Go To Sparkle Pupa – 01/11/2017

Go To Sparkle Pupa 01/11/2017 Photo Album

The go to sparkle pupa is a hybrid fly that I contrived during the early 2016 season. The story begins with a bright green caddis pupa that is designed to imitate the pupa stage of the grannom hatch. My 01/10/2012 post on this blog outlines my early association with the bright green emergent caddis pupa. Additional background is available on the 12/16/2014 and 12/01/2015 posts. In more recent history I attended the Fly Fishing Show in Denver and observed Rick Takahashi, as he tied a go2 caddis, and while the steps were fresh in my mind, I produced ten for the next season.

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Nice Example

I fished both these flies on a regular basis particularly in the early spring, when the caddis hatch in abundant quantities on the Arkansas River as well as other streams in Colorado. Up until the last year or two I preferred the bright green caddis pupa over the go2 caddis, and I enjoyed decent success. During 2015 and 2016, however, for some reason I fished the go2 caddis more frequently, and I was impressed with its performance. Unfortunately during a trip to the Arkansas River in April  I used my last go2 caddis, so I was forced to visit my tying bench during the season.

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Macros View

I believe the salient triggering characteristic of the go2 caddis is the shiny bright chartreuse diamond braid body, and a light bulb flashed in my brain as I began to construct new flies. Why not borrow the bright green diamond braid from the go2 caddis and incorporate it into the bright green caddis pupa? I immediately implemented this idea and produced five bright green caddis pupa that featured the diamond braid body as a substitute for the craft yarn, that I previously employed. On a trip to the Arkansas River on 5/4/2016 the fish responded with a convincing vote in favor of my hybrid version, and I made a mental note to tie more for 2017.

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20 Go To Sparkles

Over the past two weeks I tied twenty new hybrids, and I named them the go to sparkle pupa. I love the flash of the chartreuse bodies on these flies, and I am certain that they will add a new dimension to my early season caddis pupa fishing on Colorado streams.

Ultra Zug Bug – 01/03/2017

Ultra Zug Bug 01/03/2017 Photo Album

My relationship with the ultra zug bug began on January 31, 2012. I was searching for some new patterns to tie, and I stumbled on to the ultra zug bug in a Scott Sanchez fly tying book. Initially I viewed it as a faster simpler pattern to replace the prince nymph; however, in recent years I discovered that it is a productive fly throughout the season. You can browse my success stories in my posts of 12/07/2014 and 11/04/2015. Detailed tying steps are documented on the 11/04/2015 entry, and a material list is included in the January 31, 2012 post.

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Head On

I have little to add in early 2017 other than to affirm that the ultra zug bug continues to be a top producer among my arsenal. The peacock nymph seems to be particularly effective during the early season prior to run off, and then it gains popularity again in the fall. Do not assume that it will not catch fish during the summer months, however, because it will. I suspect I relegate it to the second team during this time period, as I opt more frequently for the hares ear nymph and salvation nymph.

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Cluster of 18

Perhaps I will utilize the ultra zug bug more frequently in 2017, since it is quite easy to tie. I counted my remaining zug bugs and determined that I possessed 32, so I visited my tying bench and cranked out an additional 18. 50 ultra zug bugs seems like a solid starting point for the new season, and I am now prepared to tempt trout with this sparkling nymph imitation.

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Focused on the Pile

Soft Hackle Emerger – 12/31/2016

Soft Hackle Emerger 12/31/2016 Photo Album

The origin of my favorable relationship with the Craven soft hackle emerger is best described in my 01/19/2012 post, and a table presents the materials required. More recent posts of 12/29/2014 and 12/10/2015 describe the evolution of the Craven soft hackle emerger to its current state as my prime subsurface option before and during blue winged olive hatches.

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Nice Soft Hackle

The 2016 season did not change much in the realm of baetis or blue winged olive fly choices. I continue to default to the soft hackle emerger more frequently than the RS2. I prefer the additional flash from the white fluoro fiber. On one early season trip to the Arkansas River I stopped at the Royal Gorge Angler, and Taylor Edrington convinced me to buy some other blue winged olive nymphs, because he believes that a thick thorax and wing pad is a triggering characteristic that induces trout to bite. The soft hackle emerger exhibits a thicker thorax, and when I tie the version with a bead, it certainly presents more bulk near the front of the fly.

