Brown-Hackle Peacock


  • Hook: Size 12 to 16, 2x long nymph hook
  • Thread: 6/0 black
  • Tail: brown saddle hackle or mallard flank
  • Body: Peacock herl
  • Hackle: Brown saddle hackle
  • Wing: Mallard flank



Fish it dry, fish it wet, or fish as an emerger, the DMc Brown Hackle Peacock, along with my Buzzcut Scud,  live at the top of my freshwater nymph box. When trout are taking emerging nymphs just below the surface, whether they are mayflies, midges or caddis, this is the fly that you want.

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Wiped Out

Wipers just might be the hardest fighting fresh-water game fish in America, thanks in part to the phenomenon of hybrid vigor.  Hybrid vigor is the term that biologists use to describe the enhanced strength and stamina that occurs in the sterile offspring of two closely related but different species. The mule is one example, the wiper is another.

Catching wipers by any method is great fun, but catching them on a fly rod is in a league all its own. Long-distance casting, jolting strikes and dogged battles with a powerful and stubborn fish are all part of a game that reaches a higher plateau when played with fly rods. Fly-fishing for wipers is not a difficult sport, but the transition from trout to wipers does require a word of caution.

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Eleven Mile Carp

Fly fishing the flats for cruising carp

Fly fishing the flats for cruising carp

I like fly fishing flatwater. Not just in spring, when runoff shuts down the rivers, but anytime between ice-off and ice-up. Turn me out on a quiet stretch of shoreline with a fly rod and a box of flies, and I will not bother the rest of the herd for hours.

And I am not fussy about the fish species or the reservoir, any fish that frequents the shorelines in either cold or warm bodies of water will do. I target mountain park reservoirs for large trout, especially during the major insect hatches, and I try to fish the prime times in spring and fall when pike and wipers come within fly range.

However, in June, the events occurring at Eleven Mile Reservoir take precedence over all others. In addition to hit-and-miss fishing for pike, there is sure-fire fishing for carp.

carp_gripCarping the flats at Eleven Mile is all about sight fishing, which I consider the best fishing of all. Here, you stalk the shoreline, scanning the clear water until you spot a carp feeding on the flats. Keeping a low profile, you load the rod, drop a fly in the carp’s path, and twitch it slowly along the bottom. The tension builds as the carp locks in on the fly and moves in for a closer look. If all goes well and the fly passes the inspection, you will see the carp pucker its lips and inhale the fly.

carp_fliesThe best flies I have found for the flats are small crayfish imitations tied with soft and fuzzy materials that “breathe” when worked slowly along the bottom. I prefer to weight them with bead-chain or small lead dumbbell eyes, so the fly rides with the hook up – similar to bonefish patterns. Olives, browns, and burnt orange colors seem to work the best. Other flies that will take carp include those that imitate aquatic insects, especially scuds.

These flies will have more action if you attach them with a loop knot such as the No-Slip Loop Knot.

You will find carp in the shallows along the south shore from the inlet all the way down to Witcher’s Cove. Some locations are better than others are but my favorite stretch is around Howbert Point. The carp will spawn here later, but for now, they are here to feed.



Ice-out Trout

In the pre-dawn hours of a frigid night in mid-April, anglers that have traveled from far and near are lined up in front of the closed gates at Spinney Mountain Reservoir in central Colorado.

The early birds have been here for hours, arriving the evening before and spending the night in their vehicles. Being here and being  part of the  opening day scramble at  Spinney has become a tradition among scores of flatwater anglers.  Continue reading

A Boat for Every Belly

The early models were simple devices, consisting of nothing more than a truck inner-tube fitted with a low-slung canvas seat, where upon the angler sat waste-deep in the water and propelled himself backward with a set of swim fins.

Although simple, the modified inner-tube  was a winner. It provided anglers an inexpensive method for getting fishing offshore without the hassles and limitations associated with a convention boat. Nobody appears to know or to care when the inner-tube boat was pressed into fishing service. Within days of its invention would be my guess. Continue reading