Friday, January 8, 2021

Togens Scud 3X Hooks Review

The Togens Scud 3X Heavy Hooks are an excellent nymphing hook for tying patterns including scuds, shrimp, caddis pupa, and many nymphing patterns.  The shank is 1X short shank with a nice forged round curve to the hook.  These heavy hooks are my favorite to tie many of my flies for the seriously, voracious beasts in the river.

All of Togens hooks are made of premium high-carbon steel for the stout and durability for a long lasting quality hook.  The 3X heavy hooks have a constant taper which provides a solid shape and finish.  These beefy hooks have a remarkable speed of penetration, and the extra wire weight accelerates the sinking capacity of the hook for the subsurface flies.

Togens Scud 3X Heavy Hooks come in size 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20.  They can be purchased in 100 and 1,000 count.  Features of the hook include the forged round bend, a down-eye, 1X short shank, and 3X strong.

With Old Man Winter freezing and covering rivers, creeks, lakes, and streams, the tailwater season is in full effect. Tailwaters are rivers flowing below dams generally offering consistent, above-freezing water temperatures for year-round fly fishing, depending upon your area.  My go to winter fly tying flies on Togens Scud 3X Heavy Wire Hooks include the Black Beauty size 18-20, Scud size 14-16, Zebra size 20, RS2 size 20, WD40, and Meyer’s Mini Leeches size 14-16.

Togens Fly Shop is hunkered in BC Canada where the exchange rate is in favor to the buyer in the US.  Enter the code TOGEN10 and mention Cat Toy to receive an additional 10% on your order!  See you on the river!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Fly Fishing and Reading the River

The river resonates trickles, bubbles, and ripples with the existence of what a river is.  The river is the promise land to the fly angler for catching stunning trout.  It is a real priority to take the time to read the river to make a day on the river a success before the first cast.  Taking the time to read the water is a divine tool to help determine the most likely places where fish are gathering. 

Stand and observe a fair distance from the river to read the river.  Take a deep breath, sip on your coffee, and study the surroundings.  Observe the bugs flittering in the air, what is crawling on you, or hopping and landing on your wader boots.  Don’t be that guy clomping right into the fish pot and running down all the fish.  Cool your jets of excitement and transition into what the river has to offer.  Here are some sections on the river to look for on your next visit.

Listen to the riffle.

Seek the riffles, or shallow section of the river where water cascades over rocks creating a surface disturbance.  Riffles are choppy at the surface riding over rocks in the water.  These shallow riffles are highly oxygenated for the trout, and it can be a fantastic habitat for aquatic insects to fancy the fish to eat.  The deeper riffles with rocks and boulders offer fish rest and a spot to hunker down away from predators.  Where riffles drop off into a deeper section of water gives the fish a lagging current and many great offerings of insects that are sweeping over the edge.

A fishy run.

Runs are an area directly below from the riffles and where the water current become more uniform and deeper.  Runs are an excellent location to look for trout in a river or stream. Fish seek shelter in the deeper water as well as the near vicinity for a feast.  Fish often suspend at the edge of the current or drift along the bottom eating bugs that are surrendered downstream below the riffle.

The foamy bubbly trails identify a seam.

A seam is any region where two adjacent water currents converge where one is slower then the other.  This could be an obstruction such as a log, a boulder, or an extension of the shore which causes a distinct disruption from the main current flow.  Trout fancy the seams and foamy bubble trails as they create feeding lanes that collect and deliver food.

Pools are great for beginners to learn how to fly fish.

A pool is the deepest segment of a river with a leisure moving current.  I like to call these sections, fish pots.  Fish will often advance to a pot on brilliant, sunny day, or if they sense danger.  Quite often, the big fish typically may spend a good portion of their day in these pools where they are less active.  Approach quietly and a little distance from the river banks before the cast.  Fish near to far.

An eddy disrupting the river flow.

