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Dragonfly Anglers

Fishing the Wild West

September 9, 2014
Last week, I had an opportunity to get into the West Elk Wilderness, one of five wilderness areas within a 30-minute drive of Crested Butte, Colorado.  It is not hard to get away from humans anywhere near Crested Butte, and our wilderness areas are certainly no exception. With no road access and no mechanized vehicles allowed, all access is by foot and some of the best spots require off-trail navigation and sometimes tricky bushwhacking.  

I fished two streams in complete solitude, one named, the other an unnamed tributary of the first stream. Both were full of native cutthroat, many of which have never seen an artificial fly in their lives. It’s usually pretty easy to tell because when you set the hook on a fish that has never been caught, there is that second or two of pure shock after the fly bites back before they realize something is wrong and put up the fight of their lives to get free. For me there is nothing like catching fish in a spot that I saw the week before while studying maps and google Earth and thinking, “that looks hard to get to, I bet the fishing is good”. There is a lifetime of water just like this spot, from small streams and tributaries to larger streams and high alpine lakes, all of which can be accessed on foot, by car, or by a 4X4 vehicle.

If you want to experience a truly unique experience in the middle of the most remote mountains in Colorado, whether it is a hike into one of the wilderness areas or a hair-raising, expert 4X4 drive to cutthroat-filled beaver ponds near treeline, let myself or one of our other backcountry experts put together a trip for you! Please call the shop at (970) 349-1228for more information. 
Posted by Zach Kinler
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Offseason Explorations: Part 2

May 22, 2014
My girlfriend Elsa and I always take some time each fall to visit family in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Similar to this area, it can be cool there that time of year; however, fall seems to hang around a bit longer in that area than in the mountains. While on one such visit last fall around Halloween, Elsa’s dad Rockie and I decided to take the boat out on Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior for perhaps one last fish before the snow started falling. I brought my fly rod along as I always do if I’m around water; however, we were trolling with big Raps and spoons, which is a great way to cover water and figure out where the fish might be holding. We started picking up very nice sized browns, Coho Salmon, and Steelhead. We were both surprised to see such great action this time of year when Rockie pointed out to me that we were picking these fish up in less than 15 feet of water with relatively shallow lures. I immediately thought about my fly rod and the possibility of getting a few on the fly. We decided to finish the day trolling and trying to locate exactly where the fish were and ended the day landing several more large fish. Before we were off the water, a return trip for the next day had already been planned with Elsa’s brother Luke, and it would be done with fly rods. 

The next morning after Luke and I made a brief stop at some sand flats looking for smallmouth bass that were not there, we went right back to the area we had worked the day before. We fished a variety of water from shallow, sandy bottom river inlets, where we found the Coho Salmon to rocky shorelines with lots of structure where the steelhead and browns were cruising. This was not a trip where we boated 50 fish but every fish hooked was quality and the fact that we were able to sight fish for several different species made this a very unique experience for both of us. There we were alone on Lake Superior in late fall hooking fish in beautiful water from a flats skiff, it was perfect. It really does not matter what time of year it is, there are so many opportunities to explore, and I will always travel with my fly rod close at hand.
Posted by Zach Kinler
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Offseason Explorations: Part 1

May 6, 2014

With the offseason here, I got to thinking about some of my past offseason adventures, and I realized how much I enjoy the ebb and flow of a ski town. There will be times when every hotel and condo is occupied, the restaurants are full and work is easy to find. A week or two later and it is the exact opposite. That’s life in a town like Crested Butte, and you have to love it and be prepared for it if you are going to live here.  I think it presents a great opportunity to make a living but also provides time to explore the rest of the state and beyond…

Every year in April, the ski resort closes down and Crested Butte turns into a relative ghost town. This time of year is actually quite enjoyable, the crowds are gone and town is quiet. In between snow storms, we get nice sunny days in the 50s and there can be good fishing opportunities. It is actually a great time to be around town, I don’t feel that I have to leave to escape anything; however it is also nice to enjoy some warmer climates if you have the opportunity. While it is still winter above 9,000 ft in Colorado, spring is in full swing in other parts of the country. 

