June, 2006

5/27-6/1:  This year's Oregon trip was to celebrate mom's 92nd which we successfully accomplished.

 My brother Rick & I also did a very limited amount of fishing in the warm water pond adjacent to the North Umpqua and had our usual decent success. 

It's possible to catch singles or doubles of smaller bluegills on every cast. 

Once in a while an immature smallmouth will also grab the nymph behind the dry & wet rig we use at the ponds.

I took one quick trip to the "Forks" which is the location where the North and South branches combine to form the main stem. 

Water is very high in both river due to heavy May rains.  Frankly fishing there was nowhere near as productive as it usually is.  Managed to release but one - again very immature - smallmouth on a white marabou jig fly.

Just not a very fun trip from a fishing standpoint.  Had hoped to spend a couple hours on the McKenzie near Eugene on the way to the airport, but the downpour kept me from even rigging up.

Hopefully this week's trip to Williams Fork to try the local pike will be more productive.

 

6/5:  We were stuck in town over the weekend and with limited fishing options available due to ongoing runoff, we chose to drive up Vail Pass, do a hike to the high ridge above the pass and then try a few casts on the small reservoirs known as Black Lakes. 

The upper more accessible lake was packed with bankside bait casters so we did the short walk to the lower lake which is always far less crowded.

Continued past the lake to the short tailwater below this dam and cast wooly buggers into a quite small pool that always holds fish.

True to form, Sue released a modest rainbow and had a couple of other strikes.

When she finished up, I made a couple of casts too and released an equally small rainbow.  Success is fun despite the relatively small sized fish we landed.

Casting with the same streamer on the lake itself was completely unproductive despite the fact that the full sink lines we used really did take the flies on or very near the deeper part of the water.

 

 

Sue had some follows by small fish we presume are brookies and I apparently woke up a few of the same too, but I had no strikes. 

 

 

Next time out we need to remember to tie on a much smaller trailing streamer behind the #8 we commonly use as it may prove more attractive to these quite small trout.

 

 

6/8-9:  Something tells me I'm not cut out to be a stillwater fisherman.  Whether it's simply due to lack of patience or the wrong tactics, I just don't seem to have any success in lakes.  Thursday the dog & I drove over to Williams Fork reservoir one more time hoping that it had finally filled and that the clarity might permit the local pike to finally find our streamers.  No chance.  While the lake level is perfect, the inlet stream is still dumping lots of sludge into the upper end.

To shorten the story of the miserable action, despite paddling for roughly three hours around very nice brush piles, flats, and shoreline structure, I don't think I had a single strike. 

Re-rigged several times going large, small, shallow, and deep with zero results. 

Frankly I didn't see any other fish fought or landed either by boaters or bank fisher people, so perhaps the water's still a bit too cold for the pike & trout to be actively feeding.  Who knows.

Anyway, by 1:00 in the afternoon, we threw in the towel, reloaded the kayak on the car & headed up the Colorado thinking about trying the shore above Byers Canyon near Hot Sulfur Springs.  But when I went over that river near Parshall, lo & behold, it seemed to be running at summer-like levels.  Amazing when runoff everywhere else is in a rage.  So stopped at a favorite spot below Byers, rigged up the 5 weight with a rubber legged WRS and trailing copper john & stepped into the river.

The banks were swarming with caddis though they weren't out on the water.  My first few casts brought no strikes either to the dry or the nymph, but I did notice several of the local finicky browns breaking the surface - then saw what seemed to be PMD's here and there.  A change to a trailing #18 PMD comparadun finally brought some decent action and the first smile of the day to my face.  Nothing would hit the caddis imitation, but the PMD was terrific.

In the upper stretch I would guess playing a good dozen slobs*, but today they were a truly welcome sight.  None were above twelve inches and it really didn't matter.  Was just fun to finally feel a trout on the line.

