2005 Fishing Journal
Sunday, January 9, 2005 – South Platte River on the Dream Stream & 11 Mile Canyon
Dream Stream cfs 50 & Eleven Mile Canyon cfs (not sure)
30 degrees in the morning – almost 45 by mid-day – 40 mph winds. Nice in the Canyon, but the sun was coming down so it felt colder.
Fished today with Tom Shyrock and Kevin (Braidwood from the fly fishing board) – and what a good day it was. We left HR at 6:30 and drove down 25 to Colorado Springs and the west on 24 for Lake George. The trip took over 2 hours (but not much more). We got there about 8:45 and when we stepped out of the car it was 40 and beautiful with little wind and amazingly the only car in the parking lot of the Dream Stream (at the bridge). By the time we got our waders on the wind had kicked up and it was noticeably colder. We split up covering the first half-mile or so of the river, leap frogging each other to hit the next hole. We weren’t doing well for the first hour, with only sighting about 1 fish between the three of us. It was nearly impossible to cast into the wind and if you put the wind to your back your shadow was directly on the river. The wind also blew the line on the water at an unnatural pace – so that also didn’t help. Tom and Kevin came back and said they were heading back to the bridge area, and after breaking off my flies again I decided to join them. As I was heading back Kevin was walking up and wanted to show me the pics of the fish he just caught – a beautiful 20-inch cutthroat trout. The fish was amazingly beautiful and was the largest cutt I had ever seen. He showed me where he caught it and I tied on and tried the hole to no avail. I started walking in the river (which made my feet pretty numb) and fishing various holes around the bend. There was a nice spot where the river broke from a riffle into a 2-foot deep pool and they slowly swirled around a bend. I hooked up with a 6-inch rainbow within a few minutes – not what I was expecting. I stuck with it though and finally had something on – a whole lot of something too! The fish was solid and wouldn’t come off the bottom. He would come to the surface to show me his size and then log back down to the bottom. He made a 10-foot run, but that was it, he was impossible to turn, so I let him shake his head a few times. Finally I got a chance to drag him towards me and I netted him – the fish took up my entire net. He was a 21 or 22-inch rainbow that was as fat as any fish I’ve seen, but he wasn’t solid – just fat. I plopped him on the ice next to me and snapped a photo – he was frantic so I just broke off the fly and put him back in the water – and then had to give him a little shove back into the middle. My hands were numb as hell, but I was pumped up. I started heading back to the bridge. I met up with Tom and showed him the pics – he wasn’t too happy since he was getting shut out. He was fishing the huge dump pool right after the bridge on the 11-Mile side. I could see huge fish just hanging in this pool – Kevin tried for them with a bugger to no avail.
We decided to head over to the Canyon around 2 pm, on the way we had to go 5 miles on a road that was pretty scary with 2 or 3 feet of snow that was half plowed, half untouched. Scary. But, we made it. Eleven Mile Canyon is very pretty though and the pocket water was excellent. There were so many ice shelves that I was nervous to stand on one and fish to a great hole – but I did anyways. I ended up catching 2 12-inch rainbows that were just hanging in the pools. We only fished for about 45 minutes and then started heading home. The drive was long, but it was a very rewarding day.
Saturday, January 22, 2005 – South Platte River, Cheesman Canyon
Flows at 74 cfs - 40 degrees in the morning – almost 60 by mid-day – water was gin clear
Fished with Nate. Wanted to get into the canyon after having a great day at Eleven Mile Canyon. This was the exact opposite. Hardly any fish in the normal spots. The big rock and spawning area was completely empty. Nate caught one fish – 18-inch rainbow on an unweighted nymph. I didn’t hook a fish, only saw a few and was very disappointed. We were home by 3pm.
Saturday, March 19, 2005 – South Platte River Cheesman Canyon
Flows at 104 cfs – clear as a bell
45 degrees in the morning – almost 60 by mid-day – blue sky.
