4/2: Nice weather, but lousy fishing on the Colorado today. An overabundance of guides out with clients on the Eagle suggested we get away to the State Bridge area on the upper Colorado. Clear water conditions existed, but our efforts were only rewarded with a few large whitefish. The rainbows are present and catchable now even though we had no success with them. The whiteys all took a tiny crosscut scintilla egg fly.
4/3: FOR SEVERAL YEARS the only logical reason for my being skunked locally has been a quality of stubbornness that causes me to stick to a set game plan for the time I'm on the water - despite the obvious going on around me that realistically calls for some other approach. Today that characteristic should have doomed me, but for whatever reason, it did not for a change.
A #20 Copper John fished five feet behind (& below) one of those generic "kind of like..." flies being used as a strike indicator proved to be at least fairly successful. Three each of rainbows & browns between 14-17 inches took the copper fly. The river (Eagle) was low but somewhat off color, so I suspect that's what gave us the success. It was fascinating that the good sized browns fought better than did the all male rainbows.
4/11: Almost a four species grand slam on Gore Creek this afternoon. Between snow squalls I waded an area of East Vail that still has some lingering beaver dams. Runoff will soon dispose of them, but for now they hold wonderful schools of smaller and actively feeding trout. The first three fish to hand were a 10" brown, an 8" rainbow, and then a 12" brookie. Had several other strikes & fish on, but never landed that elusive cutthroat. The best fly was a tiny #22 generic brown midge larva wound with copper wire. Some midges were in the air although I never saw any fish break the surface for them.
4/12: More good success on Gore Creek this afternoon. The #20 copper john proved to be worthless today, but a tiny thin bodied #22 gray midge larva produced tons of strikes. No fish exceeded 12" and all were rainbows. The other surprise was hooking several fish on a surface gray #16 generic. There were apparently some midges on the water as well, but it seemed very unusual for the dry fly to do anything else than serve as a strike indicator.
4/13: Wonderful fishing today on the ARKANSAS NEAR BUENA VISTA. The river's up somewhat making wading a bit more difficult but not too dangerous yet. By 1:00 it had off colored slightly, and that didn't hurt the fishing much. The presence of a small caddis hatch triggered lots of feeding by the local browns.
A #18 gray caddis surface fly trailed six feet below by a bead head caddis emerger proved almost irresistible to the fish near the above town. The first half dozen casts to an eddy brought three strikes and two browns between 12-16 inches to hand. This trend continued upstream - - and most happily - - I landed & released two rainbows in the 10" range. Never before have caught more than one bow per trip, so with fingers crossed, we'll hope a trend is starting.
Upstream near GRANITE the success continued but with a substitute of a #18 copper john. Here the size of the fish was surprising as the first half dozen landed were never under 12" in length. Clearly the upper Arkansas is getting well after suffering for years from mine pollution.
But what a great day. Probably had 25-30 fish on or released in the three hours of casting. With runoff on the near horizon, this probably was my last trip to this river until later in the summer.
4/17: Gore Creek was productive again this afternoon albeit not in a "quantity" sense. A tiny black bodied midge larva ribbed with copper wire brought browns of 14 & 16 inches followed by an 8 inch brookie & finally a 13 inch rainbow. So the grand slam was once again thwarted. Runoff should begin shortly & put an end to this kind of fun.
4/20-22: We had a very productive short trip to the GREEN RIVER below FLAMING GORGE RESERVOIR. Sue & I took the vanagon on this expedition past Dinosaur in Colorado, through Vernal, Utah, and then up the very steep pass to Flaming Gorge reservoir.
After a few minutes examining the dam's visitor's center, we drove to the overlook above the first raft put in located directly below the tailwater. So many boats were visible in the stream we couldn't believe the crowding, much less understand how it might be possible to catch a fish in this kind of traffic chaos. All of this frenetic river activity existed on a Thursday in the off season! It's unimaginable what the summers must be like.
We decided against hiking down the trail through this part of the so called "A" section hoping against hope that lower down on the river it might be less crowded. Then we drove down towards the Little Hole take out day use area (the end of the "A" section) and stopped at the overlook above the parking area. Again we were dumbfounded by the sight of two dozen drift boats coasting and perhaps another 50 people wade fishing the bank separated by no more than 20-40 feet. It was incomprehensible how anyone could possibly catch a fish in this kind of setting.
