January, 2000

1/1:  While my rod & reel worked fine today, unfortunately the fish were not equally day one Y2K compliant.  Time off from ski teaching allowed for a quick trip to the Blue and some mid-winter nymphing.  Unfortunately, to be completely direct, absolutely nothing worked.  I neither saw, nor felt, nor had any sense that fish were even present in the stretch of river I waded today.  That's the way it can be throughout the cold months - although usually we can at least count on a strike or two.  But it's still great to be on the water again.  Tuesday's a trip to Aspen, so maybe fortune will smile on the Roaring Fork.

1/4:  Today's trip to Aspen was supposed to provide the normal monthly opportunity to nymph the Roaring Fork, but it was not to be.   Flow ice clogged the stream wherever I stopped to peek at it.  There was no chance of getting a fly to the bottom through that mess, so I passed.

1/6:  The air temperature was +/- 5 degrees around zero.  Wind was out of the North at 15 m.p.h.  The water temperature was 34 degrees.  Ice clogged the guides on every cast.  Was this a fun experience?   Actually it was - more than less.  The operative phrase would be "fish landed".  Another descriptor might be - fish landed on dry flies - at 5 degrees - yes!

No other people disturbed the dog & I on this trip to our newest favorite tailwater.  At about noon heads began popping up through the surface film.  And the same tiny white midges that seem to perpetually hatch during midday here in the winter were in evidence again.  Using an overly large (#18) red bodied, white winged bastard midge brought a dozen strikes before my hands feeling quit permanently.  A dozen strikes resulted, a half dozen rainbows were hooked, and three nice ones between 12-14 inches were landed.  That's a very nice day of fishing despite the weather.

1/11:  Decent temperatures have blessed the valley for the past few days as the annual January thaw is upon us.  Having an hour to spare this afternoon, I headed down to the "warm water" section of Gore Creek for a quick casting session.  Spotted a number of nice fish resting in a big pool, but throwing small surface midges brought no success.  Then turned to a #20 black scintilla larva with copper ribbing and had modest success.  Three strikes resulted in two fish on and one brought to hand - a feisty 16 inch rainbow.  A week of ski teaching in Beaver Creek starts tomorrow so that's about it for fishing for a while.

1/20:  With our unusual January thaw continuing some of the ice has receded from the banks of the Eagle, so the dog & I took an hour out on the way back to Vail & stopped at a favorite stretch of this river.  Wish I could report great success, but even with the higher air temperatures there was no sign of a midge or BWO hatch.  Throwing nymphs on the bottom brought modest success - four fish hooked and one dandy 18" rainbow brought to hand.  They took either a tiny red midge or a somewhat larger dark stone.  The fish are still holding in very slow water of varying depths.  Lots of casting is required to get just a few strikes, but it's still better than no fishing at all.

1/27:  With warmer temperatures and several days of wet snow, stream flows are rising, and the fish were definitely more active today on the Eagle near Wolcott.  While ice still clogs the shore - and the guides - a dark stone drifted in pools & runs produced very well today.  In roughly an hour of casting six rainbows between 6-18 inches came to hand along with one lonesome 8 inch brown.  All in all probably the best success of the winter so far.

Last Logbook Entry  for previous days.

1/30: Last Christmas I gave my fishing (girl) friend a graphite Loop reel as a present. She needs lightness in equipment & this was the best I could find at only 3 oz. Besides it was all I could afford. Anyway the weight is great, and the large arbor is terrific for retrieving line quickly. Unfortunately the drag really sucks - as always seems to be the case with graphite reels.

I knew she'd hate the reel - and shortly thereafter - me too. So today I bit the bullet & stripped the line off my favorite Battenkill disk drag reel & loaded it up with her new Orvis Wonderline - which by the way is a quantum leap forward - as lines go - and then put my old line on the Loop. And as should be expected, like it is with a shiny new car, I had to test the new toy, so I drove down below Dowd Junction for some casting at a favorite hole on the Eagle. Stream conditions have reverted to miserable given our sub zero nighttime temperatures lately. Ice was solid for thirty feet out from both sides of the river, and flow ice was clogging the remaining flow.

But when I could get a moderately decent drift, the fish were actually looking for food. After a couple of difficult to respond to strikes, I landed a twelve inch brown on a tiny white CDC winged red midge. (The reality is that the fish probably find this to be an egg, but so what.) Shortly there came another brown to the same fly, and a few casts later a nice twelve inch cutthroat took the black stone that was ahead of the midge. On that note I quit. It was almost too good to be true, catching three fish when I had absolute expectations of being shut out.


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