Monday, July 22, 2013

RMNP, July 20, 2013

My buddy from work came out to Grand Lake for a long weekend with some of his fraternity buddies.  He asked that I find a nice hike and fishing spot to take them and show them around a bit.  We got up early on Saturday, 5:45am early and I had them out of their cabin and into the park by about 6:15am.  We saw tons of animals right off, including 5 moose and lots of elk near the Grand Lake side.  We travelled the whole length of Trail Ridge Road - from the GL side to the Estes Side.  We stopped multiple times for photos and so the guys could awe at the views.

Over the top of the passes we saw 6 or 7 of the big boy elks, with the huge racks.  Amazing sight to see.  I'll have to get those pics - I don't think I took a picture.

We finally made it to the trailhead at around 7:45am and met Steffan there.  We suited up and hiked in the 1 mile.  The river has changed quite a bit.  The water seemed faster and there were not as many pockets or pools as there seemed to be 4 years ago.  Maybe I'm wrong.  There were also a lot less fish up there.  we all ended up catching fish, but the numbers were very small.

These are really the only pics I got.  As I said, the fishing was so-so.  I managed 2 fish, both were large and feisty and about 11 inches long.  That was about it.

We were back down the hill at 2:30pm and back over the mountain and in GL at 4pm.  It was a good trip and these guys really enjoyed themselves - I just wish the fishing was better.

Thanks Steffan for playing guide for the day - I appreciate you helping me out.

One more long weekend left of vacation - I hope to fish almost every day next weekend.

Friday, July 19, 2013

RMNP, July 19, 2013

Got up at 5:30 and decided to fish a new spot in RMNP - it is less than a mile from our cabin. I was at the trailhead at about 6am and dropped in at the bridge and started bushwhacking through the under brush and downed trees. The creek is beautiful, with millions of trees laying across it, trees hugging the bank, small pocket water and the chance at seeing wildlife at every turn.

The problem is that the logs are usually laying across the best runs, so that makes them unfishable with a nymph. The good runs hug the far shoreline and usually have a huge branch laying in the middle. If you don't mind getting a hang up on your first cast, you fish them. But after a while it is frustrating ruining a great spot on the first cast when you have to go pluck your flies off a tree limb on the bottom or out of the bush hanging over the bank. You just keep moving on. The water here is freezing cold and usually shallow - the creek is losing a lot of altitude as well, so there are sections you just have to skip because they are too fast and no place for a fly to be tucked into to catch the brookie that you know lives in there.

I fished until about 8:30 and caught a bunch of little fish - all brookies - the biggest may have been 7 inches. I did work hard for these fish - often having to skip over 20 or 30 yards of water to find the next ok run to fish. The brookies are just as willing here. Most were tiny - like think the size of your pinkie small. I did manage 2 nice fish towards the end. Both had sharp coloration and fought way better than their size. See the pics below for some shots from the GoPro.

This last pic is for all of you who really know me - yes, again, there is better reception in the park than at my cabin - and yes, on the walk out I did answer a few texts and emails!

So far, this vacation does NOT suck!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

RMNP, July 12 & 13, 2013

Fished in RMNP on Friday and Saturday while on vacation.  Got up around 5:30am and was up the trail and fishing by 6:05am. It is so nice to be close by these places.  Even though I had gotten up "late", I was still able to get to the river in plenty of time to fish.  I want to fish until about 9am every day and then head back to the cabin to hang out with the family.  Like the entire park, the scenery around there is amazing - the chance to see large animals and many different types of birds and of course the fish.  There is something about fish in beautiful places must make them even more amazing.

I started off in a huge riffle (comparatively for this small river) and a hug bend pool with slow water and a deep stretch.  I was sure there was some big fish in there, but I'll never know.  I did manage to hook a few, but only landed one nice brookie that had amazing coloration.

Basically in this type of boulder and pocket water, you just leapfrog over the fast water and hit the slow seams and runs.  Problem is you need to stand in the middle of the river in order to not snag in a tree - but it is inevitable, you will end up in the trees anyways.  The water was surprisingly not as cold as I thought it would be, although it was still cold.  The bottom consists of slippery rocks and drops into deeper than expected water.  I took a few nut-dunks when I was expecting the water to be a little shallower.  Below is one stretch where I actually checked my phone and found I had 3 texts from my boss telling me I was up next on the call to discuss June financials.  No, I didn't join the call, I actually sent him this pic telling him I was busy in my office and couldn't make the call.  Crazy this is, I had better 3G reception here then I do at our cabin in Grand Lake!

I could babble on about how beautiful it was and the fish I caught, but here are the pics instead.

One crazy story I have to share.  I had just gotten into the water and was fishing the bend pool when a green hummingbird flew in front of me and was eyeballing me.  I was wearing my neon orange shirt - so I'm sure that threw him off - he just stayed about 20 feet in front of me and would swerve over to my left and look at me, then swerve over to my right and look again.  Not exactly sure what I was, he hung around for about 20 seconds and then flew off.  Funny.  Not more than a minute later an orange hummingbird started coming at my shirt and attacking me.  He literally almost touched my shirt and I nearly fell in the water as I wasn't expecting an attack.  The damn thing kept dive bombing me for about 7 seconds and then flew off.  After a bit I realized the green hummingbird was trying to figure out if I was a flower and the orange hummingbird wanted to mate with me.

