a few days due to extreme winds in the Bristol Bay region. So, I found myself spending most of time in my favorite Anchorage bar, Humpys, taking down a few (or more) local micros.......Once I reached my destination, of utter bfn (middle of nowhere, bush AK) I found myself amazed yet again, even after 8 full seasons, of the magnificence of that place! Tremendous trout fishing, great clients, great friends, and an unmatched setting made my month fly by.........and I am so grateful for the memories!

However, if I was looking for tremendous trout fishing, it seems I should have just packed my bags and walked from my house 1 block down to the river. The last week of guide trips has been unparallelled by any other time period I have seen all year on the Arkansas.Tie on a bare hook and go, cuz the fishing is fairly outrageous right now, and you could have the river to yourself!!!!!
Attractors have been the ticket along with a number of sundry items such as Red Quill nymphs, BWO's, and well really anything that floats........

So, get out and fish, because Fall is upon us!

Above: 32" x 19" Copper River Rainbow taken on the switch rod

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alaska Bound

Well its official, I am one day from take off for the North land. One thing I can say for sure is that it will be cold and there will be a ton of bugs. Other than that anything can happen on these trips........

I can't say how much I look forward to a new guiding experience with the boys at Alaska's Rainbow Point Lodge. They run a first class operation, and it will be good to be on the water/flying with those boys for 2 weeks. Then the following week at Blueberry Island on the Kvichak should be the same old ridiculously productive fishing with a group of clients second to none. I will enjoy the three weeks in front of me with some of my great clients from the past!

All I can say is that Alaska is perhaps one of the last great untamed lands. As seen in the past few weeks, mother nature in this part of the country can put you down and out in a matter of seconds....There is no point in my last 7 years of guiding in the bush, where I have taken the risks lightly; however, the rewards are no less than phenomenal.

The game plan is as follows: Get Clients into massive amounts of fish; spend some quality time slinging my two handed rods; and take as much footage and photos as humanly possible during this 3 week period..........If I accomplish all of the above I should not only come back happy as a pig, but also with some mean footage that will be available for viewing shortly after I return along with the launch of our new website.............

What does SW Alaska have in store for me this season?......Hard to say, but I know it will be yet another experience of a lifetime, and never disappoints. I will try to post as often as possible with photos, and daily stories........

See ya on the flip side,


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Floats like a butterfly, stings like a Hog

Every now and then I have to just give mad props to those who produce outstanding products........This morning on my everyday Arkansas float, I realized how good I had it looking at all of those rubber boats floating down the river. See, the fact is the Arkansas, and many other large freestone rivers can be fairly difficult to navigate in any boat much less a drift boat. These rivers are too big, with way to many rocks; and the average drift boat would come out in several pieces or just find its way to the riverbed fairly quickly. So, most fisherman who float rivers like the Arkansas do so in rubber rafts with fishing frames, which is fine and dandy for most. But, for those of us who like the Cadillac, there is a company out there who has allowed us to float in style and comfort, and that is Hog Island Boatworks. They manufacturer the only one piece roto-molded polyethylene boat on the market.......making it indestructible, unsinkable, and incomparable to any other Dorry in the industry. In fact this boat is the only drift boat with a coast guard certification for flotation, that is it can't be sunk. The Coast Guard did a swamp test on the boat that consisted of drilling multiple holes in our hull, and placing over 5500 lbs of pig iron on the decks, and submerging our boat, rod storage and all for 18 hours. It popped back up, and made history. I have taken this ship down every section of the Arkansas River, and the durability, agility, and overall comfort continues to amaze me. This boat blows any other drift boat in the industry out of the water! Thanks John, for creating such a masterpiece!

visit Hog Island Boat Works @

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bling Bling

Ok guys, so, fishing couldn't get too much better. Fish are smashing big nasty critters on the surface 6 hours out of the day. However, now we have a new variable, and that is the Pale Morning Dunn. I call this time of summer the "Bling Bling" Period. That is you could take one of your gold cavity fillings out, tie it to a hook, and go out and catch 40 with it. Gold is the color, plain and simple. We have some stellar patterns here at the shop that will give you a leg up, however, the Arkansas has always been a river based on color more than pattern, so as long as it is yellow to gold it will kill. Get on it people, the crowds are minimal, and the fishing is spectacular, so hook up the boat or your favorite wading boots and get here!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Clear Edges, Nuff Said!

