March, 2009

03/03:  Another day off the hill brought with it the opportunity for another day of fishing this spring.  So old Sky & I drove once again to Glenwood and spent another few delightful hours on the Roaring Fork.  Although this river is higher by several inches than it was a couple of weeks ago, the color is still decent compared to the Eagle which was completely muddied when we passed by it.

We were on the water fairly early in the morning as the weather forecast called for high winds sometime during the day, and that phenomena we wished to avoid at all costs.  I had little hope for quick success as the river just hasn't fished well early in the day based on past experience.

Since our first foray was going to be downstream, I left on the streamer from the previous trip and began casting in a nice flat below the big pool.  Was surprised to get a couple of bumps right away and shortly landed a fourteen inch brown.  Wonderful!  A few casts later another twin brown came to shore.  This was beginning to look like it was going to be a good day.

Kept up the streamer casting for another quarter mile or so, releasing a few other smaller rainbows and finally the fine eighteen incher in this photo.


We'd planned on moving even further down the canyon but when the dog started a low growl and I looked around for the source of his discomfort, we saw a large, old six point elk about a hundred yards below us.  


It was a beautiful animal but obviously was not in good shape.  We reversed course to leave it alone and changed to a nymphing approach as we moved further away from it.

The catching was decent all morning long.  I had only a couple of strikes on the surface using a tiny comparadun when we'd see some bulging browns in shallower water so stuck with the nymph approach most of the rest of the day.  


A double rig of bead head up front and trailing RS-2 seemed to do the job quite well.  


Passing that semblance fly in the feeding lane of almost any rising fish generally brought a strike at the least and usually a hookup too.

All in all it was another nice day on the river.  If the weather stays OK next week, we may try an overnighter up to the White.

Here's a kind of grainy video of the day's activities.



03/16-17:  Our van had its 40K tune up recently, so with good weather predicted, we decided to test the results on an overnight trip to a couple of our favorite streams in this part of the state.

A late start in the morning brought us to a city park just after the lunch hour.  Having fished this place several times before -  mostly to give the dogs a walking break before they were stuck in the car while we cast at a tough place later - we rigged up and did some work along the banks.


Water levels are fine right now.  Well before runoff is even thinking about starting, the river's probably still a bit cold early in the day for the fish to be moving around much at all.  But this afternoon the trout at least seemed to have some interest in feeding.  I started first while Sue was rigging up from a rod that had not been shaken since sometime last fall.

Throwing the same grizzly hackled black streamer along a bank of riprap I was surprised to have several nice bumps before hooking and releasing a fat sixteen inch brown.  Didn't have the camera with me so then proceeded back to the car to pick it up and be able to record what hopefully would be at least a couple more fish.

That did happen when a beautiful twenty inch rainbow became the next victim of the streamer.  However, that was it for the releasing, so we hopped back in the van and drove several miles to our next wading place.  


Unhappily it was occupied by another pair of anglers which forced us further upstream to a fallback location.

As we'd now be fishing downstream for a ways, we both continued on with streamers and shortly were able to claim another nice rainbow in the twenty inch range.  Unfortunately after that the strikes came few and far between.  This far upstream the water was still colder, and the fish just didn't seem to be willing to roam about much.

At the bottom of our walk we changed tactics shifting to a nymph rig.  Since the stream is relatively shallow right now, we used a rubber leg attractor as a strike indicator and trailed it by a few feet with a copper john (in my case) and a prince in Sue's.)

The water I fished was more productive, and I managed to play a handful of other smaller rainbows and released a few decent sized whiteys.  Sue had a number of bumps, but came up empty handed here.  


We drove further upstream and fished a stretch of nice pocket water and again had some nibbles without any hookups.  So the fishing was fun in the sun but not very productive.

Camped that night above the frozen reservoir and enjoyed a wonderful meal of grilled rack of lamb and roasted new potatoes with red peppers and the obligatory great bottle of Italian meritage.

Tuesday we headed back towards home stopping on the Roaring Fork for another hour of casting.  Unfortunately here too the river was awash with fisher people so I trundled down the bank a ways throwing the streamer again.  Had easily five to six browns on for a while though all long released.

The trip turned out to be a positive beta test for our van's condition.

Tomorrow Sue leaves on a "hen party" trip with some college friends all the way to Greece so both dogs and I will mosey down to Lake Powell for some fun in the sun for a few days.  Fishing there is likely to be nonexistent as the water temperatures are still so cold that it's unlikely any of the bass or stripers will be in motion at all.  It will still be nice to be in nice weather for a change.

