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

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!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Fly fishing the Murky Water

As the high country begins to experience warmer temperatures, the mountainous areas of Spring produces runoff from the snowmelt.  Increased water production from snowmelt will cause swollen high flow rivers with heavy dimness, obscurity in water clarity, and higher river bottom sediment churning into muddy waters.  While these conditions may not seem optimal for fly fishing for most, it also can be an opportunity to catch some trophy fish.

Search for lagging seams close to the edges of the banks as fish will cling around the inside bends and on gentler banks.  Fish will seek places where food would naturally settle into eddies behind boulders, behind newly down trees and other submerged structures, or a section of slack water where bugs and other food sources will sift.  Pursue lengths of choppy shallow water that are superseded by pots or pools of deep water where the fish will congregate.  These are all secure shelters trout will search out for refuge during high water.  These sections will give the trout to reserve energy by remaining out of the main current and to nourish on the large influx of food sources from the heightened flows and rising water.  Many aquatic insects get flushed off the belly of the river, while others emerge from the freshly engulfed river banks.

During runoff, rising water may create new variations to explore.  High water levels often will expose and conceive new hold pots for fish.  Semi-submerged trees and freshly flooded rocks may move fish into a new slack water as well as at the back of newly submerged or relocated structures.  For the fly angler, muddy water can still offer great fortuitousness fishing expeditions.

On tail water rivers that have a considerable amount of living matter in them, rising water can really churn up a lot of fish grub such as scuds and sowbugs.  The fish will gorge themselves silly on the abundance of bugs from the high water.  Amid these times of runoff, fish are still actively feasting.  So don't let the murky water detour the desire to fish.

Low visibility means usage of a heavier leader and tippet is welcomed, just remember that a heftier leader means your flies will sink slower.  Usage of regular monofilament is an option and the occasion to save on expensive fluorocarbon during these muddy conditions.  Fish are less inclined to spook due to the poor visibility and rapid water levels.  There care certainly opportunities of the ability to get fairly close to the fish near the banks.  Fish tight against the banks.

Yes, I did catch this handsome male in the murky waters!

I generally fish smaller flies and diminutive nymph patterns, but fly fishing in murky water with the lesser transparency allows the angler to fish much larger flies.  Bring weighted flies such Stonefly nymphs, Woolly Buggers, light and dark colored streamers, worms, egg patterns, leeches, to name a few.  Bring an abundance of splitshots to deliver flies hastily towards the bottom to procure that effective drift presentation.  Dry flies are still on the radar, so be prepared for rising insatiable fish.

Safety is the ultimate priority when fishing during runoff.  With high water, it is not necessary to wade.  Obviously with wading, do use great caution with each step and foot positioning.  Wading staff a must, wear a wader belt, and even wearing a PFD while fishing with your buddies is a smart option.  Always inform another of your whereabouts if you are fishing alone.

Runoff does offer alternative fishing adventures to the angler with great opportunities to catch some impressive, outstanding fish.  Be cautious out there, and see you on the river!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

WORN Brand Ambassador Interview

I wanted to share with you an interview I did with WORN.  It reveals a little bit about me and my passion for all things fly fishing! As a brand ambassador, I'm exceptionally proud to represent such an amazing company and their excellent products.

Follow the link here! - 

WORN makes a complete line of technical socks for any kind of activities  you do. 
If you are the person who believes there is a "right tool" for every job, you are in the right place. Each WORN product is designed with features specific to where and how you'll be using it, enhancing both comfort and performance. Check out the complete line of WORN including the frictionless thermal wader socks that make putting on a pair of waders effortlessly.  See the link below to check out their website!

As a brand ambassador, I take my role very seriously.  I represent products I believe in and have thoroughly tested. Besides WORN, I also represent Mcfly, and Togens Fly Shop. Check out the links below and find out more about these fantastic fly fishing companies.  Look for future Fly Fishing with Cat Toy blog reviews about the products they make!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

River Etiquette during these busy times

Fly fishing is a prevailing solitude sport where experiences can be solo on a pristine river.  The resonate of the river, the whish of the fly line, and the enticement of landing in a impressive fish in the net.  With the present worldwide pandemic, rivers, streams, creeks, and lakes are billowing with crowds.  River etiquette is of great precedence so that everyone on the river can enjoy and have a fun experience on the water.

