July, 2020


7/6-8: Our first two night camping/fishing trip here in Colorado had its ups and downs but overall was successful.

We drove from Vail to Hotchkiss, had lunch, and then made the bumpy back roads drive to the west bank of the Gunnison just below the forks.  Got on the water around noon and immediately started to wilt.  Air temperature was roughly 97 degrees.  The main stem of the river is flowing at August or September levels and the fish were sulking.

No hatches were in progress or noticeable so we started with yellow sally's or stones with a small bead head trailer.  A hit here and there was about all we experienced.  Yes, did release maybe a handful of fish between us, but it was a really quiet afternoon of casting - definitely wouldn't call it "catching".  Not a great start to what we'd hoped would be a fun couple of days. 

After camping for the night in our favorite site, we started working the same water the next morning around 7:00.  Wow!  What a difference the time of day made.  Even before paying attention to the modest Trico hatch in progress, we were both hooking fish right away.  It was wonderful fishing.  As the hatch heated up, fish started forming hog lines on the surface picking off emergers as well as the drowned floaters. 


Just a great day - maybe the best three hours of brown trout fishing we've ever had.  While I didn't bring to hand any of the 4 or 5 backing rippers I hooked, we did release plenty of browns in the 12-18 inch range.  A really terrific morning.

As we didn't want to spend an afternoon of fruitless work again in the oppressive heat, we drove back up the North Fork of the G. and turned up Anthracite Creek to try that fun rainbow stream.  Didn't work out.  Still running a bit too high to be negotiable (as in wade able).   Hopped back in the car, drove over McClure Pass and then up the road towards Marble where we have a good, kind of hidden stretch of water on the upper Crystal.  Unhappily same situation as we found on Anthracite, just too high to be easily wadable.  Off again.  Since it was still early in the day, we made the relatively long drive through Rifle and Meeker to find a good camping spot on the South Fork of the White River.  OK, here we go again.  Stream not easily wadable.  Did do some bankside casting and had a few hits, but getting decent drifts in the faster water didn't pan out.

Spent a nice night along that river and the next morning made our way up the North Fork of the White to the turn off to Trapper's Lake.  Sue opted out of trying a kind of secret little pond we know of there, but I did get to release a few fat Colorado cutts. that eventually came to some pretty tiny comparaduns.


Then we made the drive back to Vail over Ripple Creek Pass.  A nice start to the season.  Here's the clunky video of the outing:



7/15-16:  Into the breach once more - as they are prone to say.  The dogs & I drove back to the Gunnison for one last shot at it this year.  Instead of trying to fish the main river when we arrived, we went to the parking lot at the bottom of the Black Canyon stem and walked a mile or so upstream.  It was as ugly fishing here later in the day as it was on the main stem the prior trip, so we could have saved ourselves the extra drive.

Just nothing doing.  Given the hot temps right now, it appears feeding is only going on early in the day.  Enough said.

Next morning on the main stem was almost the same as our previous trip although with way too much downstream wind and a blown off Trico hatch.  But things got better as the morning dragged on, and I suspect just about the same decent fishing as we'd had before.  My biggest mess up was not catching the fact that the point had broken off my fly early enough.  So I T.A.G. fished for almost a half hour losing fish after fish before wising up.

Left around noon and drove to Anthracite Creek which is now at perfect depth.  Played a number of rainbows to 15 inches before the weather started looking evil.  Due to that we opted out of trying the upper part of the Crystal with another camp out and simply headed back home where we are now.  Next Monday we'll do our annual Almont Triangle trip (weather permitting).  Here's the really ugly video of the fishing:


7/20-22:  This was going to be our annual three day Almont Triangle trip.  It almost was.  But then it wasn't.  We did camp on the triangle overlook this year again, but too much traffic up in the forest and ditto driving down the Taylor River discouraged us from completing the roundabout circuit through Crested Butte, Kebler Pass, and home via McClure Pass.

So instead of having breakfast at McGills in "Crusty Butt", we drove into Gunnison for a nice meal there.  Then it was down the highway towards Blue Mesa Reservoir.  Stopped at the upper end and considered some casting in the river right there but passed and continued on towards Montrose.  Drove a ways up the Little Cimmaron and the big Cimmaron, but neither were flowing enough to ever consider trying them.

So with no other good options available, we made our way up the highway from Delta and turned off again at Austin to the west bank area of the Gunnison River.

Did some wading and casting at our favorite run on that river and surprised ourselves with a bit of success going deep in the afternoon with a red bead head midge that actually proved fairly popular with the browns we thought might be hibernating through the late day hours.  So this turned out to be a good decision.  Spent the night at our favorite camp ground and with a couple of hours to spare the next morning before heading home for some appointments, did pretty well on very small comparaduns on the same stretch of water we'd fished the prior afternoon.

And that's about it.  Stormy weather in the forecast will likely keep us at home for the next few days.  Don't know where we'll do next week's campout.  Here's the little video of this trip (which likely is the last time we'll do the "triangle":


Last Logbook Entry   for previous day

7/30:  First legitimate outing on the Eagle was a toughie today.  Went out after lunch and fished my way back upstream from the town of Eagle towards Wolcott.  Nymphed at first and caught a fat fourteen inch brown fairly quickly but action died shortly after that.  With a modest yellow sallie hatch going on, shifted to high floating imitation and had a few short strikes, but nothing else.

Eventually did land a couple slightly larger browns and misplayed a couple more.  It was a difficult day with downstream thunderstorm winds making landing any fly on the water fairly gently an impossibility.

This weekend's likely out due to crowds in the valley, but my plan is to do a solo overnighter to the White River on Monday which hopefully will be a bit more successful.



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