7/31-8/1: Took a long trip to Northern Colorado this weekend and it offered a chance to try several streams we don't normally visit. On the way to Kremmling we tried to get on the BLUE between Silverthorne and Green Mountain Reservoir but were thwarted in those efforts by shoulder to shoulder groups of fisherpeople at the places we wanted to try. So we did wade the UPPER COLORADO between Kremmling and Parshall with limited results on smaller browns taking elk hair caddis's on the surface. The good rainbows of the past are no more until whirling disease also becomes a thing of the past.
At Hot Sulphur Springs we fished a nice piece of bank water on the COLORADO that others generally avoid, as it involves a lot of scrambling on rip-rap by the road and there we caught several nice browns and a couple of smaller rainbow (probably left over stockers) using deeply fished dark #14 stones and a bead head caddis emerger.
Passing through Rocky Mountain Park on our way to Glen Haven just before the daily storm erupted, we cast in some meadows with virtually no success - Sue had a fish on that took a bead head soft hackle near a log on an undercut bank. The rains started too soon, so we couldn't wade far enough to be successful on this Colorado tributary.
On Sunday below Glen Haven we had fair success pocket water fishing with nymphs on the rapidly flowing NORTH FORK OF THE THOMPSON. Then on the main river we caught a few larger rainbows and browns - again with deeply fished stones and caddis emergers. A violent thunderstorm prevented us from fishing lower CLEAR CREEK, and when we finally got on that stream near Loveland Pass, neither of us had any luck casting for small cutthroats in some gabion reinforced pools near the road. But all in all, it was nice to fish a variety of different waters.
8/2 & 8/3: The EAGLE'S running cloudy below Wolcott, so stayed on Gore Creek in the Vail area both of these days. Will have to admit that after a couple of years holding out, I've finally become a surface cdc fan. We currently have a combined green drake/red quill hatch going on and the fish are all looking straight to the sky while the activity is going on. I've been a-b'ing a new loop wing cdc drake together with a standard trimmed hackle feather spent loop wing on the same tippet. The cdc fly is outfishing the older model by an order of magnitude, so that's become the new fly of choice during these hatches. The only problem I have with cdc is that it's impossible to dry by false casting after being in a fish's mouth, so it either has to be chemically dried or replaced, which is more work than I'm used to doing. Does that mean I'm spoiled????
8/4: OUR WEATHER STINKS! Showers every day mean good cool water temperatures for the fish, but it's no fun not being one and still being as wet as one. But the fishing's good. In the hour I was able to do some casting on the Eagle around Dowd Junction, probably hooked a couple dozen smallish browns. Nothing was over a foot long, but they came to all the surface flies eagerly - either a cdc drake, a flat water caddis, or an elk hair hybrid. Unfortunately they were mostly too eager and several took the flies deeply. I hate that. Despite squeezing the barbs while tying, it's still no fun having to extract flies from gills, etc. Just don't like to potentially damage a fish. Tomorrow hopefully I'll get in a few casts on the Roaring Fork on my way back from Aspen.
8/5: THE ROARING FORK WAS CLOUDY, but not overly so - and it is finally running at a good wadable level. Had only an hour to race up through the stream above the Sunlight Bridge in Glenwood as I was running late for a dinner engagement. Cast up through the shallow riffle water and missed more strikes than I hooked, but did end up landing a few modest sized browns on surface caddis flies. Then in the big eddy that normally produces a couple of fine rainbows, the best I could do was a three pound whitefish on a bead head caddis. Better than nothing.
8/6: Nice weather, but limited action on the Gore. Flow dropped dramatically when the storms quit today so I tried the gold medal water near the confluence with the Eagle. Don't know if it was my choice of flies or what, but my fishing stunk - just like our weather did a couple of days ago. Tried everything logical on the surface and below, but only landed a couple of rainbows, missing a few more strikes. One fish was a 16 incher, so that was good. The best part of the day was gorging on wild raspberries along the bank. I could have stocked the local Safeway store with them.
8/7: BETTER SUCCESS ON THE GORE this afternoon. It's running at an optimum flow right now. Fished further upstream and everything was caught on the surface. The bigger fish are much more wary, but the yearling rainbows are as dumb as always. Even though a mayfly hatch was going on the fish only took caddis's in a variety of types. Best fly was a sparse #18 elk hair and it caught the best rainbow - a 14" hen - plus a couple of nice brookies.
SOME OBSERVATIONS: There are a good bunch of yearlings in the river. Also saw lots of fry in the slow water, so suspect we've had a very successful rainbow spawn this spring due to a modest runoff. Also, the brook trout seem to be running much larger this year, and there seem to be more of them.
Tomorrow we leave for a week long trip to Montana and hope for some great fishing on the Gallatin, Shields, Yellowstone, and anywhere else we can get a fly on the water. Report will be forthcoming around the 17th.
8/8-8/15: Visit the MONTANA TRIP REPORT. Photos not yet developed, but should be available in the next couple of weeks.
8/18: Back to the Eagle River and limited fun it was. We've again had those stream muddying thunderstorms, and my casting in the Red Canyon section was limited to nymphing and shortened by a blast of raindrops. Only landed two rainbows - each about 15 inches. One took a tiny OS-2 and the other a brass bead headed emerging caddis. Hopefully the storms will end shortly.
8/21 - 8/22: Let's do the last day's report first. It's a Gore Creeker. People have to back off pressuring this stream a bit. It's simply getting too easy to hook everything in the water. Fish are all bunched up in the riffles and deep holes and are vulnerable beyond belief. I caught several up to sixteen inches today on #20 gray and olive comparaduns, and it's simply no contest. I'm going to leave the creek alone at least six days a week and hope others do too. The fish are just under too much stress.
