Time: 3:00PM – 6:00PM
Location: Northwest and west shore of Lake Mary
Fish Landed: 2 bass, 1 bluegill, 2 sunfish, and 2 crappie bass
Jane and I biked to Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge the previous Saturday and hiked around the two lakes. I learned that both lakes were catch and release fishing only with single flies or lures and barbless hooks. The lakes are open for fishing only Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday from 6AM to 6PM and require a $3 daily fishing permit.
On this warm Sunday afternoon I decided to give it a shot with my new six weight rod I’d purchased for Alaska. When I departed there were some dark clouds building to the west, but the storms apparently went a different direction, because I never experienced rain. When Jane and I hiked around the lakes, I’d observed several spots where there were a cluster of panfish, and I’d also spotted three bass of decent size, so I elected to return to Lake Mary where I’d observed fish.
The first fly I tied on was a damsel fly nymph with a single split shot. In short order this fly produced a small bass and then the first crappie bass. I was off to a good start, but then I hooked the damsel fly in a tree on a backcast, and it was too high to remove, so I ripped it off. I couldn’t find another damsel nymph in my fleece pouch, so I tied on an olive/black woolly bugger. This didn’t produce, but as I was casting and stripping, I noticed a group of fish moving in a school and sipping something from the surface.
I tied on a Chernobyl ant hoping to entice some surface action. I moved to a large wooden platform on the northwest side of the lake and cast the ant back toward the shore east of the platform. I started getting rises and hits to the Chernobyl, but apparently it was too large to get in their mouths. I managed to land one small sunfish. When the school of fish came by, I cast the Chernobyl in their midst, but apparently they were tuned into something different. I returned my focus to the fish near shore and swapped out the Chernobyl ant for a deer hair caddis dry fly. I landed two more small panfish on the caddis; one was a sunfish and the other a slightly larger bluegill.
Next I decided to go back to subsurface fishing, so I tied on a beadhead emerald caddis pupa with a split shot. I was tempted to try a dry/dropper configuration, but remembered the one fly rule in the regulations. I moved back to the open areas on the west side of the lake and while hand twist retrieving the caddis pupa hooked and landed another small bass and the largest crappie of the day. By 5:50 I’d grown weary of the fishing and hadn’t caught a fish for awhile and quitting time was 6PM, so I retreated to the car.