Fished with Nate, Dave, Tom and Chad. We decided to go deep into Cheesman this time – which was cool because I have never been that deep. We pulled into the parking lot and were car number 5 at 7:30 in the morning. The hike in was quite a ways and killed me to skip by all the holes I normally fish. I do have to admit that the water further up the canyon looks sweet and there are lots of plunge pools and riffles that look killer. The flows were higher than normal winter flows at about 104 cfs. I actually jumped in the first hole and fished about 25 yards below a strong riffle. It looked like an amazing spot. The others either jumped in ahead of me or kept walking towards the dam. I hooked a nice fish after about a half hour, he shot down stream and then had about 30 yards of my line out and popped off. I kept moving. I came to a nice spot where the water ran around a square boulder. The near side of the river looked great, but I knew the fish would be on the far side away from the traffic and out of direct sunlight – I made my way around to the other side and was soon hooked into a big rainbow – which popped out of my net as I went to scoop him. It was about a 17-inch rainbow that I hooked on a black midge.
I moved up the canyon slowly throwing to fishy spots. I didn’t see a whole lot of fish, just really fishy water. I met up with the rest of the guys further up and we shot the shit for a while. Nate was the only one who wasn’t there – he hiked all the way to the dam. I started working my wake back to the entrance to the canyon – fishing my normal spots. There was now over 30 people in the first ¼ mile of river and almost every spot was taken. Nate and Dave headed out, as they had to head home early. I saw some rainbows spawning in the usual flat areas by the big rock. I fish to the far side of the big rock and hooked an 18-inch rainbow on a midge. Pretty fish, but it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Soon after that we hiked out and went home.
Thursday - Sunday, April 14-17, 2005 – Big Horn River, Ft. Smith, Montana
Flows at 1500 cfs – clear as a bell
45 degrees in the morning – almost 70 by mid-day – blue sky for both days
Chad and I got up to Ft. Smith at about 2 pm and decided to try three-mile access. The wind was killer and we could catch anything. A bunch of small fish were hitting dries in the inlet, but nothing else. We decided to meet Dave back at the cabin around 4:30. The three of us decided to fish the dam and we did until about 8:30. Dave hooked a beautiful rainbow about 18 inches, Chad hooked a nice brown about 16 inches and I hook a couple of dinks.
Our first float day began at 8:30 – we shoved off from the dam headed for the 11-mile access. It was a cool day, but it was sunny and a lot less windy. The first stretch of the river is a long canal area that ranged from 12 feet to 3 feet deep – we hooked a couple of fish, but they were mostly small. We saw numerous schools of much larger fish swim under the boat. We had very good action in the first huge gravel bar after the long canal stretch after. We jumped out and fished it for about an hour or so. The gravel bar was about 8 inches deep and then dumped into a huge pool. The fish would sit sideways and watch for food to drop over the shelf. Chad hooked a beautiful 20-incher on a streamer on his second cast. I caught about 7 out smaller fish out of the hole – the largest being a 16-inch rainbow.
We decided to move on. The river was great for floating. Further down we floated through “Suck” hole, which is a toilet bowl with a fall chunk of concrete – it caused the river to spin and was tough for Dave to paddle out of. We fished the remaining mile or two to 3 Mile access with a little luck – catching fish here and there – nothing too large.
But suddenly, the fish just turned off in the afternoon, we caught nothing after that for the remaining 8 miles. We basically just whizzed through the remaining 8 miles trying to get to the pull out. Other anglers were having little luck as well – there were some nice holes, but not nearly as many as the upper 3 miles of the river. We pulled out around 8:30 exhausted.
Saturday was another nice day – a little warmer and just as sunny. We hit the dam at 8:30 and we were probably the 12th boat in the water (after being the first the previous day). Today was a totally different story than yesterday. We decided to just do the 3-mile float and maybe do it twice if needed. The canal stretch after the dam produced well - we hook a ton of smaller fish - including some white fish. We docked the boat just before the gravel bar (there was 8 fishermen on the bar) and worked the fast area to the right side of the river. The river funneled to the right with a nice 15-yard wide and 35 yard long run that led to a slower pool where the water collected and met faster deeper water. I hooked a huge 20-inch rainbow in the fast water, but no way I was landing him. As I was fixing my rig a huge 28-inch rainbow took my fly just as I was about to cast – again he was in the fast water and there was no way to pull him in. After fighting him for about 6 seconds, the fly popped out but the fish continued to give a thrashing exaggerated struggle (like big often do) until he realized he wasn’t on any longer. We jumped back in the boat and headed for Suck Hole. Just on the other side I hooked a nice brown and we
pulled in and did some fishing - and damn did we fish!