An eddy is a point of where structures or an depression of the riverbank such as a sizable boulder, a log, or a fallen tree disturbs the river current and direction flow.  Directly downstream of the object, a pocket of swirling water will form opposite the main direction of current flow.  Fish are fond of eddies because they entrap and channel concentrated food sources drifting by in the current.  Look for foam or bubbles collecting on the surface of the water where the main current meets up with the swirling water and place your casts there.

The tailout is the calm water above before the action of the riffle.

A tailout is a shallow, even section at the end of a pool before the water descents down into another riffle.  A natural funnel is formed which carries anything drifting downstream directly to the fish.  Fish will often reprieve in a tailout and sip on hatching insects off the surface as they float by.  Look for rising fish and get your dry fly on for your cast.  If the fish are not rising, be very stealth with your approach and quietly cast your nymphs.

Below the water surface, search for changes in the river such as shelves, gravel beds, bends, and contours of the river bottom.  Fish will often be slumbering and feeding on the deeper side of these areas.  Fish frequently rest in the poky current below the drop-off from a riffle gorging on insects that come over the brim.

Fish those shallow waters!

Don’t overlook the shallows.  We may think we can spot trout particularly when the sun is at its highest point in the day.  You maybe pleasantly surprised with casting into the shallows, a surprising take.  I have caught lots of fish in the shallows particularly with dry fly on smaller creeks.  Many of these shallow sections hold cups, shelves, and unseen structure that can provided the perfect camouflage cover for the aggressive trout.  

Consider the time of day in your planning with morning and evenings.  These times of the day generally are the best times to fish in the day.  Conditions are typically cooler, shadows are elongated, and the insect hatches are usually of greater prevalence.  

Before making the first cast, take the time to read the river.  Select a section of the river and which structure to target.  Experience is the key to success.  Taking the time to understand the bubbles, plash, and the segments of the river can lead you to a very prosperous day of catching many fish.  See you on the river!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Gear Reviews WORN, Togen's Fly Shop, Loon Outdoors


The leaves have transformed and delivered luminous colors to Colorado as well as our first snowstorms of the season.  This fly fishing season has been exceptionally fishy and with lots of good fishing gear to consider.  Cat’s hats off to you and many thanks to WORN, Togens Fly Shop, WildStream Fly rods, BUFF, Shwood Eyewear, Loon Outdoors, and ShopMcfly.

I have been a proud brand ambassador for WORN.  One thing for sure with the wintry weather in Colorado, having cold feet is fairly normal, unless you have found the right socks for your outdoor needs.  The Climate Moderating Woodsy Socks from WORN are some of the best ultrafine, backcountry warm socks I have owned.  These socks are built for adventure made of enhanced, insulated Arrowool with the ability to wick and evaporate while you are on the move with some of the most extreme conditions.  

They are over-the-calf height and comfortably cushioned with no bunching, slipping, or hot spots.  I wore these socks exclusively during my many winter fly fishing journeys hiking in and out to may favorite tailwaters.  My hikes were about a 5 mile round-trip for the day.  The high density knit holds up to the backwoods adventures with my backcountry skiing, hiking snowshoeing, and fly fishing year-round.  These socks come with a one year absolute warranty of repair or replacement of the same socks, no questions asked.  I will say it, yes, they are my favorite socks I can’t leave home without!  Check out their Frictionless Thermal socks 1.5 mm, another fantastic wader sock for the extreme cold for the dedicated winter fly fishermen as well as the other available high quality socks WORN carries for your outdoor adventures.  Receive 30% at your checkout with your discount code CATT3030 on your order!

Togens Fly Shop online carries an extensive inventory of fly tying materials from beads, hooks, feathers, hackle, wire, threads, fly tying tools, to leaders, fly lines, tippets, and lots of fly fishing gear and accessories.  They are a family owned and operated company with stellar customer service, designing of their own Togen brand products, and affordability. 

