Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday, May 19, 2006 - Blue River, Silverthorne

Friday, May 19, 2006 - Blue River, Silverthorne
Night fishing - 7 pm to 10 pm, 252 cfs

Fished with Chad at the Blue for some night fishing. basically the water was high (higher than the 101 flows that were reported the previous day) and the water off color. This meant that the fish were harder to find. Chad managed two fish (12 & 16 inches) on streamers and I got none. We were home and in bed by 11pm. Not much to report, so I kept it short.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday May 13, 2006 - Cheesman Canyon

Saturday May 13, 2006 - Cheesman Canyon
Flows about 53 cfs, water was gin clear.

I fished with Chad and Jason (his neighbor) tonight. We decided to do a late evening trip to Cheesman and try our luck. The flows were really low so we knew we'd be headed for a tough night of fishing. We hiked into the canyon around 5:30pm on a very warm day around 70 degrees. We jumped down into our normal holes (the riffles). I hooked a big brown twice, but he popped off very quickly. I had on another smaller trout, but he got off too. I moved down a bit to the log hole and hooked a nice rainbow and he popped off too. Finally I hooked and landed a 16 inch rainbow - very colorful, pink the whole length of his body. I was hooking fish on the size 20 mercury baettis that Paul gave me and a size 22 killer midge with a gold bead head.

I crossed the river and tried the slow pool right next to the big rocks (the river flows between them). I could see multiple fish - most about 20 inches feeding on nymphs, but they weren't taking anything I was throwing. It started getting pretty dark. I finally went to the end of the pool and started throwing up between the rocks a midge combo - I hooked a fish and when he got right up next to me I had a knot failure at my indicator and EVERYTHING popped off and he was gone. I moved down from there to the hufge rock, but by now it was pitch black and a head lamp in the middle of the river does you no good.

I broke down my fly rod - chatted with Jason as he jumped in another hole and headed down to find Chad. I found Chad standing in the straights area (the very beginning of the Canyon where the water is deep but dead slow) - chucking streamers. I sat down next to him and of course he went on to tell me that he had just landed 5 in a row and they were all hogs. To say the least, he wasn't going to get me to rig back up and try. Then, of course, he lands a fish that was breaching the surface no more than 6 feet in front of me. He showed me the fish - easily 20 inches and as thick as a horse - and I started rigging back up. Jason came down to meet us - he was ready to go home too - then I slammed a fat hog and he was hooked! I caught about a 20 inch rainbow (all the fish we caught on streamers were all fat hogs and 20 inches it seemed).

I have never caught a big fish on a streamer - the slam and the fight are addicting. i think I need to do more night time fishing!! We proceded to fish for the next two hours with only streamers - Chad caught about another 5 or 6 fish, I landed 3 total and Jason had on a nice fish but somehow it got off. I had on another two fish on consecutive casts, but they managed to get off. This new strategy was amazing - basically you chucked an olive streamer (olive was the killer color) out and did foot long strips back and let it sink for 2 seconds in between strips. Of course the night time makes it for a totally different experience because you ahve no idea where your streamer is landing in front or behind you. Also, I had a lot of problems because I'd strip so that my leader was up in side my guides, then I'd cast and basically the line would cast but from my second guide - the leader would be trapped in the first guide. To say the least this was trouble - my flies snagged the top guide and broke off, they snagged the rock behind me and broke off - and I assume all this whipping made the leader weaker so when a fish did hit it - it would break off. Jason was having the exact same problem - I lost at least 10 streamers and he probably lost 5.

The hike out sucked and the drive home did too - I got home at around midnight. But man, that was some of the best fishing I've ever had. Chad told me that the Blue, Pan and Taylor all where good fished at night for hogs. I believe him and can't wait to get the chance.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Friday & Saturday, May 5th & 6th, 2006 - Arkansas

Friday & Saturday, May 5th & 6th, 2006 - Arkansas River – Salida to Howard
600+ cfs, water was off color. Friday was cool and windy in the afternoon/evening. Saturday was sunny in the upper 60’s.

I was lucky enough to get invited down to float the Ark on Saturday by Brian (Hyde Drifter). I got down there early on Friday night and fished my secret spot (just south of Big Bend) from 4pm to 8pm. The water was high and off color so I stuck to the big pool. On my third cast I caught a 13-inch brown on a chartreuse midge with a red bead head. I continued working the pool and hooked a big brown on a streamer, but he broke me completely off. Most of the other areas were too off color to see or catch anything. I did manage to hook one more a little lower down – he was a nice 14-inch brown.

I headed over to eat dinner in Salida and then headed to meet Brian at his camper and introduced myself. We decided to meet at 6:30 am the next day to get breakfast and then jump on the river. I just assumed that we'd both get in some rowing and fishing, but Brian's raft was only a two-seater and he just wanted to row and watch - which I'm not sure I could do with fish showing everywhere.

We dropped in just below Salida and planned to float all the way to Howard. Brian is a hell of a guy - the guy can row that raft "in a phone booth" (inside joke) - basically I didn't spill my tea the entire trip! Even Brian enjoyed the satisfaction of rowing one of his best days - with flows around 600 cfs.

Although I felt a little awkward taking advantage of Brian's rowing skills it turned out that he just loves being on the river - he loves talking fish, talking flies, teaching casting, trying new patterns, and showing new techniques. He's also amazing at spotting fish areas - but then again when all the GUIDES on the river know you by first name, that usually means you have floated the river a few hundred times. He hooked me up with some killer PMX's and some soft hackle nymphs and chartreuse pheasant tails - and the caddis patterns where spot on and caught lots of fish.

The river was high (600 cfs) and slightly off color - the banks are where the fish were at. The morning was slow, but as the water warmed the caddis started popping and the fishing picked up. I caught fish on one of his newest patterns, had some killer dry fly action in the early afternoon, and had a bunch I couldn't land on a dry fly during the last 2 miles or so. It was a beautiful day, great weather, hardly a breeze, smooth water and good company. I saw the Ark from a new angle and I respect it more for some of the amazing private water it has stashed away. The entire Arkansas Valley is just amazing. And the fish are healthy and large (for that river) - they feed fiestily too on size 16 nymphs - which is a change for us South Platte size 24 midge guys.

I'd like to thank Brian and Mary for their hospitality and kindness and I owe them big time! Although Brian doesn't want the publicity, he's a hell of a fly tyer - he donated over 40 dozen flies to TU this year for their auctions - and for that (and everything else he does) he should be commended. This is just another story of how this board brings us all closer together.

Brian was nice enough to donated almost 2 dozen flies to me, of which I donated directly to the fish Gods. Did I mention he's a hell of a fisherman too? He grabbed my rod in a great hole and made some beautiful casts to some nice fish - he only "landed" one - but it was one memorable fish!