After wading all the upper water we drove downstream a bit, hiked further that direction and began the wade back up.  A brief heavy thunderstorm put the hatch to a halt for a while, but it soon resumed in earnest.  The fishing again was terrific.  It was actually possible to stand in one spot and pick up three or four strikes by fish in different feeding lanes in the riffle in the river.  The better sized browns were very quick reads and I missed strikes on anything over fourteen inches.  Probably duplicated the same number of fish as in the upper stretch.

OK.  With renewed hope we drove back to Williams Fork (the lake) and set up camp for the night, planning on some evening streamer trolling and more in the morning.  The night session was squashed by an absolutely massive thunderstorm that broke over us and kept the rain coming for almost two hours.

In the morning things calmed down and we set off hopefully.  It turned into another dud day.  Nothing worked again until I finally just tied on a medium black bugger and trolled it behind the floating line and almost immediately caught a really dumb twelve inch rainbow.  Three more strikes were the sum total of my success on the lake today.  Pretty ugly fishing. 

This weekend we'll try the upper Frying Pan above the reservoir and possibly the tailwater as well, though the latter is running very high right now due to overflow from Ruedi Reservoir.

* (my term for shitty little ol' browns),

6/12:  Sue had a rare weekday off to enjoy so we headed back to the upper Colorado for some more slob fishing. 

This part of the Colorado is about the only truly mid summer water level we can find right now in this part of the state. 

If anything, the flow was lower today than when I fished it three days ago.  It was also more crowded as the word may be out. 

We had the first lower stretch of this SWA to ourselves and found the initial going to be quite tough. 

With zero cloud cover and an average stream depth of no more than two feet, the PhD smallish browns found here were incredibly suspicious of anything we threw at them.

The hatches were wonderful with a PMD that went on all morning, caddis in the bushes by the banks and yellow sallies starting up too.  Add in the ever present midges plus a large brown stone from time to time, and these fish had a plethora of feeding choices.  I rigged up 7X with a #18 leading PMD comparadun and trailed it with a #22 PMD colored RS-2.

Sue stuck with a #18 brownish comparadun and a variety of secondary flies and she fared better than did I even though the PMD's seemed to be the preferred insect of the morning.

Once we got into some faster riffle water the strikes picked up as the fish had less time to be choosy. 

Both of us really only had luck with the comparaduns and both of us missed far more strikes than we had that became hookups. 

Sue ended up releasing some very nice fish (for this water) up to fifteen inches, and my best was fourteen.

 

We were both amazed at the numbers of browns holding in virtually six inch depth water. 

 

 

Very strange to see this many fish in places that offer no security from airborne predators, much less hordes of fisher people virtually every day. 

It was great fun.  We finally left the area when the "combat" type fishermen closed in around us.

Then we hopped in the car, drove above Byers Canyon to Hot Sulfur and did our regular stint of casting right in town across from the main public park. 

Again excellent results were had by both of us. 

With more caddis on the water, we combined that type fly with a trailing comparadun and found rises pretty equally shared by both imitations.

By about noon we were completely sated with the results and were very happy campers. 

 

As we had to return home via the upper Williams Fork, I insisted we stop at the inlet to that reservoir in the hopes that the pike fishing might be better.  It was not.  Despite the fact that the water clarity is now fine in the upper part of the lake, we had no strikes, nor did we see any fish near the shore.

As Sue's back to work tomorrow, the dog & I plan to head up north to our first outing of the season on Wyoming's "Mile".  Flows on the North Platte remain very heavy due to releases from Kortes, and the fishing reports are not particularly positive, so it may be a short trip this time around.

 

6/13-15:  It was with knowledge aforethought that the dog & I set off for the Miracle Mile in Wyoming on Tuesday.  Running at roughly the 2700's from Kortes Dam, we'd never experienced this much flow through what was once a wonderful tailwater and has also clearly deteriorated as a fishery in the last few years.  Abuses by the local bubbas, an overabundance of white pelicans, and who knows what other issues seem to have seriously reduced the once thriving trout populations.

As we crossed the river after the steep descent from the pass, it was immediately evident that the high flows were still present and would offer some new challenges. 