I have had the opportunity to test Togens Double Taper Floating Line.  This superb dry fly line is amazing for delicate fly presentations and designed for shorter distances.  The casting with this line is effortless and precise. Best with no to little wind, I can send this fly line into some of the tightest fishy pots.  I have had many wonderful, successful hook ups.  I also love the fact that they last twice as long.  By simply turning the line around, you are able to use the other end of the line getting double the life in a fly line. It mends incredibly smooth.  This is due to the consistent diameter and mass of the line, it stays consistently constant with the action of the mend.  If you order from Togens Fly Shop, use the code TOGEN10 to receive 10% off your orders and mention "Cat Toy".  Do not underestimate this fly line.  It will make you smile from ear to ear when you look in your net of your catch!

I have been doing a lot of fly tying as of late. Loon Outdoors is known for their great dry shakes and floatant products.  Did you know they have products for fly tying?  Every fly tier needs a great pair of scissors. I have had the opportunity to try out Loon Outdoors, Ergo Precision Tip Scissors.  You will not misplace these scissors with the handles coated with Loons iconic yellow.  These scissors are ergonomic for your fingers, even for tiers with larger fingers.  I tie nominally at sizes 18, 20, 22.  These scissors have a slick tapering tip for some of the best pinpoint cut.  No fly I tie is complete until the close cut after a whip finish and perfect clean up.  I highly recommend these scissors at your fly tying operation.  Many thanks to Hogan Brown to me a chance to test of some of the fly tying tools available from Loon Outdoors.

More gear reviews to come.  Enjoy wherever you are fishing, and be well.

Monday, October 12, 2020



“The Water’s Calling,” from Mcfly where you can find quality designed hats, t-shirts, and decals that capture the bliss in the quest of fly fishing,  Mcfly carries a timeless selection of inspirational designs with unique hats and t-shirts made with high quality, comfortable materials.  My favorite lucky fly fishing hats you will find me on the rivers, creeks, and streams.

One of my favorite hats would be the Mcfly US Western Rivers Steelhead hat.  A warm, autumn red plaid design, 6 panel, trucker style hat that is sharp!  Made of a plaid polyester shell and a soft flannel lining, adjustable snapback, black under the brim that is great for winter fly fishing.  I love the warmth and comfort of this hat.  It has a special woven Steelhead artwork on the front and embroidered back, Chasing Steel.  A cool $5.00 donation is made to the Wild Steelhead Coalition for every Mcfly Steelhead hat sold on

A bestseller at the last Denver Fly Fishing show as well as online, the friendly fly fishing Sasquatch T-shirt.  He knows where the best fishing pots are when you are not looking.  This T-shirt is a comfortable 100% ring-spun cotton.  This cool T-shirt stands out especially for those of us who are crazy about fly fishing! The original art work is silk screen printed to last for the life of the shirt.

Shop online and check out all of the great products Mcfly has to offer!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Brown Trout Spawning Season is Near


As autumn moves in with her golden scarlet vibrant hues, the wind will whisper the tumble of the turning leaves.  The flaming foliage will settle to the earth as the warmest of dusting snowfalls will push into the months of September and October with the sparkle under the morning frost.  Fall brings the brown trout spawn with some incredible fishing opportunities.  There are many ways to enjoy catching beautiful brown trout while still protecting the outdoors while they spawn.

The brown trout are also known as the German browns (Salmo Trutta) are known to be some of the more guarded and helter skelter trout for the angler.  We are drawn to these attractive trout by their irresistible golden brown body, illuminated with black and red spots on their sides, and their butter yellow underbellies.  Their pectoral fins are painted with the distinct white margins on the lower edges.  They can thrive on some poor water quality conditions than other species of trout, and they are less susceptible to parasites.  These hardy trout fancy hiding beneath undercut banks, or hunkering down near the belly of a river until darkness falls.