Instead of driving to the parking area we opted to rig up at the overlook and we then hiked downhill to the stream's edge. Down at the river, the boulevard-wide fisherman's trail looked like a freeway through Los Angeles. But interestingly, numbers of fish were visible in the water - in fact in quantities I've never witnessed before. And in the air there was the presence of BWO hatch beginning. I started out trying tiny BWO emergers trailed behind a larger generic stone fly while Sue chose to deep nymph with a prince or something similar.
Surprisingly it only took a few casts to hook & land a nice 14" brown and shortly thereafter another one of perhaps 16 inches. Pretty soon I changed to a #20 loop wing BWO trailed by the same emerger & Sue did the same. We went down to a finer 6X tippet and the action was steady, albeit not spectacular through the rest of the morning.
Throughout this day I've never seen this many fish this close up and personal. The river seems literally filled by browns of all sizes & shapes. According to a local report there may be 14,000 fish per mile in the upper section below the dam, and I believe that's possibly an understatement. What's more astonishing is that the fish are not bothered by the fisherman's presence. It's common for them to feed no more than six feet away from where one is standing and be seemingly oblivious to one's presence.
We took a lunch break and then continued casting in the area near where we'd hiked down the trail. All in all I doubt we fished more than a third of a mile of this river and every few yards of it held more fish than we'd see in a year on our home water in Colorado. Our best success was on a tiny BWO comparadun or the old favorite loop wing. To be honest we had better success than 99% of the other wade fishermen we passed on the river. My suspicion is that this was caused not by our streamcraft or casting skills, but by the unusual qualities of the flies we used. They are not normal renditions of things these highly educated brown trout have likely seen before, and that probably gave us the edge.
While we didn't keep a running count of fish landed & released, I know we had to have touched 35-50 fish between us and probably missed or lost an amount far greater than that figure. Browns accounted for all but two of our catch and their sizes ranged between 12-20 inches. The two rainbows we released were in the 15-22 inch range. It was truly spectacular fishing.
That night we drove downstream to Brown's Park (the end of the "B" section) hoping not only to avoid people, but also to hike through a different section of the river. We camped at Bridgeport that evening & cast over the riffle water in front of us. There - on a dark stone I released my best fish of the trip - a fat hen brown of roughly 22 inches and weighing at least four pounds. Later I lost four more fish in this section, some of which were clearly larger than the one that was touched.
Next day we drove upstream to the trail head and began a hike through the "B" section. The river's much flatter here and fish are few & far between. Near a nice looking riffle, we released a couple fish, but the holding water conditions this far downstream are not nearly as hospitable as further up towards the dam. Also Red Creek was releasing that color above us, and the river was pretty badly stained. Next time I think we'll try hiking down from Little Hole, and that should prove more productive.
After we left this area, we pulled into a couple of raft take outs on the "C" section, but the water truly was not as attractive again due to slower flows and difficulty identifying holding areas, so we passed on any further casting on the river.
There is, however, no question that we will return. Despite our inherent dislike of crowds of any sort, the fishing is simply so astounding that the Green will have to become an annual event for us. (Photos will follow in the next few weeks.)
4/27: GORE CREEK'S getting close to the early stage of runoff, but its coloration is still decent. A bike trip with the rod out to the golf course area started out poorly, but after seeing a small BWO hatch in progress, changing to a comparadun trailed by a black CDC winged emerger, success got a bit better.
Although I had some fish on the trailer fly, the reality is that I'd have had better luck with a loop wing/comparadun combination. Missed several strikes on the comparadun due to being unable to see it in the stream foam. But the trip was fun anyway and may have signaled the last decent "conventional" fishing until runoff retreats in mid July. Also this may be the last report until later in May due to the annual windsurfing trip to Corpus beginning next week. Cursor up to review the report on the Green River from a week ago.
Last Logbook Entry é for previous days.
4/29-4/30: A couple of quick outings brought slim pickings on Gore Creek & the Blue. Saturday, with the Gore in an early runoff stage, a half hour of yanking a wooly bugger along the bank resulted in only one fish to hand - albeit a very nice sized brookie of almost 13 fat inches.
Sunday on our favorite section of the Blue in Silverthorne, the first pool yielded a half dozen smallish browns & rainbows to a #20 black CDC winged BWO emerger fished behind a #18 copper john. None of the fish took the copper fly, so clearly there are BWO's on these fish's minds. None were evident in the air on this cloudy, snowy day. The stream was very low & clear. After that good early success, I was shut out. A few more casts on a section of Ten Mile Creek resulted in another blanking.
Given a planned departure for Corpus on Tuesday, this is probably the last update until at least the middle part of May.
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