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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-c89Fdj8Diic/WDEgFCErGsI/AAAAAAABEro/ho7mAdlnHbwnL8pILWOyZTudfYroNONGgCCo/s144-o/IMG_2254.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6354895809270507025?locked=true#6354895820024388290″ caption=”Salvation Nymph” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2254.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-QAHsWQnQE_Q/WDEgFN6rxPI/AAAAAAABEro/rcwnUGDScHM2dmC-kk2b90gQOSHJIGj7ACCo/s144-o/IMG_2255.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6354895809270507025?locked=true#6354895823203714290″ caption=”From the Top” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2255.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jjYL9U8ZWSo/WDEgFXRrouI/AAAAAAABEro/pqfBkn4cKZAhhh-BVLXY9_3EpTOkt1bGQCCo/s144-o/IMG_2257.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6354895809270507025?locked=true#6354895825716093666″ caption=”Belly” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2257.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UdXmbQzAzjk/WD3ksts1CDI/AAAAAAABEro/qXdFD85Vxx0k0klJWBtGyy4mwbXTcfPsgCCo/s144-o/IMG_2275.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6354895809270507025?locked=true#6358489705750005810″ caption=”Quite a Jumble” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2275.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-R9RPRH_pixk/WD3ksLHfynI/AAAAAAABEro/IaOlmMFFIGwNZlcdsafbNHa54MTea-UuACCo/s144-o/IMG_2273.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6354895809270507025?locked=true#6358489696466618994″ caption=”85 Salvation Nymphs and Ingredients” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2273.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3kGDeFrV_Vs/WCvF4lUDIpI/AAAAAAABEaE/t1mMr-KKvOEkBQVgsqg8_1LFauyjGbMbwCCo/s144-o/PB150027.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6353389259996704241?locked=true#6353389275215766162″ caption=”The Shelf Pool Along the Bank Was the Home of the First Fish” type=”image” alt=”PB150027.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-p3zdEDPCCVI/WCvF4F41B5I/AAAAAAABEaE/sqcSXmDOEtgir2813ghVH4Kes5lTzt-RwCCo/s144-o/PB150026.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6353389259996704241?locked=true#6353389266780096402″ caption=”First Fish on Tuesday November 15″ type=”image” alt=”PB150026.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0U8eNZidxpg/WCvF5tYCO7I/AAAAAAABEaE/5SF3WWW16UEia5vmrdgx1h_uHNaETKa3ACCo/s144-o/PB150031.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6353389259996704241?locked=true#6353389294559837106″ caption=”The Pool That Delivered the Prize Rainbow” type=”image” alt=”PB150031.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MCWtCOZdrhA/WCvF5BAyvrI/AAAAAAABEaE/flXm8JgLh7wVXYa3Wlle2aRLdBjiweIxgCCo/s144-o/PB150030.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6353389259996704241?locked=true#6353389282651193010″ caption=”My Prize Catch on Tuesday” type=”image” alt=”PB150030.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4QaSLaXnC50/WCvF6UtpeDI/AAAAAAABEaE/5UA0uz1XNa0M1P0IVTXEfYoQm1WzO2NRgCCo/s144-o/PB150033.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6353389259996704241?locked=true#6353389305119471666″ caption=”Another South Boulder Creek Brown Trout” type=”image” alt=”PB150033.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4-Ym6YLvb7M/WCvF6ONX87I/AAAAAAABEaE/pdnZ9cWyZxUNuVx_Jz18MduWZMq0AcuIwCCo/s144-o/PB150032.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6353389259996704241?locked=true#6353389303373493170″ caption=”Ground Cover Holly” type=”image” alt=”PB150032.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aQxQl8JR56M/WCpYx6c95SI/AAAAAAABEYw/xOkISUZyV0UpK5s7rPSj2X51349YqRV7gCCo/s144-o/PB140011.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6352987817151927553?locked=true#6352987838887093538″ caption=”A Small Tributary to Clear Creek Near Tunnel 3″ type=”image” alt=”PB140011.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-QQBx6rHZwAQ/WCpYyPQwRbI/AAAAAAABEYw/lPrKMsrmXZ4R2-B8B88nxwuxBVIk_jgDgCCo/s144-o/PB140012.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6352987817151927553?locked=true#6352987844473013682″ caption=”My Third Landed Fish Was This Shimmering Rainbow Trout” type=”image” alt=”PB140012.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aeWGjZjsgqY/WCpYyVzp-gI/AAAAAAABEYw/ZBjBTGOKibs_C60lBRR6kR4MFGBlPW4mACCo/s144-o/PB140013.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6352987817151927553?locked=true#6352987846230014466″ caption=”Looks Fishy” type=”image” alt=”PB140013.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-aQavk0xoXRg/WCpYyvzLCzI/AAAAAAABEYw/SF-pubCJPssxKCvmyG0Jfgqe4TOk3TYjQCCo/s144-o/PB140014.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6352987817151927553?locked=true#6352987853207309106″ caption=”It Was and Yielded This Nice Brown Trout” type=”image” alt=”PB140014.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jCaZsLtyL9Q/WCpYzYXWObI/AAAAAAABEYw/3u37UZgmMuA6TDdc19sIyM7ZP6zgbCp5ACCo/s144-o/PB140018.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6352987817151927553?locked=true#6352987864096455090″ caption=”Anxious to Drift the Area Next to the Large Rock” type=”image” alt=”PB140018.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-VIC8GIh__tw/WCpYzJr0RtI/AAAAAAABEYw/2IHQloO5EuMNIBoP5sVe8rddAT2RiSugQCCo/s144-o/PB140017.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6352987817151927553?locked=true#6352987860155778770″ caption=”One of the Ultra Zug Bug Fans” type=”image” alt=”PB140017.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iPHPlx4NQ7Y/WCpYz34HPaI/AAAAAAABEYw/aBuLVpoANvo10Yvd-vgX6X2TokAeRSgFwCCo/s144-o/PB140022.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6352987817151927553?locked=true#6352987872555384226″ caption=”Keeping an Eye on Me” type=”image” alt=”PB140022.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