Between now and the start of winter, the female browns will clear off shallow areas in the river by fanning their tails in areas of flatter water.  A redd is a space of groomed, typically of pea-sized gravel that trout have shifted into a depression on the river bottom.  Oftentimes, there is a small heap of gravel at the downstream of the redd.  The female trout will deposit her eggs in the redd where the eggs will sift and settle into the trout nest and the gravel heap.  There maybe up to two males and will move alongside of the female and fertilize the eggs with milt.  The female trout will then move to the upstream edge of the redd and fan her tail on the river bottom to create stir of current to cover the eggs.  Trout are quite aggressive while over the redds to guard their eggs and spawning habitat.  After the fertilizing activity, the eggs are left alone.  The development of the eggs will depend on water temperatures.  Colder water temperatures will have a slower development with the eggs.

There are plenty of natural predators and obstacles for the survival of these redds.  Be very careful when wading where you step.  Walking across a redd can perpetually mash thousands of eggs and displace many others.  Displaced eggs have no chance of hatching and crushed eggs undeniably have no survival.  If in need of crossing, avoid redds as much as possible. Covering of settled mud and silt over eggs can be less optimal.  It is best to cross downstream below the redds, or walk along the banks.  Steer clear to ensure that the trout have the best opportunity to spawn uninterrupted.

The brown trout eggs incubate through the winter and hatch around four to twelve weeks dependant upon temperatures and that the redds remain safe and serene.  The ova then hatch into alevins.  The young alevins survive upon the nutrients from their large yolk sacs before emerging as little trout fry at 14-30 days.  Only a small percentage of tiny fry emerge from the gravel during the first warmish days of early spring. The fry dwell in shoals and quiet water usually close to the shore and nourish on minute invertebrates.

A trout of less than one year in age is called a parr.  At this stage in their life, they are recognized as young trout.  They have distinctive characteristics or parr marks along their sides, and they will loose these marks as they grow older.  Parr have similar dwelling needs as the fry with plenty of areas to hide from predators.  They are able to flourish in swifter and deeper water.  These pocket-size brown trout will feed on chironomid larvae, small arthropods, and nymphs.  Young brown trout have a greater chance of survival once they reach a few inches in size.

Juvenile browns may reach in sizes of four inches and greater by the end of their first summer.  In most park rivers and streams, the average age of maturity is between one and three years.  The typical life long span of a wild brown trout varies upon the size and conditions of their habitat.  Brown trout generally have greater longevity averaging about five years.  

Be aware of the trout surrounding and identifying redds.  Remember, if you see redds in your crossings, travel below the redds.  Help preserve the trout habitat during the spawn so that our fisheries will continue to flourish.  See you on the river!

Friday, September 18, 2020

Togens Fly Shop

Togens Fly Shop has an amazing selection of hooks, threads, beads, fly tying materials and tools, as well as fly fishing accessories.  My favorite styles of hooks are the scud hooks in size 16, 18, and 20s.  If you are into Euro nymphing, they carry 60 degree jig style hooks and slotted beads.

Check out their hook comparison chart here:

Togens beads are come in a very unique array of custom colors in both brass and tungsten.  I love the Togens cool beads that are available in so many great colors.  You can really add some complimentary tailoring with your flies.  They work so perfectly with chironomid patterns for the mountain lakes, rivers, and creeks here in Colorado.  Check out their bead selection including slotted tungsten beads for their jig hooks here:

If you order from Togens, use the code TOGEN10 and mention "Cat Toy" to receive 10% off your orders, plus it helps to let them know you heard about Togens from my blog and social media feeds.

Hats off to Togens Fly Shop!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

United Women on the Fly for August Fly Girl

It gives me great pleasure to be featured on Untied Women on the Fly for August Fly Girl!  Click here to view and read United Women on the Fly
Thank you very much for your support!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Cat's Candy Cane Zebra

Chironomids represent a great amount of the trout’s diet. Tying some fish candy tonight. My own fly I call it the Candy Cane Zebra of which the cutthroat trout have gorged themselves on. Tied with Togens Emerger #20 hook, Togens brass premium sterling silver 1/16” beads, UTC Ultra thread 70 Denier red, UTC Ultra wire small white. Great simple effective fly!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Fishing during a Trout Spawn

The trout reproduce in rivers and streams at various times of the year depending on the species.  Should we fish during a spawn?  Or, should we stay off the river during the spawning seasons?  I think it is positively important to be knowledgeable of the trout spawn, and to make a plausible decision based on that knowledge.  Of course, follow rules, regulations, or closures due to spawning in your area.  If the angler knows how to respect and fish responsibly during the spawning periods, there realistically can be year-round enjoyable fishing and little repercussions for the future generations of the fish and for the future of our ecosystem. 

