6/11: Just back from spending the spring Colorado mud season down in Arizona and dying to get out on the water again. As might be expected in early June of any year, runoff is still in full swing, so we're limited to stillwaters and tailwaters.
Packed up the car (I thought) along with both doggies and drove over Ute Pass towards Granby and Shadow Mountain Reservoirs. We stopped at the other side of the pass and spent a few minutes casting at one spot along Williams Fork but had no strikes. Continued on to Shadow Mountain, rigged up with a streamer and did a walk along the pump canal. No success continued.
A head would pop to the surface along the bank from time to time, and even though I couldn't see what kind of insect it was taking, I tied on a #18 gray bodied WRS and almost immediately started getting a few strikes and landing some nice fish. Best was a sixteen inch brown with most of the others being rainbows twelve inches and smaller. It's always fun feeling some life on the line - especially after a winter of having none of that.
After finishing up on the canal, I hiked down the tailwater a bit throwing a stone in some tiny eddies and catching a few more smaller rainbows.
We then drove back to Williams Fork where I'd intended to spend the night and launch the kayak the following morning to do some trolling for pike. As I unpacked the car, it became apparent that the sleeping bag and pillows were still back at the condo. My option was to wrap up in a dog bed and sleep on the back pack, so that idea was scrapped right away. Drove back home early in the evening resolving to do a better job of planning for next week's 4-5 day trip through Utah.
Here's a short video of this outing:
6/13-17: Hope sprang eternal that summer had finally arrived in Vail by this date, but nope, we had more snow on the mountain on our morning run with the doggies, so.............. that meant it was time to leave town again.
This week's trip called for a long drive into Utah to visit various of our favorite still and tail waters - even though the weather reports really weren't particularly favorable over in that state either. Gassed up and lunched in Vernal and then made the short drive further west and south to Pelican Lake which is a fine warm water fish lake. Caught fish there, but the water level was a good two feet below normal and it made the catching a lot more difficult than it usually is - and the sizes of the bluegills was not up to snuff either.
Did have a good time and after a couple of hours of throwing the damsel fly nymph into the reeds, we packed up again and drove further west to Duchesne and up the dirt road to the shore of Starvation Reservoir. Already the storm clouds were forming as I fed the dogs and myself, and when the first drops came down, we all huddled in the back of the Element for the next two plus hours. By the time the rain exited, the lake was a mess being clouded and roily, and the few casts I tried from the bank were unsuccessful.
Next morning we drove to the base of the dam and walked down to the usually fun tailwater. As I rigged up, a large herd of goats appeared and then appeared a couple of ferocious guard dogs. So much for the tailwater. We hiked up to the dam's spillway and did have a bit of fun catching some smallmouth in the pool there.
More driving. This time back to Vernal and north on 191 towards Flaming Gorge. Went by Dutch John down to Little Hole where we all had some dinner and then hiked a bit down the B section. Not a lot of action but did hook a couple of nice fish on an olive winged cicada, losing both before they could be released.
Went back to the dam itself and spent a little time throwing streamers at the spillway water. Again a couple more fish, but not much more success. Camped above Dutch John that night before driving again to Little Hole in the morning to start our long hike upstream. Along the way I did fish some bank pocket water and had plenty of strikes and plays, but no releases - just long ones compliments of the fish themselves.
About three miles up from the Hole things got better with the sun finally on the water. Was able to play and release a number of nice browns to sixteen inches and played several more.
After eating lunch by the car we made the short drive to the shore of Flaming Gorge near Spring Creek. Launched the kayak with little hope for fishing as the water's still way too cold for the bass to become active. Nevertheless I did hook and release a few nice ones, though the fishing was very quiet compared to what it's like when the shore water temperature is several degrees higher.
It was a pleasant night of camping here with really no one else around. We've basically given up on Lake Powell due to the crowds and noise there, opting for the wide open spaces and frankly better fishing up at this reservoir.
Next morning drove down the back road to Jarvie and was pleased to find that Red Creek had calmed down, with the river appearing quite fishable. Should have fished the base of the B section but wanted to again try a special spot on C that had been so productive a couple of years ago. This time it was a no go. No explanation for it, but didn't see a single sign of any fish - neither the plentiful browns nor the many whiteys we caught there on that earlier trip.
So that was it. Not a great trip but not bad either. Just nice to be outdoors with the dogs and having fun on the water. As the streams in Colorado seem to be finally calming down, maybe next week we'll have some luck getting out on a river or two in our home state.
Here's a quick video of our trip:
6/22-23: We're just at the beginning of what is always a way too short summer season here in the Colorado high country. With that as an excuse for doing things we shouldn't be doing already, this week Sue & I & the doggies stocked up the van and did what might be termed a beta test of the rig for the rest of our summer here.
Drove off towards Granby and points north ending up in Rocky Mtn. Park after a couple of hours on the road. Walked the headwaters of the Colorado River in the park for a few minutes, but with that stream breaking over the normal banks, we understood that casting would be fun but also a waste of time. Back downstream we rode, exiting the park and turned off to the base of Shadow Mountain Reservoir. Parked by the pump canal and with doggies on leashes (initially) walked a quarter mile down opposite banks throwing dries and trailing nymphs along both sides of this strange waterway.
Sue quickly caught a beautiful fourteen inch brown on a copper john and shortly I did a ditto on the other side. We changed flies regularly and kept fishing for another hour or so, getting lots of strikes and releasing decent numbers of other browns and smallish rainbows. This was the most fun of the whole trip.
As the Shadow Mtn. tailwater of the Colorado was only a half mile away, we drove to and walked down to the river there. It's still a mess. Way too high flows for fishing. No other people on the river. Below the bridge to the wilderness part of the stream it looked like the hatchery truck had dumped more fish than god into the river. Every eddy was clogged with tiny rainbows the DOW is hoping will imprint on this stream for spawning purposes - before they exit into Granby Reservoir.
That was pretty much for the fishing this week. I threw streamers off the Granby dam with no success. We worked the quiet water in Hot Sulfur Springs for local browns with modest success. Camped on Williams Fork Reservoir and cast for pike morning and night with no success. You get the picture. It wasn't good fishing at all, but the beta test of the camper was a success. Next week will be better.
Here's the video of this trip:
6/26-7/1: So near and yet so far might be the theme of three quick trips we took this week. Every river is still running on the high side, and that makes for poor fishing. While it's still fun to be out of doors and camping in nice places, releasing a few more fish would be even better. That's going to happen shortly, but more action is still a couple of weeks off.
Here's a quick and dirty video of what we experienced this last week of June:
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