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26 New Craven Soft Hackle Emergers

I continue to believe that the soft hackle emerger without a bead is effective when adult blue winged olives are visible, since the nymphs and emergers are closer to the surface of the stream, and I desire a shallow drift in these circumstances. For this reason I tied three new versions without a bead and 23 beadhead models. This production brings my inventory of beadhead soft hackle emergers to 40, and my fly box contains 25 with no bead.

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Trout Candy

I anxiously anticipate the arrival of blue winged olives in a few months, and I will be ready with an adequate supply of imitations.

RS2 – 12/24/2016

RS2 12/24/2016 Photo Album

My post of 01/21/2011 chronicles the origin of the RS2 and also supplies a material list. Over the last couple years I migrated away from the RS2 toward the Craven soft hackle emerger, but I continue to carry an adequate quantity of RS2’s in my streamer wallet, as I visit western rivers and streams.

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Two New RS2's

I prefer to fish the RS2 deep using a strike indicator and split shot hours before an expected blue winged olive emergence, and I impart movement to the fly by jigging it or executing poor downstream mends. These actions create momentary acceleration of the fly, and this seems to induce a feeding reaction from trout. If I sense that the fish are tuned into emergers close to the surface, I generally switch to a Craven soft hackle emerger, and sometimes I also shift to a dry/dropper presentation, since I no longer need to probe the depths of the river.

I also believe that the RS2 is a serviceable imitation of small midge larva, and for that reason it is a good choice when mayflies and caddis are not prevalent. Any fly that covers numerous food sources is a productive offering in my opinion.

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Total Output and Ingredients

When I surveyed my fly boxes, I counted 23 RS2’s. I established a goal of 50 to enter the 2017 season, so I settled into my stool at my fly tying bench and cranked out 27 new flies. Hopefully I will encounter some strong baetis hatches, and my RS2’s will continue to attract trout to my line.

2016 Top Ten

Every year I produce a top ten list of my fishing trips during the previous year. The exercise prompts me to read all of my blog posts, and I thoroughly enjoy reliving my adventures. The task of reading my posts for the past year was more time consuming than normal, since I made 102 trips to rivers and streams in the last twelve months. This surely represented a new high water mark in my fly fishing career, and it is a testament to a full year of retirement, although I was also motivated to prove that my January surgery was not a hindrance to my pursuit of trout on a fly.

What a year it was! The fish counter reveals that I landed 1,275 trout during the past year, and this was also a new record. I set a goal to fish more frequently on freestone rivers during the period when flows recede but remain high, and I succeeded in this mission with fantastic days on the Yampa, Eagle and Arkansas Rivers. I hoped to spend more time on lakes during the run off season, and I did make a trip to Urad Lake, but I admittedly fell short in the lake fishing department. Chasing the green drake hatch was another 2016 goal, and I made a concerted effort to meet this popular mayfly, but I can only report three trips where the green drake was a significant factor.

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Thrilled to Hold This Creature

Other than a trip to Pennsylvania in June, all of my fishing took place in Colorado, and I discovered that my home state has much to offer. I enjoyed my share of large fish, but the salient characteristic of 2016 was days highlighted by large quantities of fish. I narrowed the 102 outings down to fourteen standout days. The four that did not make the cut were outstanding days as well, but I had to stop somewhere.

Here then is my list of top ten fishing trips of 2016:

10. 08/04 South Boulder Creek – I enjoyed one of my best days ever on South Boulder Creek from a fish count perspective, and the day was punctuated by a one hour period in the afternoon when I landed eight trout on a green drake dry fly.

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Attractive Water Ahead

9. 05/13 South Platte River – This day was a huge fish count boost, but more important was discovering that a section of the river that is highly pressured contained an abundance of fish.

8. 11/04/2016 South Boulder Creek – Twenty-six fish landed in November is a significant accomplishment, but even more impressive is the fact that twenty-five ate a dry fly.

7. 07/27 Upper Frying Pan River – I had a great day with my new angling friend John. The upper Frying Pan River was devoid of competing fishermen, and I discovered a hot combination of flies that fooled a ton of small fish. It was a blast.