I grew up in southern Missouri near the Ozark Mountains where spring starts in February and by April temperatures can be near 80 degrees.  This area has about as much water as anywhere in the states, from large lakes and rivers to smaller streams and stillwater. One great spot is the Eleven Point River. The river is fed by the 10th largest freshwater spring in the world which turns this normally warm water river into a great trout fishery. There are about 20 miles of productive trout water downstream from the spring and a wild population of rainbow trout that are very aggressive. Canoes are the most efficient mode of travel and we spent four days during the week on the river and did not see another person camping, only a few people floating through. It was April, the weather was warm, the dogwoods were blooming, and we were wet wading in our bathing suits catching wild trout in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest. This is just one of many great places to extend your summer when the snow is still flying in the high country. 
Posted by Zach Kinler
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Lucky, the Catch and Release Superstar: Part Three

April 15, 2014
We did not make it back to Lucky before the river froze over, but I have already visited that area twice this year in search of Lucky, and I know I will have to bring my A game if I want to see him up close again. 

One way to ensure the survival of each fish is proper catch and release techniques. If done properly, mortality rate can be less than one percent, but success not only requires putting the fish back in the water at the end but also proper treatment during the landing and handling of the fish. 

I recommend a rubber net in order to not compromise the valuable slime layer that keep fish healthy. We fish Brodin and Gold Metal Nets, both of which possess high quality and long lasting craftsmanship. In addition, getting the fish into your net as quickly as your tippet will allow will prevent the fish from wearing itself out completely in the fight and leave it with some strength when it is returned to the water. Keeping the fish out of water for too long, letting multiple people hold the fish, or putting it on land to get a picture with your rod will severely limit the survival rate of your catch and release fishing. And of course, barbless hooks will greatly reduce the damage caused to the fish and allow you to release fish almost without touching them at all. 

Through our catch and release practices, we had a fish that was getting smarter every day, and I’m fairly certain he is not getting any smaller either.  Smart fish make smart fisherman. Thanks, Lucky. 

Below is a great video with some additional information on catch and release practices. 

Posted by Zach Kinler
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Lucky, the Catch and Release Superstar: Part Two

April 3, 2014
Needless to say, I was stoked after that first day and returned with my buddy CJ the next day to find what looked like the same fish in the spot I first hooked it. CJ stepped up and within a few minutes hooked the fish. I thought the fish had put up a pretty spirited fight the two times I hooked it but when it felt CJ’s fly, it did what any smart fish that has been hooked does and headed for the current and around a big rock as we said goodbye to that rig. The fish was evolving right in front of our eyes. 

The next day, I had a client on the Taylor, and I decided we would end our day attempting to get CJ’s flies back. By now, the fish had acquired the name “Lucky” and sure enough Lucky was back in the same area. It took a little more time this round but eventually Martin got a drift Lucky liked, and he was on the line again. After only a day, Lucky had gotten even smarter and was only on the line for a few seconds before he headed downstream at a blistering pace. No match for 5X. 

 I had to go back the next day if for nothing else than to try to get all those flies out of the fish. So the parade of fisherman continued as I returned the next day with my girlfriend and sure enough we spotted Lucky right away. It took a bit more work than the previous days but after fishing the run for a bit, Elsa got him on the line. I’ll give her credit—she did well putting the fly where it needed to be and hooking the fish but in the battle, Lucky spit the fly and got away. I was happy that we did not leave another couple flies hanging from Lucky’s mouth but Elsa was disappointed not to have a 20” rainbow in her hand. I told her there would be another day. Over the course of those few days, I witnessed Lucky becoming not only more selective to flies and drift but also learning what to do after getting hooked….
Posted by Zach Kinler

Lucky, the Catch and Release Superstar: Part One

March 26, 2014
I have never had a problem with anyone who wanted to keep their legal limit of fish. The Division of Wildlife has set limits for each stream in order to maintain healthy populations of trout and I do respect those who take up to their limit. Hunting and gathering has been going on since the beginning of time, and there is something to be said about somebody who goes out and puts in the time to hunt and capture something that will feed and sustain them. 

I have other means of putting food on the table; however, so ever since I started fishing I have enjoyed the return on investment of catch and release fishing. Being able to see and hold a wild animal in my hands and then release it back into the wild to remain as a vital part of the water is quite fulfilling. I always tell people to let them go and then you can come back and catch them again when they are bigger and smarter. This idea was proven this last fall on the Taylor River. 

After hooking and landing a 20” rainbow, my dropper got snagged on the dorsal fin of the fish and broke off as it swam away. I went on fishing that area for a bit when I decided to work back upstream. In a hole upstream of the one that held the first rainbow, I spotted another rainbow that I thought was about 20” as well. I got a couple looks from the trout but no takes. I made a quick change and after about the 10th drift, the trout took my dropper. I managed to land this 20-incher again, only to find my dropper being kept safely in its dorsal fin. The fish had moved upstream from where I released it and was feeding actively again in that short amount of time. In the span of half an hour I had caught and released the same mature trout twice. I would have just guessed it was a different fish if not for the fly. This same fish provided me with two thrilling hook ups that I would not have gotten if I had not released him unharmed the first time. I thought that might be the end of the story of me and this fish but I was wrong….  