Over the next 6 hours I stood in that hole and hooked around 60 fish landing 40 of them. 90% were browns - majority about 16-18 inches, a few big rainbows about 18 or 19 inches and two enormous white fish - about 20 inches each (may have been the same fish). Dave had decent action and Chad moved up to the Suck Hole and had on a 30-inch rainbow that he was within inches of landing after a 20-minute fight. Numerous boats were running through my stretch, they’d get to the end and paddle back up and do it again. The fishing was great. I was hooking about 10-12 fish per hour and landing most of them. They were taking a size 20 midge that I tied – a black beadhead with a wire body and peacock herl below the bead. I went through about 6 of them and had to settle on tiny zebra midges – but they worked too. Every fish fought unbelievably – the brown were especially feisty and they jump – every one of them! White fish are pigs and they were tough to land. I think I caught the same fish twice – he was huge – at least 19 or 20 inches. When I told the woman we rented the cabin from she told me the record is just over 21 inches! We basically flew through the rest of the 1.5 miles to 3-Mile pull out around 8:30 again.
Those fish are so smart; I had a lot of them find ways to get off. They would dive bomb the bottom and rub their faces on rocks or weeds to try and get the hook out. They’d race 100 yards to the middle of the river to try and snag something or loosen the line. Many of the fish got off.
This part of Montana was not as pretty as I have imagined – actually it was quite ugly. The river is on an Indian reservation and the Indians can fish without licenses, keep anything they catch and use bait. The surroundings were sometimes eerie – not bushes, just low grass and lots of big cottonwoods lined the stamped down banks. Cattle roamed freely. What surprised me the most is the lack of huge fishing homes on the banks. None. Well actually only about 3 – but they weren’t very glamorous. The ride home took forever – but it was a great trip.
Friday, May 6, 2005 – Arkansas River
Flows at 150-200 cfs – clear as a bell
45 degrees in the morning – almost 70 by mid-day
This was to be my first caddis experience – and it was quite an experience. Chad and I got to Brown’s Canyon around 8:15 and we fished the access right next to the parking lot to get warmed up. We both hooked 4 nice browns, about 12-14 inches. Heading into Brown’s – which is a stretch of canyon with railroad tracks running through it that is fast and deep. Not a good recipe for me at all – since I nymph a lot. I hooked a nice 18-inch fish right off and it almost went over a waterfall. We moved up the river more and I crossed and found a nice deep hole – I landed 4 fish in the hole – all about 14 inches – one was a nice rainbow. Chad fished even further down and hooked about 20 fish on a size 12 stimulator. The sky darkened and the wind kicked up and it started to rain, then hail, then lightning and thunder. Crazy weather – all in about 15 minutes and then it was over. We moved to my favorite spot on the west side of Salida on some private access. I hooked 4 17-inch browns in this stretch and they were fun fish. We had heard that the hatch was hitting east of Salida so we headed over to a spot Chad knew. We were into a huge caddis hatch soon enough – so many that they were hitting my hood (I had it on to keep them off my neck and hair) harder than rain or sleet. It was sheets and sheets of them, so many that the fish weren’t even hitting them off the top of the water with any regularity. I scooped up a few in this section on nymphs and then switched to a caddis dry – amazingly I hooked one – my smallest of the day – an 11-inch brown. We moved to another spot, but it was 5 o’clock already and I was fished out. I didn’t hook anything, but the fish were up on the water taking the caddis finally. We left for home around 6 pm. It was a good day – cool hatch and fun hanging with Chad.
