October, 2007

10/2:  October fishing came in like a lamb this afternoon.  Finally a sunny day after alternating days of mixed rain and snowstorms with more of that nasty weather on the way this weekend made a few casts on the Eagle near Dowd Junction a necessity.

For some reason this stretch of the river has been more or less unproductive the few times I've tried it this year.  Had four fish on during the hour I spent on the water though all "long" released before I could forcept a fly from their mouths.  One took the WRS on top, one took a black copper john, and two came to a #18 sparkle wing RS-2.  Not great results.

If flows on the Colorado drop by tomorrow to a point it appears fishable, we'll take a chance on the State Bridge section.

We have a pretty aggressive fishing schedule for the month weather permitting - including trips to Powell, Flaming Gorge and the Green, and possibly the "Mile" as well.


10/4:  It was a gorgeous warm-before-the-storm day - the next cold front due here a couple of days from now.  Very few clouds and a nice air temperature lured us out late in the morning and down the freeway towards Wolcott and the Colorado River.

The dog and I started our hike just above State Bridge and I almost immediately began casting in some pocket water below the Piney River confluence.  Fish came right away to the #18 yellow bodied WRS.  Neither of the trailing nymphs brought a strike down here, nor did they anywhere on the stream today.  Eventually I gave up on sinkers and stuck completely with the dry alone.


All the fish to start with were the local smallish browns averaging ten to twelve inches, but they do fight somewhat better than fish that have been caught and released repeatedly.  


The first stretch gave up six or eight fish, so I had high hopes for the rest of the day too.


The Colorado was running quite a bit more clear than we're used to seeing, and that made a big difference in where we were able to cast and have hopes of getting strikes.

It really was wonderful fishing all afternoon.  All the pockets and drop offs held fish and they eagerly came up to the surface.  With the exception of two sub foot long rainbows everything else was a brown. 



The best of that species was the fourteen incher shown here.




We hiked and waded probably a good mile or so up the stream and ran into no other fisher people along the shore, nor did we even have a drift boat pass by.  

Just a great time of year to be on the water.



Our favorite braid on the Colorado.  The browns are still feeding heavily and show no signs of starting the spawn - something that's visible in this shallow part of the stream.





If the weather holds for one more day, I'll probably try to finally get out on the Eagle - a place not yet fished so far this summer.


10/5:  Left early for Wolcott and the red canyon section of the Eagle today due to predictions of 40 m.p.h. winds in advance of tomorrow's scheduled snowstorm.  The Eagle's running nice and clear albeit a bit high for this time of year.

Rigged up with a #18 WRS on top and a black copper john behind and below.  Nothing happening with this outfit.  Waded and cast for a good quarter mile with not a sign of a strike.  A bit discouraging to say the least.  At a deeper run changed to a white rubber leg WRS as an indicator fly and put two nymphs further below it - red copper john first trailed by a graphic caddis.


At the next better pool at least turned a nice rainbow that looked at the floater, but it took another couple hundred yards of casting to finally land a fish on the caddis pupa.  


Really slow going.


Near the end of the session finally hooked a handful of other fish and had a similar number of other strikes.  


Smallest was a six inch brown and some of the rainbows (not landed) were up to sixteen.


10/8:  With some nice sunny weather in the offing for the afternoon, I lured Sue out of the house and dragged her along on another trip to the Colorado by State Bridge - but this time downstream of that structure instead of our normal upstream wade.


At the primitive campground about a mile down from the bridge she stuck to the car doing those ever present crossword puzzles while I hiked and cast on some left handed bank water below a nice riffle.  It was nice fishing.  


About the second cast, hooked a fourteen inch brown on the trailing #18 graphic caddis nymph.  That fish lay in only about a foot of water.


More success followed all the way up to and including the riffle.  Suspect playing maybe 9-11 fish ranging from another fourteener down to roughly some eights.  The only place fish took to the white rubber leg WRS was in the shallower water in the riffle.  All the rest came to the caddis.


Hearing that report, Sue opted to fish when we got up to the bridge itself.  I hiked downstream again and worked some absolutely beautiful bank water but had only one strike to show for it.  Mystifying.  