South Boulder Creek – 11/09/2016

Time: 10:00AM – 2:00PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 11/09/2016 Photo Album

Landing nine fish on November 9 is certainly a noteworthy achievement, although I must admit that I was spoiled by the twenty-six fish day, that I enjoyed on November 4. It was really the accompanying adversity that transformed Wednesday from a decent outing into a negative event.

I arrived at the parking lot at 8:45 and after assembling my Loomis five weight and gathering my fishing paraphernalia, I embarked on my journey down the path. I elected to fish a new section, and I was positioned in the stream with a Jake’s gulp beetle on my line by 10AM. The segment in front of me featured tight canyon walls on both sides, and the entire creek was cloaked in shade for the first hour. In addition the water was characterized by fast chutes and pockets, and the combination of the low lighting and swirling current caused me to abandon the beetle, and I converted to a dry/dropper arrangement. I elected to tie a yellow fat Albert to my line and then added the standard lineup of a beadhead hares ear nymph and an ultra zug bug.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZbY0G5qCHzY/WCPpLk9BqDI/AAAAAAABEUk/-fPK6zIKMCktX-3GFOkDgLjE96sRKqD-wCCo/s144-o/PB090109.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6351176273481970689?locked=true#6351176284630001714″ caption=”Capturing Some Sky” type=”image” alt=”PB090109.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_SHEJji9SOs/WCPpLAORU6I/AAAAAAABEUk/TjrEJnD4UwIBjJ3e5-6fgojj_cXBJscRgCCo/s144-o/PB090106.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6351176273481970689?locked=true#6351176274770219938″ caption=”Decent Brown Took the Ultra Zug Bug” type=”image” alt=”PB090106.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