Photo Caption: Not Lucky, but a nice Taylor River rainbow. 
Posted by Zach Kinler

Find yourself in Crested Butte

March 4, 2014
We all have our favorite spots to go whether it is a great place to fish, a sweet line on the mountain that we love to ski, or maybe just a quiet spot off the beaten path where we can enjoy a little peace and tranquility. Last week I found myself at a place where of all three of those met.  Standing just below the peak of Mt. Crested Butte, I looked west towards the Ruby Range and had a great perspective on some of my favorite fishing spots. I looked below to see the infamous chute named ‘Banana,’ which I was about to ski. And then I looked all around and could only see a few people skiing on the mountain hundreds of feet below me. 

There was not much going through my head except maybe a feeling of contentment that you can easily get in these mountains. I think that experience and feeling epitomizes Crested Butte and helped remind me what a great place this is. If you are lucky enough to have spent some time in this area, you probably know the feeling. If you are looking for a special spot to relax, have fun, and enjoy life, check out Crested Butte, Colorado. 

Let Dragonfly Anglers be the place you call or stop by for local knowledge and information about anything Crested Butte. This is what we do and we are pretty good at it. 

Photo Cred: Tom Flawn-Chopp
Posted by Zach Kinler
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Fly Fishing on My Mind

February 17, 2014
I wasn’t exactly sure what it was that got me really thinking about fly fishing a few days ago. The street I was walking on was ankle deep in slush, the temperature was 37 degrees, and even a few birds were chirping. That could have been it or maybe it was a timer in my head that said “you haven’t been fishing in a few months, so…”

Either way, despite almost six feet of snowfall in two weeks and some of the best turns of the season, my mind can’t help wander towards fly fishing. With sunny skies and temperatures in the 30’s, that spring-time feel is just starting to show up, and with that comes the possibility of some great early season fishing opportunities. As March approaches, so will the open water on the Gunnison, East, and Taylor Rivers, and the stage will be set for some great pre-runoff fishing. This time of year might be overlooked by most people but it can surprise you with some great days on the water. The crowds are nonexistent, the fish are hungry, and the weather can be pleasant.

If you don’t have any plans this March and April or just want to take a break from the great skiing, book a trip with one of our professional guides or come by the shop for some up-to-the-minute conditions and information. In the meantime, here is an awesome video from New Zealand to get you stoked for the fishing season. 

Damsels in Distress from Sharptail Media on Vimeo.

Posted by Zach Kinler
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Dragonfly Anglers Product Review: The Patagonia R1

February 5, 2014
The R1 was most definitely designed with the active person in mind and has all the features that such a person requires. Its sleek design and athletic fit make this a great jacket with other layers, or on its own as an outer shell. Kept close to skin, the unique grid pattern on the inside pulls moisture from your body and leaves you warm and dry. This makes it great for skiing, whether you are hiking in the backcountry, riding the resort, or touring on the skinny skis. The R1 is also a great choice for winter fishing when you need to pack on as many layers as you can fit. You can also grab it on your way out the door to Kochevars for a “Nowak” or two after a big day outdoors. Lightweight, versatile, and great for everyday life in Crested Butte, Colorado, the R1 will not disappoint.

Dragonfly Anglers carries the R1 in several colors and sizes or we can special order one from our Patagonia dealer inventory. Shop our online store, stop by our shop in Crested Butte, or call us at 970.349.1228 for your custom order. 

*All products are tested and used by Dragonfly Anglers Pro Staff and Guides

Posted by Zach Kinler
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Colorado River Tops America's Most Endangered Rivers in 2013

January 28, 2014
This issue is directly related to us here in the Gunnison Valley and in fact to most anybody across the country. Water shortage is currently a major issue almost anywhere in the U.S. due to the demand for water and the numerous areas that are experiencing droughts. There are many things at stake here, including a lot of recreational opportunities around Crested Butte. The Gunnison River is a major tributary of the Colorado and a lot of the water in question here originates in our state. We need to recognize that it is an issue no matter where you live. Read this article for an in-depth look at this issue, courtesy of American Rivers.

