November, 2008

 

11/10:  No fishing yet this month.  Just returned from spending October down in Arizona.  Weather is lousy - not good for fishing and not enough snow to help get the mountain ready for ski season.  Hope to get out once or twice shortly.

            

11/11:  Sue took the puppy to Denver for a couple of days so the old boys - Sky & myself - decided it was, if not a perfect time, at least about time to try fishing again.  After lunch we drove to the town of Eagle and began some fishing near the fairgrounds.  Though the casting arm was a bit rusty after a good month & a half layoff, the stroke came back fairly quickly.  Unfortunately whatever trout may have been in any of the several holes we tried decided what I was throwing at them was not palatable. 

 

 

 

Drove further down towards the confluence of the Eagle with Brush Creek and wasted more time wading across the stream.  Finally the twelve inch brown shown here took a medium sized stone nymph in a foam covered eddy and at least kept us from a skunking.

 

 

 

Headed back upstream, stopping just east of the Eagle interchange and had several strikes but was unable to hook anything else there.  A couple more stops brought a nice fish to one of the nymphs though I never saw it as it pulled loose on the first run.

 

 

Not a real good day today.  At our last pool of the afternoon got bored and took self portrait of us by the edge of the stream.  The weather was really pretty ugly all day.  

 

Temperature in the low 30's and snow spitting out of the clouds most of the time.  Still........ it's always good to be on the water regardless of the conditions.

 

 

After getting up from the photo session I did fish this last pool pretty hard, finally hooking and landing the very nice fourteen inch rainbow shown here.

 

 

 

 

The weather's supposed to clear up for several days starting this weekend, and with skiing not yet available, I'd guess we'll be out on the water again fairly soon.

 

 

 

11/17:  Under most sets of circumstances I would not consider a one fish day successful, but looking back on our outing this morning, the trip actually was a lot of fun.  We're stuck in what appears to be a prolonged dry spell which means no snow - and that means no skiing - and that also means, let's fish some more.

 

I drove both doggies out to State Bridge today and had a great time watching them run around, splash in the frigid waters of the Colorado, eat dead fish, roll on a elk's carcass, smell like hell, get fur full of sticker burrs, and generally have a wonderful time exploring the river bank.

 

The fishing unfortunately wasn't quite as interesting.  Used the same setup as on the Eagle earlier in the week, and probably should have done something different, but I'm not sure what that would have been.  

 

It took a half mile of walking and wading to finally get the stonefly nymph stuck in the side of this nice fifteen inch rainbow's mouth.  It was finning in some relatively fast bank water that normally is occupied only by some brown trout.  A healthy, fat, fun to catch fish, but that was it for releases today.

 

I kept working my way probably a mile upstream with no more results at all.  At the braid near the top of our hike, I changed over to an attractor surface fly followed three feet by a copper john.  

 

The water's quite shallow here both in the braid and on the edge of the main current so I thought the floater might tempt a fish to take the nymph.  Nothing doing.

 

Finally shifted to a black wooly bugger to fish my way back downstream and did hook a nice sized brown almost immediately - he quickly self released.

Nothing more at all in the way of a strike on the way back to the car.  Being a perfect sunny day, there were no BWO hatches going on either, so the river itself, while at a nice level and a good color, seemed devoid of piscine life.  In any case we all got some exercise and will do more trips before winter sets upon us in earnest.

 

11/19:  We're in the midst of one of those long November dry spells caused by the presence of a big high pressure area over the Four Corners area that simply doesn't move to allow the normal storm track to pass over us.  My seasonal biological clock would prefer to have me on the mountain skiing every day, but the lack of good conditions up there suggests that fishing is still an OK alternative.

The obvious problem with fishing now is that the trout have gone to rest on the bottoms of the deepest holes they can find, and even if we can locate them, getting something like a simple strike is a very lengthy and difficult process.

That indeed was the case today when the dogs and I started casting on the lower Blue River just above where it enters Green Mountain Reservoir.  Despite placing the nymphs in some nice deep runs and pools, I not only didn't see any sign of a fish, I didn't get a single strike.  Oops.  An exception was inadvertently foul hooking a slowly dying kokanee that was finning along the edge of one of those runs.

So we packed it in and continued the drive to Kremmling, stopping at the market for a quick lunch before continuing on to the tailwater of Wolford Reservoir.  This relatively new impoundment has done wonders for the water quality of the Colorado River.  The creek itself that drains into and out from the lake is Muddy Creek.  Aptly named, before being dammed, this stream dumped relentless quantities of sludge into the Colorado and ruined the fishing below its confluence any time a modest rain caused the creek to rise.

The tailwater itself is not a normal one.  Flowing at perhaps 23 cubes, most of the creek is so shallow and flat, it's devoid of fish.  But where there's a bit more depth, decent numbers of fish, some of decent sizes exist.

 

I wasn't sure what to expect here so started off with my soft old eight foot rod that I use in places calling more for delicacy than for distance.  Had on 5X tipped and attached a #18 gray comparadun to it.  

 

Without seeing fish I began casting in some likely two foot deep runs and eventually did hook and play a fourteen inch rainbow.

Moved further downstream to one of the more popular holes on the creek and continued casting as above.  Here the fish were much more educated, and they just laughed at my presentation.  So on went the 7X and down to a #22 comparadun at the end.  A bit better but still not much more than a strike now and then.

