Arkansas River – 4/28/11

Time: 9:30AM – 4:00PM

Location: Braided area above Pinnacle Rock

Fish Landed: 5

Arkansas River 04/28/2011 Photo Album

With the return of cool weather I knew the caddis hatch continued to stall in Canon City in spite of optimistic reports coming out of Royal Gorge Anglers. But based on my decent outing the previous Thursday, I felt I could catch my share of fish even without a blizzard hatch. Temperatures in Canon City were forecast to reach 72, so I felt it would be a nice day with a small chance of the big hatch kicking in.

I decided to park at the braided area I’d fished when Jane accompanied me two trips ago. There was another car parked in the pullout, but I didn’t see fishermen. Once I’d rigged my rod, I walked down the highway a bit to check out the very small braid that runs next to the highway. Some beavers built a dam at the bottom just before it rejoins the main river. I crossed below the dam and put on a caddis dry fly and flicked some casts into the pool created by the beaver dam, but I couldn’t see signs of any fish in the clear water. I walked to the small run at the top of the pool and made a couple casts there.

Next I waded across the tail of the main braid next to the highway and went up along the right bank next to a beautiful run and pool. I cast the caddis in some attractive areas of moderate depth, but again no fish. I decided I’d like to try the north channel, my favorite, while it was devoid of other fishermen and while I had the caddis on my line. I crossed over the next channel and then followed the bank to where the north channel met the main stem and made some casts in the first tail and pool. Nothing was developing, so I clipped off the caddis and tied on a yellow Charlie Boy hopper and dropped a beadhead prince and then a beadhead emerald caddis pupa.

North Braid Above Pinnacle Rock

I landed a fish on the prince, but then hooked up on a pair of fish that seemed pretty nice, but they freed themselves rather quickly. Something felt odd about these fish, so I finally brought my flies to hand and inspected them. I quickly found the answer. I’d tied the last fly on backwards. The tippet was tied to the bend of the hook with the eye facing forward. I had used the caddis pupa as the top fly on the last trip with an RS2 beneath, and returned the pupa to my foam pocket with the leader attached. I forgot to clip of the pupa and tie it back on in the correct manner. I reversed the direction of the fly and continued fishing the three fly combination up the north channel for the remainder of the morning. I landed three more small browns while covering quite a bit of normally very productive water. Three of the fish grabbed the prince nymph and one nailed the emerald caddis pupa.

At noon I waded back across the intervening channels and returned to the car for lunch. After lunch I wanted to resume on the north channel from where I’d ended the morning, but when I approached the stream I spotted another fisherman who had worked his way up behind me. I reversed direction and went back to the main channel by the highway and worked my way up along the right (north) bank probing all the likely pockets and runs with the three fly combination. I managed to catch a small brown in a juicy run at the head of a nice long pool on the emerald caddis, but the rest of the nice water that normally produces fish, yielded nothing. The sky remained pure blue with hardly any clouds and it warmed to the low 70’s. There was no evidence of caddis or BWO’s. I walked back down to where I’d ended the morning, and the other fisherman had disappeared, so I worked up the north channel to the top where it spilled away from the main channel. I couldn’t even get a refusal.

A View of Arkansas River Through Cactus

It was now 2:30 and I had lost confidence and decided that a change of scenery was in order. I remembered a trip two years ago when I fished up the small Texas Creek tributary and caught some nice fish relative to the size of the stream, so I decided to explore it again. I made a left turn and drove .2 miles to the first pullout and parked. I hiked along the road for a ways until I saw a place where the fence was down. I scrambled down the bank and over the fence and through the willows to the small stream that was low and only five feet wide at most places. I tied on a Chernobyl ant and trailed a prince nymph and began flicking the flies into all locations of enough depth to hold fish.

The next hour and half held amazement and frustration. I had several momentary hookups and numerous refusals on the Chernobyl Ant. My amazement stemmed from the quantity of wakes and darting fish that I spooked in the low clear water. I was unable to land a single fish although I spotted at least 30 fish in a short stretch of Texas Creek.

At 4PM I’d experienced enough frustration and called it a day.

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