Here is a helpful resource that outlines some things you can do to help conserve this valuable resource. 
Posted by Zach Kinler
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Deep into the Fly Box I Went

January 12, 2014
This past summer, I got the chance to guide a couple of great clients for two days. It was a father who had a lot of fly fishing experience and his son who was a bit newer to the sport. It was the perfect chance for me to show them some great local water, as well as get a young fly fisherman “hooked.” The day started out pretty well with a few hook ups and a few small fish to hand. As the morning wore on and the sun got brighter and higher in the sky, the fishing got a little tougher.

The water on Spring Creek that time of year was gin-clear and low. The fish were spooky and there were not many bugs on or in the water. We had seen a few PMD mayflies and the occasional Blue Winged Olive and were fishing patterns to mimic what we found, but the strikes were few. We approached one spot that was in the shade with a submerged log, which created a deeper channel right through the middle of the stream. This was classic trout holding water and with the day almost over, I knew we had to take advantage. At this point I was working with Graham, the son, and the first drift through the slot revealed a very nice rainbow. It was only a look; however, so I quickly changed the fly. Another look followed but not a strike. As I cut the second fly off and went to my box, I was searching for answers.

There it was, the Royal Wulff. This is a pattern that I fished heavily myself when I first started fly fishing, but one that I had not gone to in years. For those who might not be familiar, the Royal Wulff is known as an “attractor” pattern not meant to look like anything in particular but a fly that floats well, is easy to see and just looks buggy. I thought that maybe I was over-thinking what the trout was looking for, so I grabbed a size-12 and tied it to the end of the leader. I told Graham to land it five feet upstream of the trout and drift it right over where we saw it. That was it, the rainbow took it willingly on the first drift and after a real strong fight we had a beautiful 14-inch rainbow in the net! This one fly and one fish had turned a good day into a great day and one that I know I will not soon forget. Thank you, Royal Wulff.
Posted by Zach Kinler
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Great Crested Butte Snowpack Foreshadows Promising Fishing Season

December 10, 2013
While most people see snowfall as good for skiing, those of us who live, work, and play in the mountains see it as not only good skiing but good livelihood. It is easy for someone who visits here to come and enjoy the great early season skiing we have, then leave and only remember the exceptional skiing.

As a kid, I was obsessed with watching the snowflakes fall in the porch light, and not much has changed. Now I think about not only skiing through those beautiful snowflakes but also standing in a river full of them next summer. With the snow starting to pile up here, we are all thankful for a good ski season, but those of us who rely on snowpack to drive this town year round have an extra special appreciation.

The Gunnison River Basin snowpack is at 134 percent of normal for this time of year, and we can’t help but think that the rivers and lakes might fill up this summer. Despite the low moisture in the past two years, fishing has been phenomenal but there has been impacts on the fishery that come from low water and fishing pressure. A good snow year will put us right back to normal and keep everything that swims very happy.

If you are still contemplating a good place to ski this winter, come on out and enjoy not only the great skiing in Crested Butte but appreciate what it will do for us in the long run as we continue to live, work, and play in this great place. If you are looking for a world-class fishery this summer, keep your fingers crossed for a big winter, but know that it will be great either way.
Posted by Zach Kinler
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Same Time, Same Place

September 18, 2013
Having been a guide in both the skiing and fishing businesses for many seasons, every new day makes me realize that I truly haven't seen it all.  I love the question in the summer time, “So how many days do you work a week?” My response is usually around nine or so.

For us, it's all about making our clients happy and making sure they have an awesome day on the water.  Many guides have clients that have been fishing with them for forever and make it a point to come back to the same time, same place every summer.  It's also exciting to have people who show up having never held a fly rod.  This diversity is what makes me get up every morning with the same enthusiasm and mindset like it is the first day of the season because for most of our clients, it is their first day of fishing for the season.

Now that it's mid September, I finally have some time to reflect on the last hundred or so days of guiding.  I am truly blessed to say that each day was unique in its own way.  I've had everything from the granddad and grandson who wanted to throw lures all day (I think we put 60 in the net that day) to the crew of 12 beginners on the first day who at least felt like experts after their three days of float fishing. Of course, you can't forget the clients that show up for the eighth year-in-a-row holding that new Sage One and Able reel (probably sold to them by the one and only Pedro).  With these guys, it's a hug when you see them instead of a handshake, which is a nice change of pace.  Anyways, with all this said, it’s the relationships we make with everyone who comes to fish with us that keeps us in this business. So to all you clients out there, thanks and we hope to see you again next summer, same time, same place.
Posted by Brandon Snyder
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Spring fishing is heating up!!

