November, 1999

11/4:  How do you spell "skunk"?  I've answered that question twice in the past few days.  A quick trip to the Colorado above State Bridge yielded one skunk - and my trip to Aspen a ditto on the Roaring Fork.  Couple of problems with the water in both areas - releases from impoundment's have raised water levels to an almost impossible flow.  This time of year the fish won't move much more than a centimeter to take a fly and with flows as fast as they are, the probability of getting a nymph right on the nose of a trout is almost impossible - at least it was for me in these two cases.

11/5:  You know - six fish for two hours of continuous casting doesn't sound like much fun, but the reality is, IT WAS FUN.  Drove to Silverthorne for an oil change and took advantage of another perfect day to fish the heavily trafficked stretch above the Forest Service office.  A modest BWO hatch came off for about an hour, so I did hook a couple of browns on the buggy olive/yellow fly being used as a strike indicator.  The heavier action (it's all relative) came on the #20 BWO black CDC winged RS-2 fished close to the bottom.  None of the fish were whoppers, but when times are tough, anything attached to your line makes you happy.

11/8:  Another glorious, sunny day brought smiles to our faces - and very few fish to hand as we tried the Blue again before the Broncos game on Sunday.  Sue & I hooked 6-8 fish between us in an hour & a half of casting.   The Blue's running very low right now - probably about 100 c.f.s., so it can be cross waded anywhere.  Everything took a #20 black CDC winged BWO emerger fished deep in the current.  As is the case on every stream, if the fly doesn't pass directly near the fish's nose, nothing happens.

11/14:  Stunning weather continues.  By the time we'd driven to Buena Vista the temperature on the local bank's display read 67 degrees.   Tried our old spot above the River Park put-in area on the Arkansas in town and were completely unsuccessful.  Water levels are as low as they can get and crystal clear.  Fish are spooky beyond belief, and no matter what we tried - deep or surface - we had no connections at all.

But after changing the rig to a combination dry fly setup of a #20 BWO emerger trailed by that ever popular buggy olive stimulator type fly things actually got better.  The browns below the bridge were laying quietly in shallow, but slower moving runs & pools.  The action couldn't be described as hot & heavy, but we probably landed a half dozen fish & missed an equal number in the 45 minutes we tried this area.  The difficulty was in detecting the surface strikes.  Fish are so sluggish in the desperately cold water that the take was almost indiscernible.   But it was fun!

Later as the sun was setting in the afternoon we made a few casts on the "Randy Garcia" water just outside Leadville and actually caught a few more small browns.  So all in all, the was one of our better November days.

11/16:  A pleasant surprise on the EAGLE this afternoon on yet another superb day.  Wet wading on November 16 in Colorado is almost beyond belief and it worked again today.  A visit to my favorite run on the lease water by Eagle started out maddeningly slow,  but after changing the #20 BWO emerger (fished deep) to a #18 red midge, the action picked up markedly.  Keep in mind that "markedly" this time of year is a lot different than in the hotter months.

Anyway I was shortly rewarded with a 12" rainbow, then a 14 incher, and then a brute of an 18 incher that took the dry (bugger fly) I was using as a strike indicator.  Upstream one 12" brown sandwiched himself between a couple more 14" rainbows.  On top of that I missed at least another half dozen strikes - they're fiercely difficult to detect in this cold water.  So on balance it was a day worthy of one in the summer months.  With a storm system headed through tomorrow we'll probably not get out again until the weekend.

11/20:  Today was a brutal reminder how difficult mid winter fishing can be.  It starts with frozen waders in the back of the car, followed by breaking through the shore ice just to get out on the river.  Then we add frozen fingers, frozen rod guides, iced up line, and the impossibility of getting any kind of decent drift due to the flow ice moving down the stream.  If the aforementioned suggests that no strikes resulted today, that would be a good assumption.

11/27:  The first of the "bad" fishing months is almost over, but 40 air degree temperatures and a little higher flow on the Eagle provided a bit more success this afternoon.  Using a tiny (#20) short shanked red midge brought a half dozen strikes, four rainbows on, and two decent ones to hand in a little more than an hour of casting.  Admittedly not great fishing but a lot better than landing another skunk.

Last Logbook Entry  for previous days.

11/28:  Just when you think good fishing is over for the year, all of a sudden you get a great Thanksgiving present - at least in this case.   We drove just over an hour from home to try a tailwater we'd never previously fished and ended up having a terrific experience.  No one else was on the stream despite the day being a Sunday, and that was a treat unto itself.  Walking downstream on a path gentle rises were noticeable in each pool we passed.

Our initial attempts to cast to trout feeding on the top & just in the film proved fruitless.  Griffith's gnats and a variety of other midge emergers only seemed to scatter the bulging fish, but after changing to smaller larva and fishing them mid depth our success picked up markedly.  The two best patterns were a black bead head red larva and a serendipity tied one of the same color, both on #20 straight or scud type hooks.  Let's be honest - it was not hot & heavy action, but over the next hour we probably had a couple dozen strikes between us.  All were nice fat rainbows, the best of which just slipped out of my hands as I attempted to measure him against some length marks on my rod.  Normally I'd forgo that effort, but this fish was very close to 20 inches.


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