February, 2006

2/8-11:  Photo doesn't look much like a Colorado trout stream, does it?  That's because it isn't.

There's probably some kind of fishing in some spot  near Vail right now, but I don't want to think about looking for it.

Sue took this shot of me trying to cast through a very narrow opening in some brush into a mangrove lined estuary at Desoto Park just South of St. Pete Beach in Florida.

And no, I didn't even see a fish in this estuary.  Apparently these arms of placid water can be decent fishing if approached at first light of the day particularly from some kind of carefully sculled boat of some type.  We weren't there at daylight since this was supposed to be a quick vacation.

Just before we arrived in Tampa a monster cold front had passed through and pretty much knocked all the shoreside fishing down the drain.  Water in the Gulf was turbid as were the passes that opened to the ocean.

It really didn't matter.  We had a very nice short vacation away from the frigid winter we're also enjoying here in Colorado.  Spent a lot of time walking through the local communities and enjoying some of the better restaurants in the area.

A fisherman we talked to on this jetty entrance said we were in the right location to possibly pick up a good sea trout heading in for some hunting on the incoming tide. 

I tried weighted wooly buggers colored and tied to maybe reasonably imitate a shrimp.  Casting was more or less a complete bust.  Might have had one or two bumps - although they could also have been just touches from some kind of detritus. 

Had we driven down in the van, the sea kayak would have been an ideal water craft to use in the estuaries and small inlets from Tampa Bay. 

If anyone reading this is headed to Florida this spring, we'd suggest trying to have an early dinner at Leverocks  Restaurant on Corry Road in St. Pete Beach.  It's the last one of the local chain to be open and is scheduled to shut down in April to make way for another condo project.

Another decent dining choice would be the Oyster Shucker closer to the beach on Corry.  It's reasonably priced and well worth trying.  Go early to either spot since the locals seem to fill both places up starting around 4:30 in the afternoon.  If stone crab claws are a necessity of life, go to Billie's in Tierra Verde.  It's the only place (outside the Publix market) we found them offered in this area.

 

2/24:  Finally!  A day off with good enough weather conditions to try our luck on a local trout stream.  The Eagle's still too iced over to be easily fished, so the dog & I drove to Glenwood Springs this morning to throw some casts on the Roaring Fork.  We considered going all the way to the Pan, but with pretty limited time available chose the Fork instead.

The river's running very low, cold, and clear.  Started out walking the bank above & below the Sunlight Bridge as that's more or less our "home" water on this river.  As my rod from the last trip in the fall was rigged up with a #14 black single feather stone trailed by a #16 prince, I started with that setup knowing full well that midges are still probably the food of choice for the river's inhabitants.

The nice thing about this combination is that it can be cast upstream and dead drifted like a conventional stone but then also twitched and retrieved back to shore like a wooly bugger.

Amazingly the first cast brought several fish following the black stone towards shore with a sixteen inch brown taking the hook and later being released.  The tailout of the pool we were fishing had lots of trout in it.  At first they acted like they'd never seen a fisherman before, but fairly quickly they wised up.  Missed lots of strikes.  Despite the fact that the fish are now obviously in a more aggressive feeding mode, they rapidly learned to avoid me.

Before that happened though I'd guess playing close to a dozen and releasing half that number.  None were really large, the first brown being the largest.  Most of the rest were smaller browns between 12-14 inches and a couple of rainbows were under twelve.

It was fun.  The first couple of hours were very cold - temperatures in the 20's at best, but by noon, the air had warmed and midges appeared on the surface. 

Did see two rises during the day, but my attempts to use either midge larva or emergers were completely fruitless.

By the time early afternoon rolled around the bite had really stopped.  Caught one more brown in the shadow of another bridge and that was about it for the day.

Hopefully I'll have a bit of time off in March to get back to the Roaring Fork.  March is usually the best month of the year for fishing here.

 

 

 

 

Last Logbook Entry  for previous days.

2/26:  Wonderful.  Another day off the slopes and on the water.  The excuse was a need to go out for a few groceries, so instead of heading to the local Safeway, I drove to Eagle to the City Market there, shopped, and then drove further downstream to Gypsum to try the lower river.

Hiked down a bank to the stream and found it to be seriously off color.  Our recent warmer temperatures apparently are causing some murkiness from Alkali and Milk Creeks just below Wolcott. 

Changed the nymph rig slightly from that used on the Roaring Fork earlier this week to a larger black stone and a trailer of a #18 bead head red midge larva.

Made a half dozen drifts through a usually nice hole without a hint of a strike before hanging the rig up on a submerged log and broke it off.  Rather than take the time to replace the same complicated setup, I just tied on a black wooly bugger and tossed it in the water to begin stripping line for a cast.  An eighteen inch brown hit it before I could even make the cast.  A miracle!

 

A few more casts in the same pool brought another eighteen incher and a couple of sixteen's and a fourteen to hand.  Amazing fishing.  All browns and all good sized.

 

Lost the black bugger to another snag and with no others in the box, put on a dark brown one.  Same results upstream.  Then lost the last brown fly and turned to an olive one.  Fewer strikes but one was a fabulous rainbow between 18-20 inches long.

 

 

What a day.  Don't know if I've ever had this much success on purely large (nothing under fourteen inches) fish on this river. 

 

Clearly our trout have started feeding aggressively ahead of what will surely be a  massive and long lived runoff this spring.  Just hope to get out again in the next week or two.

 

 

 


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