6. 08/02 Piney River – Lots of splendid fish in a remote backcountry setting. What more could one ask for? I landed numerous cutbows and cutthroats, and these trout were absolute jewels.

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Perfect!

5. 05/20 South Platte River – Another great day on the South Platte River, and most of the landed fish were in the 13 – 16 inch range, and they did not enter my net without a stiff battle.

4. 06/23 Yampa River – A twenty fish day and a dense pale morning dun hatch that lasted for hours highlighted this early season edge fishing expedition. Wading was a challenge at 1200 cfs, but the trout were bunched along the bank in slack water locations, and they responded to my flies.

3. 09/13 North Fork of the White River – How could this only rank third? Hot fishing in the Flattops that featured the most colorful cutbows, cutthroats, and brook trout one could imagine.

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Best Brook Trout on Tuesday

2. 05/12 South Platte River – During a time when I usually refocus on stillwater, I experienced a huge day on the South Platte River. The hares ear nymph regained its status as the top producing fly in my box, and I landed a ridiculous quantity of fish, and many were of decent size.

1. 06/28 Yampa River – Another edge fishing adventure on the Yampa River resulted in sixteen trout landed. Nearly all were fat brown trout staked out in prime slack water locations along the bank. The two that got away would have made this day a runaway winner.

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Quite a Fish

 

 

Fat Albert – 12/18/2016

Fat Albert 12/18/2016 Photo Album

No, this post does not refer to the character described by Bill Cosby. The fat Albert is a large foam fly that captured my attention during the 2016 fishing season. You can read the story of my introduction to the fat Albert in my 3/27/2016 post, but in summary I tied some during March, and they became a significant contributor to my spring, summer and fall success.

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Ready for the Water

Early in the season I experimented with the fat Albert as the top fly on a three fly dry/dropper arrangement. The large three layer imitation appealed to me as an indicator fly due to its buoyancy. The yellow version was extremely visible, and it easily supported two size 14 beadhead nymphs. Initially during trips to the St. Vrain, Big Thompson and Arkansas Rivers it served entirely as an indicator, but my hunch was correct, and it fulfilled that function quite well.

As the weather warmed, and trout looked to the surface, it suddenly became a main attraction on several occasions. During an April 20 trip to Boulder Creek I was astonished when five brown trout smashed the fat Albert in the late afternoon. Grasshoppers were in their infancy, and golden stoneflies were not evident, but the trout did not seem to care.

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I transported a few with yellow underbodies to Pennsylvania in early June, and during an evening session on Penns Creek, a wild and chunky brown trout crushed the fat Albert in some riffles above a pool. My friend, Jeff, was certain that the aggressive brown viewed the fat Albert as a tasty golden stonefly. Unfortunately I lost the fly in my attempt to land the angry battling fish, and I did not have more yellow versions along on the trip.

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The fat Albert served mainly as an indicator fly on several successful visits to the South Platte River in May and June, but then as the season progressed, I opted for a pool toy or Charlie boy hopper ahead of the fat Albert. Eventually I gave the fat Albert another audition, and it did not disappoint. During many outings in September through November the fat Albert led the charge, while I drifted a hares ear and salvation nymph below. The nymphs were clearly the main producers, but occasionally the big yellow foam attractor duped fish as well, and the average size of the surface feeders surpassed the nymph munchers.

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16 Completed and Ready for 2017

Clearly the fat Albert found an admirer in this fly fisherman, and for this reason, I produced sixteen new facsimiles with yellow bodies. I counted four carryovers in my boxes, so the addition of sixteen placed my inventory at twenty. I am not ready to give up on the pool toy and Charlie boy, but the fat Albert clearly caught my attention and earned a lot of playing time on my leader during 2017.

Hares Ear Nymph – 12/11/2016

Hares Ear Nymph 12/11/2016 Photo Album

The hares ear nymph earned comeback fly of the year honors in 2016. Of course it never fell very far from the top, but I definitely favored the salvation nymph over the hares ear in 2015. I suspect the hares ear never stopped producing, and instead I elected to allow other flies to occupy my line more than usual. At any rate I enjoyed some fabulous days throughout the season with a size 16 beadhead hares ear nymph dangling from my line.