I broke my rig off, and my indicator decided to make a bee-line down river.  It was exactly 9am and I decided to call it a day.  I was back at the cabin with the wife and kids at 9:20am.  Not too shabby.

Later that day I was with Avelyn and saw this moose.  It's very cool to see all the wildlife up here.  Avi and I do an early morning every weekend and drive to see moose/elk/deer.  This morning we saw 11 deer and this one moose.

On Saturday my neighbor Tom came up and we did this trip again.  A ton more fish were caught and it was again beautiful.  All fish were small, some smaller than 3 inches, and the largest was about 7 inches.  Most were brookies, but I did manage a couple small greenback cutthroats.  Amazing coloration and beautiful fish.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Day 3 of vacation!

So, I went to bed again pretty late on Day 1, and when I woke up a little hungover and around 6am on Day 2, it was raining outside and I convinced myself not to go fishing.  The night of day 2 was also a tough drinking night, but I made it a point to get my ass out of bed on the morning of Day 3.

I decided to hit the spillway between Shadow Mountain and Granby - it is super close and I knew I'd pick up a few fish.

Along the way I did see a moose feeding on the trees in one of the clear cut sections by the expensive houses along the way to the Spillway.  I made it to the parking lot around 6am and on the water right around 6:15am.  I hiked into the top section and found the water to be that nasty looking green slippery weeds that looks like rock snot - it isn't rock snot, but covers everything and is slippery as hell and causes walking on it to be impossible.  I spotted a osprey's nest high up in a tree and the momma was feeding her babies.  I also saw a couple of deer cross the river.

This section borders RMNP and is beautiful country.

It is impossible to fish when the weeds are so thick and you constantly have to remove them from your flies.  I kept moving down river, fishing the riffle stretches.  The water was pretty low, so there was slim pickins.  I managed to pick up 2 fish in each of the first 3 or 4 spots I stopped - they were hoffer strands of rainbows all around 11 inches and all fought fiercely! I managed a small brown as well.

I kept hiking down river towards the lake.  Not having a whole lot of time, I lost track of time and soon it was 8am - so I started hiking down and skipping holes - then I came to the grassy meadow sections of the river - the long sections where the trees are pushed back and the grass lines the river.  I spotted these bedded down sections of grass - it was obvious I was a few minutes from seeing these guys.

As I was walking back, I noticed the skeleton of a dead elk.  It was pretty crazy to see the huge skeleton and clumps of hair thrown every where.  As I was walking back on the path I noticed a 1/2 leg and hoof, and then several yards more was another twisted leg.

No pics of fish, I wanted to get them back in the water as soon as I could.  The bigger fish seemed to be higher up by the dam and I caught some 4 inch dinks further down before the meadow section.  Crazy, as I thought the size would get larger as you approached the lake - not the case.

Still, Day 3 of vacation and 2 were out on the river!  Not too shabby.  I did manage to fish a few more time with the kids on the lake, but we got skunked!  Oh well, we'll get more shots in July!

First day of vacation

My first real day of vacation up here in Grand Lake I decided to spend the morning fishing the Parshall Hole. I know the hole pretty well (in the winter) and it is only about 30 minutes from the cabin here. I was planning on being awake and on the road at 5am, but after going to bed at midnight, that didn’t happen. I was about 30 minutes late and landed at the parking lot at 6am. Beautiful morning with fog in the low laying areas and it was about 39 degrees. The water was up but only slightly off color, but not as high as most years on this first week of July. As you can see, typical morning view – minus the 12 feet sections of ice on the banks like I saw all winter.

I think I landed 2 small browns around 6:30 ish, both had lip/mouth damage – which was disappointing. And then nothing until about 7:30 when it “heated up”. I think I landed 3 or 4 pretty quickly, including this dink that I hooked on a red wire worm that was twice as big as his head. I think I casted him 2 times thinking he was a twig or branch before I realized he was a fish. He was no worse for wear as he shot off back into the abyss.

I managed a couple of rainbows – including one decent sized one at about 15 inches that gave a good pull. I managed a decent brown at the end of the day, but I forgot my net and when I tried to muscle him in he popped off the top fly and temporarily hooked himself on the bottom fly, then popped off completely, But that was it. I saw one other angler around 8:30, he hopped over me to the top of the pool. I promised Jen I’d be home at a decent hour, so I was out at 9am and back to the cabin (after gas) at about 9:45.

Good start to the vacation.

That afternoon the kids wanted to go out on Scott’s boat (thanks for letting us borrow the boat Scott!!) and try fishing in Shadow Mountain Lake. I motored out to deeper water and anchored up next to some floating grass/weeds and threw a worm on the Barbie pole and the Transformers pole and each kid fished for a bit. Pretty soon Z’s bobber was under and we landed a very nice 15 inch rainbow that was a beauty. I did manage to fish some chironomids, which I didn’t get any hits, but when I was reeling in a fish hit at them on the surface – which was weird, so I moved Avi’s rod to that spot, but no luck. Soon after I got asked for my license by a DOW guy, and then he was on his way. The wind kicked up, the rain started a bit and the kids were bored, so we headed back in. Avi and I tried fishing off the dock at our cabin and Avi did get a hit from a dink, but it is hard to land them when they are that small. It started raining harder so we called it a day.

An even better ending to a great first day of vacation!!