Between 10:00 and 11:30 I moved at a relatively fast pace through the canyon and landed two small brown trout that snatched the ultra zug bug from positions tight to exposed midstream boulders. My casts in the first forty-five minutes were futile, so I was relieved to finally experience some action during the second half of the morning. By 11:30 I reached a segment where the north side of the creek basked in partial sunshine, and this improved lighting enabled me to revert to a size 12 peacock Jake’s beetle.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YssbPQmTVNg/WCPpLI3UGHI/AAAAAAABEUk/oaJQ5vEGwX4FEDMPHKJCiWbt9gUtay03wCCo/s144-o/PB090107.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6351176273481970689?locked=true#6351176277089851506″ caption=”Best Fish of the Day Slurped the Beetle” type=”image” alt=”PB090107.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

In order to progress upstream I criss-crossed from north to south and back to avoid areas where vertical rock walls made wading a challenge. During one of these crossings, my rubber soled boot slipped on a slanted slimy rock, and I caught my fall by submerging my right arm above my elbow. Of course when I raised my arm to cast, water slowly ran down my sleeve and soaked my shirt and fleece layer. Needless to say I was not a happy wet fisherman at such an early point in my hiking adventure. Stay tuned, however, as the day had another surprise.

Finally by 12:15 I arrived in an area where more of the stream was bathed in full sunlight, so I paused to eat my light lunch. I removed my fleece and spread it out on a rock in direct sunlight, and I also rolled down the bib on my waders to expose my shirt to the sun. These moves were somewhat symbolic, and when I resumed fishing, the fleece remained wet, so I added my raincoat as an additional layer to retain some body heat and counter the cooling effect of evaporation. Fortunately Wednesday was a relatively warm day, but standing in the shade was somewhat uncomfortable.

After lunch I resumed my upstream progression, and the warming effect of the sunshine seemed to energize the stream residents, as I added three more fish to bring my count to five. The best fish of the day was a brown trout that slurped the beetle in a deep slow moving pocket above some large rocks, and it was among the first three fish landed after lunch.

I was beginning to develop a rhythm, although I never generated the fast paced action of November 4. I was standing on the north bank, and I flipped a nice backhand cast to a short pocket above me, and this prompted a solid rise from a nine inch brown. Since I was standing two or three feet above the creek, I decided to step into the water to net my catch. I placed my feet on what appeared to be an innocent slightly angled but light colored submerged rock, and in an instant both my rubber soled wading boots shot out toward the flowing water. Before I realized it, I landed on my right hip and broke my fall with my right hand. A decent amount of water trickled over the top of my waders, before I could right the ship, and then I cringed as the ice cold wetness slowly migrated down both my wader legs. It was a stroke of luck that my Loomis two piece remained just that, a two piece fly rod.

As I stood and absorbed this uncomfortable development, my attention turned to the rest of my body, and I sensed burning from both my hands. The dull ache gradually disappeared from my left hand, but when I inspected my right, I discovered a 3/4″ X 1/2″ scrape in the fleshy area on the outside beneath my palm. I quickly severed some detached skin and rinsed off the blood, but it continued to flood my hand. The scrape was not deep, so I was not worried about immediate medical attention, but I needed to stop the bleeding. I removed my frontpack and backpack and searched the pockets, but alas I apparently removed the bandages that I normally carry. I found a small roll of toilet paper deep in my backpack pocket and peeled off a small bit and dabbed it over the wound. The shaving cut treatment worked long enough to absorb the excess blood, and the bleeding eventually stopped, although the wound was in an awkward location for gripping a fly rod and casting.

Now that I temporarily attended to my first injury, I realized that the ache in my right hand continued, and I noticed that the impact of the fall created a large deep bruise on the fleshy area at the base of my right thumb. I rotated my thumb in all directions, and that functionality remained, so I concluded that my injury was a bruise or sprain. The last manifestation of my fall finally surfaced, as I began to take a step, and I felt an aching tightness in the right buttock area behind my hip. Again I exhibited full range of motion, but not without some annoying pain.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yC7hfa-X_7c/WCPpL8XXfBI/AAAAAAABEUk/lYH7q4pjw-ICwRLaVdA3MOMKvTj_unVtACCo/s144-o/PB090111.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6351176273481970689?locked=true#6351176290914499602″ caption=”More Sunshine on This Photo” type=”image” alt=”PB090111.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

I concluded that I completed a full inventory of my new aches, and I resumed fishing. Over the remainder of my fishing time I landed three additional fish on the beetle, but I would be lying, if I said I was having fun. The bruise below my thumb came into play while casting and more significantly when I leaned on the wading staff when I crossed the stream. I was quite fearful that the reduced strength of my hand would lead to another unfortunate incident, and since I was in new territory I decided to reel up my fly and began the relatively lengthy return hike.

