March Madness Fly Fishing

"March Madness" Sylvan Dale Style ~ by Senior Ranch Guide, Bill Franz  970.635.9285

Every spring we ranch guides have annual chores to take care of before the season gets into full swing. And so it was Wednesday morning, March 20. I’d started out by working on Weldon Lake around 8:30. As I was paddling around I began to notice some midge activity and fish rising to them. I finished my work there and moved up to Island Lake to take care of a couple things. I saw a few heads there as well. After completing that chore I drove up to Mother Lake to put some tools away and start building the barley bales which keep Mother Lake free of moss all year.

At about 10:30 I looked up and the lake had erupted; midges everywhere and, I’d bet, every fish in the lake on the surface! There were rising fish from shoreline to shoreline. It didn’t matter where one stood to cast, every cast would have been at a rising fish! Did I say my rod was in the truck?

trout closeup

March Madness!

That being said, I finished my chores, rigged up and went to the water. The skies were overcast, slight to no wind, and the midges were running about size #20 to #22. What was interesting was some of them were skating across the water before flying off. Well, some got to fly off, most were eaten before skating 2 to 3 feet.

Despite what I call the “pop corn effect,” the fish scrutinized every offering. The standard Mother’s Midge, size #18 on 5X tippet was a waste of time. The lake was a mirror so they were getting a real good look at everything. It’s times like these that all guides are glad they carry all those flies for their clients. I was fortunate to have probably a dozen different small midge patterns which I use from the Big Horn to the Arkansas. So I tied on some 6X, picked out a dark gray parachute pattern and the fun began. Throughout the day I probably fished all the various patterns I had; some produced while others just sat there as fish swam by.

Having been a ranch guide for 8-9 years now, I have dealt with those sometimes, finicky fish and I know it’s a matter of getting just the right pattern in front of them and making sure they can’t see the tippet.

So, the NCAA tournament started that day (Go CSU Rams!) and being a big fan, I thought it would be appropriate to tell this story because from 11:00 until 4:00, it was “NOTHING BUT NET!”

Basketball Hoop

Nothing but Net!

Editor’s Note: GO BUFFS! Oh wait, they just lost today and didn’t make it to the next round, but the Rams did with a win over Mizzou!

Congrats, Professor Bill & the Colorado State University Men’s Basketball team for advancing in the Big Dance!  And thanks for the great fly fishing report! ~Kathi :-)

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