Sunday, March 30, 2014

Deckers- 3/29/14

Spring is coming and the fisherman hatch is on in full force!  I've been fishing the Deckers stretch of the South Platte for a few years now, and I've never seen the amount of cars fill up every parking area and pull off through Deckers.  We fished Bridge Crossing in the morning, which only yielded a few fish.   Bridge Crossing is an absolutely amazing stretch of water that looks similar to the water up above in Cheesman Canyon. Moved up above the Deckers bridge around noon, and somehow found Midge Pool free from any anglers.  Large fish were everywhere from the riffles up above into the run below, which allowed us to sight fish to these tough trout.  Fooled 4 over the next 45 minutes before we had to head back to Denver.  The fish were feeding with abandon on both midges and baetis, which is such a great sight to see after the long winter.  The fishing is only going to get better until run off hits.  After missing out on this early spring season/pre-run off time last year, I am looking forward to fishing baetis nymphs until the rivers swell with snow melt, and we switch to fishing junk until the waters clear.  Great time to get out and do some fly fishing!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Roaring Fork Valley- 3/13/14- 3/14/14

Continuing to start to the 2014 year off with a bang, with a couple days of new adventures over the weekend in the Roaring Fork Valley, fishing the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork Rivers.  One of my goals for 2014 was to continue to fish new waters and have new experiences, and this weekend was no exception.  Enjoyed sharing the adventure with my buddy JP, as we always find a way to keep the trips interesting.

3/13/14- Frying Pan River

Everyone knows about the Frying Pan River below Ruedi Reservoir, as it could quite possibly be the most famous trout stream in the world.  Ever since I started fly fishing, I knew that I had to get up there to try my hand on the large trout that call it home, and it did not disappoint during my first day on the river.  After a late night tying session in Silverthorne, we left early high with anticipation for a memorable day of fly fishing on the Pan.  Surprisingly there were not many other anglers, so we were free to fish all of the well known holes from the Toilet Bowl down to Bridge Hole.  The action was fairly consistent all day long, with fish eating midge and mysis patterns all up and down the river.  While feisty, little Brownies were the norm, we did find a few of the larger Bows that were willing to eat a well presented fly.  Even found some nice fish in Bridge Hole that were willing to rise to small midge dries.

After fishing this water, I was able to see the magnificence of this legendary water, and understand why fly fishermen from all over the world are drawn to fish the Pan.  It would be very difficult to find a more stunning canyon, with red walls and absolutely perfect trout water.  I look forward to coming back to this canyon, year after year to try my hand at these fish, and continuing to learn more about the fish that swim in its depths.

On fishing trips like this,  the actual fishing only amounts to part of the overall experience, and we continued to have a great time in Basalt after we had stored our waders and packed our rods.  We met a new friend in the Riverside Grill, talking about fly fishing and tying for hours as we drank beers and watched the hockey game.  It's awesome that this sport can bring together anglers from different backgrounds and age ranges, sharing fly fishing secrets and tips with total strangers.  Finished the day exchanging knowledge and flies with our new friend.

Late night tying session

Hooked up at the Guaging Station
Bend Hole Rainbow

Fat Frying Pan Rainbow
3/14/14- Roaring Fork River

We decided to keep the adventure going on Saturday, setting up an all day float trip with Taylor Creek Fly Shop on the Roaring Fork River.  Since the first time I cast a fly rod, I've always wanted to do a float trip, and this early season float seemed like the perfect time to give it a try.  The Roaring Fork was where I first landed a trout on a fly, so it seemed fitting that it would be the first time I fished out of a drift boat.  Our guide for the float was Taylor Creek head guide Kyle Holt, and he did an outstanding job on the sticks, rowing us upstream time and time again to hit the most productive holes.  Kyle's extensive knowledge of this river and the fish that call it home guaranteed that we were into fish from beginning to end.

Fishing from a boat was a complete new experience for me, but one that I look forward to doing more in the coming years.  Floating through 7 miles of the best Gold Medal waters that Colorado has to offer was quite the experience, floating through miles of amazing fishing that can only be accessed from a boat. The midge hatch didn't come off as strong as it had been, but the baetis hatch in the afternoon made up for the slow midge activity.  The Roaring Fork is packed full of strong, nasty trout, and landing them from a boat made it all the more exciting.  We caught many of the wild browns that the river is known for, but also had our shot at some of the bigger Rainbows that call this river home.  Best part of the day was the sheer solitude of it all, not seeing another boat or angler until the very last holes in Glenwood near the takeout.

Put In for the float
Hard charging Roaring Fork Rainbow
Canadian Swans

Floating through Glenwood Spring

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dream Stream- 3/9/14

With the temperature in the Jeep reading -17 when we drove through Hartsell, you know the weather reports that you had read the night before were wrong, but the reports of large, spawn run fish out of Elevenmile were enough to keep us determined.  Literally the coldest I have been in my entire life, even all the layers I had bundled on were not enough to keep out the absolutely brutal cold in South Park.  The wait for fish able water was excruciating, with hard time frames when both of us had to be back in Denver for commitments.  Hour after hour went by with nothing but ice floating down the river, and with the sun getting higher, all we could hope for was a little fishing before we had to head out.

Finally the ice dissipated, and we were able to start working the nice pool that we had camped out at for the last three and half hours.  Within minutes, all of us were into fish.  I landed the first first, which was an absolutely gorgeous Cutthroat, all colored up for the spawn.  It was sad to see a mess of flies stuck in its jaw, but was glad I was able to get them all pulled out, and get the fish back into the river.  We kept watching the clock as it neared closer to quitting time, but were optimistic that we would get what we came for.  My buddy hooked into the hog that we were looking for, and played it perfectly into the net.  An absolutely perfect Spinney Mountain spawn run rainbow with a fat belly and huge hook jaw.  Even though the fish was not mine, I was glad that I was able to be a part of it, and take in the moment and excitement that the Dream Stream brings to anglers every year.  It truly was a day to remember, not only for the monster fish but the bitter cold that we endured to have our chance.

I've fished the fall run on the Dream Stream for big Browns and Kokanee, but this was my first experience on the river in the Spring.  Was stunned to see the amount of anglers on the river despite the bitter cold, but I think everyone that was out could feel the camaraderie between anglers, with everyone after the same thing, a shot at a fish of a lifetime.

Beautful Spinney Buck Rainbow

Nearly 30 cars in the lot