Photos: Same Fish, Different Day

Originally posted @ Orvis

I seem to have a knack for catching the same fish a couple of weeks apart. I have nothing against keeping what you catch if that is your style, but I’ve always said that I would rather catch a fish multiple times than eat it just once.

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HP ZBook Review

10501825_10152769783348175_3018491975649462243_nHP’s 17” ZBook is not your everyday internet-surfing cat-meme-posting laptop. With its 2.8GHz Core, i7-4900MQ Intel processor and 16GB of RAM, this workhorse plows through the most processor-intensive jobs, leaving you with plenty of time to view the latest cat memes.

The ZBook has been particularly useful for me, as I create and edit (very large) videos highlighting my ramblings through the Colorado Rockies. Although I blog for various outdoor gear companies, and have had articles published, my heart lies with my lesser known passion, which is sharing my fishing trips through video.  I feel that videos provide a much fuller experience than stills or text. \

But there’s one downside of creating videos – the dreaded production time.  I’m used to waiting 15 minutes to load a single clip and more than 8 hours to render a draft! Video rendering takes longer than some of my day trips. As a father, a prepress manager, and an outdoorsman, I don’t have hours to sit around waiting for  huge files to process, so using the ZBook’s power has been life-changing for me. It speeds through the processing so I am able to spend more time in the actual editing of the video.

But what if I want to use another program while the computer is rending the video? I frequently switch from Adobe Premiere to After Effects to Photoshop, which has caused lesser computers to crash and delete any progress made on a video. The ZBook handles multitasking with ease, and now I’m able to work on multiple projects at the same time.

But speed and memory aren’t everything, if the display is only average. Fortunately, the ZBook doesn’t have this problem. It is immediately HP-ZBook-15apparent that the ZBook’s DreamColor display is something special.  With over 1.4 million colors, the crisp, clear display almost makes me feel like I’m back in the mountains when I review my latest video. Editing RAW images for magazine use is also a breeze. Due to the color precision, I know what I’m sending the editor will print as true-to-life as possible.

The ZBook boasts a variety of ports and expansion options – most notably the option to add two additional hard drives on top of the SSD that is running the operating system. Although I still have not filled up the original hard drive, it’s nice to know that this there’s the flexibilty to expand as necessary.

Now, when I return from my trips armed with hours of video, I can look forward to the video creation process, knowing that HP’s ZBook will help me create a top-notch product without the painstaking process.



Originally posted @ Acli-Mate

“Oh, you’re traveling to Colorado? Make sure you drink a TON of water because of the altitude.”

The first time I heard this phrase was during a trip I took to Colorado as a teenager. Since then, I’ve heard and also uttered this Coloradan catch phrase countless times.

The reasoning behind this warning is the knowledge that at higher elevations your body loses water twice as fast as at sea level just through respiration alone. Add to that the dry climate which causes sweat to evaporate more quickly and a person can rapidly become dehydrated and ill.

So, it’s more than just a catch phrase, it really is important to maintain hydration at high altitudes.
Having noticed that I tend to experience dehydration symptoms after a long day of backpacking and fly fishing, I decided to add Acli-Mate to my water supply while exploring the outdoors this year.

Acli-Mate is added to the water you’re already drinking, and works rapidly to help your body adjust to your surroundings. It provides your body with the electrolytes, B-vitamins and minerals you need to fully maintain hydration while being exposed to the elements.
On every trip I’ve taken this year, I added a package of Acli-Mate. I had such impressive results that I used Acli-Mate in the morning and at lunch during a five-day backpacking trip into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness in Colorado. On the first morning, when I pulled out my morning Acli-Mate package, I happened to look over only to find my fellow backpacker, Shawn, was adding Acli-Mate to his water as well! It seems we both realized that it is beneficial to take the actions to help our bodies when backpacking in the Rockies.

On the majority of my hikes, whether it be a day trip or a weeklong camping trip, I tend to get a slight headache and usually take over-the-counter medicine to alleviate it. Drinking water with Acli-Mate this year has taken that necessity away and I have had no issues at all with acclimating to the 5,000+ feet of elevation differences when I am out in the Rocky Mountains.

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Our Playground – 2015 Vol. 3

Featured @ Orvis

Volume 3 is everything else that wasn’t covered in volumes 1 and 2, it really was a fun year of releasing fish!

Photos: Big Brown, Small Creek

Originally posted @ Orvis

I had an insane day today on my local creek. Caught a handful of fish here in town, with one being one of the largest browns I’ve ever caught. He almost looks like he’s smiling for the camera! When it’s 65 and sunny in mid-November, wet wading the creek is a blast!

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Photos: November Dry Flies in Colorado

Originally posted @ Orvis

As the ski season here in Colorado kicks off, other parts of the country are ending their trout season. I’m lucky enough to live in a state where I can fish year round. As some people head to the mountains and hit the slopes, here in Denver it was 65 and sunny over the weekend. So what better way to kick off November than to head to the creek where the browns were hitting dries all day?

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Pick a Trail, Any Trail

Originally posted @ Mountainsmith

Colorado has over 100,000 acres of roadless land. Add to that 42 State Parks, 12 national parks and 13 national forests/grasslands. Within the boundaries of the state line there are over 3,000 lakes and reservoirs, and flowing into and out of these lakes are 6,000 miles of creeks and rivers. 35 species of both warm and cold water fish swim in this water. To, from, and alongside all of this land and water are thousands of miles of trails. It gives me pause when I stop to consider all of the possibilities that are available to an adventurer in Colorado.

