6/2: With local streams all blown out by the early peaking runoff fishing remains pretty poor. Some casts along the banks of the Roaring Fork & Eagle today brought a dozen strikes but only a couple of medium sized rainbows to hand. Rabbit buggers are the order of the day fished as deeply as possible. Most of the fish simply seem to be trying to knock the flies out of their feeding zones, so strikes of this type result in few hookups.
Around this area, the tailwater of the Blue below Green Mountain and the Frying Pan are probably the best bets. Even the Williams Fork below the dam is now surging to near unfishable levels.
6/4: I've never been happier to lose a couple of nice, large fish. A trip to a small tailwater never before visited brought two 14-16 inch long rainbows snapping at a dark rabbit bugger, so even though both were on only briefly, this was a good discovery. Driving to the Black Gore Lakes, the dog & I walked the perimeter of the lower one and had decent success on an olive rabbit bugger trailed by a small scud. All were brookies - and really pretty small ones at that - but it was a fun day.
6/8-6/11: LAKE POWELL was pretty much the same this year although the pool level was lower than when we were there in May of 1999. Our favorite campsite was free as usual and the 30 minute paddle down from the ferry boat ramp brought back lots of happy memories. The fishing was actually somewhat better than we experienced in 1999, although the average sizes of the smallmouths was significantly less than in some of the stellar years of the past.
It's always exciting to cast & troll flies in this body of water given the variety of species here. We alternated the trolling/shore casting process for three days and had pretty decent luck. Immature smallmouths comprised the bulk of our catch. We vary dragging different streamers from our wash deck kayak at different depths and as usual, Sue proved to be more successful with her full sink line. I ended up catching a better variety of specimens from the cliffs & banks, but we probably evened out on counts of fish released.
We changed our flies slightly this year from standard wooly buggers. A gray marabou tailed streamer has always been extremely successful as it seems to nicely imitate the threadfin shad that used to be so prevalent here. Now they are as scarce as the stripers that once overpopulated this body of water. What we found to be more productive than the two streamer combination of large leading black bugger followed by the gray one was a yellow and black marabou either leading or trailing a gray or olive micro streamer.
To shorten this monologue, because I spent more time walking the cliffs & banks, I ended up catching some unusual fish - including a 12" rainbow, a 12" striper, a 15" largemouth, and two nice 12-16 inch long channel catfish. The latter were extremely aggressive in taking the streamers in shallow water which fact I found really fascinating.
The weather was great and water temperatures equally so.
6/14: The Eagle's running high but very clear. Stopped off near Dowd Junction this morning to look for some signs of a hatch, but nothing was evident. A half hour of casting with a surface stone trailed five feet by a bead head stone nymph brought a half dozen small browns to hand. It wasn't great fishing and I should have been deeper. There's just no sign of fish rising to anything yet. Also the water is cold as hell - which obviously explains the lack of hatches.
6/16-19: Moved all files to a new computer so am behind in recording fishing data. Gore Creek is now dropping rapidly and is marginally wadable particularly in the upper stretches. Fish are visible & much more active than a week ago. Some casts with a surface caddis trailed by a small RS-2 brought several brook trout & a couple nice rainbows to shore on Friday.
Saturday was reserved primarily for buying doors & other remodeling parts for Sue's new condo in Glenwood Springs - - but - - I was able to struggle down to the river below the Sunlight Bridge and throw some nymphs for a half hour. It took about ten minutes to locate a fine flock of whitefish, after which I landed one at least every other cast. The fascinating catch was a true sucker - and it was LIP hooked. That's a first for me in Colorado.
Sunday's trip to Black Gore Lake resulted in a brookie, but no fish from the nice tailwater. Winds were high, temperatures were low, & we quit after a few shivering attempts at casting buggers along the shore.
6/21: A nice caddis hatch was in progress on the Roaring Fork when I walked down to the river below the Sunlight Bridge. Even though the stream's still very high, a few splashy rises were evident. So the dog & I walked downstream a ways & began our fishing close to the bank with a surface #16 x-caddis trailed four feet by a bead head caddis emerger. Almost immediately caught a nice, little brown on the trailer.
