Rock and Roll Bass.

Ever since the water finally went down a month or so ago, and the daytime temperature has risen into the 90s consistently, I have turned my attention to cold water and trout. The trout fishing has been fantastic–both on the Front Range and in the mountains. Please, go trout fishing.

But you mustn’t forget our warmwater friends, also. Granted, the bite is fairly slow during a hot, stagnant day. That’s why you have to grab your headlamp and venture out after dark. Bass are still eating–a lot. But they become even more nocturnal than normal when it’s 95 degrees and sunny at 2pm on a Wednesday. The sun goes down, the temps go down, the bugs start dancing on the surface, the baitfish start feeding, and the bass gorge on the baitfish.

I’ve been finding them close to the cat tails, exactly where those little baitfish are slurping up dinner. With your headlamp, you can see a variety of bugs…mosquitoes, spiders, mayflies–playing around the cat tails. Looking at the water, you start to notice tiny wakes and pops on the surface. Fingerlings and small bluegills are looking up, patiently waiting on an insect to touch the surface. Then, every so often one of the largemouth will dart into the shallows to get mouthful of bluegill–violently and non-subtly.

If you can figure out about where the bass are cruising–which is generally a little deeper and little further out than the small guys–that’s obviously where you want to target. I’ve had success plopping my Bellyache Minnow (nicely done, Mr. Kolanda) between where I think the baitfish are and where the bass are eyeballing them. Let sink, then strip. Try a variety of different strips–I like slower strips with longer pauses. On quite a few occasions, the bass will take your fly on the drop, so be ready for a tight line when you continue your strip! The takes are sudden, but not super-aggressive. You know they’re on there, though.

Night fishing with bass poppers is a blast also! You’re basically imitating one of those little baitfish, whether he’s sipping bugs or he’s hurt. Contrary to common belief, a dark popper is generally more effective than a lightly or brightly colored one (at least in my experience). I believe it casts a darker, more noticeable silhouette against the moonlit sky. And be sure to give it a good hard pop. Ever fish a Jitterbug on a bass pond at night? It creates a wake, makes a loud carrying noise, and pisses bass off. You can accomplish the same thing with a bass popper on a fly rod. Piss them off, and wait for the surface explosion!

It’s a great time to be fishing in Colorado. You can rock ‘n roll all night with bass, and party everyday with trout!

4 lb bucketmouth caught Monday night at 10:30pm