3/9: Is it possible for fishing to be too good? Today on the Roaring Fork that truly was the case. Most of us enjoy releasing a few trout whenever we're on the water, but when hookups are too simple, the fun goes out of the sport.
At least three different types of midges were hatching when we entered the river in Glenwood. The small eddies near the shore were clogged with rafts of dead midges indicating that a massive hatch had been in progress for some time. There was no surface activity, so we started with the standard spring nymph rig of leading #20 copper john followed by our favorite #20 midge emerger. Strangely for the first 400 yards of wading upstream, I had no luck at all. Then got into a deeper run we normally would not fish, but with the stream as low as it is, it appeared to be a better alternative. Sure enough the action began immediately and it kept up unendingly for the next half mile of the river.
While I eventually - and unsuccessfully - tried some surface fly midging, the deep nymphing worked extremely well. In an effort to shorten the length of this diary entry, probably 25-30 rainbows were hooked and released - or long released, plus another 8-10 browns and another half dozen whitefish. All in a period of less than two hours. It was just too easy. The trout ranged in size from 10-16 inches plus a couple of larger ones that never came to hand.
If fishing the Fork this time of year, please be aware that it is close to rainbow spawning season and the fish are very vulnerable. Treat those that you touch gently, and we'll have lots of fingerlings hatching shortly.
Also, if you can, please avoid fishing tributary spawning streams and the mouths thereof. We need all the successful spawning of rainbows possible due to whirling disease.
3/22: We didn't get to fish today but can publish some reports. A friend who again fished the Roaring Fork this week indicated it was still running clear despite the unusually warm March weather. Apparently the dominant midge hatches of earlier have been replaced by BWO's, and the preferred flies have been pheasant tails & Barr emergers. Fishing is still strong on that river and anglers are cautioned to handle rainbows carefully during release due to the imminent spawn.
The Eagle today was running clear above Wolcott and even with the murkiness coming from Milk & Alkali Creeks, the river would have been fishable through Red Canyon except that new bridge under construction near the Horn Ranch entry has significantly fouled the water below that point. We may try the Colorado tomorrow in the State Bridge area.
3/23: The Colorado turned out to be a washout today. Upstream from State Bridge melting snowpack turned the river very dirty & the few casts I made just because I had taken the time to drive here were for naught.
3/24: It was a different case on the upper Eagle this afternoon. Following a morning of ski teaching, Sue, the dog, & I walked downstream from Dowd Junction & had decent success on the local browns in this pocket water section of the stream. Water color was fine, the river could be crossed in many places & the fish were more aggressive than we're likely to see them later in the summer.
We used small nymph combinations of copper johns & midge emergers with almost everything taking the bead head fly. Fish released were modest sized - in the 9-13 inch range, but we probably unhooked at least a dozen in the hour we spent on the water. The treat of the day was one lone rainbow of roughly 14 inches - a species rarely seen in this part of the river.
Last Logbook Entry é for previous days.
3/28 and 3/29: Took a couple of lazy days off and headed to Glenwood to spend a bit more time on the Roaring Fork before it blows out due to runoff. This steam's far more fishable right now than is the lower Eagle or Colorado due to discoloration on those latter rivers.
The truly miserable weather on Wednesday (sleet, rain, snow, & wind) probably made the fishing even better as it triggered a heavy BWO emergence. The first couple of hours after lunch were spent nymphing with a small beadhead/nymph larva combination. It was productive if not spectacular fishing. Most of the browns & bows came to the beadhead and they ranged from 10-16 inches.
After driving back downstream & heading over the Sunlight Bridge, I parked & re-rigged some larger nymphs & got set to fish the other bank. Then lo & behold the mouths of several fish began breaking water all at once. The BWO hatch was in progress, and that meant completely changing rigs again before even getting the original setup wet. Set up with a matching comparadun up front trailed by a Barr emerger, and later by an olive RS-2.
Even though the fish were barely breaking the surface, the comparadun outfished either of the emergers by an order of magnitude. It was quite amazing to have that happen, but gosh what fun. The hatch only lasted 45 minutes or so, but the action was mile a minute through that period. After the rises stopped I went back to the deeper rig & it continued mildly successful albeit not like during the hatch.
Today (Thursday) I got on the water by 8:00 in the morning & enjoyed more good deep nymphing. Most of the fish were browns in the 12-16 inch range although I did have a couple of significantly larger ones break off. The rainbows were fewer in number & somewhat shorter, but all seemed fat & healthy. Midges hatched throughout the morning & my efforts to sight cast to the few fish breaking the surface were for naught. It was a nice two days though - especially without any time pressures.
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