4/7: Have been lax about recording a few short sessions on Gore Creek lately. We've been spending 15-20 minutes on the Lionshead stretch of the stream with modest results. One day it will be a couple of brookies & the next a handful of small rainbows. Today (Sunday) it was great to actually land a gorgeously colored 12 inch rainbow that took the surface indicator fly. Obviously the fish was deranged. Gore Creek's flows are close to summer level, but the stream remains clear to mildly colored in late afternoon.
The Eagle & all other local streams including the Roaring Fork, Colorado, & Crystal are all blown out. Tuesday we head to the Green for our annual spring trip. With cloudy, rainy weather in the forecast, hopefully we'll catch the beginning of the olive hatch.
4/9-11: It was a strangely difficult, only vaguely satisfying trip to the GREEN this spring. We (the dog & I) drove the vanagon to Flaming Gorge on Tuesday morning & arrived to sweltering temperatures and violent winds. The river's running quite low - so much so - that it's actually quite wadable all the way across at Little Hole. Apparently the releases are in the 450-490 c.f.s. range Water temperature was in the mid to high 40's which I can attest to since I wet waded the afternoon of our arrival. There was no discoloration from runoff yet, and the combination of all of the above factors made for very testy fishing.
Our intention was to hike downstream and fish the upper part of the B section the first day & then do the entire hike of the A section on Wednesday. We headed downstream from Little Hole & ran into far more other anglers than we'd anticipated. So after stumbling around the big bend rock formation, we fished a couple of decent runs & eddies upstream of the corner. Cold clear water made for no significant mid day hatches although a few fish rolled for something in the film.
Yes we did catch some browns. In the afternoon we had on probably a dozen fish between 12-18 inches. Nothing worked great. Deep nymphing was most productive with a smallish bead head buckskin trailed by a #20 RS-2. A couple of fish came to a sculpin imitation. A couple more came to a #22 midge emerger. After returning to the van for a quick bite of dinner we headed down to the flats above Little Hole.
Just before dark everything picked up. The wind had quit, thank god. Midges began emerging and for an hour & a half, we had great fishing despite the pressure these fish must have virtually 12 hours every day. Used a #18 brown WRS as an indicator fly trailed eighteen inches by a white CDC topped #22 midge emerger. Strangely the WRS was more productive & we probably hooked another dozen fish in this period. Best of the trip was released this night - it being roughly 22-24 inches, and of course, a brown.
Wednesday morning we correctly anticipated a deterioration in the weather. And it happened in spades. A cold front blew through bringing rain & more of that mean wind. We chose to hike upstream through the A section & had some good (gray color specific) midge fishing all the way up at least 3 1/2 miles on the trail. At that point the weather got so ugly we literally hid under an overhang for a good two hours waiting for conditions to improve.
Finally being nearly frozen we headed back towards the van & were going to quit for the afternoon when lo & behold about 1:30 as we hiked downstream, out came the olives floating on the stream. The hatch continued until almost 4:00 and it was great while it lasted. Fish rose everywhere. Virtually any type of olive pattern in size 20 & smaller caught trout. In fact I ended up staying in one spot for almost all of this period & just changed patterns when the fish wised up to the current one. Truly these browns take stupid pills when the BWO hatch is in progress. It finally becomes no fun as it is too easy. Didn't count fish under these conditions but sizes were similar to the previous day & we did land a couple of rainbows & cutthroat as well.
That night we drove downstream to Bridgeport hoping to fish the nice riffle & pool there this morning. The night was frigid and so was the morning. While the river looks great right now, I could only manage a grand total of nine halfhearted casts before my hands froze completely & we gave up on this stretch of the river. Obviously no fish to the fly.
4/15-16: The howling winds of April turned our three day trip to the Spinney Tailwater & the Arkansas into a two day debacle. We (the dog & I) knew from weather reports that Monday was going to be a blustery one and Tuesday might be cold & slightly snowy, but nothing prepared us for the gustiest two days of fishing I've ever experienced. Clearly I am no longer a candidate for a Southern Argentina or Tierra Del Fuego expedition.
When we got to the former spot around 1:00 in the afternoon, there were roughly eight vehicles in the lower lot and a similar number in the upper. We started fishing at the upper with the intention of working it early and then again in the evening. Water levels are low right now & the fish are spooky. Due to the 25-35 m.p.h. winds (modest by Tuesday's standards), we cast downstream with a variety of sculpins or wooly buggers & had only modest success for the next couple of hours. Probably released 6-7 rainbows in the 12-15 inch range and missed strikes from perhaps three times that number.
What was fascinating was watching a couple of guides try to have their clients nymph fish upstream into this very strong breeze. My suspicion is that they (the guides) either just read the C.D.O.W. fishing report each week and are themselves guided by that so they don't bother trying to think through the conditions, or they're simply lazy. In any case I'm just thankful I don't have to use one of those types for guidance on this particular water.
We then drove to the lower water & fished our way downstream with a black cone headed brownish wooly bugger - probably size 10 hook. Fishing got better here & a couple of the largest fish of the day came home. Two very bright rainbows - obviously up from the lake - and both with clean, unscarred mouths came to hand. One was a hook jawed male of eighteen inches and the other an almost steelhead sized and shaped female of over twenty inches & probably four-five pounds. With the wind increasing to perhaps 40 m.p.h. we managed to hook & release another 4-5 fish before heading back to the upper lot for dinner, a glass or so of wine, & more fishing in the evening.
Because of the continued presence of some fisher people in our favorite pool, we walked upstream & tried some previously (for us) unfished water & shortly struck gold. In one nice deep run we released six decent rainbows between 14-18 inches, all in the space of a half hour. They all took the same brownish wooly bugger.
That night was the night from hell in the van as was today the day from hell. Despite parking with nose into the prevailing wind the vehicle was buffeted like a cork in the ocean all night. When we got up in the morning & listened to the weather report, the high wind watch was still in effect with gusts expected in excess of 60-70 m.p.h. Snow fell horizontally as we tried to fish the same stretches again in the morning. While some fish attempted to catch the wooly bugger before the wind yanked it from the water, they were all unsuccessful. We left.
A couple of feeble attempts to cast on the South Fork by Hartsell were almost equally useless as was our two hour stint on the wonderful water in Salida on the Arkansas. Yes, a couple of fish came to hand, but the whole process today was pretty much an exercise in futility. So instead of staying over another night, we drove home to a comfortable bed. I've never seen the dog so happy to be inside instead of out.
Last Logbook Entry é for previous days
4/19: The Eagle in the town of Eagle provided a quick five minute fishing fix today. Although river levels are rising & the stream's running cloudy, in late morning today the banks were very fishable. Using the yellow wooly bugger left over from the Spinney trip, I managed to release two twelve inch rainbows and a similarly sized brown in that space of time. Clearly the fish are sitting on the banks now & will do so through the end of runoff.
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