The edges have cleared, all the way down to Canon City this morning. I took a drive to Granite this morning, after one hell of a beer serving night last night in the New Belgium tent at Fibark, and still saw very clear water even through my post Ranger IPA haze. The fact is Stoneflies......big and small, are out in full force; and have been for 2 weeks. However, yesterday was the first legitimate clear water day we have had since the 5400 cfs king kong flush. If you have a boat or just feel confident walking the shoreline, numbers can be in the hundreds to the net this time of year. Fishing is the best it will be all year for the next week or so, so get here now!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring Decisions

I feel blessed to live in such an incredible place. When you sit down to decide where you want to go for the day, and within one hour there are half a dozen world class fisheries, it makes it fairly difficult. But, that is a problem I enjoy having! During the late spring I find myself torn when I have a day to fish for myself. This week's fishery menu within an hour of my house is the following:

1. Arkansas River- Still producing some fierce hatches towards Salida. Most fish being taken on hopper dropper rigs, with a Stimi/Caddis Pupae combo. This is a true dry fly fisherman's delight........

2. South Platte River "Charlie Myers SWA- A few big boys are still kickin, so keep your eyes out, and your huevos rigs at the ready. But if you are afraid to walk, you better rethink it, cuz this is the time of the season for a walk. I suggest a light to no lunch........

3. Grape Creek-A magnificent fishery before the storm of mud hits. Fish are still holding in the deep pools in that winter mindset. It can literally be liking fishing in a barrel! Stick to streamers and hopper dropper rigs, focusing on a traditional prince. Not for the faint of heart however, be prepared to wear your snake gators!

4. Spinney Reservoir- Take your time with breakfast and you will be out of the winnings, this is an early morning fishery. However, some major hogs are making it to the net, with the odd 30" class brown.....Enough to make you look twice! Hang with an attractor nymph rig huevos/ scud and wait for the rail!

5. Antero Reservoir- "Ditto" Spinney with on average bigger fish/ and the occasional Hills Bros. Worm Can....Same rigs, but focus on the boat ramps......Bring a big net/ and possibly kite for when the breeze starts......

6. Elevenmile Reservoir- "A whole different Animal".......Sucker Cove has been producing some incredible Brown Trout numbers with a few lunkers. The real fishing has been for Mr. Tooth. Lots of 40" class pike cruising the shores and the inlet in pre spawn mode. Find some steel leader and a fly longer than the average school bus and go make a couple thousand casts. I promise the reward is there with the possibility always at a new state record!

So, in short within an hour of Canon City, we have the state's largest Caddis Hatch; Lake Run fish in a tail water; and, arguabley 3 of the 5 best reservoirs in the Rocky Mountains, all fishing tremendously. You are crazy if you don't just quite work, buy an old Volkswagen Bus, and live on the water for the next week or so. But, then I guess you would have to earn some money afterwards...........Or just follow my footsteps: "Destitute Fly Fishing Guide, with no real ambitions, except for the next cast."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chance in a lifetime: Letter to the Editor

