Time: 4:00PM – 7:30PM
Location: Wide pullout next to large rock formation along highway 50 downstream from Salida
Fish Landed: 2
I drove to route 50 and turned right at Poncha Springs and headed west then turned off and drove the remaining six miles to Angel of Shavano. There were three remaining open campsites, so I quickly paid for and secured site 17. We’ve used 17 numerous times and like the shallow wide trough between two natural berms where we set up our tent. It was extremely hot as I set up the Eureka tent and attempted to stash the cooler and food bins in shade away from the direct sun. I wanted to leave the food at the campsite in case Jane arrived from Denver before I returned from fishing.
I was off and driving to the Arkansas River by around 3PM and on the water by 4PM. I chose some water east of Salida where there is some nice pocket water on the highway side of the river. I figured with the heat, the fish would be attracted to the oxygenated pocket water, and the flows at 775 cfs were too high for crossing to the opposite bank. I initially tied on a yellow Letort hopper and beadhead hares ear, the standard default beginning fly choice. I managed to land one small brown on the BHHE as I worked the pockets along the bank, but I was doing a lot of casting with minimal results. It was absolutely sweltering, and I was perspiring as I waded through the shallow water and climbed the rocks along the bank.
At one spot as I was passing a large boulder along the bank, I noticed quite a few caddis fluttering away when I leaned on the rock. I looked closely and there were many caddis tucked in the crevices and cracks on the rock. I pinched one and observed a dark olive/brown body.
I continued on and clipped off the hopper/dropper combination and tied on a lime green trude. This produced a second small brown in one of the more attractive riffle stretches, but that was it. I also tried an olive deer hair caddis, but that didn’t seem to interest the fish anymore than the previous offerings. I had now lost confidence in my ability to catch fish and the heat was really sapping my energy, so I hiked further upstream through an area that I’d never fished before. I was searching for an exit path up the steep bank between the river and highway that was covered with dense vegetation. Eventually I found what I was looking for and a nice path led me on a gradual angle up the bank and terminated by a pullout next to highway 50. I filed this location for future reference.