One of the most beautiful aspects of fly fishing is the serene reverberates of the wilderness, the echoes of the river, and the whispering breeze.  Keep the peace by keeping your voice at an appropriate volume.  Fly fishing for many maybe a place by the river to revitalize, to drift into a fishy meditation, or a place to mentally be bestowed far away from life's daily stress.

Too close!

Follow by the rules and regulations.  Get into the habit of picking up discarded cans, wrappers, other trash, and monofilament.  Carry it out for proper riddance.  Lots of rivers provide convenient monofilament recycling bins right close.  Monofilament line is non-biodegradable and can remain in the environment for many years.  Leave the river even better then how you found it.

Many rivers run through private property and are clearly marked with no trespassing or private property signs.  Be dutiful to not trespass on private property.  It is the angler’s responsibility to know or inquire of which land is public and private.  Be insightful of where the open fishing access points are.

Photo by Dustin Harcourt

There are a plentitude of dog lovers who enjoy the companionship of bringing their dog to the river.  Unless your dog is about to win a blue ribbon prize in obedience, it would be best to keep your dog on a leash.  Or, simply leave the dog at home during these buzzing times on the river.

With the booming of crowds out on the river, kindness and courtesy, space, and polite communication will be the golden ticket.  Be thoughtful to not walk through another angler's run.  Step out of the water and walk around.  Provide fellow anglers on the river plenty of room.  The first person on a section of water should be permitted to fish there.  A simply warm greeting when approaching another angler will alleviate a multitude of anguish and begin a cooperative dialogue that will benefit each party involved.  Query for permission to fish above or below another angler helps to ease glitches and makes for a happier way about reaching to fishing sections.  Provide each other enough distance, or simply move up a few runs away so you are not in their way.

Importantly, it is critical with how we handle trout.  Rubber basket nets are choice compared to the old-fashion string nets in protecting of the outer defensive mucus slime found on trout.  This protection layer guards trout from disease and bacteria.  Removing these layers places the trout into susceptibility in decline of health.  Always wet hands first before handling trout.  Be conscientious not to squeeze the trout.  Squeezing too hard can cause trauma to internal organs and possibly result in death after release.  Never place fingers in the gills, or hold the trout by the lip.  Fingers in gills can insult the trout's breathing structures as well as holding by the lip can injure or break its jaw.  Release the trout facing it upstream and when the fish has responded with a sure recovery.

Be a true river ambassador to others during these bustling times on the river.  Good communication is key as well as considerate interactions with other anglers.  Maintain good housekeeping at the river, and handle trout delicately for many others to enjoy.  Mostly importantly, enjoy and have fun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Black Beauty, a Tail Water Trout Favorite

The Black Beauty midge originated from Blue Quill Angler fishing guide, Pat Dorsey, distinguished for his creation of the Black Beauty into one of the most noteworthy flies an angler must have for fly fishing in Colorado's tail waters.  The Black Beauty is a subsurface wet fly, a favorite larva pattern that represents a Blackfly, Chironomid that is proven to be a zesty hankering for more trout than I can count.  I am fond of tying this fundamental fly in a several variations as well as in a small size #18 - #22 hook.

My original encounters of the Black Beauty wasn't until a Fall fishing adventure remembrance of a father and son out on a fishing excursion.  These guys simply dropped into the local fly fishing shop and purchased what the shop recommended.  When I kindly inquired of their sharing of success, neither one knew what the name of the fly was, but that it was a " little black fly".

I recently started tying flies last October with an astonishing success from the beginning catching many prizewinning trout.  Words cannot explicate the empowerment of catching sizeable trout on my own tied flies.  The Black Beauty in particular, is a simple larva I have explored with several clever tied variations.

Last December, I took my long time fly fishing guide friend, Jon Baiocchi, to one of my fond tail waters here Colorado, the Stagecoach.  In preparation of the fishing trip, we invested a good couple of days tying flies.  In tying the Black Beauty, I kept in mind the natural insects body shape.  Gas bubbles form around the body and at the head giving it a shimmer to length.  As the black midge swims to the surface of the water to emerge as an adult, there is a gleam that is given off by the gas of which fish are enticed by.  Tying in the fly kitchen from scratch seems to be more appetizing to the trout then purchasing it from the ready made trout deli.  At least in my experience.