Saturday, May28, 2005 – Blue River, Dillon
Flows at 54 cfs below dam, about 225 cfs above reservoir - 55 degrees in the morning – almost 65 by mid-day – water was slightly off color in both locations
Cabo and I decided to get away on Memorial Day weekend and so we fished the Blue. Started out in the parking lot below the dam. The water was slightly off color. Started with mysis but had no luck. There were about 3 other guys in the hole for about 30 minutes (at around 8:30 am) and then they all left – I had the place to myself – I fished the whole stretch with no luck at all. I saw a couple of fish, but I think my flies were too small. I decided to head up to above the reservoir at around 10 am.
Above the reservoir was high, but relatively clear. Dillon has gotten slightly more filled up, but the reservoir is still a long away from the mouth of the river. I didn’t fish the river much because it was too fast. I fished the section at the end and then down to the reservoir. I found a nice deep slower hole to fish. I hooked into a couple of happy bows and that were about 12-13 inches long. My 4th fish was much larger – he took a san juan worm and barely fought until I tried to yank him out of the current. “He” was a 21-inch rainbow that was big and fat and was beautiful. I pulled him into the shallows and landed him as quick as possible. He was huge. I kept fishing the hole – caught a few more fish – smaller ones - and then moved on. I made my way to the mouth stretch and hooked a feisty brown that kept hitting my strike indicator. By now, Cabo and I were perched on a stump that had rolled down stream and was sitting in the middle of the mouth stretch. Cabo was shaking so I decided to call it a day. It was only about 12:30, but I didn’t mind leaving – we were home by 2!
Friday & Saturday, June 10 & 11, 2005 – Fryingpan River - Basalt, CO
About 150 cfs very clear, Friday was rainy and miserable – probably about 45 degrees – Saturday was sunny and warm about 65 degrees until 5 pm – then rain (we left).
Chad and I decided to do a camping trip and fish the Pan. Cabo accompanied us. Friday we left around 7 and were on the river around 11 am. The weather was drizzly and wet. That didn’t stop us and we hit the first spot, which was only 2 miles down the canyon. Chad hooked into some nice fish and I hooked into one 14-inch rainbow. Nothing I seemed to do was right, although the river looked plenty fishy. We moved up to about the 11 mile stretch (not far from the 2 mile to the dam stretch) and Chad was still hooking them left and right – mostly on wooly buggers and a mysis trailer. He even put me in the perfect hole where the fish were hitting dries off the top with consistency. Unfortunately I couldn’t hook a thing. I saw plenty of fish, but hooked nothing. Chad continued to hook smaller fish on the bugger. We decided to set up camp at around 6 pm. We camped at the tent sites just above the dam – next to Mollie B campground. It was the non-reservable sites in a bunch of aspens – nice sight really.
Chad decided he wanted to do some night fishing, so I dropped him off at 7 pm at the two-mile stretch just below the dam. I headed back into El Jebel for Wendy’s and a call to Jennifer. Cabo and I were fished out for the day and cold and still wet. I met Chad back at the 2-mile stretch at about 9 pm and we called it a night.
The next morning we were packed up and at the river at about 7:30 am. The sun was out and there weren’t any clouds – which was a relief. Chad jumped in quickly and I slowly had to talk myself into it. I felt bad because I would have to leave Cabo in the truck as the water was freezing and the sun hadn’t been that warm. I decided to start fishing, but leave her in the truck until 10 am. I fished a stretch next to the truck just above the Caddis Bridge. I hooked a couple of small browns and I ass-hooked a nice 15-inch rainbow. I could see tons of fish, but I had no clue what they were eating – I think I got lucky on the 6 or so I had caught. I moved up about 25 yards to where Chad said he saw a bunch of fish. He was right – there were a bunch of rainbows rubbing on each other next to a fallen log right off the far bank. There was a nice rock to hide behind and try and chuck at them. I tried for about 30 minutes or so when I hooked one – and I really hooked one. I think I foul hooked him, but it was a 30-inch rainbow that was the biggest fish I have ever seen in my life. The fish got pissed and swam around a rocky island formation, up to a waterfall and then up and over the 15-inch high waterfall and popped off. I was shaking this fish was so big. I had called out to Chad to come help – and just couldn’t believe it. Later fishing the same stretch I hooked a 25-inch rainbow and he wouldn’t budge – he finally popped off. I hooked him again about 20 minutes later, and this time I wrestled him. Amazing! He was so colorful and strong – after dragging him back to the rock to show Cabo (she was perched on the rock now as it was after 10 am). I had a tight squeeze on the fish and he still managed to get off – as he fell the fly got lodged in the knee of my waders and the fish got off – but I got a good view of him and I think Cabo was actually a bit scared! We moved up and down the stretch – seeing tons of fish – some were huge, some were normal.
