Fly Fishing Film Tour hits Austin

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Austin Fly Fishing 2013

In case you missed their stop at Troutfest here recently, The Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) is back in Austin this Thursday, April 18th at the Paramount Theatre. This show is not to be missed if you are a central Texas fly angler as these guys put on a heck of a production. They are traveling to over 85 cities this year to showcase some of the top independent fly films out there. This being their 7th year on tour, I'm pumped to see Austin becoming a regular stop for the show. Doors open at 5 with the show getting underway at 7pm. Tickets available now through Paramount's website ( See you Thursday!

Springtime in Colorado

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My wife, daughter and I, along with my wife's parents recently returned from a ski trip to southern Colorado where we stayed at their good friend Frank's cabin near Pagosa Springs. I have written about Frank's place before and how amazing it is, but I have never been there in the snowy season. Let me tell you, it is just as much fun in the winter/spring as it is in the summer; and yes the fishing is still good.

Our trip really worked out well as the day we arrived, a foot of fresh snow fell in Pagosa. Pagosa is about a 45 minute drive from Wolf Creek Ski Mountain which already boasts some of the best snow in Colorado. We got up to the mountain a couple of times during the week and had a blast skiing the fresh powder. Liz's parents came up with us one day and watched our daughter Collins while we skied. It was a lot of fun to be able to do a few runs and then come down to our smiling snow bunny at the base of the mountain.

We spent the rest of the week hanging around the cabin and enjoying the sunny, mild weather. Collins got to experience all of her first snow activities including building a "huge" snow man and sledding on the hill by the cabin. She really got a kick out of being outside and enjoying the elements, I think we have a little mountain girl on our hands. Each night, we would cook a good dinner and sit out on the porch watching the sun go down over the mountains. Quite a relaxing lifestyle.

Liz's dad Jerry and I got down to the river a few times to see if we could scare any fish up. The Rio Blanco, which is a short walk from Frank's cabin, is really a beautiful backcountry stream in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Getting down to the banks of the river was quite a trek though as we had to hike our way through some pretty thick powder. We tried to stay as light footed as possible on top of the snow as you would sink down to your waist if the powder gave way. Once we made it down to the river, everything was good. Snow packed banks on either side of you, but the stream was flowing smoothly with no frozen sections.


My favorite fly combo of choice for the trip was an orange egg with a small pheasant tail trailing it. I tried a few other combinations but this was by far the most effective with the trout really keying in on the egg. The water level was pretty low the first part of the week so we really had to hit any deeper holes we could find. Any type of structure, be it low hanging logs or big boulders, also proved to be good holding water. With the rising temperatures throughout the week, the snow really started to melt and fill up the river during the latter part of the trip. It also caused the water to turn a much murkier color which made for more difficult fishing. We got a number of good fish to hand throughout the week though. All were rainbows ranging from 14 to 18 inches and were a beautiful chrome color.

Getting up to the mountains is always such a rejuvenating experience. No cell service, no work email, just pure relaxation. Thank you Frank for letting us re-charge our batteries.

Patagonia: The Final Stretch

Monday, February 18, 2013

The third and final leg of our trip down to Argentine Patagonia had us heading up into Nahuel Huapi National Park. Fly Fishing Patagonia had us staying in a truly spectacular fishing lodge, the Rio Manso Lodge (, which is located right on the Chilean border. Every room of this quaint lodge has a spectacular view of Lake Hess which sits directly beneath the Andes. This is one of those lodges that is perfect for the whole family and a great way to see Patagonia. The drive up to the lodge is about an hour and a half drive from Bariloche and you will have the camera out the entire time. The further you drive, the deeper you get into the park which is also a rain forest. There are mountains, lakes, rivers and greenery as far as the eye can see, it is pretty spectacular and I'm sure my pictures will do it very little justice.


There are an endless amount of activities at Rio Manso Lodge. The fishing is obviously the highlight but they also have whitewater rafting and kayaking, horseback riding, birding and great hiking. Greg and I along with our guide Alex took a hike the day we got there up to Segunda Cascada which was an amazing group of falls on the Manso River. 