Jon and I fished at different sections of the river not far from one another and each caught numerous trout, particularly on the Black Beauty.  I use the TMC 2487, 2488 hooks #18- 24 and #18-22 curved scud.  I use both 8/0 Uni-Thread or 6/0 Uni-Thread, black for the body.  For ribbing, silver wire TSW1252.  A Cat trick I love is using white wire which has had the trout satisfyingly chomping on this fly as well.  For thorax, super fine black dubbing.

The Black Beauty can be an effective fly year round in the tail waters.  Every angler must have the Black Beauty in possession of their fly box.  See you on the river!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Anything for the love and passion for fly fishing

The winters in Colorado are picturesque wilderness of mountains blanketed with glistening snow, with featureless skyscapes.  The air is a frozen lace on my skin, delicate and cold.  The sky is washed with grey, watery light illuminating, and thin patches to brilliance.  The winter is such crystalline joy, those brilliant rays that show the uniqueness of every snowflake.  Frozen rivers and creeks lie beneath the snow, and the existence of gorgeous days of deep blue skies in between storms.

Little did I realize at the time, Steamboat Resort had received 18 inches of snow, according to the ski area’s measurements.  It was the biggest storm of the winter based on 24-hour accumulation measurements.  Old Man Winter nestled in heavily and had made for some very happy powder pursuers, but also caused great anguish for travelers and snow plows just days prior to my chase for the river.  Roads were snowy and icy most of the drive towards Steamboat Springs.

Eager with excitement upon my arrival, it became bleak to me the entrance into the state park was blocked and no vehicles or foot traffic were allowed.  There waited another enthusiastic fisherman, Paul, who came to ice fish.  Paul and I were the first public into the park after a week long closure, and so much snow removal to still happen.  The park ranger warned me in particular, to be very prepared for detrimental conditions and snowshoes a must.

My Fish Sled

The temperature was 10 degrees, blue skies, no winds, occasional clouds.  The rugged snowshoe hike took me close to 2 hours to get down to the tailwater.  The trek entailed me to cross the frozen reservoir of which nearly sent me into a panic stricken state.  The snow was so deep in areas that my snowshoes still sent me thigh deep into unknown snow pockets.  My fish sled was loaded with all my fishing gear necessities, hot water, food, and additional warm gear.

With me being the first person to reach the tailwater in a week, the snow banks were so tall, it required me to stomp a platform with my snowshoes to reach the water.  The cfs was a steady 60, water clarity was crystalline clear, and the air temperature at least 10 degrees cooler in the deep canyon (0 degrees).  Nymphing was intoxicating, mind-blowing with ravenous fish taking ever changing patterns:  Black Beauty #18-22, RS2 black #18-22, Zebra #18-22, Barr's Emerger #18-20.  Dry fly opportunity maybe one miniature BWO hatch.  5x tippet is a worthy set up to intrigue the trout.  The Stagecoach tailwater holds numerous sizable rainbow, cutbow, brookie, and brown trout.


Winter fly fishing so frigid, it was a constant battle with frozen guides.  Application of unscented chapstick is my trick.  Fish with gloves and hand warmers inside, and bring ski gloves for breaks and for the travels.  A microfiber hand towel an absolute must for getting those hands dried and warmed as quickly as possible after handling fish.  Love my fishy buffs from BUFF to protect my face and add warmth.  A great pair of WORN technical backcountry frictionless neoprene wader socks 3.0 mm inside my waders to survive the necessary wading in the water for netting the big catches.  I love my lucky fly fishing hats from the crafty Shopmcfly.

I never thought winter would challenge me with such a teeth chattering rewarding wintry fishy experience.  The river entirely to myself, frozen salami sandwiches for lunch, and multitudinous beautiful catches of rainbow, cutbow, and brookie trout.  Life is what you make it, and why not with experiences and reminiscences to last a lifetime.  See you on the river!

Happy fishy winter trails!