Fish Tales Blog

Fishing blog: Tales of angling adventures from around the world

Welcome to our fish blog! Here you can read more sage advice from anglers around the world. This is the place for news, tips and non-fiction fish tales from mountain lakes to distant beaches. Please feel free to comment and join in on the conversations and share some fish tales of your own!

Grasshoppers Galore


The grasshopper hatch is on at Willow Creek Reservoir. As we stepped out of the car, hundreds of grasshoppers took to the air. Many were blown into the water and away from shore. The choice of fly pattern was quickly resolved and, due to the windy conditions, Kim opted for the old fly and bubble rigging with our ultralight spinning rods.

The wind on the point where we fished was blowing a cloud of grasshoppers offshore, forming a chum line where hungry trout were feeding. We were able to cast our flies out to this feeding area and get strikes. Kimball landed a couple of rainbows while I was rigging up my spinning rod after an unsuccessful attempt with my flyrod to cast to the action in the wind. The wind eventually died off and the chum line disappeared as the feeding frenzy ended. Fun while it lasted! Here’s a really short video of the hopper hatch. Kim’s fishing cap blew off in the wind-this is her “wild woman” hair style.

Delaney Buttes

Kimball’s best ever rainbow [Huge]

Every summer we need to catch some big trout in Colorado. So, we head to Walden to fish the three Delaney Buttes lakes. It’s great fun to sight fish big rainbow and brown trout from shore in clear water with dry flies. Over the years, we have found grasshopper patterns will draw strikes all day long. Our favorite flying ant pattern also works and on this trip was the winner. These big fish are locally measured in pounds rather than inches. In any case, they can be a net full! We usually start with our 5-wt. rods and 3X tippet but bring along the 8-wt. rods just in case. No matter which way the wind blew we could find a lee shore to cast from. Unfortunately, the lee shore was occupied by clouds of hungry mosquitoes so we spent a lot of time casting into the wind.
This summer we scouted Cowdrey Reservoir, North Michigan Creek Reservoir and Big Creek Lake since we were in the area. North Michigan Creek Reservoir produced a few fish. Cowdrey Reservoir was very shallow and yielded no strikes on this bright sunny day. As we moved on to Big Creek Lake, the wind came up and we decided to head back to Delaney Buttes and those addictive big fish. Stopped at Willow Creek Reservoir on the way home where Kimball caught more large trout on grasshopper flies. More about this grasshopper event later.

Another fat rainbow from Delaney Buttes

The only Brown trout caught this trip.

Another fat rainbow from Delaney Buttes.

Flat water and Bright Sun make it tought to draw a strike on a dry fly. Long leaders help.

All reactions:

Jody Steckline

Day Hike to Dream Lake and Lake Haiyaha

Yesterday, we hiked to a couple of lakes we haven’t fished in a while. Starting at the Bear Lake Parking Lot, [9,449 ft.] we took the shortcut trail up to Nymph Lake. This old trail follows the path of the pipeline between the upper cistern and the old Bear Lake Lodge. Though shorter, this steep path is difficult hiking and is unmaintained with lots of loose rock.

This shortcut trail joins the main trail at Nymph Lake. Nymph is a barren shallow lake and freeze-kills every winter. From here the trail heads steadily upward to Dream Lake [9,900 ft.] Though populated with hybrid greenback cutthroat trout, we rarely fish there due to the number of visitors that enjoy this lake, only 1.1 miles from the parking lot. We made a few casts and caught a few trout, but later in the afternoon, as weather threatened, we left.

Approaching Dream Lake the trail to Lake Haiyaha [10,220 ft.] climbs along a traverse above Dream Lake. Some of the most spectacular views of Mills Lake and the west side of Longs Peak are found here. From these overlooks, the trail descends to Lake Haiyaha, crossing Chaos Creek, named for the glacier at the upper end of Chaos Canyon, above the lake. This canyon was the scene of a massive landslide earlier this summer which caused the crystal clear water in Lake Haiyaha to become cloudy and take on a Jade green color. We were curious about the cutthroat population there but while fishing the outlet stream we found a few feeding fish. The main trail ends in a boulder pile by an ancient limber pine. If you plan to fish Haiyaha, we find water access is better by bushwacking up the north side of Chaos Creek to the lake. We’re plan to check it out again next summer after some of the glacial till has settled.

We’re glad we went when we did as a cold front arrived last night bringing temperatures in the 40’s today with more rain forecast for the weekend. We had a beautiful day in the high country and both of us released trout but, as usual, Kim caught more.

Fly Fishing With Elk

It’s Here! The elk rut or mating ritual has begun. Visitors from around the world arrive to see bull elk lock antlers to determine which is the strongest. The biggest bulls end up with the most cows to service.

It is also a great time of year to float a dry fly on the Big Thompson as it flows through the nine-hole golf course. We only fish this stretch of river after the golfers have retired for the day. The half hour before and after sunset is prime time. We quit when we can’t see our flies.

Of course, care must be taken to stay away from bull elk as they interact with their herd and other bulls. Never get between a bull and a cow elk. This time of year, their hormones take over and they have been known to charge cars and even statues of elk.

Terrestrials are the ticket these days. Grasshoppers, ants, flying ants, and beetles top the menu, but parachute Adam’s or a dragging caddis pattern will also get their attention. Look out for visiting elk watchers, they don’t realize fly casters need to back cast and will stand right behind you. Barbless flies make releasing them easier.