She stayed up by the bridge and released a pair of sub twelve inch browns, one of which took a red copper john and the other chased the rubber leg back to her until she permitted it to quaff the fly.  


She was happy - and it was nice to get her out on the water for a change.

We should get in a couple more local trips this week before heading to the Green on Friday.


10/9:  This month is turning into a good one for fishing.  Weather has been great and looks to continue for the next week or two.  We'll take it!

Today the dog & I drove over Ute Pass to the Colorado and started fishing at the Lone Buck SWA just below Barr Canyon.  A leak in my waders kept me wet wading and it was tough due to much colder water temperatures.  The Colorado is also running quite low and very clear making the always difficult little browns a whole lot more difficult.

Started casting with the same rig as used yesterday about 40 miles downstream on the same river, but it was worthless today.  With a few heads coming up from time to time, I finally got the message and changed to a #18 olive comparadun.  Lots better.  Sight casting to rising fish brought good strikes.  Unfortunately I'd messed up half the water already, but it still turned out decently playing a good number of those smallish browns (under fourteen inches).

After a quick lunch, drove further upstream just above the canyon and started fishing again with my smaller, full flex rod that I'd rigged up for the Williams Fork as our next stop.  A #18 WRS on top and a #18 pheasant tail behind.  Just above the canyon was wonderful fishing.  Have never seen this many browns as hungry as they were today.



Mostly took them on the nymph with a few (dumber ones) turning to the generic dry fly.  The next pool upstream was even better - albeit not quite fair to the fish.  


Apparently the DOW had recently stocked it with a variety of different lengthed rainbows.  In all honesty, I think they'd been planted some time back as they clearly were not truly hatchery stupid.


I tried to "educate" as many of them as I could and along the way hooked a few nice browns as well.  Even landed a rare double of smaller fish.



It was fun.  Had I shifted to another smaller dry fly, suspect I could have touched a hundred fish in a short period of time, but that just didn't seem right, so I continued with the larger hook sizes and had fun anyway.



Tomorrow we probably will try the lower Eagle.




10/12-15:  Passed on the Eagle, so here we are sitting at a sheltered picnic table in Little Hole on the Green River.  Sipping a glass of chardonnay, munching on some crackers with cambozola. Sue's off to Montana for a "hen" party once again leaving the dog and I to fend for ourselves.  Actually that's not too difficult a proposition.

We left Vail yesterday morning, drove to Vernal, then up over the pass and down to Flaming Gorge.  Pulled off highway 191 at the Spillway access to the river and did our regular two mile downstream hike. Fishing was not easy yesterday, nor was it today.  Although the weather was fine, the regular afternoon downstream 20 knot winds made casting very difficult.  It's late in the season and despite fewer drift boats and even fewer shore walkers on the river, the lack of any kind of hatch made conditions tough.


Just below the trailhead ending down from the parking lot I hooked and released a very nice eighteen inch brown that took a #20 black CDC winged RS-2.  


Boy, I thought, it this going to be an easy day.


Couldn't have been more wrong.  When the next half hour brought nothing further, I changed to a rabbit bugger and since we were walking downstream, that seemed to be the logical approach.

Wrong again.  Eventually turned to a #20 comparadun and began getting a strike now and then.  Small nymphs didn't work well at all.  Just a mystifying experience. 


OK.  To end this part of the story, I suspect hooking maybe a dozen fish in the afternoon - not great results for probably four hours of hiking and casting, but the reality is that this part of the "A" section is really not the optimum part of the river - at least for the approach I enjoy using.



We drove to and camped for the night on Flaming Gorge Reservoir. It was too late to even think about off loading the kayak and trying some trolling, so we simply settled in for the night and awakened when the sun finally worked its way through the early morning cloud cover.  Cold it was this morning. A COLD front is coming through the area and we're smack dab in the middle of it.

A raft of dozens of coots swimming together in the gathering dusk evoked images of what some kind of sea monster might look like.


When the air temperature finally suggested getting out of the down sleeping bag might be appropriate, I did so.  Had the obligatory cup of coffee/cocoa and felt somewhat better.  


Around 10:00 we launched the kayak and did some trolling around an area that has been wonderful in the past.  Today it was a dud.  No sign of fish at all.  Clearly the bass and trout have settled down deeper in the thermocline and are hunkered down for the winter.  Gave up on any thought of spending another night on the reservoir and drove back to the Spillway access to the Green.

