Time: 11:00AM – 3:00PM
Location: Upstream from MM 263.0 to construction area and then downstream from MM 264.0 and back to the car.
Could I continue my hot streak of catching trout on Clear Creek with Jake’s gulp beetle? I decided to find out on Friday October 21. After two days of colder day time highs, the weather was shifting with highs in the seventies predicted for Denver.
I set out for Clear Creek Canyon at 10AM, and I arrived at a parking space just below the Peak to Plains Trail construction area by 10:45. Once again I assembled my Loomis two piece five weight and proceeded to walk along busy US 6, until I was just above a large rock formation and the mile marker 263.0 pullout. I angled down a worn path and tied a size 12 Jake’s gulp beetle to my line. Several deep pockets existed next to my starting position, so I began to probe their depths with my beetle. I tucked myself next to the large boulder, so that I was hidden from any cautious fish. Reassuringly on the fifth cast, as the beetle slowly floated within an inch of the rock face, a twelve inch brown darted up and chomped the foam impostor. What a start!
Although the air temperature reached the low seventies in the canyon in the afternoon, it was in the fifties when I began, and I remained in the shade of the south wall of the canyon nearly the entire time. I wore my long sleeved Under Armour shirt, my fishing shirt and a raincoat, and I was comfortable; although the evaporation effect forced me to remove my sungloves, and my feet morphed into frozen fence posts by the early afternoon. Nevertheless I pursued the trout of Clear Creek with intensity using my beetle.
I applied the knowledge I gained in recent outings, and when I encountered attractive locations on the south side of the creek, I executed casts directly across and deployed a downstream drift with frequent short mends. By noon when I enjoyed a lunch break, I was pleased to record three netted fish including the best fish of the day, the initial twelve incher.
After lunch I continued upstream, and I managed to notch three more trout on my fish counter, but the action was quite a bit slower than my previous visit on Tuesday. Given the lower catch rate, I decided to experiment, and I deviated from the peacock gulp beetle for the first time in quite awhile. I was curious if the body color of the beetle mattered, so I knotted a size 10 beetle with a red body to my line and began to serve this bright morsel to the Clear Creek study group. Early on a rainbow slurped the beetle in a deep swirling junction of two currents, but then the red foam terrestrial began to elicit refusals. In addition for some reason the large red beetle repeatedly landed on its back, so I decided to make another change.
It was at this time that I reached the downstream border of the pathway construction zone, so I exited the canyon, walked back to the car, and drove east toward Golden until I was below mile marker 264.0. Once again I ambled along the highway, and then I dropped down a steep bank, until I was once again positioned along the stream. The canyon was narrower in this area than where I began, so I fished exclusively in the shade in the afternoon.
As I mentioned, I was disappointed with the red beetle and with the fish attracting appeal of Jake’s gulp beetle on Tuesday. I pondered my next move, and I decided to try a dry/dropper. I pulled a trusted fat Albert with a light yellow body from my box, and then I added an ultra zug bug on a three foot dropper. The ultra zug bug was a strong producer during autumn in previous years.
Between 1:30 and 3:00 I landed three more brown trout to bring my cumulative tally to nine. All the trout netted at the mile marker 264 location grabbed the trailing ultra zug bug, as it began to drag away from rock structure in runs and pockets. I also experienced a momentary hook up on the fat Albert as well as a refusal or two. Also in the last thirty minutes I upped my pace and moved quickly between juicy spots in an effort to hit double digits, and during this time I endured two long distance releases. Clearly the catch rate improved while I deployed the dry/dropper configuration, so I am forced to report that the Jake’s gulp beetle hot streak reached an end.
At 2:45 I climbed out of the canyon and returned to the car, and then I drove to Mayhem Gulch, where I met Jane. We completed a thirty-five minute round trip bike ride on the newly completed section of the Peak to Plains Trail, and then we adjourned to the Cannonball Brew Pub in Golden for some liquid refreshments. Friday was a fun day, but the frenzied attacks on Jake’s gulp beetle are likely a thing of the past. Nevertheless, I am not ready to put my fishing gear into storage for 2016.
Fish Landed: 9