 

On a positive side the flood-like current was ripping lots of the resident vegetation loose and some long needed scouring of the bottom structure was taking place. 

 

Even though this meant fouled hooks on almost every cast, it's worth the annoyance to improve the overall health of the stream.

 

Normally I'm OK with runoff type stream flows as the increased current tends to drive fish closer to the banks, and my enjoyment of streamer casting is usually a nice compliment to the higher flow issue.  As it turned out, the better skills I thought I had with this type of fly really didn't pan out on this trip.

 

Crowds were not bad in the more popular spots between the bridge and Pathfinder Reservoir, but closer to the dam, even midweek as it was, many sites were occupied. 

 

 

We crossed the river and drove the rough jeep road upstream along river right, parking to test some water that is usually at least modestly productive as well as easily wadable. 

 

Today it was neither.  A combination of thirty mile per hour downstream winds from the west bank and willows that now forced the wader into the river made casting very tough. 

The fish seemed to not be hugging the shore as we'd hoped and a quarter mile of no strikes suggested a couple of miserable days might be ahead.

 

 

 

Eventually I hooked and released a nice fourteen inch bow and a bit further downstream did the same with a sixteen inch cutthroat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dog & I worked both sides of the stream all afternoon with very modest results.  Maybe a dozen fish released - none of which were larger than noted above.

The wind died down around seven in the evening and we had bratwurst for dinner - slept well with no coyote howls disturbing us, but some grazing cattle kept the dog on edge all night, as did the occasional antelope that crept to the water to drink.

Next morning after a light breakfast we continued our trout quest. 

At a normally decent eddy I was able to hook and release probably the largest set of two trout that I've ever connected with as a double hookup. 

It happened with a two streamer rig that worked very well the last time we visited the Mile. 

The leading dark (black) heavily weighted streamer is followed by something much smaller and of different color. 

In this case it was a #8 black rabbit bugger ahead of a #14 gray pearl (the type we use at Lake Powell) for smallmouths.  A heavy strike on the smaller fly brought another trout to the larger one.

Without the use of the 1X flouro tippet one or both of these fish would certainly have been lost, as the larger of the two was a good three pounds (despite the poor quality photo) and the first was a good one pound in weight.  Nice catch and release, but it was taking way too many casts for very limited success.

Lest I forget to mention it, at 7:30 in the morning the wind was whipping by at 30 knots and by 9:30 it was level 40 with gusts so high the surface of the stream was ripped into the air from time to time.  Really too many adverse variables to make the fishing either fun or productive.

Casting from the river "left" side became impossible.  My very best double haul was incapable of slugging the flies much more than fifteen feet or so into the current from that side of the river. 

 

 

Only fish I did manage to mouth hook and play was a giant carp (yes, I do enjoy catching them - a lot!). 

 

 

Don't know what he weighed, but he was completely black colored and I'd guess roughly 15-20 pounds.

 

 

Further downstream where we'd normally have a lot of success down deep by a steep, rocky cliff, we had a close encounter of a not nice kind. 

Exiting our casting rock, the dog jumped something as he went upstream, and I nearly set a foot on what turned out to be a five foot long local rattlesnake.  I know I should have killed it to protect others passing through the area, but the snake was very passive and took shelter in a place I could not easily reach.

 

 

What's fascinating is the snake's coloration.  A very bright yellow body banded with the typical tan barring.   Much different than any other rattlers we seen anywhere else in the past.

Actually I'd seen this precise coloration once before - a year ago on the Green.

Only the former time the snake - which was also lethargic and not aggressive - was probably in the 9-10 foot range.

We kept fishing hard until 2:00 in the afternoon at which point the effort really became a lost cause.  Just could not either locate or get a fly down to the kind of structure where fish should have been holding.  The wind was remorseless and relentless, and I eventually gave up.

We took off a day earlier than planned and headed back towards Colorado.  Drove through Saratoga, Riverside, and the junction to Walden, where we turned left and did an unusual side trip through Wood's Landing and up highway 10 towards Colorado up the Big Laramie River.

