July, 2012 Diary
7/2&3: Pretty low in advance expectations for this short overnighter - and they were met. Did a family trip in the van to the Upper Colorado area yesterday and today. Drove over Ute Pass and stopped for a half hour at Williams Fork Reservoir in the morning. Walked the shoreline for a half mile and tried to cast for pike and trout along the bank, but the water has dropped so dramatically it appears the fish have all headed for the bottom of the lake. Nothing doing here.
Had lunch in Grand Lake and then drove back to the dam of Shadow Mountain Reservoir. Outlet stream is very low, but Sue enjoyed lots of success here on small browns and bows. I had less activity and seemed to miss more strikes than those on which I connected. Not much loss though given the sizes. All the good fish have long since exited the stream down into Lake Granby.
On the way back to Williams Fork for the night's campout, we stopped at a couple of spots on the Colorado near Byer's Canyon and here the fishing was better. Several nice sized browns in the fourteen inch range.
After a good night's sleep, we drove back to Silverthorne for a great breakfast at the Mountain Lyon Cafe and then we stopped for another hour on Ten Mile Creek which also was decent fishing - though sizes were minuscule. Probably all done with casting now until the 4th holiday is over, and the masses head back to their homes.
Here's a quick video of what activity there was for us:
7/5: A short bike trip out to Gore Creek this afternoon confirmed that our home water stream is now starting to badly suffer the effects of the ongoing drought. Flows are dramatically lower than a week ago and the fish are all sulking. Yes, I did hook and release a few, but the numbers are a fraction of what we've experienced in the recent past.
Unless we get a real upsurge in monsoon moisture on a continuing basis, the stream needs to be rested and not fished. I'll have to also remember that if I do go out again, to use less attractor types of dries and nymphs and to start sticking to what might actually be hatching - and obviously in much smaller sizes too.
7/10: Had a spare couple of hours today so drove a short ways to the Eagle & did some difficult wading on a somewhat remote section of the river. Not great fishing but nice weather. Probably played a dozen smaller browns and one nice rainbow and missed about that many more strikes.
Really didn't like the Simms wading shoes I'd just bought. They simply don't work on a bottom as slick as the Eagle, nor did the sock liner work well. Another disappointment from that company. An earlier problem involved their now defunct and discontinued FLi rod - but that's another story.
Here's the short video of the outing:
7/12-13: Another two day overnight trip again brought mixed - and more or less - indifferent results. It's been a strange summer. While we like being able to fish local rivers in the early part of the warm season, with flows dropping everywhere as rapidly as they are, the fishing's really not been good this year.
Here's a quick video of our trip to the Crystal, Anthracite, Gunnison, North Fork, and Crystal again:
07/17 & 18: Finally! A decent fishing trip this summer. Actually that's something of an exaggeration since most of our trips are always fun, but this one turned out better than expected. We drove to Meeker and played a nice nine holes of golf before heading up river to our favorite stretch of stream.
It's actually pretty quiet on this river this summer - flows are somewhat low and access is much tougher than in the past. We entered our best water from a place that was not wadable until now and had good fishing right out of the box. Sue had more success on a standard colored copper john while my fish came mostly to a #16 white rubber leg green body fly on the surface. Go figure.
After enjoying a couple of hours here, we migrated to the South Fork and had a bit more success in that tough wading pocket water. Missed a good number of fish, but still released a fair number too. Same flies did the trick. Camped that night overlooking Lake Avery and enjoyed the lack of other people around us.
Next morning we did a repeat of the first morning's water, but at the other end. Results were a little less successful, but still a nice couple of hours. Tried to get in another nine holes at Meeker, but the course was a bit too crowded to get around in the time we wanted so we headed back home and were here by mid afternoon.
Here's a video of the activity. This weekend I'll be fishing the Arkansas - or the Fork and Crystal depending on weather conditions while Sue visits her folks in Denver. Then we're off to Wyoming for a week of cutthroat action:
7/20-21: Bad decision on my part to visit the Arkansas these two days rather than the Crystal. Should have known better. Crowds along the river were horrendous. Couple that with my doing everything possible wrong when it came to fishing and we have the makings of a disaster.
OK. Did catch a few fish here and there, but there was too much brain damage to be able to call the trip a fun one. Here's a couple of photos of fish both days and a brief video at the end. We'll hope next week turns out to be a lot better.
Last logbook Entry é for previous day
7/22-27: Back in 2006 we finally completed our first "Wyoming Cutt-Slam" - the catching (and releasing) of all four native Wyoming cutthroat species in their historic original habitats. It was a fun project which took several trips to that state over a few years to finish up. We often thought about trying to repeat the "Slam" but on a much more compressed schedule - and that's what we did this past week.
It took a good bit of Google mapping to lay out what we hoped would be the best route to drive through that state to locate our fish in the most efficient manner. Having done that we took off Monday morning with high hopes that we could be successful.
The first day was mostly a long drive up to the Western edge of Wyoming where we made our way through Cokeville to the Smith Fork (of the Bear River). Set up camp and had a couple of hours to fish that night. Happily Sue caught her Bonneville in the first five minutes and mine followed shortly thereafter. The rest of the evening we enjoyed releasing several more nice fish and only found a single brown trout apiece of non native species in the stream. Here's one of the Bonnevilles we caught the first day.
The monsoons arrived in earnest that night, raising the stream level significantly and off coloring it as well. Fishing the next morning was modest at best while we waited for the roads to dry enough that we could make it safely over the pass into the LaBarge Creek basin.
In late morning we were able to make the drive down upper LaBarge Creek, but had zero success fishing due to high and murky water.
Got lost on our way to Cottonwood Creek though we eventually found it and were successful in both landing a couple of Colorado cuts before the relentless rains drove us off the water and back into the car.
Late in the afternoon we drove down the pass to the Greys River where we set up camp for the night near a feeder stream called Cabin Creek. Sue passed on fishing that evening, but I was able to land a few very nice sized Snake River fish to get my third species - here's one of them:
Sue picked up her Snake the next morning on the Greys, and we both had more success with the same species on the Hoback after lunch in Alpine.
Could have continued on to our last stop over the Wind River Pass that afternoon but opted instead to take a break in Jackson Hole and enjoy some much needed drying out, clothes cleaning, and a nice dinner with some local friends.
After breakfast in the early morning, we made the short drive into Teton Park and turned off at Gros Ventre Junction to give that nice river a try. Our efforts were in vain. I may have had a small strike, but neither of us landed a fish here.
Looked at a couple of other Snake River turnoffs in the park but passed on them as the braids in which we've previously caught fish were at too low water levels.
We turned right at Moran Junction and proceeded up over the pass into the Wind River basin. Thought I knew the way to our last stop at Pelham Lake but got lost a couple of times before we finally arrived there just before noon. It was tough fishing this year. Both of us had some strikes and near misses on our streamers but it took me a good two hours to finally land my first Yellowstone. Sue's efforts went on even longer, but she eventually played and released the best cut of the day - this fine brightly red colored twenty incher.
That's how we finished up our cutt slam for the year. It was a lot of work over those four days and a lot of fun too. Had hoped to fish the Little Popo Agie near Lander but gave up on it as the river seemed to be running too low. So stayed the night in the woods and made it back home the next day. Suspect we may well have gotten lucky with a couple of these species, but the overall trip was a complete success. Here's a somewhat lengthy video of the trip:
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