Hello Taylor,

I have some weeks that are open now that I would like to offer to you or your friends at a special price of $4000 per person, per week, with a booking of 4 . You will have exclusive use of the lodge and our services with your own group of 4. The weeks open at this time, are as follows, June 12-19. This is the first full week of the season, as Rainbow Trout season opens on June 8th, this week has fantastic fishing for Rainbows on smolt patterns, leeches, and both dry flies and nymphing, as well as mousing. The salmon smolt are leaving the lakes for the ocean and the Trout are gorging on them, especially at the mouths of the rivers. Igiugig Lodge just happens to be located at the mouth of the great Kvichak river, and from the living room at the lodge you can watch the birds diving into the water as the big schools of smolt enter the river. We caught several 30 inch trout, last season from both shore and boat fishing within sight of the lodge, our largest was 32 inches that week. I will also fly out a group each day to rivers near by that also have great fishing that week and on some we will also be able to use dry flies as well as smolt patterns, and leeches. The next week is June 19-26, this week the Rainbow fishing is still fantastic with the same techniques, but we add in King Salmon fishing on the Nushagak river where I have 2 boats and that river is famous for having the largest run of Kings in the world, the Kings should be running strong, that week and would make a great combination with Rainbow Trout. Also on the Kvichak river the Sockeye salmon should be showing up towards the end of the week. Both of these weeks Grayling and Northern Pike fishing is also great, and can be added in for some variety if you want.
The next week I have at this special price is July 17-24, this is the week the biggest Kings show up on the Nushagak river, we will also fish for Chum Salmon which are great fighters, and are perfect for fly fishing as they are caught on the shallow bars. We will also be able to fish for fresh Sockeye Salmon as well. And also Rainbows, Grayling, Dolly Varden and Northern Pike, are fishing well.
The last weeks I have at this time for this price, is September 18-25, and September 25- October 2nd, this is a time when the Rainbow fishing is on fire, on all the rivers, including my home river the Kvichak, as well as Talarik creek, Kulik river, Brooks river, Moraine creek,Battle creek, the Big Ku, and many others within a 15 minute flight from the lodge. We catch many fish in 27-32 inch class at this time, on egg patterns, as well as flesh flies and leeches.
Our normal price for a 7 day stay at Igiugig lodge is $5500, so this is a substantial discount for these weeks. All the great guiding services, food and beverages and accommodations will be the same as a full priced week. We really would like to fill up our schedule and stay busy all summer. With a booking of 4 fishermen we will lock up the week for your groups exclusive use.


Brad Waitman

****Taylor's Commentary: Anyone who wants to experience a full service fly out lodge in argue ably the best fly fishing region in Alaska, if not the world; would be crazy not to jump on this! Give me a call at the shop if you have any questions!

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Let the 10 day countdown begin! I always have a bet with the old man as to when the first blowout hatch will be, and this year my money is on the 17th. I have started to see a lot of closed caddis cases, and our water temps are starting to make the rise mid day. If we can get 5 straight days of near 70 degree weather, the hatch will be on. Keep your eyes on the blog, as I will countdown as I start to see sporadic hatches. I can’t stress enough, when the hatch starts, to focus on the pupae stage for the first few days. It will take a few intense hatches for the fish to recognize the adult stage. But, you better believe they are tearing up the pupa (emerger) during these early hatches. Some of the greatest number days I have ever had on this river have been before the adult recognition, so please focus on the pupa, and don’t be afraid to be a swinger…….
The picture above shows the presentation sequence of the larval emergence (pupal stage).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Conditional Mindset

A conditional mindset develops not only less fishing, but also fairly lame excuses to not get on the water. Tailwater fisheries, however, can be extremely temperamental creatures. All I can say about flow fluctuations is that they exist, and we can't control them. Low flows does not mean fishing ceases to exist, only that productivity decreases. Yesterday I enjoyed a beautiful day on the water with one of my homies! Even though flows on the Platte neared non-existence we sought out some prime spots and produced some beautiful, and fresh Cutts and Cuttbows. I can say the same for Freestones like the Arkansas. Low flows, and cold weather might not be the most prime of conditions; however, I still find myself producing some great numbers, and great trips! We need to understand that we live in a state where mother nature, and the State Water Board could care less about what our conditional preferences are. We have a a few beautiful days in March left, so get out and enjoy our early spring fisheries.

Picture: Shea Gunkel holding a beautiful Cuttbow from the Dream Stream (3/23/10)
Check out Mr. Gunkel's Blog @

