I have been dying to get up to RMNP for some fishing for quite a while, and when my co-worker told me his fly fishing brother from LA would be in town I used it as an excuse to get a hall pass and head up to RMNP. My neighbor Tom was added at the last second, so he met me outside my house at 5:30am, we headed over to Englewood to pick up Oliver and we were on I25 by 6am. Going through Estes we saw a huge herd of elk next to the lake - they almost looked like statues - always cool to see them there. We pulled into the parking area right before 8am. My buddy Steffan was waiting for us. We dressed quickly and started the hike in. Oliver and Tom got their butts kicked due to the quick altitude increase - Steffan and I made several stops to let them catch up and catch their breaths. We did manage to make it up the hill though. This time of year the water is super low, the question was how low would it be now. I wasn't really sure what the fishing would be like in September (I've fished it in July when there was still some late stage runoff happening).
I don't have to explain to anyone how beautiful RMNP is. It was especially beautiful today. Highs of about 70 degrees, lots of sunshine, a few clouds - just beautiful. A slight breeze, but it wasn't cold. The water however was ice cold, and it stung to put my hand in for the first time. Steffan and Oliver dropped off the ledge and found nice fishing holes. Tom and I made our way to the bridge to start. This was Tom's first time ever fly fsihing so I wanted to show him all the basics, set up, tying knots, flies, etc. We took a few minutes and I showed him. A guy on a horse came running through - right through the water we were going to fish. No big deal really since this water is full of little dumb fish who go right back to doing what they were doing 5 seconds before the interuption.
I am not a good teacher at all - so I knew I would get frustrated quickly - I was hoping for the best. Surprisingly, Tom was a pretty quick learned. His casting was a mess, but let's be honest - there isn't any room up there to cast. We spotted a fish right next to the bridge and I pointed the fish out. Tom couldn't see it - I literally almost poked the fish with the rod tip before he finally saw it. We had a dry/dropper on first and tried working that. Tom casted pretty well and had the fly right over the fish pretty easily. The fly went past the fish one time and stopped - I told him to set the hook, then after what seemed like a 2 second delay he set it and we had fish on. First fish in less than 5 minutes of fishing.
Hey, you can't teach a guy to pose with his first fish caught on a fly rod!
We hole hopped after that and Tom basically went out on his own the rest of the day. Since the water was so low you had to hole hop, looking for water that was wide and slow enough to hold a fish. I would find a nice hole, catch a fish then have to move - the pool would be too spooked. We met up off an on during the day. I saw Tom and he told me he caught 2 more on his own - and he was hooked. Oliver caught a few as well and got a photo of a beauty for his "wall of species". He was very impressed with the coloration on these fish.
Steffan finally appeared, fished with us a litle, then told us he had to go. I had no idea what time he left, mainly because my watch was dead. At 3pm Oliver asked if we were ready to leave, I looked down and said it was only 1pm (that is what my watch said) - he showed me it was 3pm - so we packed up and headed out. We hiked out and were home by 6pm. We did notice the huge plume of smoke behind us when we hit I25 in Longmont - that fire in Loveland looked scary. Here are some more pics - sorry, not a bunch of scenery pics.
I took a bunch of underwater videos with the new GoPro Hero Cam. I would find a deeper hole with lots of fish, fish to them, spook the pool enough and then put the camera in it - let it settle, then come back and get the camera after getting some footage. I was surprised to see just how fast the fish would go right back to their normal routine. Here is a stillshot of a fish that came right up to the camera - not camera shy at all.
Here is a great video of me catching a little guy - just dumb luck I would get one on my second cast.
A very good day of fishing the Park. It was relatively quiet - only saw 4 other fishermen and only for a brief few minuts until they moved on.