Thought about trying the Hohnholtz (sp?) Lakes section of that mentioned river but somehow missed the turnoff.  Tried a few casts at one of the SWA's on the Laramie but had no luck and exited the water quickly due to hordes of hungry mosquitoes. 

Continued going up to the junction with the upper Poudre - then over the pass and down to the turnoff to the area called "Crags" where we spent the night.

Next morning we drove to the North Fork Michigan River, had breakfast, considered fishing, and ruled it out because of bitter early morning temperatures.  Then we did the drive on the shortcut to Rand, up over Willow Creek Pass and made another mistake when we turned off at the west end of a dirt road to Stillwater Pass.  Really an ugly road.  Single lane.  No pullouts.  Happily no other vehicles.  Unhappily it took a whole hour to get to Granby.  No we'll never do that again.

Drove to the dam end of Shadow Mountain Reservoir.  Walked over to the dam, and lo & behold, found that the flows were reduced from our last trip's thousand foot plus to more wadable levels.

 

Last year Sue & I had one of our best fishing experiences ever on this unusual tailwater below Shadow Mountain. 

It's heavily fished by both bait and fly fisher people, but we had an outstanding day that time around.

This year the dog & I walked downstream from the dam and fished each pool as we found them.  It was still very good fishing, albeit not up to what we'd had the prior year.

Hatches abounded  Bugs were everywhere - all kinds of insects.  Midges of course.  Caddis early on.  Yellow sallies in small batches throughout the morning.  PMD's dominated eventually.

The PMD's were most interesting.  When I first saw these mayflies coming off, their coloration was that of red quills.  Impossible, I thought.  And impossible it was, due to the timing of the hatch and the smaller sizes of the PMD's compared to our indigenous red quills.  The fact that these PMD's had a bright red/orange tinge to the bodies that made no sense at all. My conventional dubbing didn't come close to a decent match.

Let's shorten the story. Released good numbers of fish at the outset using a #18 tan/gray bodied WRS on the surface and an antenna caddis pupa trailing. 

As the morning went on the PMD's dominated, and the caddis patterns were less useful. 

None of my PMD's even nominally matched the coloration we encountered.  That situation will be remedied by some new dubbing blends next week..

Still I caught lots of fish - and missed even more - by an order of magnitude. 

Some of the missed rises was due to "short" strikes by the trout recognizing a "fake" on the water.

Some were caused by my having to make very long casts to a large pool where the fish were concentrated on the far side.  While my reactions were sometimes less than perfect, I did keep a very straight line between myself and the fly.  It was difficult reacting to lightning strikes by these heavily worked over fish.

Anyway, I did release all three (not four) species as shown here.  Probably played 30-40 fish this morning. 

A very unusual thing was to have two trout absolutely separate my tippet from the leader twice.  That just doesn't happen often. 

It was obviously caused by a very bad or a very overstressed knot, but the quick bull runs made by these fish was astounding. 

One would anticipate that reaction from a bonefish in the flats but not from a trout in a mountain stream..

Fish sizes were not outstanding (at least for the ones I released.) 

Best lengths were fourteen for the rainbows, sixteen for the browns, and twelve for the cutthroat.  Not like last year, but not too bad.  It was by far the most fun part of the trip.

Probably a few days off next week and then with Sue having some time off from work, we'll get to share a revisiting trip to Pelican Lake in Utah and maybe try Flaming Gorge, the lake itself, the tailwater, and possibly a couple of feeder streams there too.

Last Logbook Entry  for previous day

6/23-28:  Sue's work schedule had a nice long break in it towards the end of June which gave us the opportunity for an extended trip to a part of Utah we've often tried piecemeal yet had still had some waters neither of us had previously experienced.

Our first stop was Pelican Lake, a shallow, warm water reservoir I'd fished earlier in May but one which Sue had not yet enjoyed.

As commonly seems to be the case, the fishing turned was far superior the first time around - as in "You should have been here yesterday."

