7/31/-81: I'll have to admit we had a very nondescript week fishing-wise. The Monday/Tuesday trip to Leadville and the Arkansas was modest due to way too many fisher people plying our favorite waters - plus the fact that the golf course we wanted to play was equally overpopulated.
We'll pray that Labor Day arrives shortly and gives us some relief from the summer crowds. Speaking of which, shouldn't those crowds be smaller due to the lousy economy?? Apparently not.
Sue's off to Minneapolis this weekend to help a friend celebrate the sale of her house and the probable end of her nine to five work experience, so I put the doggies in the Element, and we drove off to the Williams Fork drainage to see what was up over that-a-way.
As it turned out, not very much in the streams - either the South or Main Forks, but when we got to the reservoir, life improved.
Walking along a favorite bank I hooked and briefly played a rainbow of between 5-7 pounds for a few seconds before it threw my grizzly & black streamer into the shoreside shrubbery.
Assuming that was probably my allotment for the day, I nevertheless continued to cast for a few more dozen feet and then hooked another, much larger rainbow that actually came to hand and allowed me to gently release it. Fun for a change.
Tomorrow brother Rick and I (he arrived this afternoon from Portland) will begin roughly a week of intense fishing that hopefully will also give both of us similar results.
Here's a short video of our fishing this week:
8/2-7: This was going to be a fun week with brother Rick out from Portland for his annual fishing trip to Colorado. Started out fine on Sunday morning when we drove over Vail Pass and parked at one of several places on little Ten Mile Creek where it passes along I-70 between Copper Mountain and Frisco.
We both had decent success right away on the smallish browns and rainbows that occupy the pocket water in this quickly dropping creek.
Working opposite sides of the bank meant we didn't have to do any leap frogging to share the space. At a certain point after hooking but immediately long releasing at least a dozen fish, I finally took a smart pill, looked at my fly, and of course found out that the point of the hook (barbless) was broken off. Thus I got to do more TAG (touch and go) fishing than I might have preferred.
We kept this up for a couple of hours gradually moving down the freeway and parking before finally giving up and driving into Silverthorne for lunch. After a quick burger, it was on to the parking lot near the police station where we walked well downstream for a try at the Blue. Normally not a stream I prefer to fish, today it wasn't all that unpleasant. With the flow still up in the 400s many of the smaller inhabitants were driven close by the bank, and we were able to hook probably a dozen more small browns each while here.
So that was a good start to the trip. And it turned out to be the end of my week. While we were celebrating the day back at the condo, I felt the urge to purge, headed to the "throne" and immediately emptied my innards. Same thing happened about fifteen minutes later, so Rick exited for the night & I thought that somehow I'd picked up a case of food poisoning.
Wrong again. It was the flu - and probably that new H1N1 variety. I was laid up for six straight days with unrelenting diarrhea.
So Sue filled in admirably, taking Rick down on the Arkansas for a great day on Tuesday. But it sure wasn't the kind of trip we all hoped he'd have.
8/10-14: Something of an indifferent week of fishing - though at least we got in quite a bit. Monday the whole group, Sue, the doggies, & I drove down the Eagle to the fairgrounds and walked down below Brush Creek to see what that river might be like. Good it was not. A bit off color, we had no success at all on a number of different dries & nymphs until we had hiked closer to the fair at which point we were able to release a couple of the local browns.
Drove further up the Eagle into the Red Canyon section, found an unoccupied parking space, and hiked down to a normally productive hole. It wasn't a bust as both of us played a couple of nice fish but certainly didn't seem to be as well populated by trout as in the past.
In fact the Eagle this year has developed something of a negative reputation. Stream shocking results show populations are down from prior seasons. The only people raving about the river are the local outfitters who of course have the most to lose if customers are not interested in fishing here.
Tuesday I took the younger dog with me and tried the Colorado near State Bridge. This was much better fishing. Right away I was catching browns and a very full bodied fifteen inch rainbow in the pocket water below the Piney confluence. It really was fun. We'd planned on hiking the bank upstream for a mile or so, but with such good fun right from the get go, we were able to scratch our fishing itch in little more than an hour.
Thought about wading up the Piney too, but it would have taken a bit too much time for this day.
Wednesday I hit balls at the driving range and followed that up with some short wading on Gore Creek. Found a good dozen golf balls in the stream and released a handful of modest sized rainbows and the dozen plus inch brookies shown here.
On Thursday the whole family piled into the van and we made our way to Meeker where we immediately drove to the golf course and got in a quick nine holes - happily being able to walk our dogs along with us while we played.
Afterwards we drove to our regular starting spot on the White and made the somewhat awkward wade to several holes where we expect really good success. Today that was a bit lacking, and in all honesty, it was probably the least fun we've had on this river for several years.