Continuing upstream I managed to miss close to a dozen strikes in a row on the surface fly before finally hooking a feisty 15" brownie. After that the fish seemed to alternate between the floater fly & the sinker. It wasn't great action, but all the fish caught were browns in the next half hour. What a treat to finally get into our first hatch of the year.
6/22: Today on my way home from Glenwood I stopped off at the "Springs" area of the Eagle & had no success at all in the 45 minutes I spent casting there. Used the same rig as above & then changed to an olive wooly bugger with the same results. Don't know what the problem was, but it was very early in the morning & perhaps the fish were as sleepy as I was.
6/24: Gore Creek continues running fairly high and is only marginally wadable at this date. But the fish in holding areas are definitely looking skyward. Landed a half dozen mixed rainbows & brookies on a #16 x-caddis. The trailer #20 RS-2 accounted for only another three fish.
6/27: The weather for the past four days has stunk - that's a polite way to describe it. But the dog & I drove over the pass to look at the Blue this morning. It was raining when we arrived & the stream's still pretty high below Silverthorne, so we headed back towards Vail turning off on Highway 9 towards Leadville. Walked the bank of tiny Ten Mile Creek for a half mile. There's little holding water as the stream drops precipitously in this stretch, but when a patch of slower water appears, the fish are there. Caught 8-10 smallish browns & brookies on a surface caddis trailed by a bead head emerger. The fish are long & slinky and probably don't get much feed in this little stream that must have been devastated by the Climax Mine drainings years ago. It was a little bit of fun at least.
6/28: What a difference a day makes! Our bimonthly data gathering trip to Eagle & the subsequent stopoff at a favorite part of the lease area on that revealed a stunning change to fishing conditions. The weather was wonderfully warm and insects took advantage of the clear water & warming river temperatures to come forth in abundance. There were at least 4-5 different caddis/sedge species evident plus some perlodidae and possibly alloperla stones as well. Saw no mayflies, but that doesn't mean they weren't there.
And what a joy to see trout rising for a change. God bless summer. The river level has also fallen enough that wading is fairly easy, but many normal fishing spots are too difficult to access. The casting was great. Started with a surface #16 elk hair trailed by a bead head emerger. Happily nothing wanted the sunken fly so I swapped it for various other patterns, including a generic stone and flat winged caddis.
Basically everything worked. The fish are lying in shallow riffles along the banks and will come to any well placed & drifted caddis imitation. It was almost too easy. Best fish of the day were an 18" rainbow & a 17" brown. Lots of others landed & lots of strikes missed in an hour & a half of throwing flies at them.
With all due apologies to anyone reading this report who happens to be thinking about fishing the Eagle over the 4th Holiday, I really hope it rains for at least a couple of those days. The fish are simply too eager to please and given many people's unwillingness to practice catch & release, we'll lose a lot of fish during this busy period if conditions remain as they now are.
6/29: A virtual repeat of yesterday - the only exception being that every fish was a brown. That's not a great sign, but a fish is a fish. Tried some other parts of the red canyon section of the Eagle for an hour or two & really found out that a great deal of the stream can still not be waded easily. That bodes better for (selfish me) over the holiday weekend.
Flies used were almost identical to yesterday as well. Had to drop down to a #18 hair winged caddis, but the most interesting thing about today was that the better browns all took a #20 dark flat wing caddis on a tag about 18" ahead of the hair wing. So the more realistic fly was more successful even in the rough water we still are experiencing. None of the browns were over sixteen inches - except for one in the 20" range that struck & was gone in a heartbeat. Oh, another comment. Because of the area I waded today I had to cast with my off hand and it made a big difference in the hookup rate. Even though my casting is decent with my right hand, my line control & strike timing are definitely not up to snuff compared with the other side.
Last Logbook Entry é for previous days.
6/30: GORE CREEK was almost too easy today. PETA would have appreciated my stopping casting after the first half hour. Midges & a smallish caddis were present everywhere on the middle stretch of this stream. The first couple of pools brought little success on a #16 elk hair caddis, but changing to a tiny bead head caddis emerger four feet behind an equally tiny and lightly dressed hair wing caddis brought a ticket to success. None of the rainbows were over 14 inches, but all were healthy & fat. It was almost like fishing a stream fifty miles from civilization. The fish were almost virginal in their eagerness to strike.
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