By this later date in the summer, the lake water level had declined significantly and the shoreside reeds had grown and thickened to the point that it was virtually impossible to make a cast into them..

As an alternative to the earlier successful wade fishing, we tried a combination of deep water trolling with a variety of streamers and had very limited success with that approach.

A better ploy seemed to be to use a fairly bushy dry fly trailed by some generic bead head nymph and paddle slowly along the outside of the reed beds and cast those flies as close as possible to the reeds.  That approach worked a lot better.  Both of us had good success on many of the oversized sunfish that this lake is famous for, and we caught many immature largemouths as well.

In the evening where we could find small breaks in the reeds by the shore, it was still possible to pick up many of the same fish by wading and casting into any kind of modest open space.

We camped that first night right by the water and had a really ugly experience with the local mosquito population.

I would best describe the bugs as "stealth" mosquitoes, since they didn't make their presence known until it was virtually pitch black, but when they did begin their assault, it was relentless and remorseless.

Both of us suffered enough bites that we swelled up like small balloons on the body parts that were most exposed to the attacks.  Such is life.

Did another repeat set of trolling the streamers the next morning followed by more paddling and casting to the reeds with the dry fly/nymph rig and had a pretty similar experience to that of the prior day.

While we'll definitely come back to this lake, we'll most certainly do it when water levels are at maximum and the fish are either spawning or actively feeding in the reed beds.  It's much better fishing under those conditions.

In early afternoon we drove the twisting highway 191 towards Flaming Gorge, and instead of turning right at the junction to the dam and Dutch John, we continued on towards the upper part of the reservoir itself hoping to test some of the smaller creeks that flow into the lake from the mountains to the west.

We passed over Carter Creek continuing to the scenic loop road that takes one around a geologic scenic near Deep Creek and eventually down the Sheep Creek canyon to the lake itself.

At a turn off sign for Deep Creek, we headed down a dusty jeep road to the creek at the bottom of a steep descent and were somewhat disappointed with the appearance of the stream.  It was running sluggishly, shallowly, and seemed unusually off color, and we passed attempting any casting there.

Continued on the scenic loop and finally did the drive down Sheep Creek to the lake itself.  Looked at this creek too where it was at its strongest flow just above where it entered the lake, but even there it appeared too small to hold much in the way of fish.

 

By the way it was signed for no fishing from the period of 8/15 through 10/15 of each year to protect the kokanee salmon that apparently run up from the lake in the fall.

 

Stopped at the overlook above Sheep Creek Bay (see photo to the left) which is one of the best known views of Flaming Gorge.  While we enjoyed the view, this experimental part of the trip was not bearing fruit in the form of trout to the hand.

 

Life got a little bit better when we pulled off at a parking area for Carter Creek.  This stream had somewhat more flow - maybe running at 20 c.f.s. and while it was also slightly off color, it at least had a couple of decent looking holes and riffles.

 As I was rigging up to test the water downstream of the bridge, a couple of other cars pulled in and as the drivers apparently felt they had more senior rights to the water than I did, I pulled out of the area, drove across the road and rigged up smaller flies appropriate for this smaller stream.  So much for expecting share the space ethics amongst the local Mormon fly fisher people.

As I reached the creek and began casting it was amazing that the fishing was terrific right out of the box.  Virtually every cast brought a small wild rainbow to the hook.  Must have released a good dozen fish in just a few minutes, so went back to the car & convinced Sue to rig up too. 

 

She had the same experience.  We retraced our steps to the original hole I'd just fished (see photo) and immediately she had equal success over the same fish.

 

She even had at least one double hookup.  We walked a ways upstream and continued to pull these tiny rainbows from any moderately decent holding water

.

It turned out to be a lot of fun and was a much better ending to the day than we'd anticipated.

 

Camped high in the mountains that night, hoping to avoid a repeat of the prior evening's bug experience and that turned out to be the case.

After a light breakfast we drove to the visitor center at the dam trying to find a more detailed map that would guide us to a dispersed camping area on Flaming Gorge Reservoir called "Jug Hollow".  We'd read about that specific area from a note on the web by a kayaker who said there was decent camping and lots of interesting paddling on that part of the lake - just what we were looking for.

