July, 1999

7/1:  Gore Creek's clearing rapidly - in fact it's probably almost crystalline at this point.  Happily (for us locals at least), the flow is still high enough that it's basically impossible to wade.  I know that's a selfish statement, but given the masses of people in town over the 4th Holiday, if the stream could be completely accessed, the damage to the fishery would be significant.

I had five fish on in an hour of throwing nymphs this afternoon.  I don't know what they all took, but suspect it was the small buckskin emerger fly that trailed a darker stone.  There were a few mayflies visible in the air for the first time this summer, but the wind was blowing so hard even the swallows trying to snag them were having an impossible time.  Our very warm temperatures should finish off the runoff pretty quickly, so check out flows over the next couple of weeks.   Also you can revisit the June report here, and take a look at our last week's trip to Montana.

7/4:  HAPPY 4TH OF JULY HOLIDAY!  Amazing transformation on the Eagle today.  Hatches galore.  Pteranarcys and golden stones; two or three kinds of caddis.  What a day.  Wading is still only marginally possible, but the back eddies are forming nicely.  Using a couple of medium sized stone dries, I caught & released browns until my left arm grew tired - then switched hands and did the same thing with the right hand.  Missed lots more strikes than were hooked, but it was a really fine day.  Hopefully tomorrow will bring a repeat performance.

7/5:  A REPEAT ON THAT SAME STRETCH OF THE EAGLE.  The stonefly hatch continued to dominate our brown trout's thinking in the same area of the river as the day before.  We landed good numbers of smallish brownies and missed probably twice as many strikes.  But the lower river in the lease water above the town of Eagle was a disappointment.  Only a couple of rainbows came to hand despite our throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the fish.

Hatches were diverse and heavy which may have accounted for our inability to focus on the proper fly-of-the-day.  Pteranarcys and brown stones, several caddis varietals, PMD's, and one other mayfly were observed.  Wading is getting easier.

7/6: A quick flow report.  Both Gore Creek and the Eagle are dropping dramatically and should be completely wadable within no more than two weeks.   The Roaring Fork and Crystal are still raging, and it may be another month before those streams are completely accessible from the shore.

7/9:  IT WAS A BLIZZARD CADDIS hatch on Gore Creek mid afternoon.  Wading's still tough, but when a pocket was located with decent holding water the fish were responsive to either standard elk hairs or X caddis.  Subsurface larva or emergers didn't work at all. 

7/11:  A GRAND SLAM ON THE PINEY.  It was a great day of fishing this difficult little river that drains Piney Lake.  We hiked about four miles downstream on the well used trail and began fishing near an old settler's cabin.   The beaver ponds produced lots of strikes - we landed equal numbers of modest brooks & browns.  Further upstream each pocket that should have held fish did so, and we enjoyed more surface strikes, landing more browns, some small rainbows, and a handful of quite weighty cutthroats.  All the fish took small elk hairs to a degree but really preferred the various loop wings we threw at them.  Red quills were in the air along with caddis & midges, but apparently the quills were the main course today.   River was flowing at 83 c.f.s.  NOTE - the deer & horse flies are murderous this summer.  They can bite through almost anything and pure deet doesn't help.

7/12:  CONDITIONS ARE PERFECT RIGHT NOW on local creeks.   30 minutes of fishing a 50 yard long run produced eight rainbows to hand and twice that many more missed strikes.  The fish are taking stupid pills each day now as a strong caddis hatch continues in progress.  But the water clarity and bright sunny conditions attracted them more to a flat water #18 brown caddis as opposed to the bushier elk hair.  I suspect this report could be duplicated each day without change for the next couple of weeks.  It's fishing heaven.

7/14: QUALITY - NOT QUANTITY was the order of the day.  An approaching monsoon out of Mexico has prompted a flash flood watch for the area tonight, so coming back from Eagle, I stopped for a quick casting session on a heavily fished, but nicely set up stretch of bank water along the Eagle River.  A couple casts later a nice drift through an eddy seam brought to hook one of the best browns I've ever landed on this stream.  Although only 17-19" long it probably weighed three pounds.  Both the #18 elk hair and the #18 flat water caddis drifted by it's mouth - and it took the flat water version.  The rains came shortly thereafter and ended the casting.