Chad and I decided to start heading out of the canyon and try fishing another couple of stretches. We fished the stretch and had decent luck – I hooked a few smaller fish and had a good time. The weather was nice now and the dog was warm. We moved down again and I was having the same luck – caught about 5 or 6 and then the wind kicked up to over 50 mph and the rain started heading in – that is when we called it quits at 5 pm. We were home by 8 pm!
Sunday, June 19, 2005 – South Platte River - Deckers, CO
About 240 cfs very clear, 75 degrees with huge horseflies.
I fished with Cabo today – just a short day while Jennifer was out of town. We fished my favorite stretch that is just up river from the Trumbull fire station. We tried the normal spots first with very little luck. I move up to where the old 8 foot deep hole was and hooked a dink. I through just behind a rock and hooked a nice 14-inch brown that was pretty feisty. We continued working our way towards Deckers, hooking into lots of 10-inch dinks. The horseflies starting getting pretty bad, so we decided to call it quits and head home. First we went over to Flies N Lies for a bottle of water. The guy there said they just stocked 25,000 dinks. Not good for this year, but hopefully good for years to come.
Saturday, July 2, 2005 – Roaring River – Rocky Mountain National Park
About 80 cfs very clear, 55 in the morning and sunny, stormy and overcast about 55 degrees at around 3pm.
Chad and I fished RMNP today – the river is located about 2 miles inside the Estes Park entrance at the fork left a right and turn into the Lawn Lake area. The hike is about a mile in and 800 feet of elevation gain. The hike wasn’t too bad. When we reach a good point, Chad said to jump in. Problem was that the river still had some pretty good tilt to it and it was moving. Chad started with an emerger and I started with big ugly caddis. The problem was that I couldn’t see the fly on the water so I soon switched to a two-nymph rig. The water was still fast as we moved up river, but the pocket water became better and I could see the fish in all the obvious spots – they were very active and weren’t very spooky. I hook a nice size greenback cutthroat of about 11 inches. I fished my way up river hooking about 50 fish and landing about 40 of them. Each fish seemed easier to catch than the first, some were larger and some were smaller (the smallest was about 7 inches), and each fish was prettier than the last. This was the first time I had caught cutthroats and it was a real treat. Some of the fish were and awesome red and orange color and were so feisty. They all fought pretty well for small wild fish.
As the morning turned into afternoon the storm clouds came in and thunder was around us. It moved off and then another storm came in and dumped some heavy downpours on us. There was a lot of thunder and a little bit of lightning. We had to stop once as the wind picked up and it started to rain. We packed up our stuff and headed out around 3 pm. It was a great day and a great experience.
Sunday, July 10, 2005 – Clear Creek – by Kermmits
About 250 cfs very clear, 75 in the morning and sunny, 85 by noontime
I wanted to get out and do some quick fishing – so I hit Clear Creek because Chad said he had fished it and it was fishing well. The water was pretty dang high and fast. There was still rafters coming down it and that should have been a sign. I didn’t see any fish the whole day. I started under the bridge at Kermmits and worked my way upstream – there is that nice stretch I had always wanted to fish that is flat. It was a very nice stretch, but it was moving pretty good today. I fished my way back down to the I-70 bridge – I hooked a nice 11-inch brown – but that was it.
I moved up to the Budweiser plant and found a sweet section just up river – that you can get to now because the Bud plant is out of business and there are no “No Trespassing” signs. The river was nice – so perfect packet water and undercut banks (which will probably disappear once the river drops), but it is a stretch to explore with Chad at a later date.