Success.  The free map of the lake gave us good directions to the "Jug".  Actually it was a fairly short & easy dirt road drive from the highway a few miles north of the dam.  There are all kinds of decent camping sites all along this part of the lake.  It's interesting that the Forest Service and other publications - including official web sites - make absolutely no mention of this free camping fact, I guess trying to force visitors to the pay sites that exist all around this body of water.  Better for us for more peace and quiet.

We set up camp, rigged our rods and the boat and began what proved to be an outstanding morning of fishing.  The lake itself is quite a bit cooler than our other regularly visited stillwater spot - Lake Powell.  That cooler water issue suggests why our double streamer rig was perhaps much more successful with the full sink lines than it would have been further south.

The shoreside trolling was truly outstanding.  In an hour & a half we probably released more smallmouths than we would have in three complete days down at Powell.

 

It really was astonishingly good fishing.  Double hookups were common, and the sizes were far better than we could have ever hoped for.

 

The only disappointment was when we crossed the wide bay where we put it and did what would normally be very productive trolling down at Powell - namely working closely the steep rocks and drop offs beneath the cliffs that lined the other shore.  We had virtually no success those rocks and points, which fact seemed very unusual. 

The other difficult issue was clouding of the water later in the afternoon.  Apparently the lake is close to full for the year, and the waves that brush the banks of the shore in the afternoon winds drag silt in to and muddy the water in the shallower places we were trolling.  That issue definitely caused the fishing to slack off, so we resolved to spend most of our time on the lake early in the day when less turbulent conditions existed.

Overall the fishing was truly outstanding - at least from our perspective.

 

We released many doubles along with bass up to roughly three pounds.

 

Both of us hooked and played nice rainbows to sixteen inches - again something that seemed very unusual given the shallow water in which we were trolling.

 

According to the local fishing reports, this time of year it's normally necessary to troll or jig in depths of 25-50 feet to find most of the cold water species - like the large rainbows, browns, and lake trout that live here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nice night of camping followed with a pleasant campfire, some good pasta, and of course, lots of decent wine (Note the happy grins!)

 

 

Next morning we did pretty much an identical repeat of the prior day's work on the water with very similar results.  

 

Despite the fact that we kept repeating our paddling routine through the same depths and locations, for whatever reason new fish seemed to be available each pass we made.

 

Around the middle of the day we took a break from the boat and looked at another site where we thought a better campsite might be located.  Bad idea.  

 

As soon as we walked down the shore, one of our toothy friends showed up again.  

 

 

 

 

About five feet long this rattler was much darker colored than the one I ran into on the "Mile" a week earlier, but he shared the same kind of lethargic and indifferent behavior towards us - so we shot the photo but not him.

 

 

With this modestly negative glitch we closed a chapter on what was becoming a very interesting trip.

 

We'll definitely return to F.G. as the fishing and overall conditions are really outstanding despite a somewhat close encounter of the wrong kind.

 

It's a particularly intriguing area to visit given its close proximity to our next stop - the tailwater of the lake - the Green River below the dam.  Two diverse fishing options are obviously better than just one.

As we'd planned two partial days of fishing on the stream, we made a pretty leisurely hike down from the dam the first afternoon.  Unfortunately it was a blisteringly hot day with zero cloud cover.  Most of the drift boats had set off by the time we made it to the banks of the river, and we only ran into four other wade fisher people

To be honest the fishing was difficult at best.  No hatches were evident and the fish were sullen in the afternoon sun.  We streamer fished our way down a couple of miles with only three or four fish apiece and those came from a shallow, highly aerated riffle near the bottom terminus of our hike.

On the way back upstream we shifted our rigs to a tiny comparadun on the surface and a smaller bead head larva behind it.

 

Sue had some success with the bead head, and I was shut out for the most part, missing several unenthusiastic strikes.

