Time: 11:00AM – 4:00PM
Location: Fremont-Chafee County line
Fish Landed: 14
Temperatures were forecast to hit the mid-80’s on Sunday and in fact for most of the last week of September. Anticipating a busy week at work, I decided to make another trip to the Arkansas River while the weather remained nice. I checked the ArkAnglers report and it stated flows were low (298 cfs) and there was BWO activity between 1-4PM. The report also suggested midges and tricos in late morning and small indicators.
I arrived at the river by 10:30AM and parked at the Fremont-Chafee County line pullout. Originally I planned to fish upriver near where I ended when I made the Tuesday trip with Amy and Joe, but I was still bothered by not catching any fish in the north channel by the small island downstream from the pullout. I knew there were fish there and decided to cover this water again. I crossed at the tail of the long county line pool, climbed the north bank and hiked down the railroad tracks to the normal starting point below the island.
I was in the river ready to fish at 11AM and elected to use a lime green trude as my top indicator fly. Below that I tied on a tiny black midge larva with a bead and silver ribbing and then below that I added a sunken trico pattern I’d purchased at the North Fork Angler on Thursday. I covered the attractive series of runs below the island with only an inspection to show for my efforts. A decent fish rose up within a foot of the surface to look at the trude, but did not elect to feed.
I started in a small pocket at the very bottom of the right channel (north) and had no luck, but in the next pocket a brown grabbed the tiny midge larva, and I landed and photographed my first fish of the day. Amazingly in the same small obscure pocket next to the north bank, I hooked and landed two more twelve inch browns on the sunken trico. I worked up to the large smooth pool and on a long cast three feet out from the bank noticed a large bulge near my fly. I set the hook and experienced a momentary hookup to what felt like a decent fish. The tiny stuff seemed to be producing.
But as I covered the bottom half of the pool I couldn’t entice more action while at the same time noticing numerous rises in the run that fanned into the pool. I waded into the pool a bit and shot some casts to the top anxiously anticipating action. Unfortunately I began to elicit refusals to the lime green trude, and the fish weren’t paying any attention to the trailing flies. After working the area with a shotgun of casts and still seeing occasional rises, I clipped off the three flies and tied on one of the two trico spinners I had in my Pennsylvania box.
On perhaps the fifth cast to the center riffle a nice brown rose and sipped in the trico. I was thrilled to catch another nice fish in the north braid on a tiny dry fly. I landed another decent fish in the next pocket above the large pool on the trico spinner, but then it ceased drawing interest. I didn’t want to waste the remainder of the channel on the spinner, so I tied the three original flies back on my line. I removed the midge larva and substituted a RS2. By the time I reached the top of the small channel I landed four more nice trout and most of these were rainbows. One particularly tough rainbow ignored my flies when I cast into a five foot long pocket when I approached from below. I could see the fish hovering in the middle of the pocket. Once I got slightly above and to the side, and after making some upstream casts along the left side, I flicked a couple casts back into the pocket and eventually the beautiful rainbow couldn’t resist and grabbed the RS2.
As I worked upstream I began to notice larger mayflies, so I believe the trico hatch waned and the BWO’s kicked in. I began to catch more fish on the RS2. My original plan was to skip the water above the island and wade back across for lunch, check out the deep rock pool while I ate lunch and then drive back toward Salida and resume fishing where I ended on my previous trip. But as I waded up the river I couldn’t resist flicking casts into some juicy runs and pockets and landed another three fish, one brown and two nice rainbows, before I crossed back over to the car for lunch. Much to my surprise it was nearly 2 o’clock when I checked my watch while wading across the river for lunch.
Indeed as I ate my lunch I spotted three fish feeding leisurely in the high rock pool. I took my lunch bag back to the car and grabbed my rod and attempted to circle around the rocks and approach the pool from the side. Alas, by the time I was ready to cast the trout disappeared. I prospected a few casts, but had no success and returned to the car and drove to the second pullout traveling west toward Salida.
I climbed down the bank to the sand beach area and waded across to the north shore. This crossing proved to be a bit dicier than the previous with one deep swift spot giving me a scare. Once on the north shore I climbed the bank to the railroad tracks and hiked east a short distance and then slid down the bank to the beginning of the pocket water. With the wind picking up and some BWO’s still present, I elected to tie on a yellow Letort hopper, beadhead hares ear and RS2. I covered quite a few pockets with no action, so I removed the BHHE and fished with just the hopper and RS2. Eventually a nice fish rose and smashed the hopper and as it ran downstream I got a good look at what appeared to be a nice rainbow. I allowed the fish to strip out line, but when I finally gained some control, it made a sudden reversal and broke off my flies.
I continued fishing the pockets and landed two more rainbows, one very nice fish in excess of 15 inches on the hopper and a second on the RS2. Nearing 4PM I exited the river and hiked back down the railroad tracks and had another difficult crossing where I’d crossed previously. There is a nice deep narrow pool next to the beach and I spotted a nice rainbow holding a foot below the surface two thirds of the way down the pool. I flicked my flies just above the rainbow and it slowly rose, but I reacted too quickly and set the hook slightly nicking the fish. The fish remained in its position for a bit, but it was now wary of my presence.
I ended my day at this point satisfied with 14 nice fish with the smallest 12 inches and several in excess of 15 inches.