Different species of trout spawn at different times of the year.  Some trout will spawn in the spring through early summer and even to mid-summer in higher elevations, while other trout will begin their redds starting early fall through mid-winter.  Rainbow trout are spring spawning fish and may start their spawn around March and will continue through May.  Cutthroat trout are late spring to early summer spawning fish.  Brown trout are fall spawning fish around late September through mid-December.  Brook trout are fall spawning fish between the months of September and October.  Elevation, water temperature, and local climate can all affect these spawning time periods.

During the time periods of trout spawn, it is vital to be observant for these trout nests called redds.  The trout create redds by fanning their tails in areas of flatter water.  It is a space of groomed, typically of pea-sized gravel that trout have shifted into a depression on the river bottom.  Oftentimes, there is a small heap of gravel at the downstream side of the redd.  Female trout will deposit her eggs in the redd, and the males will fertilize them with milt.  Many of the eggs will sift and collect into the gravel of the depression and the gravel heap.  Trout are extremely aggressive while on the redds to guard their eggs and spawning habitat.

First and foremost, do not walk across redds.  Walking across a redd can perpetually mash thousands of eggs and displace many others.  Displaced eggs have no chance of hatching and crushed eggs undeniably have no survival.  If in need of crossing, avoid redds as much as possible.  It is the angler's responsibility of respectful wading as well as their dogs.  If your dog is not anytime soon to be winning the blue-ribbon prize for obedience, place them on a leash.  Leaving them home during the spawning time maybe also another option.

During the spring and early summer months, water may often vary in clarity due to spring melt and runoff conditions.  Be very careful when wading where you step.  Detecting redds maybe more difficult to spot.  In the fall, water levels are frequently at laggard flows.  Water clarity is typically pristine, so take the time to pinpoint the redds before wading in the water.  If in need of crossing during low flows during spawning, it is best to avoid turning up mud and silt over redds.  Covering of settled mud and silt over eggs can be less optimal.  It is best to cross downstream below the redds, or walk along the banks.

Fishing to these trout on their redds is detrimental and makes them very susceptible.  Mishandling a spawning trout could stress their abilities to spawn entirely.  Catching a female from her redd can cause her strain or a reaction to where she may immediately begin releasing her eggs.  Sadly, there are anglers who mishandle and place tension on these females and leaving the river banks loaded with hundreds of dead eggs.  Male trout will drop milt from the same stressors of being fished.  These trout will have wasted their reproductive abilities from the trauma of being mistreated during spawning.

While fishing during a spawn, it is wise to try to land the fish quickly to help prevent exhausting and stressing the fish.  This will respectfully and in favor of keeping females from dropping eggs and males from wasting their milt.  Do not squeeze fish as this can cause internal organ damage.  Do not drag fish across grass, dirt, rocks, onto the bank.  Keeping them wet will give the fish the opportunity to prosper.  With taking photos, be hasty with the fish out of water.  As always with release, ensure the fish are properly recovered before freed back into the water.

Fishing during a spawn can be amazing even while avoiding redds completely.  Fish the deep pots, along the edges of the river, the undercut banks, and sections of water away from the redds.  Leave the spawning trout the chance to reproduce.  Recognize redds during spawning season, take into consideration with careful wading, and give high regards with handling fish with ease.  No need to yell or knock out the next guy.  Be a river ambassador, and help others be aware so that the fish can successful with spawning.  These reflections will help to ensure our fisheries continue to flourish in our areas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The WildStream Searcher Fly Rod

The WildStream Searcher fly rod is notably constructed for the European Style Nymphing fishing technique.  The Searcher is finely fabricated with IM 10 braided weaved graphite and a thin wall design which allows the angler to have a great feel of a lightweight, receptive fly rod.  The rod has a strengthened, sound butt and midsection.  It has an ultra-receptive tip that can pick up subtle nubble of the river. 

