July 20, 2007 - Big Thompson River - above Drake
Flows around 130 cfs, evening fishing - 5pm to about 9pm
Chad, Cabo and I decided we hadn't fished in a while so we wanted to do some evening fishing. We both hadn't fished the Big T in a while and so we headed up there on a Friday night. Problem was that there is a ton of traffic on a Friday evening - even when you leave at 2:45. Santa Fe and I25 were dead stopped in places and I didn't get to Chad's until 3:30. The traffic only got worse from there - it took us 2 hours to get to the Big T. So we fished our way through the Big T valley towards Drake. Our first two spots along the highway actually produced no results for either Chad or I. The next spot was a little better as Chad started hooking fish on the streamer and baetis rig. I unfortunately had no luck. Our fourth spot was on a bend and the the fish seemed to be everywhere - Chad was actually hooking into small fish on a good sized streamer. I again, caught nothing.
Our fifth spot was very fishy looking and Chad had great luck - I had 2 on, but nothing landed. The water was very warm (at least it seemed) and the hatches were coming of sporadically. Of course this isn't much of a river that you try to match the hatch on - except maybe the occassional caddis hatch. I still had no luck, but found several areas where the fish tailing and jumping out of the water after the bugs (just not my bugs). Our final spot was in a pull out just before Drake. The pull out always has a mound of dirt at the end of it. This spot was the first spot I ever caught a fish on the Big T some 7 years ago. The light was fading fast and I jumped in with a nymph rig and finally hooked and almost landed (I wasn't interested in netting a 10 inch fish so I tried to hand land him in decently fast water) a little guy. The fish in this spot were literally JUMPING out of the water and doing tail wags after the flurry of hatches that were coming off. Caddis were definitely flying, but there were some much larger bugs too - it was now closer to 8:30pm and you could tell that this must happen every night because the fish were keying on it. I switched to a black foam caddis, but I could not get a single fish to take. At about 9 (when it was too dark to see anything) I jumped out of the water and started looking for Chad (who was further down). In the pull out area I noticed a cross planted in the embankment - it read "Don Davis, Owner Great Western Fly Fishing" - it was a sad thing to see, but I realized that a piece of him (or his spirit) wanted to be in that very spot eternally fishing the Big T. RIP Mr. Davis, I caught one for you in your special spot.
The drive home was dark yet very fast. I got home at 11 - 4.5 hours of driving and 3.5 hours of fishing.