Additional mild weather remains in the five day forecast, but I suspect that I need several days to recuperate from my rough outing on South Boulder Creek on November 9. I already added rubber soles with cleats to my Christmas list. Perhaps this was the last fishing trip of 2016, but I learned to never jump to conclusions during this extended autumn.

Fish Landed: 9

Jake’s Gulp Beetle – 11/08/2016

Jake’s Gulp Beetle 11/08/2016 Photo Album

Similar to October of 2015 I enjoyed superb success using a Jake’s gulp beetle in the Front Range streams near Denver during recent visits. The preferred version is a size 12 beetle with a peacock dubbed body. In 2016 mild autumn weather lingered into the first two weeks of November, and this circumstance allowed me to continue fishing much later than normal. The combination of extended fishing and the effectiveness of Jake’s gulp beetle stressed my supply, so I visited my fly tying bench today and produced six additional foam terrestrials.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-lLCFiE39kJ0/WCKrjjGLD_I/AAAAAAABETs/2zSmxTmd9h8lN4ILMgDysHT_LbCBK55EQCCo/s144-o/IMG_2238.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6350827048642607153?locked=true#6350827051750723570″ caption=”A New Jake’s Gulp Beetle” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2238.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

Fortunately I documented the tying steps in detail in a previous post, and this eliminated the need to reinvent the wheel. When the weather eventually reverts to normal Colorado November conditions, I plan to continue tying Jake’s gulp beetles until I accumulate twenty peacock body size twelves for the 2017 fishing season.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ztVJgmc6KP8/WCKrjjdNMDI/AAAAAAABETs/xrE7LNXXVDcgtTHfS26TJ-JvXQAH4bAIQCCo/s144-o/IMG_2239.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6350827048642607153?locked=true#6350827051847331890″ caption=”Six Ready for Action” type=”image” alt=”IMG_2239.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

 

South Boulder Creek – 11/04/2016

Time: 11:30AM – 3:30PM

Location: Tailwater below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 11/04/2016 Photo Album

The euphoria lingered  as I returned from a day of fishing and even continued as I composed this blog the next morning. Certainly Friday November 4 was my best day of fishing during the month of November. The streak of mild unseasonable weather continued into the first week of November, and I could not resist the temptation to take advantage.

The water managers finally reduced the outflows from Gross Reservoir to ideal levels, and this circumstance along with temperatures in the low sixties prompted me to toss my fishing gear in the Santa Fe. In early November the warmest part of the day is between 11AM and 3PM, so I targeted this time period. Three other vehicles occupied the South Boulder Creek parking lot when I arrived, and two men were present, as they assembled their rods. They departed five minutes before me, and I wondered what section of South Boulder Creek was in their plans.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-COU6az-bS4Y/WB4r0NqrigI/AAAAAAABEN0/hlN11ETbCvYPm9yBmOWjcVpbn8lYhlGxQCCo/s144-o/PB040072.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560700660845058″ caption=”Starting Pool” type=”image” alt=”PB040072.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

 

Once my waders were on, and my Loomis five weight was assembled, I descended the steep path to the stream and crossed to the south bank. I passed two fishermen above the pedestrian bridge on the Walker Loop, and then I passed the two anglers that I greeted in the parking lot. Eventually I passed a third fishermen who was waded into the creek, so I knew I accounted for all the vehicles. I moved beyond the last fisherman a good distance and cut down the bank to a position below a gorgeous large pool. A strong heavy current cut the pool in half, and a nice moderate riffle was above me on the right side of the stream.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Up9cHGBzKuk/WB4rz4znVCI/AAAAAAABENw/u4n-o72o5YQnc2E3Y-fl17jkDyhX751yQCCo/s144-o/PB040071.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560695061173282″ caption=”Beetle Lover” type=”image” alt=”PB040071.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