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A Killer Beadhead Hares Ear

If you read back through my hares ear nymph blog posts from 2010 and 2011, you will realize that this workhorse fly was my unquestionable number one up until the summer of 2015. I increased my beginning of the season quota from thirty to one hundred during this period. There were several seasons when I consumed my entire inventory, and this forced me to tie more during the season. When the weather is suitable for fishing, I detest sitting at my tying desk producing flies.

During the summer of 2015, however, I fell in love with the salvation nymph. The new favorite was akin to a new car with lots of flash, and the trout agreed with me. During numerous summer fishing trips, the fish attacked the salvation nymph like sharks attracted by the scent of blood. I nearly depleted my salvation nymph supply during 2015 and increased my beginning inventory to sixty.

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The Edge of the Pile

I began 2016 with a similar mindset, and I preferentially knotted the salvation nymph to my line to the detriment of the hares ear nymph. Fortunately in many instances I fished the hares ear and salvation in a two fly combination, and during these instances I discovered that the trout showed a distinct preference for the hares ear. This was significant, because during most cases I positioned the hares ear as the top fly. Historically the end fly of a two fly system produced more fish, because it displayed more movement compared to the top fly, which is constricted due to line tension above and below.

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From the Top

Trout choosing the hares ear over the salvation during two fly presentations was a strong sign that the old standby was returning to most favored status, but the true clincher was two spectacular days of fishing on the South Platte River in May. I landed nearly 120 fish on May 12 and May 13, and 90% of these catches consumed the beadhead hares ear. These two days restored my confidence in the beadhead hares ear, and it returned to the top of my list. For the remainder of the season a beadhead hares ear was nearly always present on my line, and it rarely disappointed.

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Excellent Clarity

The salvation nymph continued to produce fish, but its prime time was centered on mid-June through August; whereas, the hares ear attracted fish consistently throughout the season, and it was particularly effective in the late fall time period of October and November.

Unwilling to risk depletion of my valuable stock of hares ears, I tied seventy-two, and when added to my carry over supply of twenty-eight enables me to enter the 2017 season with one hundred in inventory. I cannot wait to observe the salvation vs. hares ear face off again in 2017.

 

Salvation Nymph – 11/29/2016

Salvation Nymph 11/29/2016 Photo Album

Perhaps some of my readers are wondering why I have been inactive for two weeks? The short answer is that the weather in Colorado finally shifted to temperatures more typical of late November. I was never a strong proponent of fishing in cold temperatures, and now in my mid-sixties, that is more a certainty rather than a preference. Given this aversion to cold aching fingers and the loss of feeling in my toes, I shifted my attention to fly tying.

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Salvation Nymph

For the last two weeks I visited my comfortable fly tying bench on a daily basis, and I produced eighty-five size 16 salvation nymphs. With the addition of twenty carry overs from 2016, I now possess one hundred of these shimmering nymphs, and I can restock my fly bins with the knowledge that I likely have enough to get me through the 2017 season.

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From the Top

If you review the archives of my blog posts on the salvation nymph, you can read about my history with this favorite. In short it has gone from a recommended purchase at Conejos River Anglers to a mainstay in my fly box, and this explains the significant increase in inventory from sixty to one hundred. For some reason I tend to lose more salvation nymphs than any other fly, and many of these fly separations occur with trees, rocks, and branches and not fish. My only explanation is that I tend to fish it as the last fly on a dry/dropper or nymph configuration, so it tends to encounter foreign objects in advance of the flies positioned higher on my leader.

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Belly

When I composed my salvation nymph blog post last fall, I was crowning it as the champion producer, as it seemed to dethrone the long time number one beadhead hares ear nymph. However, during the spring, summer and fall of 2016, the hares ear staged a frenzied comeback, and I now suspect that it regained the top position on my fly ranking. During a few outings in May I experienced unbelievable success using solely the hares ear, and the strong appetite of Colorado trout for the hares ear extended through the summer and fall seasons.

