Time: 10:00AM – 5:00PM
Location: Chafee/Fremont County Line
I checked the Royal Gorge Anglers web site, and the report looked promising. Flows were decent, and owner Bill said fishing was good in the morning and late afternoon. Fishing riffles deep with rubber leg stones was producing in the mid-day. Armed with this optimistic information I drove to the Arkansas River hoping to hit the elusive red quill hatch that I had not encountered in four or five years. I decided to drive to the special regulation water between Salida and Wellsville, because that is where I hit red quill hatches in the past. The location of our new house necessitated a three hour drive to that stretch of the Arkansas.
I arrived at the destination area by 10AM, and I rigged up and hiked down route 50, and then I climbed down the bank and crossed half way to the top of the island. I walked down the south side of the island, and then I crossed to the north bank and went down below the island a bit where a nice long riffle and run exists. I tied on a size 12 gray parahopper and trailed a beadhead pheasant tail. I worked the entire run, but I had no action, so I began working up the smaller north channel, where I frequently experienced success in the past. In this stretch I had a refusal and nicked a brown. As I cast to the channel, I landed four trout, and some were quite nice. Most of the landed fish grabbed the trailing beadhead pheasant tail. When I got to the top of the channel, I covered the shallow tailout of the main river, where it spills into the smaller north braid. Here I landed another brown in some very thin water not more than two feet deep.
I crossed back over and went back to the car and ate lunch. I took my lunch down to a rock ledge, and while eating I began to notice several fish rising in the wide smooth tail out of the pool in front of me. I went back to the car to return my lunch bag, and then I returned to the river and waded in. I noticed some small BWO’s emerging, so I tied on a CDC olive. I generated a look from the fish I observed during lunch, but I could not connect. I spotted three or four fish rising upstream and across from my position, so I targeted them. I hooked one, but when it ran across the current, I applied too much pressure and broke off the CDC olive. I tied on another and hooked and landed one of the fish, but the others were being very selective. I moved up along the shore to see if there were fish rising in the deeper run. I spotted several rising in the riffles, and I cast and landed two trout in short order. Unfortunately the rises ended as suddenly as they began, so I reeled up and walked back down the highway to the island. I continued below the small island and started at the same point where I began in the morning.
I decided to work deep with a beadhead prince and WD40 to imitate the BWO nymph. I drifted my flies through the beautiful run, but no action was forthcoming. Then I thought I would work up the north channel of the island again, but this time I would test the CDC BWO. Most of the fish I landed in the morning were in the top part of the channel. Sure enough, I landed two very nice browns on the CDC BWO and had a couple other momentary hook ups. Once I fished to the top, I followed the north shoreline up to the next section of pocket water. I did not see anymore BWO rises or mayflies, so I reverted to the gray parahopper and beadhead pheasant tail. I had the pheasant tail dangling only a foot or so below the hopper. In the next section of pockets I landed two beautiful browns; one on the BHPT and one on the parahopper.
I continued progressing upstream, but the action slowed significantly, and in fact it disappeared. I went back to nymphing, and I tried a caddis pupa, and then switched back to attractor dries such as the lime green trude and some caddis dries. I had one trout rise and look at the green trude, but no more hook ups. At around 5PM, I realized I was not having any luck, and I called it a day.
Fish Landed: 13