On my walk in to the creek I devised a strategy. I love plopping a Jake’s gulp beetle, so I planned to test that approach first. If successful, I would adhere to drifting the single foam dry fly, since that is the method I prefer. However, if after fifteen to twenty minutes, the beetle was not attracting interest, I would default to the dry/dropper configuration. The downside to fishing the solitary beetle is visibility. Fall fishing in narrow canyons yields shadows, glare and difficult lighting conditions; and the beetle with a narrow orange foam indicator strip can be difficult to follow. Fortunately the attractive pool where I began was bathed in sunlight.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5G9PiMt_Z5M/WB4r0rjDpEI/AAAAAAABEOA/1suxcfW9U28ttnMV2wiRkTUQ1KBTMysEgCCo/s144-o/PB040075.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560708681933890″ caption=”Another Fine Brown Trout from the Attractive Starting Pool” type=”image” alt=”PB040075.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

I tied a size 12 peacock body beetle to my line and lofted a cast to the lower section of the riffle above me. Thwack! A feisty wild brown trout darted to the surface and smashed it with confidence. What a start! After I photographed and released the first landed fish, I inspected the fly and noticed that the aggressive brown cut the black foam overwing, so it now pointed toward the sky. The legs and thin foam indicator were still intact, so I decided to give it another try. I cast a bit farther toward the top of the pool, and another twelve inch brown crushed the disabled offering. Could this really be happening?

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hr037anDG-o/WB4r0TG7waI/AAAAAAABEN8/AcQFaoCiBQokVk64fj-rTlUasO5lR_sAgCCo/s144-o/PB040074.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560702121525666″ caption=”Gorgeous Colors” type=”image” alt=”PB040074.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

When I once again brought the fly up for a closer look, I noticed that the thread was unraveling, but the crippled beetle worked once, so why not try it again. Once again I made a couple casts upstream, but this time all I observed were a couple tentative refusals. I opened my fly box and found another size 12 peacock beetle and replaced the damaged terrestrial. I turned my attention to the current seam along the deep fast center current, and I placed a cast right on the inside edge above me. The tiny orange speck glided along the seam, and suddenly a mouth chomped down on the imitation. I raised my rod and set the hook, and a short time later I gazed at a brightly colored thirteen inch rainbow trout. Three gorgeous wild fish from the first pool in the first half hour certainly raised my expectations for the day, although I attempted to dampen them.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XMDwgKLfWgg/WB4r1M1Zk7I/AAAAAAABEOM/TTvZaNsqVMoloFw1DUSX6EytqYkqFF0dACCo/s144-o/PB040078.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560717617238962″ caption=”My Lunch View, and Several Nice Fish Were Visible” type=”image” alt=”PB040078.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

I finally experienced some unsuccessful drifts and moved on to the next stretch of South Boulder Creek. Needless to say the catch rate slowed a bit, but not significantly. I built the fish count to twenty-one by two o’clock, and every landed fish displayed Jake’s gulp beetle in its mouth. Unlike Clear Creek casts directly upstream were the most effective. I also discovered that the fish were extremely sensitive to drag, and most of my success occurred when I approached a pocket or run with stealth. This enabled me to drop a short cast and hold my rod high, so only the leader was on the surface, and thus minimized drag. The beetle was not universally accepted, as refusals were also part of the game, but by and large, if I eliminated drag, the fish were willing to slurp. Since South Boulder Creek contains a strong rainbow trout population, I expected the spring spawning species to dominate my landing net, but all the beetle feasting trout except for the third catch were brown trout. I have no explanation.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9uvekvzM4Ug/WB4r1ZlnOfI/AAAAAAABEOU/MHRulDVrkHEi8OMyZBV_owbjVdz_byVFACCo/s144-o/PB040080.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560721040685554″ caption=”Nice Lighting” type=”image” alt=”PB040080.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oWI9Z3iH8xY/WB4r2EEDivI/AAAAAAABEOk/1xqKz3ZWk_g93VBAGl4k1GVXtQ_BKn1xQCCo/s144-o/PB040084.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560732442659570″ caption=”Rainbow from Huge Pool” type=”image” alt=”PB040084.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