March 16, 2013

Temperatures in the Gunnison Valley have been through the roof for the last week or so and the ice is breaking up and fishable water is appearing everywhere. Dragonfly has spent time on the East and Gunnison Rivers in the last couple of days and the fishing has been very very good. Look for the fishing to be the best during the warmest part of the day, keep an eye on the insect activity and don't be afraid to change flies. The fish are there and they are ready to bite you just need to find the correct depth and a fly they find appetizing. If you are looking to get out on the water and need some advice, some flies or are interested in taking a trip give us a call at 970-349-1228 or swing by the shop!
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Guided Flyfishing is On Fire!!!!

June 21, 2012
       Wow, I have herd several terms- insane, sick, and redonkulous(rediculous) to describe the fishing over the past week in the Gunnison Valley.  The fishing over the entire drainage is spectacular. 
       The Drakes have been heavy on the Gunnison, East, and the Taylor rivers.  The hatch on the Gunnison has been from around 11am.-2pm.   I have seen drakes as well as caddis, pmd's, and yellow sallies at similar times on the East and the Taylor.  The backcountry has also been fishing off the hook!  Fish have been very active all throughout the day with the slowest fishing during the hottest times of the day.
       Water levels are at perfect levels for float and walk trips right now and should maintain these levels for the next month.  Call our shop 1-970-349-1228 for trip availability and to book your favorite guide!!
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Patagonia Aluminum Bar Wading Boot Review

May 31, 2012
In developing the Aluminum Bar boot Patagonia has created the new standard in wading boots. They grip as good, if not better than felt, are easy to clean, and after several months of medium to hard use show minimal wear. They work great on snow, mud and grass. Whether the rocks are smooth or jagged, these boots just stick.
A case in point: Last weekend we fished the Metolius River near Sisters, Oregon. It was running high – a little over 2000 cfs on the gauge near Grandview, OR – and even during low flows, the section we fish is big, pushy and fast, with great holes on both sides of the river. Opting not to cross in-stream means a three-plus mile hike up to the nearest bridge, and time hiking is not time fishing.
For Chris and me, crossing the Met is normally not a big deal, we are both strong waders and haven't ever had a problem (well I haven't ever had a problem, Chris has dunked at least once), but this weekend we had a newbie with us and she is only 5'2". Crossing at our regular spot, the river regularly hits us at the bottom of the rib cage translating to near top of the waders on our newbie. Not a great option. Luckily Chris had on his new Aluminum Bar boots.
We sent Chris into the river and let him wander around a bit. In the 10 minutes of searching for the ideal location, he traversed the width of the river twice, working his way 50 yards upstream, then 50 yards downstream. He waded through raging mid-thigh deep water and fast belly button-deep water and never once did he even look like he might slip. I swear a group of hikers stopped just to watch him wade. It was impressive. Thanks to his "research" we crossed with no problems even with the high water.
The following week he convinced me to try to cross at a location that was fast and at least waist deep. I, being the strong wader that I am, didn't even hesitate to try. But halfway across he was forging easily and I was tip-toeing down the river to avoid tipping my waders. I eventually crossed successfully, but 25-yards downstream from where he had seemingly strolled across.
On their own, and as an alternative to felt, these boots impress! Check them out here.
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Looking for the stoneflies in the Gorge!!!

May 23, 2012
As a very early runoff has come and gone, flows in the Gunnison Gorge are 386cfs as the water is low and clear making for some great wade fishing in the Gorge.  Reports of good action on caddis in the early morning and late evening as well as consistent fishing during the day on large stone patterns.  The epic hatch of big dries is just around the corner!!!  We are excited to offer very productive full day guided trips into the Gunnison Gorge to catch some of this great fishing late May and early June!!!  Call the shop for info...970-349-1228 
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Spring Fishing Yields wonderful results!