This fast action rod comes in 10' and 10' 6" in 2, 3, and 4 wt. and has plenty of horsepower to pluck the exceptional fish.  The handle of the Searcher fly rod is of refined, smooth cork from Portugal.  The rod has four overlays of paint application and finished with two veneers of high strength, transparency pearl luster varnish.  Pacbay guides sequence along the rod completes the rod for hypersensitivity and swift action.  The fly rod comes with two tip sections.

This European style nymphing fly rod has permitted me to effectively pursue the water where the fish are deep into the fish pots.  I have decked  my 10 ft. 4 wt. WildStream Searcher fly rod with a Lamson Remix Sublime Reel 5-6 wt, a fresh Rio Euro Nymph Freshwater #2 - 5, and a Rio Euro Nymph tapered leader 11-12 ft.  I fished the Searcher in high, fast runoffs, laggard flows, and in deep, swift runs of 4 different rivers here in Colorado.

The WildStream Searcher found this rainbow trout.

The WildStream Searcher fly rod is superb with easy casting and in reaching other parts of the current.  The soft tip gives the rod the sensitive and contact with the rod activity.  I can detect my flies knocking the belly of the river and the snarf from a fish.  You can definitely expect to land some impressive, enormous fish like a champ with this fly rod!

For the experienced angler, the WildStream Searcher is a very affordable European Style Nymphing fly rod at $225 that allows plenty of banknotes left for a reel, line, and some cowboy cookies.  This four piece rod comes in at a full 10’ length and breaks down neatly fitting into it's rod case.  I absolutely love the performance of this rod!  I believe you will too!  Get ready to get your WildStream Searcher fly rod:

Monday, June 8, 2020

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Hidden Hydraulic Gem

Dappled light illuminates along the tall reeds, wildflowers, and trees that thrive in bunches from the long and lush grassy bank on the river banks.  The river flows naturally over the rocks and boulders where there are multiple intricate channels creating seams of diverse speeds of the water where trout gather to feed.  Large boulders form pools where fish can seek shelter behind them from even the most rugged of river flows.  The rocks split concentration flows which offer great opportunities for a safe haven from brisk currents and a run at the sluiceway of river food.

It may appear to be counterintuitive to cast into the vigorous hydraulics in front of a rock, but there is a split break of the current that occurs known as a hydraulic cushion.  This is a depression point in front of rocks that can be some of the most productive parts of the river of which are oftentimes overlooked.  It is not occurring where the accelerated water meets the rock, but the front latitude that exists in between the feature.

The trout in front of a rock are able to see ahead of what is coming.  These spaces are depicted by a calmer water at the frontal area of a rock, known as a hydraulic cushion.  Hydraulic cushions are a direct channel of delivery of food source for the trout.  These restful waters have more food liberated because of the downward drift in the current that is pushed aside by the rock.  These whirlpools are created in the wake rotation of the current backward behind the rock.  Food sources still do tumble behind the rock, but are not seen as briskly as the fish in front of the rock.

Be cognizant of both sides of the rock.  Most rocks are not perfectly smooth and currents will pick up speed long the sides of a rock.  Convexities of the rocks create decent cushions of lagging water.  Fish have an upper hand of optical perspectives of food drifting past than from behind the rock.

It is exhilarating to witness two or more fish quarrel over my flies in front of rocks.  Typically, the front of the rock will captivate the larger trout for the greater influx of direct food sources.  Smaller trout generally hold on the downstream side of the rock and partake on residuum the larger trout pass up.

The fish will move about as their habitude may change in and around the rocks for protection against predators, seek refuge from the current, and search for the steady source of food.  Hunt for the rocks and give a cast wisely in front of the rocks.  Share your stories with me of your impressive catches.  See you on the river!