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Winters in Northern Colorado separate those who fly fish into three distinct groups:

1)      Those who stay indoors and tie flies for the upcoming thaw.

2)      Those who venture out on the few warmish, sunny days to scour whatever open water that can be found.

3)      Those who fish regardless of the weather.

Afternoon View

Afternoon View

By default, I tend to hang out somewhere between numbers 2 and 3 as I don’t tie. I know, I know, a bit blasphemous but hey, someone needs to be buying all those tiny, fancy flies that my 2X magnifiers can barely see.

Winter fun

Late Afternoon Chrome: Ft. Collins

A couple of weeks ago the late afternoon temps warmed enough (i.e. above 32 degrees F.) to entice me to layer up, slide into my leaky waders and make a few casts. The predictable crowds showed up as well and the fishing below Olympus Dam in Estes Park was first come, first served; all others take a number please.

First of the day

First of the day: Estes Park

I found most of my action downstream in the canyon where the hills part enough to let the sunlight reach the river and keep it flowing.

Kerrie working upstream

Kerrie working upstream: Estes Park

Since my last trip nine days ago, the weather has been downright frigid. But the forecast is for warming temps and sunny days ahead. If I get enough writing done, there’ll be nothing to keep me from trying out my new waders.

Kerrie about to net a brown lower in the canyon

Kerrie about to net a brown lower in the canyon

I can only imagine what it must feel like for my feet to be cold, but dry.

Trust me, I’ll let you know.


Winter color to end the day

(Leave a comment on today’s post and you are entered to win the 6 hotwire prince nymphs pictured below. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on next Friday’s Free Range post.)

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This week’s fly tier showcase is Bjorn Selvig.

He’s been fly fishing for 20 years and started tying in the mid-90’s to cure the winter shakes one gets when he doesn’t get out to fish. He enjoys customizing patterns for his favorite waters in North Park and gets out to for both warm and cold water species across Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming. Bjorn ties as a “hobbyist” and occasionally donates his work for school fundraisers. Family and friends also reap the benefit of the nearly 400 flies he ties annually.

wire 34

This is a selection of six Hotwire Princes. They are a crossover between a Copper John and a Prince Nymph.  A versatile pattern that looks like multiple bugs (e.g. nymph stages of mayflies, caddis, and stoneflies), the green and hot yellow wire makes for a nice caddis pupae color. They fish well in riffles and pocket waters.  These are tied with a tungsten bead and have a lead core.  The added weight helps them get down deep –one of reasons Bjorn thinks fly fishers struggle nymphing is they are not getting their flies down to where the fish are feeding. Flies like this help solve this issue.

For those interested, the pattern and tutorial are available on Charlie Craven’s website click HERE.


The winner of last week’s prize “The Ledge” is Beth Vallee. Congrats to Beth!