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Slab

The Arkansas tends to be one of the best stonefly rivers I have yet to encounter. If one likes to heavy nymph, it can be expected to be a very productive stream 12 months out of the year. Pattern variations tend to be the key to success, however, as I have yet to find a single pattern that produces year around. This season, I have taken an in depth entomological dive into the specimens of our river, in hopes to attain a single prime pattern. I have derived, however, that due to our vast fluctuations in water temperatures, as well as the natural life cycle of aquatics; it is not possible to narrow a single color variation. Some of the best patterns are and always will be the more traditional patterns; i.e. 20 Incher, Prince, Hares Ear, etc. Over the past 6 months however I have been testing a new pattern I coin The Slab. Breaking down every great stonefly I have ever fished, I come to one conclusion; they are never to heavy. The fact is, for the majority of their life, these bugs crawl on the river bottom! So, in this light I figure a 5/32 Tungsten Bead, and a wrap of .035 lead shouldn't be overkill, right? Moving forward I incorporated a simple body, and abdomen. However, thinking about every great Arkansas R. pattern I ever fished I incorporated enough light reflection and iridescence as humanly possible. The Arkansas is an attractor river, so why not throw something in the stonefly category that's going to catch an eye or two. And not to put that period of entomological work to waste, I incorporated the most common coloration seen throughout my specimens; ending up overall, much darker than expected. The hardest part of a perfect aquatic match is in the thorax; leading to a 3 dub blended concoction........
Overall, I have been extremely pleased with the on the water action of The Slab so far. It seems to be a very effective pattern on all of the freestones of this Region; e.i. Roaring Fork, Arkansas, Rio Grande.........
If interested, give us a call for an in depth recipe!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Fishing in Western CO

Just want to drop a quick note to all of our readers about friends and fellow guides on the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers in Western Colorado. Good friend and owner of Gunnison River Guides, Joel Aslanian, along with partner in crime Jason Booth have built quite a reputation on these two world class trout streams! We have been working with Joel and Jason for the past few years, and are very stoked for the cooperative guiding future ahead of us.........
In the spring time both the Catch and Release Tailwater, and the Gunnison River (pre-runoff) are simply incredible fisheries. Please give us a call if you are interested in a trip to either of these areas, as the next few months offer some of the best fishing of the season!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Baetis Blowout

Blustery skies mixed with sleet and snow around noon yesterday proved to be the perfect formula. What seems to be the usual deep nymph rig was cut within seconds and switched to a magnificent floating fly I believe referred to as a dry fly (see its been so long since Ive tied one on, I forgot the name). More specifically a 22 Lowrider Baetis seemed to do the trick. A couple really nice browns to the net by clients I might add. To make a long story short, Blue Wing action is here on the lower Arkansas; and it makes me so happy, I think I may shed a tear!!! Current conditions are sunny, but if a cloud enters a 10 mile radius of the shop you better believe I'm hitting the water, and so should you! Get on the Water! Spring fishing is here!

P.S. Baetis rule my Universe!


Monday, March 08, 2010

Spring is Budding

Every year, just when we think there is no hope for winter to ever come to a close, we see hints of revival. This past week here in Southern Colorado, we received some very gracious 50 to 60 degree weather, introducing a new look to both of our tremendous spring fisheries. The Arkansas took a crucial turn towards spring with the start of the stone fly molt in the lower stretches of the river. In the 3 days this past week spent on trips, the Arkansas showed me several different looks, however all producing great numbers of fish.......If you are a heavy Nymph fisherman, get to the river with a good selection of stones and clean up! Fifty minutes north we have a spring fishery second to none, in which has also overcome a transformation in the past week or so. With increased flows and warmer temperatures, the South Platte Below Spinney has really come into its own over the past week. Fair numbers of pre-spawn fish have began to stage in the lower section of the river. Numbers will only increase within the weeks to come, offering shots at some beautiful and sometimes major fatty fish! Every year however, it is righteous to take time to explain some ethical premises by which we as sportsmen must live by in the Spring and Fall. Spending 3 to 4 guide days a week on the South Platte during the spawning runs allows me a lot of time to watch fisherman. It is an inherent instinct for a fisherman to target a large fish in the open. However, please take the time when sighting one of these fish, to survey the area in which the fish is holding to make sure it is not a spawning bed (Redd). The characteristics of Redd will include abnormally clean/ bright gravel, between 3-5 feet in diameter, with most likely 2 or more fish holding on it. These fish are actively spawning, so please allow them a no-hook policy! However, the next month or so will offer some great shots at some ten plus pound class fish, so clear a day to go experience this great stream! Keep in mind, that we have guides out every day, so please feel free to call us for up to date reports or for guided adventures. Especially on our technical tail waters it is a major leg up to hire a guide to teach you how to sight and present to these big fish, so please give us a call today! All in all, we are excited here in Southern Colorado, as spring has officially sprung. Temperature gauges are rising, trees are budding, and our rivers are beginning their transformations into our beloved fly fishing playgrounds!

Get Out, Fish Hard, and keep your head above water!