April, 2008

4/4:  Another ugly day here in paradise - more cold and snow than we need - but we'd better not complain too loudly lest Mother Nature hear us.  Prepped the van for a longer overnight trip starting Sunday - still don't know what direction we're headed, but probably to our "favorite" stream that day and then possible on to the Green - if the relentlessly nasty weather doesn't get any worse than it already is today.

Debated driving to the Colorado by State Bridge again although with its flow increasing daily, the probability of too much color suggested it makes more sense to stick to the Eagle locally where off coloration is still not an issue.  Drove back near Dowd Junction and edged my way downstream to that same pool that was so productive later in March.

Still too much snow along the bank here to allow the dog to join me on this outing so I soloed again.  


Was rigged up with the same fly setup that worked well the last time down here - a leading #18 gray comparadun and a trailing #20 BWO RS-2.  


Made a handful of casts and did hook a smallish brown, but with no heads showing on the surface, changed to a nymph rig of a recently tied heavyweight stone and kept the same RS-2 out the back end.

Continue to enjoy using that new balloon style strike indicator.  It casts well and floats - well like a balloon.  As I worked my way up from the tail of this pool, I did start catching a few fish.  They were pretty catholic in their tastes between the two patterns.

Before reaching the top of the pool, I retraced my steps and worked my way across the stream at the foot and fished the other side where we'd not been before.  


Success was pretty decent there too, and more of the fish were larger today than the average ten inchers that were released on the last trip.


By the time I'd reached the top of the pool on that side of the river, lots of heads were popping through the surface again in the middle of the river.  

With no sign of olives in the air, I assumed the fish must be taking some kind of midge, so went back across the river and retied a comparadun/RS-2 combination and continued casting.  The fishing got better and better as the air temperatures got colder and colder and snow started spitting from the passing clouds.  

Missed lots of strikes due to my flies being close to impossible to see on the surface, but did eventually manage to release a good twenty to twenty five fish and played another bunch of roughly half that number.


Really wonderful fishing even if the browns (and that's all I caught today) weren't all that large.  


This time of year with the fish feeding heavily before runoff, those normally wily trout behave more like cutthroats.  In any case we appreciate their allowing us to have some fun.

Tomorrow we'll be off after bigger prey - hopefully with some rainbows in the mix.


4/6:  This is interesting - the current appearance of what in the summer is a nice reservoir.

We (the dog & I) are parked at the boat launch ramp at Lake Avery way up the White River.  Boat and launch are something of an odd combination of words right now given the obvious fact that this body of water is still completely frozen solid.


The "still frozen" comment is a hopeful one since with the dog exploring recent ice fishermen bore holes in the lake's surface, should he break through that shelf, he surely will die as I presumably am not stupid enough to try to save him from the kind of mutual fate that would befall both of us should that the ice give way.

So here we are parked above our favorite river settling in for an evening of camping.  I've plugged the laptop into an inverter which is in turn plugged into the deep dwelling battery in the van.  Again, with more luck I can relate our experiences today before the charger breaks down or the laptop fails to function in this environment.  The cursor is already jumping around so much that the mouse has become unusable, I'm guessing due to cold temperatures at which the computer was stored all day.

After our early morning mountain run at home today, I cleaned a couple of inches of fresh snow off the van before scraping another half inch of ice off the windshield.  Given there's more snow in the forecast for later today and for the next several, it made no sense to try to take this vehicle all the way to the Green River - and especially not over that difficult pass between Vernal and Dutch John.  So we made the decision to shorten the trip to two days and simply to visit our "favorite" stream followed by a few more hours the second day on either the Roaring Fork or the Frying Pan.


Drove to Meeker and got there just past the noon hour.  Happily when we arrived at our normal starting point on the river, no one else was about.  


The river's flowing low & clear right now.  We don't mind that situation.  Donned the waders, rigged up with heavy stone and trailing RS-2 and made our way to the first of our usual starting holes.  


Not much in the way of fishy interest for the first few minutes, but in a shallower part at the head of the run, a nice fourteen inch rainbow took the stone and put up a good fight before pulling free. 

A couple of casts later the same thing happened with a slightly larger fish.  Yeah!  At least something likes us.

A bit further upstream at the favorite trough hole, life improved even more.  A handful of strikes with a couple of good rainbows released in the 15-16 inch range.  


Saw a few heads poking up through the surface film and subsequently wasted some time tying on a tiny comparadun and casting my way up the "wrong" handed side of this pool.  


No success with that fly.  Got up to another favorite spot and rerigged again.

 This time with a caramel colored WRS as the strike indicator fly followed shortly by a #14 red copper john and then by a small unweighted prince.  One nice fish came to the copper john - and another to the indicator fly.  Amazing.  There were only midges hatching today so why would a somewhat wily adult fish take the indicator?  Who knows - and who cares!  Maybe the coloration of that floater was close enough to a golden stone to elicit the responses it received.

