Time: 3:00PM – 5:00PM
Location: O’Fallon Park Upstream
Fish Landed: 12
Jane suggested we get away from Stapleton and thinking about houses (buying a house and selling our house) on a beautiful Sunday in late June. I tried to think of a spot not too far away yet close to the mountains. I remembered O’Fallon Park on Bear Creek where I’d fished without success in early April. Originally I thought we’d just drive there and read and snack, but then I checked the flows on my iPad and noticed the flows were only 62, so I threw my fishing gear in the minivan, and we took off.
All the open space areas along Bear Creek were quite crowded on this warm afternoon on the weekend before the Fourth of July. We got to O’Fallon Park and entered the dirt road, then turned right and crossed the bridge and proceeded as far as it is possible to drive where we parked. I took out Jane’s folding chair and we hiked up the path that followed the stream upstream. There were a bunch of tubers in the stream directly across from where the car was parked, but they seemed to be confined to a small stretch. We encountered a large family picnicking along the trail after a short walk. We returned to the car, and I prepared to fish. Jane walked up the path with me to a nice shady area where she opened her chair to pause and read.
I continued further upstream beyond the picnic tables and then entered the stream. I tied on a size 12 yellow Letort hopper and trailed a beadhead hares ear nymph. I worked some nice areas to no avail. The stream was crystal clear, but the flows were up, thus limiting to some extent the areas where fish could hold. But it was definitely in good fishing shape. After a bit I came to a nice area below a small island where the stream curved and went tight against a restaurant. The sky by now had clouded over and a man was standing outside the restaurant taking a smoke break. He told me the best fishing was near the island.
The water next to the restaurant below the point of the island was very attractive…maybe 3-4 feet deep run and riffles. I spotted a couple rises and then some flashes to my hopper, but they didn’t take. There was a bunch of small caddis buzzing about along the trail and over the water, so I clipped off the hopper/dropper and tied on a dark olive body deer hair caddis. This got no looks whatsoever. The fish looked at my yellow hopper and wouldn’t take, but didn’t even show interest in the caddis. Perhaps a small yellow sally was the ticket. I tied this on and worked the attractive riffles while diners in the restaurant watched the action from the restaurant windows. One man opened the window to snap a photo of me fishing. I moved up a bit closer to the point of the island and cast so the yellow sally drifted in the seam where the currents merged and wham, a decent rainbow smashed the stonefly. The customer got his photo and a couple of kids in another window watched intently as I played and landed the 10 inch rainbow.
Next I worked up the channel on the left side of the island and encountered a nice bend run with some soft water on the island side. I cast my yellow sally in the seam and landed four small browns in this area. I looked back and the two kids that watched me through the window had somehow crossed the small channel on the other side of the island and were now watching me catch and release fish from the island. While I was watching, an adult emerged and called them back over to the bank above the restaurant.
Dark clouds continued to pass overhead with the occasional sound of thunder, but it never looked like it would rain significantly, so I pressed on. I picked up a few more small browns, until I came to a beautiful long run/riffle stretch of maybe 20 yards in length just below a bridge in the town of Kittredge. I spotted quite a few splashy rises in this water, but the fish were showing no interest in my yellow sally. I decided to clip it off and tie on a deer hair caddis. The caddis worked better than the yellow sally and I picked up a couple browns at the tail of the riffle area. As I was fishing a caddis landed on my hand and I picked it up and looked at the underside. It was mostly gray/olive, but had a light yellow abdomen. I had some caddis pupa like this, but no dries. I decided to try the deer hair caddis with the light gray poly body that I made for the Colorado River, and this turned out to be a good choice. I worked up the sweet 20 yard stretch and picked off another four browns that sucked in the light gray caddis.
At around 5PM the rising activity slowed measurably, so I reeled up my line and returned to the parking lot where Jane was waiting in the car as it was cloudy and had chilled a bit.