Though both of us released decent numbers of smaller (under fourteen inch) fish, the big boys were missing in action. Don't have an explanation for it. Admittedly we didn't take the time to work some of the better parts of the river, but the activity just wasn't up to snuff. On a slightly happier note, we did run into a lot more cutthroats than we normally see. They're such fun to look at because of the spotting and coloration.
Camped out above Lake Avery that night and had constant light rain. Being in the van was a real blessing.
Drove well up the North Fork in the morning and tried a short section of Forest Service area stream but only hooked a few small cuts. It was wet, cold and nasty, and the stream was off color as well.
We retired to Meeker for breakfast and afterwards decided to take a look at Rio Blanco Lake to see if any of the warm water fishies were still hanging out by the bank. They were not. Don't know where those bluegills and bass went, but they certainly didn't find anything we threw out to be palatable to them. On a whim we made our way through the willows down to the White and tried some casting on a couple of nice looking runs & pools.
Nothing doing. I was streamer fishing while Sue stuck with a dry/nymph setup, and neither of us did any good. Eventually I had a nice strike down deep but no hookup. At the very last place I tried, I felt a bump out in the center of the current and then noticed a dark shape chasing my streamer toward the bank. Kept twitching it closer until that fish eventually struck hard and tore back to the middle of the river. I thought it was a big brown.............wrong again. As soon as it came into view, it was just a nice sized carp of all things.
Now I love to catch carp, but this was the most aggressive one I've ever seen. Have never had one pursue a streamer like that before. So finally landing and releasing it was the treat of the whole trip. The carp probably weighed somewhere between 8-12 pounds.
A short video of the week's "work".
08/17-18: Our only overnight fishing trip this week provided another mixed bag of results. I doubt we'll do it again this way - just too much driving and too little fishing - unless we tie it in with a visit to the rodeo in Cheyenne. However, we don't want to pass on fishing the upper Northeast part of the state. It will always be on our annual "bucket list" of needs and wants.
We drove off in the van and took the long way around to Walden through Kremmling and Muddy Pass, even though it adds a good fifty miles to the trip to the pass above the headwaters of the Poudre River. Finally got to Joe Wright Reservoir around noon time. It was bitterly cold and windy, so we bundled up and walked down the inlet stream to the lake where I began some (ineffective) casting.
Normally we have some success on grayling here, but today it was a skunking. Supposedly there are also some Emerald Lake rainbows in this lake though we've never seen one of them. So with that as an ugly start to the trip we kept going on downstream and finally were able to access a nice piece of water on the Poudre itself. Right away we saw a decent sized brown coming up in a roadside pool which suggested some kind of identifiable hatch was in progress.
We did, however, keep fishing with our attractor dry and pupa trailers until we finally figured out what was coming off the water. It seemed to be mostly little yellow sallies that the fish were clearly focusing on. I tried doubling up with a sally in front and a PMD comparadun trailing, and interestingly, the comparadun brought all the strikes. Don't have an explanation for that, as the sally is really a decent imitation of the natural (at least I thought so).
So we had a good bit of fun for a while even though it wasn't hot & heavy action. Loaded back into the van and drove a bit further downstream and repeated the process one more time with similar results before the afternoon came to a close. Spent the night off a back forest service road (free camping of course) and awoke to very cold temperatures in the morning again.
Drove a few more miles towards the pass and parked at the rest area where we dressed warmly again and then made the mile long uphill hike to Zimmerman Lake. This is a recovery lake for endangered greenback cutthroats and a place where we've had some modest success with that fish in the past. Today, despite our being the only people fishing, we had no luck at all casting from the bank. There were no early morning hatches going on so no fish found our offerings to be of interest.
I did notice some fish milling about in the outlet creek, a tiny trickle of water perhaps three feet wide and maybe a foot deep along the bank. Tried a number of approaches before finally laying a standard wooly bugger in front of a nice fish's mouth, and happily he imbibed in it. So was able to release a fine fifteen inch cut and not have to suffer another skunking.
We started back towards Vail and made the turn off at North Michigan. Drove just past the reservoir and fished the interesting pocket water above that lake. With lots of wind blowing it was very tough getting a dry and trailing nymph close by the undercut banks, but when we were successful, it almost always resulted in a strike. We had fun here - as we always have - despite the difficult conditions.
Both of us probably released a dozen fish or so apiece - mixed browns and rainbows - before exiting the stream and continuing the drive back towards home.
On the way back we passed by Williams Fork Reservoir where I pulled off at my favorite section and tried to do some casting from the bank again. No luck today at all. The wind was right on my nose, and the shore water was completely roiled and muddy due to that same wind. Could barely cast ten feet out into the maelstrom. Gave up. We got home late in the day.