At two o’clock my fish count surged beyond my expectations, and I encountered a narrow fast section of the creek that was mainly covered by shadows. I decided to experiment with a dry/dropper rig mainly for improved visibility in the turbulent water and dim light. I tied a yellow fat Albert to my line and then added the standard fall lineup of a beadhead hares ear nymph and an ultra zug bug. In a deep trough below some large rocks the fat Albert paused for a split second, and I executed a quick hook set. Instantly a brightly colored thrashing rainbow trout appeared on my line, but just as quickly it slipped free of the hook. I persisted in the juicy deep slot and on the second subsequent drift, the same scenario played out, but this time I netted a small rainbow trout that snatched the ultra zug bug.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-j42rNIr8ZCs/WB4r21ujj9I/AAAAAAABEOw/4HEBoCfnmi8pyHhjbz_vmZYcALm_9GZOgCCo/s144-o/PB040087.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560745774256082″ caption=”Comparadun in Corner of the Mouth” type=”image” alt=”PB040087.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

I thought perhaps I stumbled on to another winning technique, but I advanced through the remainder of the pocket strewn section with no additional success. I climbed to the bank and circled around a wide riffle area with marginal depth and eventually came to another beautiful pool similar to the one where I began the day. I lobbed the fat Albert to the nice riffle directly above me, but the three flies failed to attract interest, so I shifted my attention to the seam along the rapidly flowing center run. As I watched the foam top fly bob along the current, I spotted two rises in the shelf pool on the south side of the center current.

I paused to observe and wondered what may have generated this sudden display of surface feeding in the pool. Quite a few midges buzzed about, and I was about to try a griffiths gnat, when three pale morning duns slowly fluttered up from the surface of the water. Could these fish be tuned into pale morning duns in early November? I opened my MFC fly box and pulled a size 18 cinnamon comparadun from the foam and attached it to my line. Once I dabbed it with floatant and bent down the barb, I made a couple reach casts across with some quick mends to avoid immediate drag from the strong center flow.

On the third such maneuver a ten inch brown trout drifted to the surface and sipped my comparadun! I fooled a trout on a mayfly that normally appears in the June – August time frame. It gets even better. After I released the first comparadun sipper, I dried the fly and repeated the reach cast and mend higher up in the pool, and another slightly larger brown surfaced and engulfed the fly. This wild brown took the cinnamon dun with confidence, as its momentum carried its head entirely out of the water. For the next fifteen minutes I continued upstream along the right bank and added two more brown trout to my count. The third comparadun eater was a twelve inch brown that crushed the tiny mayfly imitation in a two foot wide narrow deep pocket along some large boulders that lined the bank.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dwjlA44GNPU/WB4r3HlD1BI/AAAAAAABEPA/bXq5-orVPk0xuAbzMJMAxtkow2KgksIBwCCo/s144-o/PB040089.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349560691974475441#6349560750566265874″ caption=”Speckled Brown Trout Also Ate the Cinnamon Comparadun” type=”image” alt=”PB040089.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

Twenty-six fish landed on November 4 is an outstanding day. But even more impressive is the fact that twenty-five were caught on a dry fly. Rarely do I experience this level of surface fishing success during the prime times of July and September. Will the mild weather continue and allow me to make more successful fishing trips during 2016?