Here's a brief video of parts of the trip.



Last Logbook Entry  for previous day  

3/18-21:  As reported, Sue's off to Greece for a hen party with some old friends, so the dogs suggested we do our own thing and try a few days of camping and fishing - which we did.  Left town on a nice sunny day heading down I-70 towards Utah.  Roughly six & a half hours later we were bumping down the gravel road to the camp area at Stanton Creek on Lake Powell.  Found a nice spot on the point in the cove area, set up camp, and threw the streamer a bit into what are pretty frigid waters right now.

We knew it would likely not be a productive fishing expedition here.  Simply too cold water temperatures to get the fish active and feeding.  That turned out to be the case.  


Carp could be seen moving around the bay, and here and there, a largemouth was working slowly along the rock walls, but smallmouths were completely absent - as were the stripers.


After a pleasant night, we set up the kayak and eventually were able to convince the puppy to join the old dog and I for a couple of spins around the camp area, though she did so very reluctantly.  There was nothing doing as we trolled.  I tried everything that's ever worked for us down here and simply never had a strike.

Even cinching on the small diving plane that seems to work so well with full sink lines did not produce a strike.  Fishing was a losing proposition.  The weather was not, and it's wonderful to be able to enjoy being in pleasant weather for a change after a cold and snowy winter.

Made do with some fly tying, reading, occasional casting, and playing some sudoku.  The next night went well too, but when we fished again the following morning with zero strikes, it seemed to be time to break camp and try something else.  That we did.

Drove to Grand Junction and on a whim, turned south to Delta and then to Paradise Park where the North Fork and Main Stem of the Gunnison collide just west of Hotchkiss.  The North Fork was running very high and dark, and while I probably could have waded it by myself, the dogs would have had to swim.  It just looked too dangerous for them so we drove back west and turned off on the jeep like road to the south bank of the Gunnison above this confluence.

A half hour drive down the dirt gave us the roughly five mile drive to the parking area where I rigged up and thought about hiking further upstream.  It was 3:00 in the afternoon.  The lot was full of cars.  The puppy is a pain in the ass when it comes to moving through people - she's simply too friendly.  So I walked down to the private area marker at the confluence and did some casting along the bank to kill a bit of time.

Back at Lake Powell, I'd noticed some largemouths cruising shallowly along the bank.  Thinking a nymph might possibly be tempting (since everything else I'd tried was not), I'd rigged the floating line rod with a #18 white rubber leg WRS (as a strike indicator) about three feet above a #18 green latex caddis larva.  


The combination didn't work at all down at the lake, but along this bank, it was a completely different story.


Barely paying attention as I cast to a long stretch of riffle water, I actually didn't notice the first couple of times the indicator fly disappeared.  Shortly that all changed.  First it was a brown to the nymph - then several more to the floater.  Why on earth a fish would take that ugly attractor fly is beyond me, but I wasn't complaining.

The next hour turned out to be truly great fishing.  First pass I made through maybe 400 yards of this bank water, I'd suspect playing a good two dozen browns.  Nothing was large.  The best a solid fourteen, but almost all the others were in the 8-12 inch range.  Who's complaining??  At the end of the wade I hiked back down to the start and did it all again.  This time the number of fish played was more like a dozen.  Then I did the whole thing again - and again halved the number of strikes.

But what a fun afternoon.  This short period of time made the whole four day trip worthwhile.  We camped a bit downstream that night and threw some streamers into the murky main river with no strikes to show for it.  


Next day dawned cold and very windy, and I opted to not do the long upstream hike due to anticipated heavy weekend crowds.  Had only the old dog been along, he would have been a non issue, but the pup just is too much work around many people.


We drove over McClure Pass and looked at the Crystal, but crystal colored it was not.  Past Carbondale I drove across the river and we made one last stop by the water plant on the Roaring Fork.  I've never had much success at this place, but it's usually unoccupied and thus easy to let the dogs roam free a bit.  It was that way in both regards today.  I nymphed and streamer fished for a couple of hours only having two mid sized rainbows on for a short bit of time.  And that was it for the fishing today.

Here's a brief video of the trip:


A stormy week ahead in the mountains puts any more fishing on hold for at least the next 6-8 days.  If we're lucky we'll get in one more session somewhere before heading to Arizona through the end of May.





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