May 15, 2012
Fishing in the Gunnison Valley is HOT! Normally we are armpit deep in brown unfishable water this time of year, but thanks to a below average snow year, runoff is done and the fish are eating. We are already floating everyday and have had great success on all the local rivers. If you haven't booked an early season trip with Dragonly yet you should do so now. Check out this beauty, caught 5/02/12!
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Simms Pursuit Wet Wading Shoe

June 10, 2011
Summer time is right around the corner. It should really be here by now, but since it isn't you still have time to head into Dragonfly and pick up a pair of Simms Pursuit Wading Shoes. If, like me, you love to wet wade in the summer time and don't feel like trucking around in your heavy, marginally comfortable wading boots then the Pursuit Wading Shoe is for you. With Vibram soles the Pursuit is just as effective in the river as out on the boat or hiking the trail. Check out this video of George Cook breaking it down.
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Waterworks-Lamson Litespeed Reels

June 6, 2011
I have been fishing with a Lamson Litespeed for 4 or 5 years now and it is easily my favorite reel to fish with. I use the Litespeed 2 on my 6 weight Scott E2 and the combo is incredible. The Litespeed is super light and balances very well with the light E2. The large arbor design picks up line incredibly fast letting you get to the reel quicker and giving you a better chance at landing those bigger fish.

The thing that I like the most about the Litespeed, besides the awesome design and hard alox finish is the sealed drag. All Lamson Reels come with the same sealed drag and it is sweet. One of their coolest sales tools is a fish bowl filled with sand: pop any Lamson reel in the fish bowl, bury it, get it as sandy as you can, then take it back out and dang if that reel isn't as smooth as ever! The downside of the sealed drag is that during those rare times when you have to take your reel apart it can be tough, especially with cold fingers. Lamson made a video explaining how to take the reel apart and change the direction of the retrieve  - check it out.

Through all my experiences the drag has been incredibly smooth and plenty strong and athough I haven't had the pleasure of testing the strength of the drag against a bonefish or some other reel screeching fish I have landed plenty of large trout, a couple of decent stiped bass, a steelhead or two and even a big chinook. If you haven't checked out the Lamson Litespeed Fly Reel I definitely suggest that you give it a look. It is a stylish reel with a durable finish and a great drag, it is the total package. If you are interested in the Litespeed or any other Lamson product give us a call at (800) 491-3079 or shoot us an email at

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How to tie a Woolly Bugger

June 1, 2011
Mike shows how to tie a Woolly Bugger. The Woolly Bugger is possibly the best streamer for the Gunnison Valley. Early season when the river is still just a bit off color a double bugger is just deadly. My favorite colors are brown, olive and black. When throwing a double bugger the white black combo shouldn't be overlooked.Ingredients:

Hook size: 4-10
Tail: maribou (any color you feel like) and flashibou
Rib: copper wire
Body: Chenille (any color you want) typically medium or large
Saddle Hackle
Thread: match to the fly color 6/0-3/0
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How to tie a Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymph

May 23, 2011
The Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymph is possibly the best all around fly for the Gunnison Valley. If you are making a trip out to fish the Gunnison, East or Taylor and only have time to tie one fly, tie a bead head pheasant tail.


Thread: 6/0 black, brown or olive
Tail: Pheasant Tail
Rib: Copper Wire
Thorax: Pheasant Tail
Wing Casing: Swiss Straw
Abdomen: Peacock Herl
Wing: Pheasant Tail
Tie in sizes 10-20
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How to tie a Prince Nymph

April 25, 2011
The Prince Nymph is one of my favorite flies for the Gunnison Valley. This is a great pattern all season long, when I can't figure out exactly what they are eating I throw one of two nymphs; a Pheasant Tail or a Prince Nymph. If you want a couple of examples stop by the shop and checkout our selection.

Hook size 10-18
Goose biot: green/brown for tail, white for wings
Peacock Herl for abdomen and thorax
Small copper wire for ribbing
Brown or Grizzly Hackle
Black Thread 6/0
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How to Tie a San Juan Worm

April 12, 2011
The San Juan worm is one of the easiest flies to tie. Follow along with Chris to learn how to tie one yourself.

How to Tie a San Juan Worm from Chris Eaton on Vimeo.

San Juan worms are a great early season fly. They are great in off color water and during heavy rains. It is one of the most basic flies out there. It is also one of my x-factor flies. When nothing else is working I like to throw one on and see what happens. A lot of times you will get strikes while stripping them in or swinging them. One of my favorite San Juan Worm techniques is to find a super deep drop-off that is normally hard to fish, throw on lots of weight, extend my leader, and see if there is anything waiting down deep just below the drop-off.

Ingredients you need:
micro chenille: red, pink(bubble gum), orange, and brown
Hook: anything size 10-16
Thread: 6/0 red
A Lighter to burn the ends of the chenille to make sure it doesn’t fray
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The East River is Hot!

April 4, 2011
You want spring fishing? Come to Dragonfly Anglers.

Check out this photo from a recent trip with Rod on the East River. The river was in perfect shape and the fish were eating.

