January, 1997

1/07/97: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL! Wish I could say the fishing's great too, but I can't get on the water to find out. Went to Aspen today to pick up my year end data files with high hopes of getting on the Fork or Colorado or any river for a few minutes of casting, but my hopes were dashed.

Temperature was colder than a witches whatever, but when I left Aspen the sun was shining and I prayed for the clouds to stay broken until I got downstream. It was not to be. I saw guides working the Roaring Fork just below the Woody Creek turnoff as I headed in to town at 9:30 and they were still there when I left at 11:30. So something must have been happening but my lord their rod guides had to be locking up on every cast. Below Basalt another couple of fishers were working a deep hole in the gold medal water. I didn't stop to inquire about their success.

Even at Glenwood the clouds hovered and the air temp was so low I didn't bother hopping off the freeway at No Name. The Eagle was virtually iced over from Gypsum upstream so I again wrote off a day off with lots of data, but no fish to show for the experience. I need a FISHING FIX! Don't know when I'll get it but it had better be soon.

1/22:   SOME SUCCESS ON THE EAGLE:  Not booked today at Ski School, so headed home about 10:30, grabbed a quick bite of lunch & drove I70 to the Wolcott exit.  Went downstream from there checking out all my favorite winter runs.  It's really tough getting to the water.  Virtually every desirable section is iced over from the bank outward, leaving a narrow gap between the ice sheets.

Finally found one hole where I could more or less get to the water without risking death and started casting with the popular Green River rig of an orange scud attractor up front and a tiny OS-1 15 inches back.  It took a lot of casts and some scrambling around the ice sheets, but I finally hooked and landed a nice 12" rainbow.  Joy is with me!  It just feels great to have a fish on the line again.  More casting both up and down from that spot produced no more strikes, so I jumped back in the car and worked my way upstream towards Edwards.

Had little hope of finding better water upstream, as the further towards Vail you go generally the more iced over the stream is, but luck was with me.  One of my favorite holes in the Squaw Creek parcel was almost totally ice free, so I slogged through the snow down the bank & began (stealthy) wading of this great hole.  Almost immediately hooked a large (roughly 18") bow, but lost him as he popped off the orange scud with a strong run.  Too much casting without retying the knot I suspect.  Changed to a gray scud and started getting lots of strikes.  Because this is quieter water, 2/3 of the strikes were to the tiny OS and the balance to the scud.

Although I lost a half dozen fish, I was rewarded by landing 8 or 9 in the next hour.  Sizes were good ranging from 12 - 18 inches.  And all the fish appeared healthy & fat.  What a neat day! There's a winter storm watch out for tonight, so I suspect my data acquisition trip to Eagle tomorrow will be a wash out in terms of fishing.  But today was very satisfying.

1/30:  A FEW MORE RAINBOWS on the Eagle fell prey to a different fly rig today.  Given a couple of hours of freedom from both the computer & skiing, I headed back to the spot noted above (cursor up).  No one else apparently had been on this pool since my last trip.  Began fishing with the same rig, but after a couple dozen casts & no hits, decided to change to more of an attractor type setup.

The water was slightly discolored today, probably given a bit warmer temperatures.  Those temperatures plunged shortly.  So I tied on a soft hackle prince up front and trailed it with what I call a bead head princeton.  It's tied the same way as a prince, except has black wings & tail & my soft hackle adaptation.  More or less a small black stone imitation.

That seemed to do the trick as in the next half hour I hooked and or landed around a dozen rainbows.  The fish came equally to both flies.  Shortly the sun passed behind a hill, the wind picked up, my guides kept freezing with more frequency and I headed upstream to the next pool which generally holds nothing but brown trout.  Imagine that - we really have segregation here on the Eagle River.  Seriously though it's funny why the different species seem to dominate different holes here - even though the appearance of the holes is similar.

But today only a couple of rainbows came to hand.  All in all, it was a nice outing, albeit bitterly cold at the end.  The fish ranged in size from 13 -16 inches in length.

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