On the trail down to the Green from the upper parking area.


It was another weird day.  Rather than waste time by the dam, we hiked well downstream before beginning casting.  No wind.  No wind.  No wind.  The first time I remember that happening on this river.  


Sounds good - right?  No, not!  My 6X tippet looked like a cruise boat's hawser and my # 20 comparadun was the ship itself.  Fish looked at both and just laughed at me.

We got smarter - after all, we're human, aren't we?  Stretched the leader to fifteen feet with 7X at the end and a #24 comparadun beyond that.  Just about the time I made that switch, the air temperature dropped about 20 degrees and the wind came pouring downstream at another 20 (knots).


Have you ever tried to throw fifteen feet of light leader into the teeth of a twenty knot wind and set it down lightly just above the head of a suspicious trout that will not move sideways more than two inches to check out some food?  Well I didn't have a lot of success either.


That's the way the afternoon went.


Despite the issues, we still caught and released a few more fish.  Probably the same number as the previous day.  It's just tough fishing.  Even if we'd had a fall micro BWO hatch, things probably would not have been much better.

(Enough for now - battery is running low - will try to recharge from the car's inverter.

Today - Sunday.  Camped at a great spot right in the brush next to the town of Dutch John.  A new road that's yet unpaved, but offers some nice secluded pull offs.  Rained lightly during the night.  The front's obviously coming through as expected.

We drove to Little Hole and found it completely empty.  Unthinkable on a weekend.  Had some cocoa/coffee, a banana, and can of pineapple/orange juice, slathered some chicken salad on a French bun and started our hike up the river.

Half mile or so upstream started casting along a fairly shallow piece of bank water that usually acts as an indicator of what the fish might want that day.  If my results were any indication of their preferences, the day would be a blank.  No midge hatch at all this morning - nor anything else.  The trout seemed to be hunkered down waiting for winter to happen.  Not a good sign.

When the river turned a bit swifter upstream below Dripping Spring, I changed to a dry attractor - a new camel colored WRS and trailed it with a #16 antenna pupa.  Not a combination that would normally work here at all, but desperate times call for.............

The change actually worked - more or less.  Started getting some strikes both up and down.  Most of the surface takers were rainbows with a rare brown coming up once in a while.  Not great fishing but a whole lot better than being skunked.


Best of all I had the whole river to myself.  Have never seen that happen before here.  Over four miles of upstream and back hiking in a period of maybe three hours would guess I played 15-18 fish, of which probably half were released by me and the balance released themselves.  


Really not a bad morning given nasty weather conditions, downstream winds, and spitting rain.

We exited the parking area before noon heading down the back road to Brown's Park and what I hoped would be a great repeat experience on the upper part of the "C" section.

Didn't happen.  I'm guessing that a combination of lower stream flows and colder water temperatures have convinced those finicky browns to move to deeper pastures in the river.  Had not a strike in an hour of wading, nor did I see any sign of a fish in this stretch of water.  Se la vie.  

So we made the long drive to our favorite river and now close to sunset we're sitting above Lake Avery looking at the recently snow covered mountains around us and wondering what dinner will be.  Tomorrow we spend a bit of the morning on our favorite stretch of that same favorite stream before heading back to Vail.

This morning.  Fugetabout any further thoughts about fishing.  That same cold front passing through dragged brutally low air temperatures with it during the night.  Though I was comfy in my down bag, I did worry about the dog who does not sleep outside during the summer or winter.  But he seemed fine all night, not shivering at all.


When I looked up at the sun roof from my bag as the night grayed into morning, Lara's theme kept running through my mind as memories of the ice palace scene in Dr. Zhivago greeted us with crystals sealing the inside and outside of the Element.  


It was just too much.  Probably sitting around for 3-4 hours would have brought the temperature up to a point we could have considered wading, but it was just too uncomfortable to seriously contemplate.


Drove into town, had a nice breakfast, and we were back home in Vail by noon.  We probably still have another couple of trips in us this autumn if snow doesn't fall too heavily until November.


