March, 2002

3/4:  The county remains locked in a brutally cold spell of weather.  Nothing local is fishable - except for the outflows of the sewer plants on the Gore & Eagle.   On Wednesday we hope to journey to the Roaring Fork for a short fishing fix.

3/7:  Warmth returned in the mountains for a couple of days.  That fact coupled with no ski instruction on the schedule allowed us to drive to Glenwood for another shot at the Roaring Fork.  It was a truly beautiful (no coat required) kind of day, despite which I really managed to make a mess of the fishing.

Walked a long way from the condo upstream & found a new hole that eventually will be a great producer.  Today I simply fished it poorly.  Although the water was gin clear, I started out fishing the pool from the top down with the standby sculpin fly that's been relatively successful lately.  Unfortunately that method came up blank today & by fishing downstream I inevitably alerted all the better trout to my presence.  At the pool's tail I rerigged with a double nymph setup of leading copper john & trailing #20 CDC RS-2.  Had a number of strikes that I skillfully managed to misconnect with until finally hooking a large (est. 3-4 pound) rainbow that "long released" almost immediately.

Continued casting for another 15 minutes with no more takers & finally checked the rig to find that the bow had apparently separated the tippet from the leader.   Rerigged & again failed to connect on several more strikes before checking the flies again & this time found the point & barb missing from the copper john.

Walked the shore downstream & had no further success until the big pool just above the Sunlight Bridge.  With the same nymph rig I once again managed to miss at least a dozen clear strikes and did play a handful of other fish that all "long released".

At the bridge I did manage to release a whitey & a 12" brown on the RS-2.   Further down below that structure more modest success followed on both smaller browns & rainbows before the wind blew the dog & I off the river.  In hindsight it was amazing how inept my streamcraft was today.

3/20:  Sue's one weight we bought her for Christmas is no longer a virgin.  I took it with me on the dog's afternoon walk down along Gore Creek & somehow managed to hook & land a ten inch rainbow - despite the annoying presence of a female husky that kept swimming across the stream to play with our well behaved Aussie fisher dog.

Recent warmer temperatures have started slimming down the ice pack along the shores although most fish are clearly still holed up under those shelves.   We startled a good number of brooks & rainbows while walking carefully on the ice in an attempt to keep the feet dry (it didn't happen).

Hopefully we're seeing the beginning of spring and that nice window of opportunity for some profitable casting before runoff begins.  Tomorrow we may get a chance to try the Eagle in the lease area.

3/21:  In the case of warm weather too much of a good thing is definitely not a good thing this time of year.  On our drive this afternoon to the town of the same name the Eagle was completely blown out below Wolcott.  We did stop for a bit just below Wolcott & threw a variety of subsurface flies at what should have been a productive eddy with zero success.

It was fun being on the water anyway, but as the water we were fishing also gradually turned  an opaque brown, an obviously very stupid eight inch rainbow did take a #18 black bead head buckskin to help us avoid a complete skunk.   It's very strange to be walking on 18 inch thick shore ice and still have a muddy river, but that's what's going on right now.  Gore Creek remains clear & low so perhaps we'll have some success here this weekend.

3/27-28:  Yesterday on the Roaring Fork was so good it's almost impossible to describe that kind of fishing.  Driving down from Vail in the morning the overcast & blustery skies suggested the possibility of a nice olive hatch.   Though there were a few of that species of bug on the river trout were poking heads up for midges when we hiked down to the cemetery hole.  Happily most of that stretch is closed to fishing through May to assist the rainbow spawning season.

With low water continuing and somewhat off color we stuck with nymphs to start & were rewarded with a handful of fish "on" although most were long released.  The best rig combination ended up being a leading # 16 beadhead buckskin trailed by a smaller (#20-22)  grey or green bodied CDC winged RS-2 type emerger.

We worked a lot of water on both sides of the river near the Sunlight Bridge.  90% of the catch (& release) was rainbows for a change.   The fish are clearly bulking up for spawning and virtually all were fat & brightly colored.  A few whiteys came to hand as well.  The trout have begun moving aggressively out of the deeper holes & into faster water sections but not into the shallower riffles yet.

It would not be appropriate to count the fish hooked today, but after releasing a half dozen from one eddy, I simply quit for a while as it just was too easy.  After a rest on the bank, later in the afternoon we shifted to a strike indicator dry fly trailed eighteen inches by a #20 CDC emerger & cast our way up through some riffle water & flats & finally began hooking some decent browns that were bulging for either midges, PED's, or olives.

Sizes of all the fish were generally in the 12-15 inch range with two rainbows that got into my backing & were easily 18-19 inches & 3-4 pounds in weight.  The browns were mostly 12-14 inches.

Today dawned bright & clear & warm and we knew the catching wouldn't be as simple - and it was not.  We explored some new water near the bike path & a couple handfuls of mixed rainbows & browns before finally hooking a massively bodied rainbow that took off like a steelhead.  Chased him downstream for a quarter mile before releasing him unharmed.  Although obviously not a 10 pound eighteen inch long rainbow (from the South Platte) that was pictured in the Post last week, this fish probably was easily half that weight.  So all in all it was a great start to the season.

Driving home the Eagle was definitely "out" below Wolcott but is still running clear & low above it.  Given much more of the warm weather we'll have full blown runoff happening shortly.

3/30:  Sue finally picked up her license today and to celebrate we headed down to our favorite hole on the Eagle just below Dowd Junction.   Both of us rigged up identically as above on the Roaring Fork & began casting our way up the pool.  It wasn't fast action, but I had four browns on in the next 20 minutes while Sue was shut out.  As we were checking the flies for caddis cases picked up off the bottom, she noticed the lack of a tippet & flies which explained the lack of action for her.

After similar limited success at the upper part of the pool we shifted to cone head wooly buggers & both of us hooked fish almost immediately.   Best one was a modest fourteen incher and all were browns this day.  On the way back to the car we kept casting the buggers with decent success.  It's fascinating that the fish were much more excited about this fly pattern on the Eagle while they've pretty much been ignoring it on the Roaring Fork.

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