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Quite a Jumble

The salvation nymph seems to excel during the June through August time frame, and these months coincide with the pale morning dun hatch in most Colorado rivers and streams. I suspect that the hares ear imitates a myriad of subsurface food items including caddis emergers, stonefly nymphs, and various mayfly nymphs; and this may explain its ability to produce success throughout the many seasons. The salvation does exhibit more iridescence, and therefore, it can attract fish during the periods when pale morning duns are not prevalent, but overall I am inclined to knot a hares ear on my line more frequently.

Of course it is not unusual for me to fish both in a deadly combination, and many times when I offered them both, I was surprised to discover the top fly, the hares ear in the lip of my netted fish. Generally I believe that the last fly catches more fish because it demonstrates more movement, so attracting fish from the upper position is quite a statement of effectiveness.

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85 Salvation Nymphs and Ingredients

The pile of sparkling salvation nymphs represents many hours of focused tying, and I am pleased to have this effort behind me. I will now shift my attention to beadhead hares ears, and I plan to produce another batch of one hundred. There may be another significant gap between posts on my blog.

South Boulder Creek – 11/15/2016

Time: 11:00AM – 2:30PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir.

South Boulder Creek 11/15/2016 Photo Album

If today Tuesday November 15 was my last outing of 2016, it was a good memory. Flows continued steady from Gross Reservoir at 58.5 CFS, and the weather forecast predicted high temperatures in Denver in the mid-seventies. Upon returning from Clear Creek on Monday evening I refueled and left most of my fishing essentials in the Santa Fe. My right hand and right hip continued to remind me of some residual soreness from my fall the previous week on South Boulder Creek, but I could not forego fishing on a glorious autumn day in November.

I arrived at the upper parking lot below Gross Reservoir by 10AM and only one other car was present. As I pulled on my waders and rigged my Loomis five weight, I grew suspicious that the flows had changed dramatically. I neglected to check them prior to departing. How else could one explain the lack of vehicles on such a spectacular day in Colorado? Fortunately my fears were put to rest, after I descended the steep trail to the edge of the creek, and I rejoiced to witness ideal flows similar to my last few visits to South Boulder Creek.

As I hiked along the path toward the pedestrian bridge on the Walker Loop, I greeted the occupant of the other vehicle, as he was in the long popular pool, and he also applauded the weather and the stream conditions. I continued downstream beyond the bridge a good ways, and eventually cut down to the creek in an area, where the morning sun beamed on the entire width of water. I used my rubber soles for the hike in order to avoid wear on the felt, so I paused to swap the Korker soles. I was not going to make the mistake of wading in South Boulder Creek on the slippery rubber again. I decided to test a Jake’s gulp beetle to determine if my preferred approach would attract the interest of the resident trout.

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The Shelf Pool Along the Bank Was the Home of the First Fish

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First Fish on Tuesday November 15

By 11AM I was finally in the water, and I began my upstream migration by dropping some short casts to some marginal pockets along the right bank. Apparently the trout did not view the spots as undesirable, and I landed three brown trout within the first fifteen minutes. This pace did not continue, but when I paused to eat lunch in the sunshine ten feet above the creek at noon, the fish count rested at six. I was quite pleased with my level of success in the first hour.

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The Pool That Delivered the Prize Rainbow

Among the six was a thirteen inch rainbow trout that represented my best fish of the day. I approached a small pool and dropped the beetle into the tiny riffle where water spilled over some rocks at the top of the eight by ten foot smooth area. As the oversized foam beetle bobbed through the deep center section, a fish appeared and moved a foot to view my offering. Unfortunately the beetle did not meet the specifications of the fussy trout, but I persisted with several additional casts with no success. The trout gave away its position when it moved, and I could now see it hovering at the tongue of the faster current and just in front of the deep center trough. I decided to deviate from my normal rule of not lingering on one fish, and I clipped off the beetle and replaced it with a size 18 cinnamon comparadun. Perhaps the South Boulder Creek trout remembered the tasty pale morning duns of August and September.

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My Prize Catch on Tuesday

The small comparadun drifted through the center section on the second cast, and in a flash the sighted fish darted to the surface and sucked in my fly! What a thrill to catch a sizable rainbow on a mayfly imitation on November 15 and after pausing to change flies! I persisted with the comparadun for a few more decent pockets, but the fish did not respond, and it was difficult to follow in the dappled sunlight and swirling currents, so I reverted to Jake’s gulp beetle.

