May, 2000

5/4-5/19:  The annual trip to Bird Island just outside Corpus Christi provided another chance for fishing failure.  I know that sounds fatalistic, but I've never had the slightest hint of success down there casting after reds & sea trout.  And it happened again this year.  To be realistic we really don't get serious about the fishing as the main emphasis is on windsurfing.  So we never stray very far from camp on the sand spit, and the continuous water activity by the sailors really dooms our efforts.  It's still fun to throw different kinds of streamers, divers, poppers, etc. at the water, but our inability to visually see feeding fish probably is the biggest drawback to this approach.  A hike down the beach to a more remote location might give us a better chance at locating fish although this year the winds were so constant that the windows of casting opportunity were very limited.

On the way up to the mountains from Denver it looks like some of the streams are still running pretty clear.  May have a chance to throw wooly buggers on the Eagle in a couple of days.

5/16:  A data gathering trip to Eagle again offered the opportunity to make a few casts on the river of that name.  While I stubbornly chose to stick with wooly buggers along the bank, this fixation with what "should work" this time of year probably conflicted with what I should have used.  The river's running high, but not bank full, and clarity is still excellent.   Consequently walking downstream and casting that direction probably put off many more fish than the ones I didn't offend by my visible presence along the edge.

The other factor that I ignored was the presence of a decent hatch of small caddis, so could I have avoided the fixation of streamers during runoff, there's a good possibility that I'd have been more successful.  Such is life.  I ended up landing a 13" brown & a 14" rainbow & had a handful of other strikes, but it wasn't much to show for an hour of casting.  Hopefully we'll get a chance to drive over to the Arkansas & perhaps Antero Reservoir in the next couple of days.

5/17:  After three hours of tying the spring's quota of rabbit buggers, even the snow coming down couldn't keep me from wanting an escape into the fresh air.  So the dog & I hiked down the bike path past Lionshead & did our "bank yanking" of the streamers for a half hour.  At that point the hands had frozen into a state of uselessness, but our efforts were rewarded with one nice 15" brown & a slightly larger & more frisky rainbow.  The rotten weather's probably going to put a damper on the planned trip to Antero although we may drive over there sometime next week.

5/18:  More or less a repeat of yesterday although we drove towards Minturn & fished the Eagle for an hour or so.  Tested a couple of the new rabbit buggers.  Had a few hits on the red cone head model but landed a handful of smallish browns on a black bugger with painted white lead eyes.  Can't explain the better success on the latter fly except it obviously looks more lifelike and did get deeper in the flow due to extra weight.

5/21:  Thought I might set a new record for futility today, but it just turned out to be another zero.  Six straight strikes with no hookups is four short of the ten straight I missed a couple of years ago on the Eagle.  However zero hookups is still zero hookups.  The water's medium high & clear and the buggers just aren't getting the job done.

5/23: The AGE OF INNOCENCE is over for roughly 30 brook trout in the Gore Creek ponds.  Using an X-caddis dry fly trailed by a #20 copper john, that's the approximate number of brookies which fell to one or the other of these flies today.   Violent winds made casting close to impossible, but probably enhanced the number of strikes as the leader was made less visible by ripples on the surface.

5/26:  With Sue having a meeting with the Colorado Department of Wildlife in Salida, the dog & I went along for the ride in hopes of doing some (productive) casting on Antero Reservoir & possibly the Arkansas.   Nothing really turned out great.  Before her meeting Thursday morning we ran out to the park in Salida and threw wooly buggers for an hour and really had the best success of the trip.  The river's in a rage like almost every other stream in the state right now.  But where we found tiny eddies, we did get strikes & did land a couple of fish - including one of the rare rainbows on this stream.

The dog & I then drove to Antero & we cast for a bit along the banks, but one really needs a float tube & resistance to the god awful winds that blow here.  To be direct we had no strikes at all in the half hour we were there.  Then we drove just above Hartsel & cast more buggers in the bean soup colored tributary of the South Platte that flows there.  A couple more browns fell, but I really don't know how they saw the fly.  Another short trip to the tributary coming out of Badger Basin was even less productive, so we headed back to Salida, picked up Sue, & drove back towards Vail.  At a tributary stream above Granite on the Arkansas Sue landed a couple of rainbows & I had several more strikes, but no hookups.   Not a great trip, but that's the nature of runoff season in general.

5/30:  This spell of hot weather has absolutely blown out all our rivers.  Today we drove up the Crystal and over McClure Pass to Paonia looking for any kind of semi-clear water to do some casting.  It was a hopeless task.   Stopped at the base of the Paonia Reservoir dam and threw wooly buggers for a few minutes but to no avail.  The only fishable streams in this general area are the Frying Pan, tailwater of Green Mountain Reservoir, and the tailwater of Stagecoach Reservoir.  Some lakes & ponds will do, but patience is required right now - a characteristic of which I have little.  But the prognosis is good for wading in June.   Normally our local creeks & rivers don't get to those levels until early to mid July, but this year we should be a month ahead of time if the warm weather continues.

On the flip side of that good news is the high probability that we lose most of this year's class of rainbows due to the extreme high waters that arrived so soon after spawning - plus the inevitability of more stress on existing stocks due to the fact that they'll be cast over for probably an extra month this summer.

Last Logbook Entry  for previous days.

5/31:  Beggars can't be choosers.  Gore Creek is as high as I've seen it in the past 20 years.  But a rabbit bugger in an eddy brought an immediate response from a 10" cutbow.  The only pond open along the creek yielded four brookies to the same 10".  Like I say, not much, but more fun than typing this report on the computer.


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