Unhappily our summer fishing trips are quickly coming to a close, but we did enjoy another nice one this past week. It was something of a "combo" trip as we got in a couple of rounds of golf tied in with some extra time on the water.
Drove to Meeker Monday morning and immediately went to the course where we were again able to walk the dogs around with us for a quick nine holes. Then it was up the river where our favorite stretch of stream was unoccupied. The fishing was immediately good. A couple of runs where we'd had no success at all on previous trips this summer produced trout right away. It was a good omen.
The stream's flowing at pretty normal late summer levels which made the wading a lot easier than earlier this season.
We pretty much stuck with a #18 yellow/gold bodied WRS on top and trailed it with either a copper john or that buckskindipity which has worked well below the surface this summer. Interestingly all the large fish took the dry and only smaller ones or whiteys bit the nymph.
The fishing was as good as it gets here. We caught nice rainbows everywhere. Sizes ranged from ten to roughly twenty two inches. I also released a twelve inch cut and a sixteen inch brown while Sue hooked and released a hog bodied sixteen inch Colorado cutthroat. So it was just great fishing, and we'll probably not have a chance to come back here again this fall.
After camping out overlooking Lake Avery that night, we went into Meeker for breakfast following which we played another round of golf. Then it was back up river a short distance for some more casting on a heavily worked stretch of public water. Not as good down here, I played a sixteen inch brown and a twelve inch rainbow before throwing in the towel and giving the dogs some play time.
Sue stuck at the casting below a ranch bridge and got into a pod of whitefish that were taking some kind of midge or possibly a trico in the film. She had a great time for another hour, releasing maybe a couple dozen of those (normally unwanted) whiteys.
We drove north to Craig hoping to try some spots on the Yampa that we'd not fished before. The first place at South Beach was so disgusting from the trash left by the local bubbas along with three freshly killed geese that we left without making a cast.
Further along the highway another stop at the Yampa SWA looked a bit more promising but only yielded a single strike to my streamer.
We turned up the Elk River heading towards Steamboat Lake but didn't stop at any of the public spots. Turned again and drove further up into the forest along the Elk but simply found a spot to camp for the night.
Next morning it was terribly cold, and my only foray into that stream was completely unsuccessful. So we made our way into Steamboat for breakfast and then drove to the lower part of the Yampa tailwater below Stagecoach Reservoir.
Never having been here before, it became an experimental experience. Fortunately there was a lot of mid morning insect activity and shortly lots of heads began poking up to the surface. The "little" #18 WRS we started with shortly looked like a battleship floating on this sensitive piece of water so a downsizing to a #20 comparadun not only looked more appropriate but brought immediate success.
It was really fun finally getting to cast to a real hatch for a change. The fish rapidly accepted our offerings, and we had a great time while the hatch was in progress. Missed many fish due to the difficulty of seeing the fly but did release numbers of smaller brookies and rainbows and had one fine sixteen incher pull off at the last minute.
So it turned out to be a very successful couple of days of fishing and swinging. This weekend Sue's off to help out as staff on a casting for recovery session on the North Fork (of the South Fork) of the Platte so the dogs and I will try to have a bit of fun without her.
Then next week we're doing a long drive up through Wyoming into Yellowstone and Montana for the last outing of the season.
Here's the video of our trip:
9/7: Sue's been off on her Casting for Recovery camp for the past three days. I've been stuck with the dogs. Which is pretty much normal life. The Labor Day Weekend means the town's been jammed for these same three days.
With some folks headed back to Denver this afternoon I thought the frontage road might have quieted down enough to allow what probably is one last bike trip out to our local creek, so I loaded up the clunker and did the slow peddle out thataway.
Tried a couple of usually good spots near some structure by the road with no success so had modest hopes for the rest of the day. But when I got to my newest, most favorite stretch of water, the action was decent right away. I used that same #18 WRS on top with a tiny buckskin behind it. Hooked and released a couple handfuls of rainbows and brookies, playing another two or three much better sized ones before unhooking a ten inch brown that was hiding behind a bankside boulder.
Had not videoed any of this activity as I presumed there was no way I'd luck into another slam this season, especially so close time wise to the last one in late August.
So I was really surprised when the next run gave up a really beautiful Colorado Cutthroat shown in the video below and the photo here. Really a nice hour or so of casting.
Tomorrow we clean up the van in preparation for the trip to Wyoming and Montana on Wednesday. We should be gone for roughly a week on this one.
Last Logbook Entry é for previous day
9/9-15: This was our last big trip of the year and probably the last fishing experience as well. Sniff. Sniff.
We made a big loop up western Wyoming, passing quickly through Yellowstone Park, then to Red Lodge, Montana, and back home again through Cody and Lander.