Next week is probably our last Colorado fishing trip for the summer - this time to the Gunnison tributaries and the main stream itself.
Here's a short video of the outing:
Just an amazing experience on our local Gore Creek this afternoon. Wanted to visit a couple of spots on that stream I'd never before fished in the almost forty years I've lived here, so rode the bike out along the golf course to find them.
First run produced a handful of strikes all of which I missed as I was casting off handed. Don't know why my reactions are so lousy with my right hand, but they really are. I consciously work hard to keep the line tighter between rod tip and fly but still simply don't connect as well as I should. Such is life.
Everything got better after that. Found lots of nice rainbows and brookies hiding in shallow riffles and micro pools as I made my way upstream. The fish seemed evenly split in their fly preferences. Had a very small WRS with skinny rubber legs on top and trailed it with and equally small sized buckskindipity (see the fly tying page).
Must have released a good two dozen fish on the upper runs that I worked which is far better than my usual results on this stream. Several hybrid cutbows were in the mix as well.
When I got to the lower run, the fishing was even better. More rainbows and brooks along with one very pretty Colorado cutthroat - which brought visions of a grand slam to mind. Finally that slam was fulfilled when a really heavy bodied brown took the surface fly at the very top part of the last run of the day.
Wonderful two hours of fishing - probably the best I've ever had on this creek. If we count the cutbows as only a half of a species, it makes a good 4.5 different types of trout in one afternoon. Doesn't get much better than that.
The short video of today's action:
Last Logbook Entry é for previous day
We had a short afternoon on the Colorado by State Bridge with pretty punk results. Releases from Green Mountain have ratcheted up a good 500 c.f.s. which not only buggered up the river color but also put the fish off their feed. A couple of smaller browns were all we could hook & release in an hour of casting.
Monday we drove off on a three day trip to tributaries and the main stem of the Gunnison (with some other side trips). Again our timing was off due to a massive amount of moisture funneling its way north from Mexico causing late summer monsoon storms all day long.
We did some successful fishing on the Arkansas at Buena Vista before grabbing lunch there. Had wanted to drive over Cottonwood Pass to work the upper Taylor River above the reservoir and then the tailwater before working our way downstream, but the storms put the kibosh on that idea as the van simply isn't the kind of rig to use on slippery, muddy back roads.
So our compromise was to continue on down 285 to Poncha Springs, turn right, and then west on 50 to Gunnison where we went upstream to the lower Taylor River. Nasty weather was still with us here, and we fished just a bit of this river. Crossed over the Almont Triangle and parked on the East River just above Roaring Judy. The brown trouting was better here than on the Taylor. Both of us had nice success on both dries and nymphs, maybe releasing at least a dozen fish apiece.
Went back through Gunnison, further west on highway 50, crossed the Blue Mesa dam and continued along the north rim of the river. Had hoped to camp somewhere along the river, but too much private property prevented that. So we kept going through Crawford and Hotchkiss and camped high above the confluence of the two forks of the Gunnison that night.
Next morning after breakfast in Hotchkiss, we put a lunch in the backpack, crossed the north fork, and made our way a few miles up the river into the canyon. It was decent, if not great fishing. Started with a WRS on top and a caddis pupa trailer. We both caught a handful of small browns although the strikes seemed few and far between. With higher flows this year it appeared the fish were much more spread out than what we were used to in the past. At some point we changed to a good sized Gunnison hopper (see fly tying page) and did hook some larger fish - up to eighteen inches. But it wasn't fabulous fishing.
Late in the afternoon we hiked back out, loaded into the van and made our way up the north fork. Getting closer to the Paonia Reservoir, the north fork kept getting murkier and murkier. Releases from that impoundment kept the river from being fishable at all. So we turned up Anthracite Creek to Erickson Springs and did more wading up there. A fun little creek, it fished well this afternoon - assuming sub twelve inch rainbows qualify as decent fish - which they did.
After a couple of hours of enjoyment we drove back down the creek and camped at some public property for the night. In the morning we drove up over McClure Pass and stopped in Redstone for breakfast. Then I fished the Crystal in Redstone while Sue stayed warm in the van doing crossword puzzles. It was very decent. Again one has to be able to regard mostly sub twelve inch rainbows as fun to catch. I do.
One more stop just below Redstone brought similar results only this time with some rainbows up to fifteen inches. Nice.
After finishing up on this river we made our way through Carbondale where Sue saw a bike sale sign, went in, ordered a bike, and was advised we couldn't pick it up for another couple of hours. So we hit the Roaring Fork by the airport in Glenwood and had a nice short stint on the river there, catching a handful plus of browns to sixteen inches.
That was it for the trip. Picked up the bike and made our way home Wednesday afternoon. Don't know what the rest of this week holds, but we'll be off somewhere next Monday at the latest.
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