Fish Landed: 26

Clear Creek – 11/03/2016

Time: 11:30AM – 3:00PM

Location: Mile Marker 260.5 area

Clear Creek 11/03/2016 Photo Album

Jane and I returned from New Mexico on Tuesday, and I once again directed my attention toward the Denver weather. Could the string of beautiful fall days continue? In short the answer was yes, so I planned a November fishing outing to nearby Clear Creek. It was in the low fifties when I arrived at the pullout just beyond the third pedestrian bridge along the Peaks to Plains Trail, and when I departed at 3:30PM the air temperature registered in the low sixties

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-PVkZdIs3lXo/WB4p6trEKqI/AAAAAAABEPI/fw7GKWD26ugS_ntgN7a4KZVvvGt7U1nJwCCo/s144-o/PB030065.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349558609187993553?locked=true#6349558613308353186″ caption=”Manmade Improvements Where I Began” type=”image” alt=”PB030065.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

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I began my fishing day with a Jake’s gulp beetle with the hope that it would be on fire as was the case in several earlier visits, but all I could muster was infrequent refusals. I switched to a small size 10 Chernobyl ant with a beadhead hares ear, and this yielded two small rainbow trout by 12:30, when I broke for lunch. After lunch I experienced mostly empty casts along with a couple refusals to the Chernobyl, so I reverted to a size 12 Jake’s gulp beetle with a peacock body. Perhaps the warmer air temperatures in the afternoon would make the trout more receptive to juicy terrestrials on the surface.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7gEYm1FGv9c/WB4p6vsabDI/AAAAAAABEPI/RBsGLHJ5YNU_Ydl9g-jyONASDTsK9AvkACCo/s144-o/PB030066.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349558609187993553?locked=true#6349558613850876978″ caption=”This Rainbow Chomped a Caddis” type=”image” alt=”PB030066.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

By 1:30 I added two more small rainbows that consumed the beetle to the fish count, and then I switched to a yellow floss body fat Albert trailing a beadhead hares ear and an ultra zug bug. Amazingly shortly after the conversion a rainbow rose and slurped the fat Albert, and then another rainbow grabbed the hares ear. I was now at six fish; all rainbows on a predominantly brown trout stream. Given the seasonal timing I concluded that the brown trout were busy procreating and not interested in eating. Normally the ratio of brown trout to rainbow trout is roughly five to one if not greater.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-WgTQCralN48/WB4p7t4vj5I/AAAAAAABEPI/9hgp80f5NEQeffyyr3Fv0a2pi81RljqIwCCo/s144-o/PB030070.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349558609187993553?locked=true#6349558630545592210″ caption=”The Kind of Water That Produced” type=”image” alt=”PB030070.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

As the fish counter reached six, the shadows covered most of the stream, and I began fishing the dry/dropper across and down in order to cover the slack water areas along the far bank. This approach proved to be a winner, and I landed seven more fish between 2:00 and 3:00, when I quit with icy hands and cold feet. The late run on netted fish included four brown trout, and these fish were mostly larger than any of the rainbows. The browns seemed to come from very shallow slow areas close to the bank; whereas, the rainbows were distributed throughout the stream.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hXZy9JQ2dE4/WB4p7Urb3aI/AAAAAAABEPI/vCAi08PZadcAiw0xWfVBli_TMHn0ACokwCCo/s144-o/PB030069.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6349558609187993553?locked=true#6349558623778889122″ caption=”Best Brown Trout of the Day Fell for a Downstream Presentation” type=”image” alt=”PB030069.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

The rainbows were more aggressive, and several grabbed the ultra zug bug, as it began to swing away from the bank at the tail of the pool. I probably wasted too much time trying to entice fish to the surface during early November, and it seemed that the refusals to the beetle and Chernobyl were brown trout; whereas, most of the fish that grabbed the nymphs in the first 2.5 hours were rainbows. I did not spot any spawning beds, and four afternoon brown trout responded to my subsurface offerings, so my earlier explanation about the abnormal ratio of rainbow trout may not be accurate.

It was a decent day as measured by fish count for early November; however, the fish were on the small side with the largest being an eleven inch brown. I will continue to prioritize fly fishing over fly tying as long as the weather provides comfortable temperatures.

Fish Landed: 13