 

After seeing one cicada on the rocks near the shore, I finally turned to that fly as a last resort and really did get rewarded for the insight.

 

The somewhat listless trout seemed quite interested in this large bug and even on the shallower flats water I got a good bunch of strikes and hookups.  It ended up being a decent afternoon with probably a dozen fish overall falling for the flat water cicada.  This low film riding version by the way seems to be definitely superior to the commercial products available locally.  Test fishing it along side some of the local flies indicated it outfishing those commercial products by almost ten to one a couple of years ago.

Spent that night just off a new road being built into Dutch John (that campsite won't be around for long) and got up fairly early, hoping to be on the water before the sun turned the fish off in the middle of the day.

 

Normally we do a three to four mile hike upstream on this part of the trip, but because the middle of the day seemed so unproductive under these weather conditions, we thought to spend part of the time walking upstream of Little Hole and then drive to the base of "B" section during the afternoon to try that somewhat neglected stretch of stream.

 

We set off and began casting with a variety of rigs.  Sue stuck with a WRS and small bead head, and I worked my way up some faster pocket water with a cicada in front and an antenna pupa behind it.  It was wonderful combination early in the day.  The resident browns loved the larger surface fly to a fault.

The most interesting experience I had on the trip happened on this stretch of water.  Cast to a nice seam beside a midstream eddy and hooked one of the smallest fish I've ever seen here - a roughly nine inch brown.  As I was retrieving him, I noticed a much larger shadow striking the fish.  A good sized male brown was trying to eat the juvenile as I was reeling him in. 

At one point apparently the bigger fish must have seen the trailing nymph and snapped at it - and voila - I had a really nice double on both hooks.  Happily the bigger fish ( a good 20-22 inches) was so much stronger, he could yank the smaller around with no effort.  Eventually I was able to land and release both of them.  Fun!

It was also nice to seem some rainbows back in the mix of fish played and released.

 

Last couple of times through here, all I've run into were the browns, and frankly, despite the fact that most of the rainbows run a bit smaller in size, they seem to have more feistiness in them.

 

No cutthroats on this trip, and they seem to be gradually disappearing from the mix of fish we catch on this part of the stream.

 

We eventually ended up hiking roughly two miles up from Little Hole.  I'll have to admit it turned out to be a decent day's fishing.  It's just wonderful to have cicadas back on the water.  The fish love them, and the strikes tend to be much more aggressive than those we get with some of the smaller flies we normally have to use here.

 

Sue enjoyed success with the cicada too, but with less experience in using them, she simply doesn't share the confidence I have in that fly under these conditions.

 

And we all know how crucial it is to have confidence in the pattern we're using.

 

 

 

 

After fueling up at Dutch John, we headed down the bumpy back road to the bottom of "B".  The Bridgeport parking area was already occupied when we arrived at the base of the steep pass, so we drove to the Indian Crossing picnic area, did our lunch, and then found a short dirt road to a nice looking riffle just below the campground.

 

An oncoming thunderstorm made life miserable casting upstream, but I did land one nice hen brown on a cicada there, and then when the winds got too strong, shifted to a ginger colored wooly bugger and caught a really strong and handsome male brown with a mouth so large I could put my fist in it.

 

 

Tried another spot just below Bridgeport with no success at all. 

The winds were miserable at this point and casting ceased to be productive at all.

We left the river, drove through the "C" section and did the turnoff to the Gates of Lodore which neither of us had previously visited. 

 

The camp area was almost completely deserted when we arrived, so we hiked the nature trail to this overlook above the Colorado. 

 

As we'd wanted to try some more fishing down here, the ugly muddy color of the river here was a turn off, and we passed on that idea.

 

The "Gates" is a beautiful and dramatic canyon setting, but without some decent water for casting, it's not a place to which we would return.

 

Though we had another day to potentially get in some additional fishing, we decided enough was enough and we headed home the same evening.

 

Local Colorado streams are still running a bit too high for our wading taste, so I suspect we'll take some time off and wait for conditions to improve a bit more around our home waters.


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