8/1: With the skies continually hazy from thousands of acres of western fires, unrelenting hot temperatures, & rapidly diminishing stream flows, I wondered if our summer fishing was close to an end. Happily it's not - if today was a sample of what August will bring.
The normal month end data gathering quest at the county offices again provided a chance to get out on our favorite lease water. Yes, there are cars at almost every pull off, but with many of these being out of area fishermen, we have a distinct advantage due to local knowledge. Walking down to a treasured starting hole & wading across the stream, I noticed a few dimples on the surface caused by feeding fish.
Not seeing what was causing the commotion, started casting with a #18 hair wing surface fly trailed four feet by a tiny bead head caddis emerger. Had a couple of tentative strikes - or close looks - on the hair wing, but nothing solid. The nature of the rises suggested mayfly, and without seeing any bugs on the surface I changed to a #20 CDC winged RS-2 trailed by a #18 comparadun.
This did the trick. Although I caught a couple of bows on the RS-2, the comparadun in a PMD type coloration was fabulously successful. Even some tiny loop wings faired no better than the RS-2. Boy was it fun fishing. The trout came up everywhere & sat just below the film picking off mayflies as they floated by drying their wings. This was probably a once a summer experience for me. It was great classic long line, small fly fishing. All the fish released were rainbows between 14-18 inches and virtually every one was a result of sight casting to a rising fish. It's very unusual to have this kind of fishing on the Eagle - & especially in the heat of the day.
Actually only had to fish this one pool to get my fill today. Probably left 75% of the water I had planned to wade untouched. Estimated 30 strikes, 15-20 fish hooked, & at least a dozen released. Wonderful start to the month.
8/3-4: It was a mixed bag of results on this two day business/pleasure trip from Vail to Redstone & back. The dog & I left early on Wednesday in the hopes of repeating our success of the above. It didn't happen on the Eagle as the winds popped up strongly & my choice of water was less than ideal. The PMD's were continuing to bloom that afternoon although they weren't quite as attractive to the fishes. Probably most of the fishes were still feeding deep down below. We did catch a handful of rainbows & browns on these tiny #20 mayflies in the Red Canyon section of the Eagle, but it wasn't what I'd call heavy action.
Later in the evening we tried some new water on the same stream below Gypsum without success for anything but the mosquitoes who enjoyed drinking a bit of our blood. After that we headed to Dotsero & drove up the Colorado a few miles to have dinner & try some braids fishing with stones. Again no success. River was high & off color for whatever reason. The next day would bring a complete turnabout.
On the Crystal near Redstone we had fabulous success. People simply don't seem to fish this stretch of water & it was wonderful today. Used a surface #16 hair wing trailed by a serendipity tied buckskin & caught fish so quickly, I kept the forceps in my rod hand while casting. There was that much action. 90% of the fish were stupid rainbows between 8-14 inches followed by some nice sized brookies, a lone cutthroat of 12 inches, and a couple of decent sized whitefish. This was an unusual grand slam, but we'll take it. The Crystal shows all those signs of water rights problems where the lower river is almost running dry & the upper is still completely full. So don't be discouraged if you drive through Carbondale & see just a trickle of water. Keep going & you'll be well rewarded.
That was about it for the fishing. We did take a half hour on the Roaring Fork the next evening, but a thunderstorm made casting almost impossible. A lone 16" rainbow broke the fly off after my only hookup that night.
8/7: Gore Creek's really too low & warm right now, but being my home stream it's irristable to not fish it from time to time. The fish are concentrated in deeper holes & more oxygenated riffles which stands to reason. Riding my bike along the golf course, I could actually watch several fish finning quietly in the upper film of some better runs. Started casting at a few favorite areas with a tiny #20 PMD even though no hatches were in progress at the moment.
It was moderately successful, but changing to a slightly longer tippet & over to one of those generic hair wing flies sized similarly was much more productive. The reality is that deep nymphing would probably produce three times the number of strikes under these conditions, but I was lazy & loathe to nymph this time of year. So the nice hour of casting produced a good dozen to fifteen varied types of fish - mostly rainbows between 6-13 inches with one nice 12" cut and an identical sized brookie. It's a great little stream, and I know I'm lucky to live close to it.
8/8-10: Life's a mixed bag right now. Both the Eagle & Roaring Fork were so warm the past couple of days you'd think you were in a bathtub. Results varied significantly based on location on each river. Two days ago the Eagle in mid afternoon reveled in a PMD (or something similar) hatch under a furnace-like sun. The fishing was great - and once the hatch stopped, fish continued to feed on a #20 RS-2 of the same breed. In both rivers the rainbows are sitting in riffle water while the browns are more spread out.
The trout are, however, getting smarter quicker. Had several misses & "long releases" today & yesterday on tiny RS-2's fished close to the bottom. The best top water fly is still a small PMD comparadun. Early evenings until dark have to be the optimum time to cast.
8/15: We've not cast about much lately. Two short evening sessions on Gore Creek provided some fun on small surface caddis. The fish are very skittish due to extremely low flows (40 c.f.s. today at the mouth.) But we still connected & missed some others. A trip down on the Eagle this afternoon may be more productive.
The afternoon a trip to the Red Canyon section of the Eagle was amazingly productive for a stretch - then a complete blank for the next. Fished the eddy water next to rapids with good success to start with. A big, fluffy #16 surface hair wing trailed by a #18 copper john brought equally good results. For a third of a mile the combination was unbeatable. Then the next third of a mile of almost identical water turned sour. Except for a few midges there was no visible hatch in either section, so why the difference is beyond me.
Our weekly report from the Department of Wildlife is late, so we won't be adding it now as we're headed out of town this morning on a long expedition. The trip takes us to wading on the Crystal, Gunnison, Valecito Creek, Hermosa Creek, Animas, Las Piedras, Pinos, Pueblo Reservoir, and the Arkansas over the next six days so it should be fun to report when we return.
8/17-23: A long & not very productive fishing trip through Southwestern Colorado during this period. If you want to view the less than glorious details, click here for a lengthy report on what happened.
Last Logbook Entry é for previous day
8/26: Ah, back to the basics in town. The dog & I drove to the East Vail parking spot & hiked downstream to our favorite stretch of Gore Creek. Though no other cars were present we ran into two other waders & a guy exercising his golden in the creek. That didn't do the fishing much good. We continued upstream in and around this group & managed to connect on a handful of mixed small cuts & brookies on the trailing #20 copper john. A bit later we noticed some tiny yellow stones in the air and a change to a like colored imitation produced almost a dozen strikes - all of which I missed. It's hard to be that inept, but I managed it nicely.
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