Stuck with this latter rig most of the rest of the afternoon.  It worked reasonably well.  


In all honesty we're so spoiled by the good results we generally have on this stream that very little surprises us any more.


 With the exception of a couple of cutbows, every other fish was a rainbow today.  Sizes ranged from one small ten inch bow released late in the day to a very chubby cutbow of about eighteen.  Most were 14-16 inches in length.

No whiteys bit at all which is a bit unusual given their high populations in this river.  

After working our way up to the upper end of this section of stream, I once again refished the trough hole on the way back to the van around 3:00 in the afternoon.  The intermittent snow showers we've suffered through all day had pretty much ceased.  

The wind finally died too.  A midge hatch began in earnest.  Heads came up.  I shifted to a small olive comparadun and had lots of fun casting to several rising fish.  Sight casting is wonderful fun.  Missed numbers of strikes due to my inability to see the tiny fly on the water but did hook a few more good sized fish, releasing a handful more.


Just a nice afternoon.  The dog's tired.  I'm tired.  Cooking home style beans tonight with a ham slice and some good French bread.  


It will be a cold evening of camping in the van, but happily the propane furnace will mitigate that situation when called upon.


Tomorrow I'll have breakfast at the Meeker Hotel followed by some casting on the Fork and then home to a party at the Mexican restaurant in Minturn.

4/8:  Amazing what a difference a few hours can make in terms of the weather here.  We'd expected some modest snow showers today but woke to four more inches of snow on the van overnight with lots coming down all around us.  Limped out of the muddy, snowy parking area and cautiously made out way down the dirt road to the paved roadway.  It too was snow covered and treacherous.

No fun this weather.  Our van is probably one of the worst handling snow vehicles ever made, and it lived up to that reputation the rest of the way back home.  Driving anywhere this morning was simply miserable.  Made it into Meeker only to find that our restaurant didn't open due to employees not being able to get to work.

The next 40 miles back to Rifle were the scariest I've ever experienced.  Even at 20 m.p.h. the van fishtailed continually and going down the last hill towards town at that slow pace, I almost put it into the guardrail several times.  Miraculous to arrive at the freeway unscathed.  

A drenching rainstorm along the highway to Glenwood made any thought of further casting a non issue.  We continued back to Vail - sometimes as slowly as 30 miles per hour even on well maintained I-70.  Given the fact that we're leaving for Arizona on Friday, this may be the last outing for another month.

Last Logbook Entry  for previous day 

4/30:  Ah, what a difference 24 days and lots of sunshine (down in Arizona makes).  Even though we have another winter storm warning for tomorrow here in Vail with an expected 2-4 inches and sub freezing temperatures for the next couple of days, our spirits are much brighter having been in a warm, sunny place for the past few weeks.

We drove back from Green Valley yesterday and stopped overnight in Santa Fe.  After a brief but fun Mexican dinner at what was obviously a local's spot in that latter city, we slept well and got on the road back to Colorado early this morning.  Intending to attempt to fish our way back home, we drove over the Rio Grande (too murky) followed by the Conejos (ditto), and eventually made our way up the Arkansas arriving in Buena Vista at lunch time.  That of course called for a stop at the ever popular Dairy Delite for a couple of their relentlessly addictive burgers, following which we drove the short distance down to River Park in the heart of the town.

Sue (who is now hooked on golf) chose to spend an hour chipping on the soccer field while the dog & I (manly that we are) opted to don wading sandals and tackle the somewhat heavily flowing river below the bridge at the park. A  quarter mile walk downstream brought us to an intermediate starting point.  While the stream's running quite clear, it is definitely on the high side.  So although making wading a bit iffy, at least the trout were driven closer to the bank.

The action wasn't out of this world, but then neither was my casting.  The rig on the rod was a #16 gray colored WRS as the floater followed by a #18 black copper john, and then a #18 red midge.


Strikes came more often than did releases.  A lot of the casting could more logically be described as dapping with little more than the leader extending beyond the tip of the rod into tiny eddies along the bank.  


Still there were some nice visible strikes and a few less hookups.  Surprisingly about a quarter of them were rainbows between 8-14 inches.  Normally I'd expect a bow to be on the line less than 5% of the time on this river, so that's a nice change of pace.

Each of the flies seemed to find a devotee or two in the hour we were along the edge of the water.  


The black nymph was probably most popular and the midge the least.  It was fun being out there, especially having felt starved by the lack of any kind of fishy action for the last couple of weeks..


We're now at home in the Vail condo waiting for tomorrow's storm to destroy the next few days of life here.   


On Monday the fifth of May I head to Oregon to visit mom and will be back in Vail around the 9th.  With Sue doing her lodging inspections most of the month and unable to accompany us on any trips, the dog & I will be off to Flaming Gorge or Lake Powell as soon as practical.


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