Yes, you should be freaking out right now – this monster and several others like it were all caught on dry flies! Dry Flies!!!

Midge patterns were the order of the day. I am sure that you could have picked up plenty of fish nymphing, but why would you when you could be landing a beautiful bruiser of a brown trout on a dry fly?

Call the shop for information on booking a trip. The return of wintery weather in the valley means that the water is going to stay low and fishable just that much longer. Get out there and wet a line!!

How To Use Your Whip Finish Tool

April 4, 2011

How to Use Your Whip Finish Tool from Chris Eaton on Vimeo.

Ever wonder how to use the Whip Finish tool. While here is your chance to find out. Chris demonstrates this important technique that is used to finish tying your thread off on a fly. Stay tuned in Our Weekly Ties and How To pages for more updates on flies to tie, tips, and helpful techniques. If there is something that you would like to see email and we will get a video up.
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How to Tie a Slightly Modified 20 incher

March 29, 2011
The 20 incher is a great stonefly imitation. This version is great if you need a heavy fly to get you down as deep as possible. If you don't want your 20 incher to be as heavy as the one Mike ties, skip the weighted wire.

How to Tie a Slightly Modified 20 Incher from Chris Eaton on Vimeo.

The Ingredients you need:
hook: sz 6-10, nymph style
tail: Goose Biot, brown
rib: Pearl Flashabou and copper wire
abdomen: Peacock Herl (5-6)
wing case: Swiss Straw
legs: Hungarian Partridge
thorax: gray dubbing (gold if you want a golden stone)
weight: .025 Lead or non lead wire
bead: 3/16in tungsten bead
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Spring Fishing Techniques and Tips

March 21, 2011
Most early spring fishing consists of dead drifting nymphs in deeper holes. There are many different setups that you can use to get your flies down to the fish. My favorite nymphing setup consists of a 9 ft 5x tapered leader a thingamabobber and a couple of weighted nymphs. Normally I just loop the thingamabobber onto the leader. This allows you the most flexibility in terms of changing your depth. Your line will be a bit more prone to tangles and your leader may wear out quicker since you will be crimping it in different locations. The other option instead of using a loop connection is to tie the thingamabobber directly into the middle of your leader. You have to cut the leader to make this happen, but it is a much cleaner connection with less chance of tangle. The downside of this method is the need to retie any time you want to change your depth. I try to keep the overall length of my leader about 1 foot – 18 inches longer than the total depth that you will be fishing. This will ensure that your flies are getting down to the fish while still keeping the leader fairly taut giving you a better chance of hooking up once you get a strike. When fishing in early spring the key is to make sure that your flies are getting to the fish. You really need to be willing to change your depth frequently until you figure out where the fish are holding. In general I start with a weighted nymph, normally a 12 or 14 pheasant tail or prince nymph, follow that with a 12 inch length of 5x tippet tied to a smaller nymph, maybe a micro mayfly or another small pheasant tail or hare’s ear. Depending on the depth of the hole that you are fishing split shot may be necessary, I would start with a smaller weight about 18 inches above the upper fly.

Give us a call at the shop for more spring fishing advice, (970)-349-1228, and check the blog occasionally for more spring updates
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How to Tie a Micro Mayfly for the Gunnison Valley

March 17, 2011
The Micro Mayfly is a great Blue Wing Olive nymph, and an incredibly effective pattern during the spring and fall in the Gunnison Valley.

Tying a Micro Mayfly for the Gunnison Valley from Chris Eaton on Vimeo.

Tail: Three pheasant tail filaments
Abdomen: Undressed Peacock Herl (Peacock Herl with all feathery parts removed, the best method to use is with an eraser)
Wing Casing: Black Swiss Straw
Flash: Original Pearl Flashabou
Thorax: Mercer's Micro Mayfly Dubbing
Thread: 80 Denier or 8/0 Olive Thread
Hook: Size 16-20 nymph hook

How to Tie a Brassy for the Gunnison Valley

March 10, 2011
Mike shows how to tie a Brassy for the Gunnison Valley. The Brassy is a fantastic all around midge imitation, it is a great fly for early spring and very cold waters and will often catch fish when nothing else will.

Tying a Brassy from Chris Eaton on Vimeo.