One of the things we enjoyed the most about the lodge was the staff, they really made you feel like you were family. They were always there with helpful tips and suggestions on different things to try out around the lodge. One night, they prepared a traditional Argentine Asado, which is a big grill fest of beef, lamb, pork, chorizo, sweetbreads and puddings. They really wanted us to be a part of it though so we were out there while it was all cooking, learning about the history of these traditions. Greg even started jamming with one of the cooks around the fire which made for great entertainment. The owner of the lodge was always right there with the guests as well. He ate dinner with us and the other guests every night and you could tell, he had a true passion for his little piece of paradise.

The fishing at Rio Manso offered a great variety, all within a short drive of the lodge. We fished Lago Hess right out front multiple times which was a blast. This was a beautiful lake sitting right beneath a giant glacier, it was really a stunning setting to fish for trout. Being that it was January, the fish were honed in on one bug in particular, the dragonfly. Tying on big dragonfly patterns, tossing them along the banks, and watching big rainbows inhale them was a sight to see. The lake was so calm some days that you really had to quietly stalk feeding fish or they would spook, it was kind of like bonefishing. 

One of the days, we floated and fished the Rio Manso. We really enjoyed the Manso for it's diversity of water, some stretches were very serene and calm, where as on others, we were hanging on as we shot rapids. We had pretty good fishing on the Manso as well with one or two good honker rainbows.


When our time at the lodge came to an end, we loaded up and headed back to the airport in Bariloche. We had an early flight into Buenos Aires and were able to spend the day exploring BA before our plane back to the states took off. Buenos Aires is an amazing city and one I really want to get back to spend more time in. It is a very culturally diverse city with lots of unique little districts. We walked around the Recoleta district and toured the Recoleta Cemetery. This cemetery is quite an experience as it is the size of a small town. It also holds the grave of Evita Peron so we got a good lesson on a major part of Argentine history.

                                   Recoleta                                            The resting place of Evita Peron

Our trip down to Argentina will be something I remember forever. The food, the wine, the camaraderie and most of all the fishing, were second to none and I credit that all to Justi Campa and the guys at Fly Fishing Patagonia. If you are thinking of heading down to this part of the world, give them a look, you won't regret it.

                                                                       Cheers to a great trip!!!

Troutfest 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mark the calendar, GRTU's annual Troutfest will be held the weekend of February 15th-17th this year. Rio Raft Resort will once again be home base for the weekend's activities which get underway that Friday night at 6pm. The banquet promises to be an unforgettable experience as legendary angler/author/photographer Lefty Kreh will be the special guest speaker. Can't make Friday, then head down Saturday or Sunday. Both days will be jam packed with family friendly activities including the kid fish pond, educational classes, local shopping and the Hill Country Casting Games. The Fly Fishing Film Tour (f3t) presents their compilation of the latest and greatest independent fly fishing films Saturday night at 7pm, bring the lawn chairs and popcorn. Advanced tickets are now available now off of the website (

BBQ and Trout

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season filled with good food, family, friends and maybe even a little fishing. As it was our daughter's first Christmas and New Year's, it was quite a memorable season in our household and we enjoyed every minute of it. My birthday also falls right in between the two holidays so the whole week was jam packed with celebration. We even made it out to Driftwood to the heavenly gluttenfest that is The Salt Lick. Man, I love the holidays!

Oh buddy, can't beat that Texas BBQ

On my actual birthday, Liz told me to take the day and go do some fishing. I headed down to the Guadalupe and spent the day fishing near the third crossing. Being that it was the holidays and everyone seemed to be off of work, the river was packed. I made my way down stream to a little calmer stretch and focused on some riffles and deeper pocket water. It was a perfect day weather wise so I had high hopes for some active fish. Unfortunately that would not be the case for the first couple of hours. I could not get anything to bite. It wasn't until I started to make my way back upstream towards the bridge that I had anything close to a bite. 

Walking back up the bank, I noticed a pod of fish happily feeding and going about their day. There was a good number of fish and I thought for sure my movement would have scared them but they did not seem concerned with me at all. I sat back for a minute and planned my method of attack which to start, was the hares ear/zebra midge trailer combo that I currently had tied on. I made my first cast upstream and let the bugs drift back down into the fish, no response. After repeating similar drifts for a while with similar results, I switched up tactics. 

