September, 1997

8/31 - 9/1: THE 1997 CRATER LAKE TRIP: Report not issued.

9/1: A DOZEN QUICK FISH ON GORE CREEK: Had a loose hour today after lunch so went out to my home stretch of this nice little stream. Some small baetis colored duns were coming off, but the fish took a #18 rusty comparadun with great abandon despite the difference in tone. The hour produced a baker's dozen rainbows from 8-15 inches. It's continually astonishing how productive this tiny piece of water can be.

9/2: IT'S GETTING TOO EASY: Same situation as yesterday on water just upstream. Water is low and clear and all the fish are looking skyward. Many hatches in evidence - several types of duns, caddis, and midges. As seems to be the case this summer, the small comparaduns work better in pocket water and swifter runs, while the fish are much more excited by loop wing patterns in the flats and pools. The hour of fishing before dinner resulted in 15 to18 fish - all rainbows, none of which were over 12 inches. Will have to start leaving stretches of water alone for at least a week at a time to avoid stressing out the trout.

9/3: A DIFFERENT STORY ON THE EAGLE: Was asked by a ski school friend to show him some of my fishing spots on the Eagle today so after lunch, met him on one of the loops I fish away from the highway and we started working our way upstream. As flows have receded and cleared, and it being the middle of the day, nymphing would have been most productive if we'd stuck with it, but being stubborn, I wanted to dry fly fish and did so most of the time. That probably caused the limited success I had.

Over the 2 1/2 hours we fished I only landed ten fish and missed that same number of strikes. What was strange was the different flies they took. In rough order they were a #20 buckskin, #16 prince, #18 baetis comparadun, #16 red quill comparadun, #18 loop olive loop wing, #16 elk hair hybrid, and #16 flat water green caddis. What a weird afternoon. Unhappily my friend did not have a strike during this session, so I suspect we'll have to do some training on the next outing.

9/8: A BEAUTIFUL DAY ON PINEY RIVER: Friend Sue & I opted for an hour and a half hike down this high mountain stream on a rare Monday day off for her. We parked at the Piney Lake turnoff and with the basset dog Woody in tow, headed downstream to what hopefully would be a nice couple of hours of casting for a variety of species. The day was glorious - for a change. After arriving, we downed some cold turkey burritos and a bottle of water and started casting to some nice runs & holes, leapfrogging one another so we had space to do our own thing.

The water's a bit low & the fish are spooky and our success rate was pretty low by normal standards. But what a wonderful warm fall day. Aspens are turning. May flies are still hatching and all was well with the world. We probably landed half a dozen fish apiece, losing that many strikes again. Three species were caught - missing only cutthroat. Sizes were modest, 8-14 inches. But it's such a joy to have great weather, a nice hike, and no people around to share the space with!

9/9 LOW FLOWS AND MORE GOOD FISHING on Gore Creek. Hiked further downstream this afternoon to try some of the quieter pools & runs that I normally don't bother with. Now I know why I don't fish them more often - at least this time of year. The trout are absolutely buried beneath the structures and refuse to take sustenance during daylight hours. As I got back into the pocket water upstream, the action picked up markedly. Riffles and shallow eddies produced about seven fish to hand and twice that many strikes in the hour I cast about. All but one were rainbows (8-14 inches) and the exception was a lovely 12" brookie. Most came to a mahogany loop wing and some to a flat water caddis.

The last few strikes became what is now known as "tag" fishing (for touch and go) as an end-of-the-day examination of the loop wing revealed that the point had broken off at the bend of the hook earlier in the session.

Will test the Eagle tomorrow and suspect the late summer rule of FISH EARLY - FISH LATE - OR FISH DEEP will have to be followed to the letter.

9/10: WHOOPS! VIOLATED THE PRIME DIRECTIVE today on the Eagle. Spent 2-3 hours of casting for a nice long session. Thought about nymphing but hated that thought. Started wading in the red canyon section with a comparadun/loop wing combo. Immediately proceeded to miss five straight strikes so at least the fish appreciated my setup even if I was ineffective in hooking them. They were mostly big fish too. Eventually started getting connections and during the time I was on the water, probably landed a dozen fish. Broke off a couple of good ones and missed another dozen or so strikes. Changed to an elk hair hybrid combination later and it proved productive too.

Not a super great day but it sure is fun to be able to dry fly fish. We lost a good month and a half of that kind of fishing due to bad weather and high flows so I suspect I'll stick with floaters until they absolutely refuse to work.

9/12: MORE FUN ON THE EAGLE: With some friends scheduled into town Monday for a couple of days of intense casting, I felt it was my solemn duty to test the Eagle again to find some worthwhile spots for them. It actually didn't take long to do so. Waded across and downstream to a wonderful run that I'd not been on yet this year. And nymphing with a leading black prince trailed by a #18 OS-1, caught three fish on the first five casts. That's exceptional action. At that point I quit the area even though there were plenty more fish available.

More nymphing produced more fish in other areas and I finally changed to an elk hair hybrid in front of the OS. It was less productive as surface flies are now want to be, but the fish that did take it did so with fervor! So it was a nice couple of hours on the water, and I'm really looking forward to next week.

9/13-9/18: ONLY A COUPLE OF HOURS OF FUN in what's been another week of miserable weather. Dying Hurricane Linda off the Pacific Coast threw piles of moisture over us - making Colorado into a junior version of Oregon. Unfortunately this negative weather event coincided with a visit by some Eastern Virginia friends who had hoped to fish all our local streams for three days. We all fished - but only in Gore Creek (which clears quicker) and one creek over by Independence Pass.

So we caught a few trout in between showers. A variety of rainbows, brooks, and one brown fell to a bead head pheasant tail, commercially tied elk hairs, and the loop wings/hybrid elk hairs. Tomorrow we leave for Lake Powell for a few days where hopefully the sun will shine and the smallmouth will be hungry.

9/19-23: The fall LAKE POWELL TRIP was a good getaway before ski season is upon us.

9/28: IT'S BEEN A WHILE since we've been able to get out on the water due to the continuing stormy weather. But Sunday was a beauty. Watched the Broncos/Falcons game until it appeared to be a runaway by halftime. Then headed out to my "home" stretch of water on Gore Creek. It's almost time to quit wet wading as the stream temperatures are becoming frigid. Started out with a searching combination of #20 curved buckskin behind a #18 elk hair hybrid. The first quarter mile of stream was only mildly productive producing a handful of small rainbows.

But with a visible hatch of small baetis in evidence, changing the rig to a loop wing/comparadun combination brought better success on some longer runs and flats near the village. Recorded perhaps a dozen more fish - none large - but a couple of vividly colored brookies in spawning garb. The rest of the upcoming week looks good weatherwise, so maybe the Eagle will clear some.

9/29: ORGASMICALLY GOOD WEATHER AND fishing on the Gore this afternoon. These are the best two days (nothing but SUN!) that we've had all summer. One setup worked perfectly all afternoon. Up front was a #18 loop wing baetis and trailing was a #18 brown comparadun. The loop wing was so successful it's almost obscene. You could see trout lazily curve up from the bottom and just inhale that fly. It outfished the comparadun by an order of 6-1.

Most important was the number of good sized browns that were completely fooled. Anyway it was 15-20 trout for a couple hours of casting. If the weather holds, my programming activities are really going to suffer this week.

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