Time: 10:30AM – 4:00PM
Location: Braids above Pinnacle Rock and Texas Creek
Fish Landed: 8
Jane agreed to travel along to the Arkansas River above Canon City and Royal Gorge on Saturday, April 16, 2011. We packed lunches, loaded the Santa Fe and got off to a nice early start. We stopped at Royal Gorge Anglers and I bought some tippet and leader and spoke briefly with Taylor Edrington, the agent I used for my Alaska trip. Taylor showed me a Beulah 5 weight rod and recommends that I purchase a similar 6 weight for Alaska. I told Taylor I’d be back on another trip to discuss a rod, reel and line purchase.
When we descended the hill to the river at Parkdale, I could see that the flows were at a nice low level and clear. We drove along Big Horn Sheep Canyon to a pullout across from the multiple braids above Pinnacle Rock. I noticed the northern most channel was vacant, so I left Jane with the car, and waded across two channels below a pair of fishermen and headed for the north braid. One of the two fisherman fishing the nice run and pool along the highway, apparently saw me heading for the north braid, and made a dash toward that area as well. The fisherman would later become known as nemesis.
I began fishing at the bottom of the braid where it meets the main stem of the river with a tan Charlie Boy Hopper trailing a beadhead hares ear. In short order I landed a small brown on the Charlie Boy hopper and then another small brown on the BHHE. As I worked upstream over some attractive water, the response to my flies ended so I switched the BHHE out for an emerald caddis pupa. Eventually when this also failed to produce, I switched to a nymphing set up with a strike indicator, split shot and beadhead prince on top with the emerald caddis pupa on the point.
In an area with nice moderate depth of 3-4 feet and many subsurface rocks I landed two browns on the emerald caddis. At this point I was restricted from moving further upstream as nemesis was standing in a nice long pool spraying casts in 180 degrees. I retreated back to the main river above the confluence with the north channel. In this stretch I landed a brown on the prince nymph and had another hooked that escaped.
I hustled back to the pullout to meet Jane as we’d agreed to meet at noon. Jane had driven down route 50 to a nearby river access point to get off the highway more and find some sunshine away from the canyon walls. We decided to drive west to Texas Creek and crossed the bridge and parked in the fisherman parking lot and ate our lunches shielded from the wind by the car. After lunch Jane hiked along the fisherman path with me beyond the abandoned ranch to a point where I dropped down the bank to the tail of an island. I love the deep run below the island but two fishermen were already there. They must have arrived while we parked and ate lunch since they weren’t there when we drove by on the highway. Guess who was now fishing the delicious run below the island? Nemesis was back.
I ignored the irritation and fished up the north side of the island and landed two browns; one on the prince and one on the emerald caddis. When I reached the top of the island, I dropped down 1/3 of the way along the south side of the island and fished back up to the top. Jane had set up her chair along the shore at the top of the island sheltered from the wind and snapped a few photos of me.
I continued along the right bank facing up the river and switched to a Chernobyl ant with the emerald caddis as a dropper. I landed one more trout on the emerald caddis between the island and the bridge. It was quite windy the entire time, and was a relief to quit and get out of the constant blow.