Yesterday I took a couple of fellows on a guided trip to the Eagle. I'm not a licensed outfitter and do not purport to be one, nor do I do underground guiding. But because I have been a guide in the past, for the last two years I allowed my lady friend to place me in a charity auction for a one day wade trip on this river. It always does sell well and of course benefits her sorority's charities.
These seemed to be pretty decent guys, and we started early in the hopes of catching some fish and getting home reasonably early in the afternoon. So we waded right in and worked on presentation, line management, streamcraft, fly selection, etc. And pretty soon the "buyer" of the trip started having a good time catching some fish, and missing some good strikes, and losing some while playing them.
We were fishing pretty hard from 8:30 on, having driven to Eagle earlier than that. Around 2:00 I was really getting hungry and pulled out a nice gourmet lunch of grilled chicken, bread, various flavored mayonnaise's, condiments, salad, chips, micro brewed beer, chips, bottled water, and so forth. The boys really wanted me to fix a sandwich and drive while they ate on our way to the next spot so they wouldn't lose any fishing time, but we did stay around long enough for me to gulp down most of a meal.
Anyway we continued fishing at a breakneck pace - they had a great time and caught more fish than I would have thought possible given their unfamiliarity with this water. I finally was able to convince them around 5:30 that I had to leave due to a dinner engagement previously discussed. They wanted me to go out with them again in the future - just for fun. And maybe they'd trade me a used rod or fly box for fishing with them if we did that in the future.
Well boys, let me tell you something. I know this was a trip you bid on at an auction - and I know you really took great advantage of it - and I know how much you wanted to get your money's worth - and I know you really did that too. But do you also remember that you went through a couple dozen of my flies, several split shot, strike indicators, tippet material, a few more hours of my time than a commercial trip would permit, and 75 miles of driving on my van? And did you even bother to make a financial gesture at the end of the trip to cover some of the extra costs I'd incurred on your behalf? Nope - nope - and nope. Strange as it may seem, had you been considerate enough to make the offer, I'd have refused it, and we might have been friends forever.
But you did not. Boys, here's what happens for your failure to behave like normal fishing people. I know you're going to bid on this trip again next year, so guess what - there's not going to be a trip to bid on next year. This is the end for me. The sorority loses a popular auction item, the charities lose some income, and some other nicer people lose a chance to enjoy a day of fishing on the Eagle. Just because of your taking inappropriate advantage of this situation.
8/23: The EAGLE finally cleared below Alkali Creek - at least pretty much, so I ventured into the Red Canyon section and after driving around for a bit was able to find one stretch without other fishermen. Waded across the stream dry fly casting without success, so got smart and tied on a #20 CDC OS-2. Immediate gratification followed in the form of a 14" rainbow on the first cast. Landed and/or lost seven or eight more in the next stretch from 12"-16" plus a 15" brown. Later by Wolcott I caught the same 18" hen rainbow landed by my friend a couple of days earlier. So it's that time of year when it takes "small flies to hook big fish".
8/24: Like a magnet GORE CREEK attracts me. As much as I'd like to stay off it to rest the fish, the stream is just too much fun to walk away from right now. An hour of casting with a #20 gray comparadun brought roughly a dozen rainbows between 7-13 inches. And too many hookups by bankside brushes brought an hour at the tying bench afterwards to replace flies lost to the shrubs.
8/25: Good success on the EAGLE, but the condition of these fish really bothers me. It was an all rainbow day - and for a change they came to surface flies. Used a #20 comparadun with a tan cdc stub winged #22 emerger in front of it. Probably hooked 15 fish - all were over 12". The discouraging part is looking at some of these poor guys. A quarter of them had body bruises and three had terrible looking mouths - almost as though someone had hooked them with a half dozen treble hooks and then indiscriminately ripped them out. Not a nice sight.
8/26: AS GOOD AS IT GETS on the Gore. The bike trip to a quarter mile of water I fish perhaps once every three weeks brought wonderful dry fly fishing. The first hole brought three species - and I shook off several of the fourth. Later several brook trout came to hand to complete the cycle. A large PED hatch flew around me as I waded upstream, and while I had no precise imitations in the comparadun box, a gray #20 of that genre brought maybe 25-30 fish to touch in a couple of hours. So back to the tying vise tonight to turn out some of those pale bodied mayflies. A closer color match by me would have brought more strikes by them (the fish).
Last Logbook Entry
8/28: A friend from the East Coast, who now spends his summers here in the valley was kind enough to haul me with him over to the TARRYALL CREEK private tailwater today. Neither of us had been to this tributary of the South Platte, but it looked wonderful. Almost two miles of beautiful meadow water to cast over without any other fishermen to worry about. As it turned out, we should have arrived later and fished it only in the evening.
While full of brown trout, the fish were incredibly spooky. Neither small comparaduns, nor rs-2 type nymphs brought anything but chuckles from these PHD trout. Plus the gin clear water and a downstream in-the-face wind meant good presentations were virtually impossible to make. Eventually through a combination of 60-75 foot casts, 6X tippets, and grasshoppers dropped along the banks we did land and lose a few decent browns, but it was as difficult fishing as I've ever encountered - up to and including the Montana spring creeks. Two guides we ran into as we left the water in late afternoon indicated that the evening fishing would be much easier, but time constraints caused us to have to exit the area too early this day.
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