After lunch I continued plopping the beetle mainly along the right bank, and I increased the fish tally to ten, although the gaps between landed fish grew in length. For some reason casts to attractive slow areas along the south side of the creek did not produce, nor did the across and downstream drift that appealed to the trout of Clear Creek. Two or three long distance releases were also in the early afternoon mix, and I was quite disappointed to lose one particularly nice trout that smacked the beetle tight to an exposed rock wall. I could see it flash to the surface, and its size may have topped the morning rainbow.

By 1:30 I reached a fast pocket water area with huge boulders strewn about the narrow stream bed. I prospected some nice deep pools on the lower end of this stretch, but then I scaled some large boulders and accessed the path to circle around. The beetle ceased producing, so I resorted to the dry/dropper method, and I knotted the standard lineup to my line of a fat Albert, a beadhead hares ear, and a salvation nymph. The change did not immediately reverse my fortunes, but after a bit, I landed a tiny rainbow trout that snatched the hares ear. I did not count the sub six inch baby, but I was pleased that it recognized one of my nymphs as food.

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Another South Boulder Creek Brown Trout

Once again I was forced to climb back to the path to circumnavigate some huge boulders blocking my path. A short distance farther upstream the path angled back to the creek, and before I waded along the edge of a high rock wall, I dropped the nymphs in a short deep hole. The downstream border of the pocket contained a long angled log, and as I lifted the dangling nymphs to make another cast, a nine inch brown trout locked on the hares ear. This trout proved to be the last fish of the day and potentially the last fish of 2016.

I continued along the path and paused at several juicy locations that delivered fish on prior trips, but they were not productive on November 15. One of these spots was the spectacular pool that produced a pair of brown trout on the cinnamon comparadun on November 4. I paused in an attempt to repeat the past, but I was unsuccessful. I did spot several rises, and I once again replaced the dry/dropper with a size 18 cinnamon comparadun, but the pool residents were not interested in my mayfly imitation in the middle of November. I also flicked a size 18 black parachute ant over the rise locations, but the small terrestrial was not on their menu.

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Ground Cover Holly

I vacated the attractive pool and sauntered up the path and stopped at a couple more historical hot spots, but by 2:30 I was bored with the lack of action. My confidence was low and very little water remained that was not shrouded in shade, so I placed my legs in the express gear and returned to the car.

When I arrive to fish, I routinely throw my wallet and iPhone in the glove box and lock it. At the end of the day one of the last things I do before turning the key in the ignition is to unlock the glove box and remove the phone and wallet. On Tuesday, however, when I opened the safe chamber, the phone was visible, but my wallet was no where to be found. I searched the manuals to make sure the bill fold did not get trapped between pages, but that was not the case. Next I dumped all the contents of my tote bag on the front seat in case I never placed it in the glove box. I was fairly certain that I stowed two items, but my mind began to suggest that perhaps I was remembering the many previous similar actions.

Finally I gave up my search and concluded that I never packed my wallet after using it to pay for gasoline on Monday evening. Surely it would appear in one of the usual spots upon my return home. I called Jane when I reached cell range, and she made a cursory check of some likely spots with no success. I was growing increasingly concerned, but I was positive the wallet was either in the car or house.

When I pulled into the garage, I unloaded my lunch bag, water bottle, snacks and tote bag first. Jane assisted and inspected the tote bag, while I grabbed my headlamp and returned to the glove box. I opened the compartment and carefully inspected all the contents, but my wallet was not attached to anything. I shined the light on the floor, under the passenger seat, and along the edges of the seat. Nothing. I grabbed my fleece from the rear and checked the pockets in case I deviated from my normal routine and placed it in one of the fleece pockets. This was not the answer. Finally for some reason I returned to the glove box and opened it. I noticed that the compartment pivoted forward and created a four inch gap between the back edge of the plastic top border and the bottom of the dashboard opening. I reached my small hands into the gap, and I was pleasantly surprised to feel the soft leather surface of my wallet. I carefully pinched it and slowly extracted it from the glove box hinterland. I must have shoved it into the gap in my haste to go fishing.