Sunday, July 24, 2005 – South Platte River – Cheesman Canyon and Deckers
Flows: 174 cfs. Cloudy in the morning and the then hot and 90 degrees in the late morning/afternoon
Decided to hit the Canyon in the morning, hiked in and it started off well. Within 20 minutes of fishing Nate’s favorite hole three guys come down and fish within 20 feet of me in the hole – unreal! I was pissed. I moved up slightly and crossed the river, then worked my way back down river. I found a decent hole just up river from the “rock” as someone was moving out of the hole. Of course I was going to work my way down to the rock – but the guy comes back to the hole and gets right up near me – UNREAL!!! I was pretty pissed so I just up and left. I got on the river by 7:30 and was out by 9:45.
I decided to fish Deckers by the last turn out right by the fly shop and work my way to the bridge. I hooked a couple of dinks in that stretch, nothing fun. I did take a mean spill when I turned my ankle. The water actually felt good, as it was hot as hell. I fished my way back to the Deckers bridge (as I had never fished that stretch, but knew there was some huge fish in there). The water was faster and not very deep, so I moved quickly. Nothing I was throwing was working. I ended up on the concrete pillar next to the road fishing at a few fish I could see – I hooked a small one, and then a larger bow – with no coloration at all. The larger bow was about 15 inches but he had nowhere to fight me. I was trying for a brightly colored rainbow that ran about 18 inches – but he wouldn’t take at all. I left and was home by 2 pm.
Sunday, July 31, 2005 Blue River – Frisco
Flows ~ 100 cfs. Sunny and hot 80 degrees
Fished the delta where the Blue dumps into Dillon Reservoir, but there wasn’t much river to fish at the delta. The water from the reservoir was all the way up to the river!! It looked awesome!! Not many spots to fish and it was crowded.
I also tried the inlet of East Creek to Dillon next to the hospital – not much area to fish here either. I then fished the East Creek right by the massage place right on the road. Nice fishy water – only caught one small brown about 5 inches long. Not good – but nice to get out with Cabo while the ladies had their massages.
Sunday, August 7, 2005 Blue River – Silverthorne and then north towards Green Mountain Res.
Flows ~ 113 cfs. Sunny and hot 85 degrees
I fished with the dog – last trip before the baby. We started under the bridges and I hooked a 17-incher or so, but didn’t land him. I moved up towards Green Mountain Reservoir to a few places. One spot in particular that I like was called Columbine Landing – nice deep holes, looked like it was used by rafters to get in and out of. The river held no fish though and I was very disappointed. I was gone by noontime – and stuck in traffic. I stopped at Clear Creek on the way home, but got skunked there too. Just not a good day for fishing – too hot and too much sun.
Sunday, August 28, 2005 - Colorado River – Gore Canyon
About 1,000 cfs, slightly off color. Nice sunny day, clouds late, 50 in the morning, 80 by the afternoon.
Chad and I fished the Colorado through Gore Canyon. The Canyon is amazing – about 1500 feet high with a railroad set about 800 feet up from the river – the railroad is heavily used by Amtrak and Union Pacific. It is about a 2.25-hour drive from house to canyon and another 15-minute walk in. Just on the outskirts of the canyon the water is nice and fishy, a little wide with some slow and fast spots. The water today was a bit high and off colored. We hiked in about a mile and started fishing. The river was at places about 100 feet across and often times very fast – so we stuck to fishing the slower sections close to the edges.
We started out leapfrogging each other – Chad fishing a South Platte Spider and my trying the largest nymphs I had. I hooked a couple of small browns (about 11” long). Then, Chad hooked a huge brown that I helped him land and took pictures of – a 19 inch brown that was very healthy. We continued up the canyon, we saw a couple of rafters, a ton of kayakers but not a single fisherman all day. Chad had a lot of luck – fishing streamers he got some larger fish – in the 14 or 15-inch range. I stuck to the smaller fish – although not many. In one run I managed to hook 3 fish – the first was a nice 13 inch brown, the second was a huge white fish that I had at my net, and the third was a 17 or 18 inch white fish that took me about 20 yards down stream, around a rock in the middle of the river and Chad finally helped me land. The fish was ugly – with scars on its underside.