10/24-26:  Last weekend's brutal snowstorm gave us cabin fever with thoughts of never ending winter facing us for the next six months.  Happily the sun shone on Monday, and a quick check of Bullfrog Basin's weather report for the next few days caused the Element to be quickly loaded with the kayak and its regular accompaniment of food, fishing tackle, wine, and other camping stuff.

We took our time leaving Vail and arrived at the Stanton Creek primitive camping area of Lake Powell late Wednesday afternoon.  It was gorgeous fall weather with daytime temps. in the low 70's and the nights in the high 40's.  What could possibly be better?  Why good fishing too of course.

Unhappily the latter didn't happen - although that didn't completely dampen our enjoyment of the trip.  


We set up camp, enjoyed a nice dinner salad and did a bit of casting along the shoreline in the evening.  


A bit strange that there was no sign of the usually friendly juvenile smallmouths working along the shelf by the edge of the water, but what the heck, we knew we'd have a good day tomorrow.


To top off the good weather a massive full moon worked its way over us throughout the night making the landscape similar to what it must be like in Alaska during the summer months.  Only problem with the moon is that the dog is mesmerized by it and periodically looks up from his nap on the tailgate and rushes off towards it howling like crazy.

Next morning after a fine breakfast we hopped in the kayak and began paddle trolling our way over towards our favorite arm of Stanton Creek.  There were virtually no other people around on the lake.  What a treat.  Jet skis are our normal nemesis in the busier parts of the season here, and having none of that distraction around was truly a blessing.

Ah, but the fishing.  


A good time it was not.  Even with really positive internet reports from the local outfitters raving about conditions, we pretty much got blanked this time around.  Nothing at all to report trolling excepting a few bumps from time to time.  When we reached the end of that nice arm of the lake, we exited the boat and did some shore casting.  


Sue had a strike from one of the many carp swimming in a big pod, and I had a couple more strikes from juvenile largemouths and did release this one pictured here, but that was it.

We were really disappointed that the fishing was this poor - to the point that we left the area a day earlier than planned.  Despite wonderful weather and a lack of noise from other boaters, without a strike from time to time, there simply isn't much to do down here in the way of finding entertainment.


So with a nice bratwurst meal Thursday night under out belts watching the full moon in the background, we left early Friday morning and are back in town mid afternoon today.


Should the weather hold up, I'll take the dog down to the Arkansas early next week.  


We fly to Savannah for the following weekend and again, if the weather holds up, the dog & I will try the "Mile" sometime in early November for probably our last trip of the year.

Last Logbook Entry  for previous days.    

10/28:  Happily the Broncos didn't have a game scheduled this Sunday afternoon - happily because not only are they not much fun to watch this season, but also because it was a beautiful sunny day and we wanted to go fishing again.

Happily also because it turned out to be a great session on the Colorado.  The dog & I drove to State Bridge after lunch and started our regular hike up the river.  Shortly after getting to some pocket water, a very large rainbow (yes, I saw him) grabbed the trailing antenna pupa just as it touched the water.  A couple of hard lunges later, the fish separated the fly from the tippet.  Now that doesn't happen very often to 5# test 5X fluoro, but it did today.  Guess I had a bad knot from the previous fishing trip.

At that point I changed the nymph to a #16 red copper john and kept the rubber leg WRS as the indicator fly.  Apparently many of the fish today had forgotten that the last grasshoppers of the year died off about a month ago, so we're also thankful that fish have short and long term memory issues.


The river was also roughly a foot lower along the bank than the last time we were here which made more shore water accessible and created better holding areas for the trout.  We hiked probably a mile upstream and just had a wonderful time all the way.



Most of the browns (which always make up 95% of the catch) took the nymph but enough got on the attractor fly that if didn't seem to make much sense to change the dry despite some olives that started showing in the air around 2:00 in the afternoon.

In our favorite braid this nice fifteen inch rainbow came to the dry.  All the fish today seemed to be feeding actively and few were very fussy.  


Towards the end of the day I swapped the dry for a #18 olive comparadun, and despite its being at least two sizes too large, the fish found it much preferable to the rubber leg.  


Had I made that change earlier, results would have been even better - as unlikely as that probably sounds, given the fact that we probably released a good 25-30 fish this afternoon.  


None of the browns exceeded fourteen, but it was a terrific day of fishing.

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