I get asked all the time as to my whereabouts anytime I show people photos or videos of the trips I am fortunate enough to take. I rarely give out my exact location because of the vast number of locations available in Colorado. Research and planning come together to directly impact my travel group’s outcome, and I believe fellow fishermen will have a much richer experience by choosing their own course. Look at a map, pick a lake or a stream or a mountain – find the trailhead, stuff your Mountainsmith pack and go for a hike. It really is that simple.

Most of the lakes and streams contain fish, but just because you had good luck at a lake the year before, it does not mean the fish will still be there the year after. One can never be exactly sure what Mother Nature has in store, but that’s a gamble I’m willing to take in order to experience the high country.

One factor that contributes to this phenomenon in high alpine lakes is something called “winter kill”. This happens during the snowy months when too much snow stays on top of the ice covered lakes and does not allow enough of the sun’s rays to penetrate into the water. Without the rays, oxygen levels in the lake will drop and not be enough to sustain the fish that are trying to survive the cold winter months – killing most if not all the fish in the lake.

Although I am theoretically aware of the “winter kill” possibility, after 12 years of fly fishing in the high country of Colorado, this year was my first year personally experiencing hiking to a lake, knowing it held fish the year before, and finding it to be void of anything swimming in its cold waters. And it drove home just how important it is to have a backup plan when heading into the Rockies. On this particular trip we had planned to fish three lakes in the vicinity and also fish five miles of creek that came out of these lakes, so not all was lost. In fact the trip was an amazing one.

So, if you do decide to pick a trail, any trail, here are a couple of resources that will help  choose a destination.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife website

Colorado Fishing Atlas which shows what lakes and rivers have been stocked

So go get your Mountain Dome Tent and your Mountainsmith pack, stuff it with the essentials, pick some blue on a map and go explore!

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Wet Wading with the Aquanaut

The Aquanaut feeling at home in the water.

The Aquanaut feeling at home in the water.

Perfect shoes for the slick rocks.

Perfect shoes for the slick rocks.


“Check these out!” my friend Shawn said to me while walking down a sidewalk in the quaint mountain town of Buena Vista, CO. He, Tom and myself had just come out of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, fly fishing and backpacking for five days. We had stopped to grab a burger and a beer and stumbled onto the sidewalk sale for Colorado Kayak Supply. What Shawn was looking at was a pair of kayaking shoes that none of us had seen before or knew existed. I’m an avid backpacker and fly fisherman and I’m always on the lookout for new products but I don’t venture out of my own little world and had never thought to look to other sports for equipment. Now I wish we had come across the shoes sooner!


During our five days in the Collegiate Peaks we had fished four different lakes and also wet waded the streams coming out of these lakes. Wet wading the small streams in the Rocky Mountains is hands down my favorite type of fly fishing. There’s something about getting your feet wet while walking a creekthat makes fooling a trout into taking your fly even more enjoyable. I spend a lot of my summers walking in streams and rivers and knew I had to give these Astral shoes a shot.



Tom with a perfect drift through a canyon pool.

Tom with a perfect drift through a canyon pool.

Fast forward two weeks to when my friend Tom and I had a day off to hike into a canyon – the ideal spot to introduce my new Aquanaut kayaking shoes to the fly fishing world. The canyon we were hiking is more popular with the kayakers than the fly fishermen – one of the rapids that we came across is aptly named “Supermax”. We hiked down the canyon and discovered that the bridge one must cross to get from private property to the public had been halfway demolished due to flooding. I took this opportunity to switch out my hiking boots with the Aquanauts, and we walked upstream a few hundred feet to find an area where we could cross the river. The second I put these shoes into the water, I knew it would be an easy day of wet wading.

We spent six hours hiking and fishing up and down the canyon and whether I was in the water trying to maneuver on the slick rocks or up on the trail climbing over boulders, the shoes never once slipped and the support was perfect. It became obvious that Astral thoroughly mapped out and addressed all of the challenges an outdoorsman comes across when wading through bodies of water. I was particularly impressed by the Agro Grip outsole, and the Aquanauts ended up being the best wading shoe I have ever worn.



As for the fishing on this day, it was not stellar but I couldn’t complain since I got to enjoy the canyon without slipping and stumbling in the water. Witnessing the power of the fast moving river first hand, and getting up close and personal with “Supermax”, it’s best if I stick to wet wading and leave the rapids to the kayakers.


Tom with a juvenile brown trout.

Tom with a juvenile brown trout.


A perfectly spotted brown trout.

A perfectly spotted brown trout.


Canyon fishing at its finest.

Canyon fishing at its finest.

Our Playground – 2015 Vol. 2

Featured @ Orvis

Rambling around the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

Photos of the Day: Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks Cutts

Originally posted @ Orvis

At least once a year, I get away for a long backpacking trip, and this year Tom, Shawn, and I took five days off and headed into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness in Colorado. The hike was a total of 30 miles with over 5,700 feet in elevation gain. Add to that roughly 15 miles of fishing around lakes and creeks, and it was an amazing week of fly fishing.

I brought along my 6-weight Recon and my 3-weight Superfine Glass and was glad I had both. The lakes we fished were above 12,000 feet, and it was extremely windy every day. Using the Recon was perfect for those conditions, throwing streamers and dry flies and everything else out of the fly box: the cutthroat trout were hungry and eager to take anything we threw at them.

When we headed down into the valley to fish the different sections of the creek, the 3-weight Superfine was so much fun to throw dry flies to eager brook and cutthroat trout. Even though they were small in the creek, it’s always a blast to be wet-wading up a creek and catching trout with every cast!

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