We fished some more and had a little luck. We were out of the canyon by 3 pm and on the way home.
Saturday and Sunday, September 3 – 4, 2005 - Colorado River – Byers Canyon
70 CFS – clear, sunny day about 70 then some clouds and thunder = but no rain at all – storm missed us
Jennifer, Avelyn, Cabo and I camped in our new popup tent trailer at the end of Byers Canyon in our usual spot. It was a nice (although short) camping trip. I got to fish late afternoon in the normal spots – but the only spot that was really productive was the run before the fallen bridge just after the sideways tree. I caught probably 5 fish out of that hole, 2 of which were around 13 inches. Moving down to the dry fly cliff I hooked a good-sized fish just before the brush, but he broke me off as he made a run under a deep rock. Lots of hatches going off.
I fished the next Morning as well. No real luck – just two 6-inch fish in the same spot as the day before. The water was extremely low – lowest I have ever seen. Although clear, it has a tinge to it that made it slightly off color. Because of the low water the fish weren’t in the normal runs, most runs were less than 6 inches deep – which never hold fish anyways.
Cabo and I did see a deer with two babies cross the water in front of us on Sunday morning. Pretty cool sight.
Saturday and Sunday, September 24 – 25, 2005 – Taylor River – Taylor Park and the South Platte – North Fork in South Park
Clear days, but cold weather – 60 during the day 30 at night. Clear water – normal flows below dam, low flows above (about 100 cfs). South Platte North Fork was a trickle but clear.
Good trip but cold – went with Chad and froze our asses off at night. Good trip over Cottonwood Pass – we made it in a little over 3 hours. Nice day – warm, we headed to above the reservoir to camp. The river dumps straight into the reservoir at the north end. The reservoir was low, and there didn’t seem to be any browns running at all. We camped about 4 miles up the road behind a cliff rock structure, pretty neat place. We fished that section for a while with not a single bite, then we moved down to where it dumped into the reservoir with similar results. We decided to hit the below dam section before it got dark – it was about 5:30 and we wanted to hit it before sunset. We fished until dark – I hooked and landed two nice fat rainbows – one was about an 18 incher on a size 22 killer nymph (silver rib body, bead head and peacock herl), and the other was a 19 incher I caught on a size 18 mysis pattern tat I tied myself.
Chad hooked two small browns, but that was it. We head back to the camper, tied flies for a little while, then went to bed – the heater wouldn’t stay lit due to oxygen depletion. That was not good news.
In the morning we packed up and headed back to below the dam. Not much happening so we were soon off to about 3 miles below – just below the private section. A really nice area, but super rocky and somewhat fast. I couldn’t catch a thing – Chad caught about 6 or 7 – one being a nice 25 inch fat rainbow and other that went unidentified – about 18 inches long and grayish brown with no real spots. Later it would be identified as a mackinaw – or a lake trout.
On the way home we hit the North Fork of the South Platte River – basically a piss-dribble going through South Park. It held some nice little fish though. This wasn’t the kind of water I’m any good at, so I got skunked, but Chad hooked a few nice ones, including a 13-inch rainbow with a hook jaw. That is a nice fish for the section. I got home in time to catch the 4th quarter of the Steelers/Patriots game.
Sunday, October 16, 2005 – South Platte River – Dream Stream
Clear day, light wind – 70 during the day. Clear water – normal flows (about 96 cfs).
Fished with Nate and Chad – hit the Dream Stream hoping the kokanees and browns would be running – and they were. Got there around 8:30 am and jumped in just above the bridge – hooked two small browns (about 8 inches). Moved up to the double bend pool and hooked a nice 18-inch fish with my first cast – it was silver, and shook free – couldn’t tell if it was a brown or a rainbow. I hooked another great fish in that hole, but no way could I land him – he was a fat brown and as I tried to pull him out of the pool he popped off. I saw another huge fish in that hole – come to find out, Tom hooked him the next day – a 24-inch brown. He was sitting at the head of the pool, but when I cast to him the first time I spooked him.