The first day was basically all driving with just a smidgen of fishing after dinner on the Green just west of Pinedale on the BLM road close to the Warren Bridge. Despite way too many hunters being in the area, we found a great camping spot right beside the river and enjoyed a nice meal just as the sun was dropping. But with some dimples evident, I rigged up a little attractor fly and did manage to release a handful of mixed browns and rainbows before it grew too dark to see any more.
This spot might be a keeper. If we could get there earlier in the day and spend some time exploring, I'm guessing we might have really decent success.
Next morning it was off on the fairly short trip to the Hoback River. Stopped fairly high in the canyon and cast for a bit but really wasn't in water deep enough to provide the kind of cover fish generally need so no strikes were the result. Further downstream at a spot Sue'd found a few years earlier we tried again - pretty unsuccessfully. Don't know what's going on here, but the fish that were here in decent numbers way back when no longer appear to be available. I did release a couple of small finespotted cuts but it was pretty much a dud of a session.
Lunched at Bubbas in Jackson Hole and drove the few miles up to the Gros Ventre Junction and then a few more miles up to some water we've enjoyed in the past. Right away I hooked & lost a nice fat cut and then successfully released his twin a few minutes later. Here again though, it wasn't very productive. A couple more strikes and another smaller fish released were about all we did here.
Up the Snake we went and did the steep descent to the put in area above Moose. Sue released a nice fish here, and I managed to miss a couple more strikes before we packed up and drove to the south edge of Yellowstone Park where we camped for the night.
Drove as quickly as we could through the park the next morning as our route didn't offer much in the way of fishing opportunity. Got to the upper North Shoshone where I tried casting in a nice looking pool and again had no success. A few miles downstream I got on the water again and this time managed to release a handful of smaller rainbows. No Yellowstone cutthroat though.
We stopped a couple more times with modest success before giving up the ghost at the Wapiti Bridge. The river wasn't anywhere near as good as it had been the last time we were here. Don't know what our issue's been so far.
Drove straight through Cody and made another quick stop on the Clark's Fork where it passes beneath the highway on the way towards Montana. Sue didn't fish the good water here, but I did and had a lot of fun with the very strong rainbows and browns that live in a piece of deeper structure a bit upstream from the bridge.
Then it was on to Red Lodge, Montana where we enjoyed two wonderful nights of warm beds and SHOWERS. Yea!
While Sue & the doggies relaxed the next day, I did a short walk down to Rock Creek in town and had a terrific time casting in the tumbling pocket water in the little creek. Waded from the park to the upstream bridge and had lots of fish on and released. Nothing was what would be called "big". A fourteen inch rainbow took the prize followed closely by a dozen inch long brown. All the rest of the fish were shorties. But there were lots of them. Guess releasing a couple dozen and let a similar number just play themselves off the hook.
Here's the video of the first half of this trip:
Left Red Lodge early Sunday morning and drove back to our favorite stream (up until now) - the Clark's Fork. Exploring it's lower canyon reaches, the van simply wouldn't take the road down to the river so we gave up on that idea but shortly found an incredible piece of public water. Fished one good run with decent success on Yellowstones, rainbows, and whiteys. Then drove to the next run where the fishing turned incredible.
It was tough to finally stop fishing this hundred yard long run after both Sue & I probably each struck, played or released a good hundred fish apiece. Amazing. None of the mixed trout or whitefish were truly large, but the quantities were astounding. It's especially striking given the time of year we were casting when these fish should have been hooked relentlessly over the summer months and thus should have been extremely wary. They were not. As Arnold would say "I'll be back".
Later in the afternoon we wanted to explore the upper river so drove up the Chief Joseph scenic highway. Turned out to be a big mistake although the scenery was outstanding. Unfortunately the Clark's Fork never materialized near the highway until we had almost reached the end of the road. So we backtracked a bit and camped at an outfitter's area (happily empty of hunters) on a small tributary called Crandall Creek.
It turned out to have a few fish feeding which I enjoyed hooking for a bit before dinner.
Next day it was off again, this time towards Lander where we regularly spend the night on the Popo Agie. Wanted to stop and try the Wind River after we'd left the reservation water, but a $6.00 day use fee discouraged us from what would have been a few minutes of casting.
It's fun watching - and feeding - the fat trout in the "Rise" on the Popo in Sinks Canyon. We really don't skip camping here when passing through this area. Fishing wasn't much this night except for a couple of small rainbows in the boulder strewn water of the river up this high.
Basically that was it for the trip. Thought about stopping at Big Creek on the way to Walden but there was another pickup in the lot when we drove by so we passed.
Unless we get some decent weather (too many thunderstorms right now) here in Vail, our casting may be all done for 2009.
Let's finish up the season with the second half of the trip:
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