Later in the afternoon after the rains ended, but Gore Creek had not turned murky, another half hour of wading produced a half dozen fish - one of which was a wonderful 16" hen rainbow.  Probably won't handle a larger fish on that creek this year.  Same fly rig as on the Eagle.

7/15:  A batch of brookies found the caddis irresistible this afternoon on the Gore.  Interestingly they pounced on the elk hair as opposed to the more realistic flat water model.  None were over 10", but they were all scrappy.  A spate of muddy water passed through and ended the fun.  Later in the day when the stream had cleared a bit, I landed a half dozen modest rainbows downstream from "brook trout heaven".  The caddis hatch continues unabated.

7/18:  Two hours of casting above the Sunlight Bridge on the ROARING FORK today brought lots of strikes, yet only a few fish to hand, and that's fine.   The stream's still running a bit high, but wadable, and the color's perfect.   Caddis were flying when we arrived as were some small alloperla stones.  Elk hairs produced nothing, but when we changed to a #16 yellow stone, the action heated up.   Don't know why I missed so many strikes.  Just one of those days.  Hooked a couple of rainbows in the 17-18 inch range laying near the bank.  It was fun.   Things can only get better through the rest of the summer on this river.

7/20:  FISHING BEYOND BELIEF on the Eagle this noon.   Stopped at a favorite stream section on the way back from a data gathering expedition to the county offices.  The river's slightly colored from yesterday's thunderstorms, but hatches were in progress.  Only saw a couple kinds of caddis at first, but left on the same stone from the Roaring Fork trip (see above).

It was a fortuitous bit of laziness, as the first eddy immediately produced three fine rainbows and an equally large brown.  Later I noticed some alloperla and larger golden stones in the air, and the fish were obviously keying on them as opposed to the smaller caddis.

Had wonderful success for the hour I spent on the stream.   Landed roughly 12 fish and had perhaps eighteen other hits.  The striking part of the day's activity was that none of the trout were under 14" long.   Absolutely fabulous fishing.  This really is a world class river.

7/25:  We took a spontaneous overnight trip to the Roaring Fork and CRYSTAL Rivers this weekend.  The timing was more or less lousy due to increasingly frequent thunderstorms in the area, and that probably led to our very limited success rate on both streams.  By the time we arrived above Glenwood and began casting on the Fork, the river was coloring by the minute due to storms upstream.   Changing to a nymph rig helped somewhat, but we had only modest success on rainbows down by the Westbank Ranch bridge.

The off color water was being caused by heavy, dark flows on the Crystal when we passed through Carbondale and virtually every place we stopped to fish brought negative results.  After camping that night near Marble, the following day brought some clearing conditions and better fishing.  Right in the town of Redstone we had excellent success on sub 12 inch rainbows and larger whitefish.  Small bead head stones and caddis patterns were the ticket this day. 

7/27:  TO BE HONEST IT WAS DEPRESSING to have trout so readily accept flies today.  I thought it would be a treat to wade Gore Creek with perfect weather, warm water temps., and nice hatches ongoing - - but the reality was that the fish can be so virginal in their acceptance of our imitations that the thrill of constant strikes rapidly wears thin.  The fish liked best a black hackle bodied #18 elk hair caddis, although the best fish went after a spent wing loop wing type mayfly in a brown coloration.

Last Logbook Entry

7/28:  I-70 was closed due to a large mudslide when I headed up to the mountains from Denver today.  U.S. 285 remained open so I drove back towards Buena Vista with the rest of the madding hordes trying to find a way west out of town.  The lower S. Platte was livid with mud, but when I got to Hartsel the upper stream was almost perfect.  Walked down a half mile or so & began casting for the numerous, but undersized browns that inhabit the area.

Fishing was good.  In about two hours I landed a dozen or so fish (10-14") on a variety of nymphs and dries that more or less matched the hatches going on.  Best fly was a #14 surface yellow stone tied stimulator fashion.   Suspect it not only looked like the stones in the air but also the grasshoppers that were present on the banks.  Also had success with a PMD, flat water caddis, bead head golden stone, and caddis emerger - so the fish were pretty catholic in their tastes.


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