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