Next up was the wooly bugger which they were much more interested in. The olive color I tied on had a lot of fish chasing but pulling back at the last second. It wasn't until I tied on a smaller dark purple that the first strike came. It was a small eight or nine inch rainbow that was too little to put up much of a fight. I got him in quickly in hopes of not spooking the remaining fish. Lucky for me, none of them moved so I went back to it. After netting one more fish on the wooly bugger, a nicer 16 inch rainbow, I started noticing something that really got me giddy, fish taking dries off of the surface. I rarely get to fish dries on this river so I was all to anxious to try and figure out what it was they were eating.  

There was no major hatch taking place that I could see so I tried out a couple of the old trusties. Little ant pattern, .... nothing. Little tan hopper, .... nothing. Elk hair caddis, .... whammo! A nice little rainbow came up and smacked it. Unfortunately, as soon as I was hooked up, he decided he no longer liked my fly and spit it out. No problem though, that great old sight of watching a trout charging the surface was enough to make me happy. 

I fished a while longer but all of the fishing action of the day was behind me. I was ready to head home and spend the rest of the birthday with the family. 

Happy New Years to everyone, I hope it is a great start to 2013.

Save Bristol Bay Road Show

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Talk about a great event for a great cause. The Save Bristol Bay Road Show will be in Austin on January 8th at Abel's on the Lake for a one night only event. They are out to gather support and spread the word on the potential harm the proposed Pebble Mine would cause this incredible Alaskan fishery/outdoor paradise. Check out the Save Bristol Bay homepage ( to learn more or just head over to Abel's on the Lake January 8th.

Patagonia Part 2

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The second part of our trip in Argentina (part one here) had us departing the Caluefu River and transporting about an hour and a half back towards Bariloche. One of the most impressive things about Fly Fishing Patagonia's operation was the amount of variety they have set up for their trips. While the first part of our adventure was spent fishing and camping a hundred miles from civilization, the second stretch gave us a very different look at the area we had come to visit.

Our home for the next couple of days was a working sheep ranch set near the banks of the Limay River. We had to say goodbye to Martin and Juan once we arrived at stop two, but met up with Alex who would guide us the remainder of the trip. After we got acquainted with Alex, he showed us around the property and gave us some history on it. It was really fascinating to learn about the land, the old buildings, and the general way of life of the people who had called it home. We also set up a game plan for the next few days which was focused on hunting big browns on the Limay.

The operators of the property had set up a feast for the night we arrived which we were really excited to take part in. They had a full on Argentine BBQ going which was quite an experience. Argentina is famous for having some of the most fantastic beef in the world. Coming from Texas, the land of cattle, Greg and I figured we would be decent judges on just how good the beef was. It did not disappoint in any way, the food was amazing. It wasn't just the beef either, everything they served was incredible. Our hosts at the ranch had been slow cooking a lamb in the brick oven for hours which in my mind was the highlight of the night. Now I can't say enough about how good the fishing is in Argentina, but I would be happy to agree that a trip to Argentina for the food and wine alone is well worth it. I was never much of a wine drinker before this trip but I found a love for Malbecs in Argentina. I have been trying different ones out ever since we returned and it's hard to find a bad one.

After an amazing dinner the night before, we woke up the next morning excited at our first shot at the Limay. Alex said we were going to be focusing on stretches of the river that did not have as many fish, but traditionally brought in some pigs. We would be solely wade fishing the next two days drifting streamers in search of the big boys. We fished hard the next couple of days, hitting stretches of the river that had wide banks and deeper water. Casting involved getting a lot of line out across the river, letting it drift down stream, and starting the retrieval process. This was repeated over and over, it had a feel of what I have been told steelheading in the northwest is like. A spey rod would have been perfect for this type of fishing. Each tug of the rod on the Limay really got your heart pumping as you knew what could possibly be on the other end. We brought in a number of beautiful fish on the Limay but did not net any of the huge fish the river is famous for.

Though we didn't catch the monsters we were after on this leg of the trip, it was still quite the experience. The backdrops to our sections of the Limay were some of the most post card worthy shots of the Andes that I can imagine. I knew the scenery in Argentina was going to be beautiful but I was really blown away by everything we saw. That would be no different as we made the move to our next destination. We had such a good time at our stay on the ranch but it was time to head up into the National forest for our final stretch of the trip.