I decided to head on the other side of the bridge towards Eleven Mile Reservoir. Chad and Nate were already working this area. Nate was holed up in a deep pool that was holding about 50 or so kokanees. I fished it for a while and landed 5 or so fish – all were about 16 to 18 inches. Nate hooked a bunch as he stayed and hogged the hole. I tried fishing up and down the river – but with no luck. The water seemed very low and the fish just weren’t budging. I did see two huge 6-inch long crayfish. I assumed they had come up out of the reservoir to feed on the deep kokanee bodies.
Chad caught a nice rainbow and cuttbow, but was shut out from the large browns. Nate just caught kokanees all day. Decent day, but I need to go some place were I can catch a bunch of small fish all day.
Sunday, November 6, 2005 – South Platte River – Deckers
Clear day, light wind – 70 during the day. Gin clear water – about 46 cfs.
Chad and I fished Deckers today and the weather was amazing and the water gin clear. Chad brought his son Quinn and I brought the mutt, Cabo. What a great day. We had about 4 hours to hit it up before the Steelers/Packers game. We fished the bridge section up and down, hitting the usual runs - sticking to the middle since the flows were so low (about 45 cfs).
The majority of the fish weren't even 12 inches, but there was a bunch of them - mostly hitting size 18 zebra midges. All were rainbows, without a brown in sight. The bows weren't overly colorful, but they did fight pretty well. I remember back in May/June when I was down there that Dick Jr. told me they dumped about 2,500 fingerlings into the river. I had caught a ton then, and they were all about 6 or 7 inches. Well, those fingerlings are doing well; all are in the 10 to 11 inch range. Hopefully they continue to thrive and are 13 to 15 inches next year.
Saturday, November 18, 2005 Blue River – Palmer Gulch before Green Mountain Res.
Flows ~ 113 cfs - clear water. Sunny and freezing - about 40 degrees max
Fished with Chad and Nate today at Palmer Gulch on the Blue River. I had never been to this spot, but Chad had pointed it out last time we were down that way. The river is beautiful there, nice and wide with tons of rocks and riffles and good water. The problem today was it was too damn cold. The weather was sunny, but cold and the water was freezing, which was mixed with snow on the ground. We fished from about 10 am to 2 pm. After nymphing for most of the morning I decided I had enough and was headed back up to Chad and Nate further up river. I found Nate nymphing a nice stretch, but he said he had no luck. I move up ahead of him and found a nice little calm pool to the side of where the water broke back around an island. The pool was 5 foot deep and I could finally see fish in it. I was skeptical but decided to fish it while I waited for Chad to return. I hooked an 18-inch rainbow out of the pool – nice fight, good fish. I proceeded to hook a 14-inch rainbow right after that. I then foul hooked a big 17-inch rainbow that had fungus all over its head – scary looking thing. I continued to fish the hole waiting for Chad. I hooked two small kokanee salmon after that – both were very small at maybe 12 inches long. Those 5 fish were hooked in an hour worth of time while I waited for Chad. We decided to head out and beat the traffic, which was horrible earlier that morning. Chad said he caught 7 fish – a huge brown and a couple of nice rainbows – all on red copper johns. Nate unfortunately didn’t catch anything.
Saturday, December 3, 2005 – South Platte River, Cheesman Canyon
Flows at 40 cfs - 15 degrees in the morning – almost 34 by mid-day – constant snow
Chad, myself and Alex (LTG) fished the canyon on this cold and snowy day. We left later – actually getting to the canyon around 11 am. I hit Nate’s run right off and had two good sized fish on, but both popped off. I fished back towards the canyon mouth, hitting the normal spots with limited luck. I tried my hand at dry flying, as there were some small fish hitting the size 18 BWO sailboats that were sporadically coming off. I did manage to hook one, but he got off quickly.
I did hook and land a 10-inch brown trout that was filling a nice seam and riffle. Hardly a decent catch. Chad got skunked, while 2 weeks before he had come into the canyon and landed about 25 fish – some were huge. Not on this day. I moved to the big rock and saw a huge 24-inch fish with tons of fungus on his head – that was pretty disappointing. We left around 4pm.