February, 1997

2/17:  LIMITED SUCCESS FOR BROWNS in the Dowd Junction area of the Eagle.  In fact that's an exaggeration.  Today after lunch I finished an eight day stint with a ski client.  Those folks hopped on the private jet for home early this afternoon, so I called friend Sue & we dashed down towards Eagle-Vail hoping for a couple of hours of successful casting for some browns.

We both tied on small baetis or OS-1 nymphs and proceeded to cast our way up opposite sides of a normally great pool.  It was not great today.  I hooked one fish in this stretch and immediately lost it.  Just upstream I connected with a 12" brown, but he slipped under an ice bridge and I popped him off rather than run the risk of losing a bunch of leader, etc.  Sue had no success here.

We drove downstream to another normally good spot under the I-70 bridge and even though I broke trail to a spot that had not yet been fished this season, was completely unsuccessful.  It was still a nice outing, but with a bitterly cold wind, probably not the best of days.  Hope to get out on the Eagle again on Tuesday or Wednesday.

2/19: ANY DAY ON THE RIVER IS BETTER THAN ANY DAY IN THE OFFICE, but in today's case, only slightly so.  I was really looking forward to a whole day off with nothing but data from the Eagle County offices to input, so I set off for Eagle with high hopes of getting on the river between Eagle & Gypsum at one of my favorite spots.  Shattered dreams right away!

The stream was a murky mess from Wolcott all the way downstream to the Colorado confluence.  Every feeder brook from Ute Creek to Ruby Creek was dumping sediment into the main river.  So when I finished up at the county I headed back up the freeway & exited at Wolcott.  The public water was not taken by other fishermen, so I worked it as hard as I could with minimal success.  Took one sixteen inch bow on a small prince, had one other strike, and that was it for an hour & a half of casting.

Then drove upstream to the Squaw Creek parcel, and miraculously with no one there, I was able to get right on my favorite water.  Slow going here as well.  Had two very large (17"-19") fish on for a few seconds before finally landing another 16 incher.  A couple more strikes were all I got.  These fish took a small (#20) black peeking caddis.  Mouths seemed very soft, although maybe the problem is that I just have not been fishing enough and my skills are soft as well.  That was it for the day.

2/22:  MORE MODEST SUCCESS on the Eagle.  Had a day off from skiing this Saturday so took advantage of the spare time to install a couple of database systems for some real estate clients.  One job was in Edwards and the other in Beaver Creek.  So after the first job finished I clambered down a steep bank just west of Beaver Creek and spent a difficult half hour casting for browns in a favorite hole.  It was difficult - and a short stint of casting - because it was so damned cold.  Winter still has a choke hold on this valley.

To keep a short story short, I kept on the same fly rig from the prior outing and managed to land two decent browns (12" & 14") in the short period I fished.  One took a #18 soft hackle prince up front and the other took a #20 black peeking caddis at the leader's end.  Frankly I'm not sure the fish really care as much about pattern as they do about getting the fly into their feeding lanes at the bottom of slow deep runs.  A half hour after exiting the river my fingers thawed out and I was able to install the second database.


2/23:  MIRACLE OF MIRACLES!  Fishing two days in a row.  No booking at ski school this morning so came home, had quick success in solving a coding problem, grabbed a quick sandwich & headed down the Eagle, exiting at Wolcott.  Wanted to try some new water down in the red sandstone canyon section, but when I got out of the car to look at the stream, it remained murky and the ice was dangerous looking along the banks, so reluctantly I headed back up to the "never miss" Squaw Creek water.

Air temps were bitter again - near 15 degrees, so I plowed through the snow to the stream, crashed through the shore ice and cast for only fifteen minutes in one of my favorite rainbow holes.  The fifteen minutes was not an arbitrary time limit - it simply was all my hands could take. The combination of wind, cold water, low air temperatures, and frozen guides on almost every cast assured me of a short day.  Nonetheless I landed two nice bows - one of 13 and the other of 16 inches.  They took a #18 soft hackle prince.  Both were quite dark and appeared to be post-spawn.  Pretty good fighters though.

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