Whew! This was a happy ending to a fine day of late autumn fishing on South Boulder Creek. Will this be the last day of the year? Who knows, but a cold front is predicted to move through Colorado on Thursday leaving high temperatures in the forties for Friday. I may finally be confined to the fly tying bench after all.

Fish Landed: 11

Clear Creek – 11/14/2016

Time: 11:00AM – 2:30PM

Location: Tunnel 3 to MM 264.5 area

Clear Creek 11/14/2016 Photo Album

Surprise. I fished again today on November 14. I felt sufficiently recovered from my bruised hip and hand to venture on to Clear Creek for 3.5 hours. The high temperature in Denver was upper sixties, and this translated to around sixty degrees in the canyon, but it felt more like fifty degrees due to the relentless wind that blasted through the narrow space between tight rock walls.

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A Small Tributary to Clear Creek Near Tunnel 3

I arrived at the pullout beyond Tunnel 3 at 10:30 and after assembling my Loomis five weight and pulling on my waders, I was ready to fish by 11:00AM. Since the air temperature on my dashboard registered sixty degrees, I was surprised to discover that I needed four layers, and even with that apparent excess of clothing, I felt chilled at times. I descended from US 6 where a small side tributary entered from the north, and I immediately tied a Jake’s gulp beetle to my line. I always test this fly first on Clear Creek, because if it works, it is my preferred option.

The first fifteen minutes did not produce any interaction with trout, and I was entertaining thoughts of abandoning the stalwart beetle, when I observed a pair of refusals. This renewed my faith in the beetle, so I persisted, and just before noon I managed to hook and land a small brown trout. I gave the foam beetle a reprieve and continued fishing it, until I broke for lunch just past noon, but it only accounted for one landed fish, two refusals, and a temporary hook up.

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My Third Landed Fish Was This Shimmering Rainbow Trout

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Looks Fishy

After lunch the wind velocity increased, and I decided to switch to a dry/dropper alignment. As usual I opted for the yellow fat Albert, beadhead hares ear, and beadhead ultra zug bug. The trio of heavier flies would assist my attempts to punch casts into the wind, but I also significantly increased my risk of entanglement. For the most part the shift in strategy paid off, and I accumulated seven additional landed fish before I quit at 2:30. I did experience a few tangles, but I exercised extra care when casting by allowing my line to fully extend before executing the forward stroke.

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It Was and Yielded This Nice Brown Trout

Most of the afternoon fish snatched the hares ear, although two grabbed the ultra zug bug. The first two apres lunch eaters were rainbow trout, and I speculated that this indicated that the mature brown trout were busy with their spawning ritual and thus not chowing down. The next five fish landed in the afternoon, however, turned out to be brown trout; so I am not certain that my spawning theory was valid. The pace of action was average, as exhibited by my catch rate, and I covered a lot of stream and scrambled over many rocks in order to achieve my modest fish count. I suspect that the cold overnight temperatures are making the resident trout lethargic, and tight canyon walls block the warming effect of the sun.

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Anxious to Drift the Area Next to the Large Rock

Shortly after lunch I approached a nice deep pocket that was located in the middle of the stream. Normally midstream spots do not deliver on Clear Creek, but I decided to allocate a few casts, as I progressed upstream along the right bank. I dropped the first cast in the middle of the deep 4 X 4 hole, and as the fat Albert drifted toward the tail, a trout rose and pressed its nose against the large foam indicator fly. I paused a bit, but then just before drag set in, I lifted with a tentative hook set. I began to curse the refusal, when I felt a tug and weight on my line. Apparently the lead trout initiated my hook set with a refusal, and my lifting action prompted a ten inch brown trout to latch on to the trailing ultra zug bug. If you fish often, you will surely experience new and different events.

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One of the Ultra Zug Bug Fans

Overall it was a decent day for November 14. By the time I adjourned to the Santa Fe, my fingers were beginning to ache, and my feet felt like frozen stumps. The fishing was relatively slow, but I continued to take advantage of the mild fall weather. A cold front is predicted for Thursday, so my 2016 fishing adventures may be on life support.

Fish Landed: 8

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Keeping an Eye on Me