December, 2004

Last Logbook Entry  for previous days.

12/13-14:  THE END.............. Our trip to the Gunnison and other nearby streams the past couple of days does it for our fishing in 2004.  Originally had planned the five hour drive to Flaming Gorge, but the thought of getting in only a couple of hours of casting each day for that much driving distance suggested that testing local waters might be more practical.  And indeed that did allow for more time on the stream although results were pretty disappointing.

We arrived at Paradise Park around 11:30, forded the North Fork, and made the long hike upstream to the first deep hole where I began nymphing with various flies at different depths.  Absolutely no strikes whatsoever.  With only a midge in the air from time to time we saw only three halfhearted dimples over a five hour period.

Visions of a good skunking took hold as we (the dog & I) reached the apex of our hike & began the slog back downstream - this time with a steel eyed wooly bugger on the leader.  The streamer worked better although it wasn't a big winner either.

On the way back to the car, I probably played a half dozen or so fish between 14-16 inches-mostly browns and had an equal number of additional strikes.

Most interesting were the number of follows by fish that didn't result in strikes.  I must have seen another good dozen fish close to the bugger while finishing the retrieve, but they simply wouldn't commit to the fly.  Understanding that different motions will sometimes trigger strikes, I thought I tried all of them, but nothing seemed to work well.  The water was cold - as it should be in December - and I could only locate fish in very deep slow pools.

Camped out on a mesa above the river that night and the dog suffered the teen level temperatures by climbing all over my warm down bag.  Next morning, after a breakfast in Delta we headed back up towards McClure Pass and hoped to try a number of spots along the way.  The North Fork below Paonia Reservoir looked in good shape, but the bitter winds, low air temperature, and deep shadows suggested we avoid the long descent to the water.

Same issue on the Crystal which was flowing well and was nicely ice free, but again, it proved too cold to stand.  Ditto with the Frying Pan.  Deeper snowdrifts along the banks made accessing the water difficult and the dark canyon walls let in no sunlight whatsoever.  So we opted for the Roaring Fork between the walking bridge and the Sunlight.

Nothing doing here either.  Probably should have shifted to a nymph rig, but stuck with the streamer over the whole stretch and had only a couple of strikes to show for the walk.

So much for 2004.  It wasn't the greatest of years due to some summer weather issues, but any time on the water is better than the best day in an office.  Happy Holidays!

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