Scud hook; sizes 16, 18, 20 and 22
Thread: Black 6/0 Uni Thread
Wire: Size small; any color you would like, copper, wine and green are all suggested colors
Thorax: Peacock Herl
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Spring Fishing in the Gunnison Valley

March 7, 2011
There isn’t much that I like more than spring fishing in the Gunnison Valley. Your legs are exhausted from a long ski season, it hasn’t snowed in weeks and the mountain is in full spring conditions and most importantly the East and Taylor Rivers are starting to warm up enough to fish. Spring fishing is not for the faint of heart, temperatures are often in the high 30s, the fish are sluggish and down deep, and the walking and wading can be treacherous. For those willing to brave the early spring conditions the payoff can be legendary. We have all heard the stories of the epic spring day; someone throws the rod and waders in the car for a quick trip on the way to or from Gunni for groceries, they stop, wader up, tromp out to the first slow hole, hook two 20+ inch fish on eight casts, then pack it up for the day. Therein lies the beauty of early spring fishing, the rivers are in pre-runoff stage and the fish have been holding in the slow deep holes all winter long. If you know where to look the fish will generally be stacked up. Your favorite summer riffle might be empty, you hear nothing but crickets when fishing that shelf that you hook up on all summer long, but if you head to those deep slow holes the bite is on.

Not every day produces; if you can try to make your way out on those warmer days, the warmer it gets outside the more likely it is that the water will warm up a tenth of a degree and the fish will be that much more active. Remember, the name of the game is getting your flies to the fish. Bring your thingamabobbers and your split shot and make sure that you are getting down. The fish are going to be holding tight to the bottom and the water is cold enough still that they are not going to expend a lot of extra energy to eat your flies. Being willing to change your depth is key. This time of year the fish generally aren’t keyed in on any specific bug, so it is presentation that will get you the most action. A well drifted fly at the right depth will get the job done every time.

Weather depending we have been able to fish parts of both the East and Taylor in February, but most years the spring fishing really starts to get hot in March. When the days get a bit longer and the sun is a bit higher in the sky it gives the water that much more time to warm up. If you are thinking of heading out stop by the shop at 307 Elk Avenue, Crested Butte, give us a call at 349-1228, or shoot us an email at
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How to Tie a Midge for the Gunnison Valley

March 3, 2011
In the video below Mike will show you how to tie a midge for the Gunnison Valley. One of the best flies to have during the cold winter and spring months is a midge. They are also one of the easiest flies to tie. Tie this one up and bring it to the Catch and Release on the Taylor or maybe the Hatchery Ponds.

Tying a Midge for the Gunnison Valley from Chris Eaton on Vimeo.

- size 18 scud hook
- 6/0 Black thread
- Small copper wire
- Grey dubbing (or another color)

Sizes to tie: 16, 18, 20, and if can see well enough size 22

Bull Trout Video from the Northwest

March 2, 2011
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Everyone Should Get a Brodin Ghost Net

June 23, 2010
Brodin Ghost nets have been out on the market for a bit but I feel as though it is time to explain why they are so great to have. The Brodin Ghost net as you can see in the picture above has a clear rubber mesh netting that looks really cool. However, looks aren't everything. The clear rubber mesh is is the best possible piece of fishing equipment for the fish you catch. Have you ever tried to net fish with a black net? It isn't easy! As soon as the fish sees black in the water they swim as fast as they can. Once you get them into the black net they never stop trying to escape, they tangle themselves up in you line while also catching your flies on the net. You then spend the next ten minutes trying to unhook your flies from the net while also trying to untangle the fish. This happened to me multiple times when I owned a black mesh net and it isn't good for the fish. Trout are a delicate fish that can be severely injured if out of the water too long and tangled up too tight. With a Ghost net I have had some fish run from my ghost net however on many occasions the fish swim into the net not realizing what they have done. Once they are netted they don't struggle as much, most of the time the are relaxed which allows you to safely remove your flies. One of my favorite qualities of the Ghost net is how easy it is to remove your flies from it. The rubber that is used is very easy to deal with. Your flies never get caught and only take a moment to remove. The rubber mesh is also easy on a fish rarely scratching the them and returning them to the water as safely as possible. Check the nets out yourself at Brodin Landing Nets and see how great they truly are.
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Some Good Fishing During the Salmon Fly Hatch

June 22, 2010
The Salmon Flies have infested the Black Canyon again. Throughout June the Giant Stoneflys hatch in unbelievable numbers to create one of the most impressive bug hatches around. The Gunnison River started a little murky in the beginning of June and has continually cleared throughout the month. With the clearer water the fish have been targeting the Salmon Flies on the surface. The shop has sent multiple trips into the canyon to fish this hatch. For current updates on the hatch give the shop a call at (970) 349 1228.
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