Eventually I moved the comparadun forward and put a #24 black midge larva off the end as a nymph trailer.  This seemed to work the best today - although I'd been casting at the better holes for so long the fish were pretty tired of seeing my line on the water again and again.

Now, even though I'd get some more strikes and hookups and would enjoy playing some fish, for whatever reason, I simply didn't release a single one all afternoon long.  Those tiny barbless hooks are tough to deal with.  The fish would either pull loose fairly quickly or would hang the other fly up on the bottom weeds and break me off.  So it was a bit frustrating, though on balance, it's a whole lot more fun to at least touch the fish at length than feel nothing at all.

We're probably going to try another overnighter in the van this Friday.  No storms in the offing for several more days.

 

11/21:  The ski area opened for business today.  That's the good news.  The bad is that only one run & one lift opened due to balmy weather conditions.  No interest on my part to go up there with hordes of people on a short, narrow, dangerous run.

So we did the alternative thing again and went fishing.  This time I took only Sky and we drove all the way to Glenwood Springs to get started.  Went out to the airport section of the Roaring Fork and nymphed upstream for a third of a mile or so.  Nothing doing.  Clipped off the nymphs and tied on an olive rabbit bugger and actually got a couple of quick strikes.

Then hooked and released this twelve inch brown.  That was it.  Not a whole lot of success for a good hour and a half of walking and casting.  

 

Debated what to do next and decided the Fork was probably going to hand me the same kind of result any other place I tried it.

 

We drove up to Carbondale and then further up the Crystal.  

 

Stopped at about the nine mile marker to cast in a couple of shallow pools that generally always give up a few fish, but not today.  The water's no more than 1 1/2 feet deep in these pools, but they're usually pretty full of little rainbows.  One swirl to the terrestrial that I used for a strike indicator and that was that.  It was starting to get depressing.

No further success continued as we hiked the river on the outskirts of Redstone where I stuck to double deep nymphing.  

 

Finally at the next stop by the fire station things got better.  Was using a rig of leading #16 red copper john and trailing #20 RS-2.  

 

A good sized whitey took the copper john and then a ten inch rainbow did the same.  Reasoned that the fish needed more of an attractor than the RS-2 so tied on another bead head - this time a #18 prince.

Things then got much better.  The next pool gave up several strikes and a handful of smaller rainbows released.  Ditto up above at the next hole.  It actually became a fun day.  I'd guess releasing a good dozen rainbows and half that number of nice sized whitefish and probably missing another equal amount of both.

As time was running short in the afternoon, I headed down to one last wade just below Avalanche Creek and had further success on both the copper john and the prince.  

 

Finally the prince got so beaten up it lost its wings.  Interesting.  From that point on the only fly the fish took was the copper john.  Clearly they needed to better see the fly in the water.

 

Happily none of the Crystal where I fished was frozen over at all - not even the eddy water by the banks.  Wish I had time to repeat this fishing, but it's probably over for this part of Colorado for the year.  

We'll get out again though somewhere as the weather forecasts continue to be mild.

Last Logbook Entry  for previous day  

11/26:  Still no snow for the past two weeks, but some's in the forecast for this coming weekend.  As turkey day is tomorrow, the older dog suggested we try to get in at least a bit more casting before weather may pull the plug on any more fishing for the year.  He suggested we go back to that tailwater of Muddy Creek, and I agreed it was probably a decent option.

Given the fact that this tiny tailwater cannot be used by more than one or two people simultaneously, it's something of a gamble to drive the one & a half hours it takes to get to it.  And remembering the last time we were there, it wasn't all that great made the trip even a bit more edgy.  Stopped in Kremmling to grab a bite of lunch at the local market and then headed up to the dam.

Fortunately when we arrived there was only one other car in the parking area, and while we didn't know if the party was fishing in the reservoir or the stream, at least that meant there would be some fishable water on the creek below.

 

So the dog & I did the roughly half mile hike down the hill to the shallow, slowly moving stream below, and I started casting at my usual first place - a shallow run that sometimes held a fish or two and sometimes it didn't.   

 

Today I got lucky and connected on a nice sixteen inch rainbow right out of the box.  It took the surface #18 cripple comparadun that I'd rigged up before leaving home.  Air temperatures were in the low 20's when we got to the stream, and I didn't want to try to tie on tiny flies with frozen hands.

As it turned out, I ended up doing that anyway all day long, but it was something of a chore with the 7X tippet.  

 

To start with I trailed the comparadun with a #22 sparkle wing RS-2, and while the latter wasn't a complete dud (actually caught my second fish on it), frankly it was too difficult to visually see the strikes, and I suspect missing several fish because of that issue.

 

Pleasantly no one else showed up on the stream for the three hours or so we were there.  

 

It was actually delightful fishing even with the somewhat bitter air temperature.  Had to tap ice off the guides every five or six casts all day long which was the only drawback.

The fishing really was quite good.  I used a faster tip rod today and think that made a lot of difference when it came to hooking and playing fish.  All the trout released were rainbows.  

 

They ranged from twelve to sixteen inches (only a couple of the latter).  Suspect releasing a good dozen or so; played another similar number, and had at least that many more other strikes, so it was a decently productive trip.  In fact far better than I had hoped for.

 

Just wish this tailwater were a bit longer in length.  There's just not enough to it.  

Maybe three or four places a trout might be encountered.  Don't know what December will hold for fishing.  Would like to get out at least a couple times more before saying goodbye to 2008.

 


 
 

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