Bear Creek – 5/18/2011

Time: 1:30PM – 4:00PM

Location: Lair of the Bear Park

Fish Landed: 8

Bear Creek 05/18/2011 Photo Album

I went into work Wednesday morning, but the office manager had not informed me that April was ready for closing, so I took care of a few things and then left my desk at around 11AM. I exchanged Rockies rain checks for a game in August and then stopped at the Vitamin Cottage for a few items. The sky was clouding up as I drove home, but I thought I’d like to try fishing at Bear Creek in the afternoon. Bear Creek was my second choice for Tuesday.

I ate my lunch at home and packed the car with my fishing gear. I took off at around 12:30, and as I merged on to I70 the skies opened and dumped buckets of rain. As I progressed westward, the rain changed to hail. In fact there was an inch of hail on the highway as traffic slowed to a crawl with two bare lanes among the accumulated hail. I debated making a U turn, but I decided to check out the stream since I was halfway there.

When I exited C-470 and drove through Morrison, I caught my first glimpse of Bear Creek and it looked quite clear so I continued to Lair of the Bear Park. It was still raining pretty hard and there were three fishermen by a truck putting on their rain gear, so I climbed in the back of the Santa Fe to stay out of the rain and put on my waders and boots. The temperature on my car thermometer was 45 degrees so I wore my down vest under my raincoat and used my ski hat under the hood. The rain eased a bit as I began hiking the Bear Creek trail west and away from the parking lot. I hiked perhaps .4 miles to the Creekside Trail and branched off to the left. The trail met the stream at a nice long run and pool.

I tied on a yellow Charlie Boy hopper without any wing material as I wanted to use it only as an indicator and dropped a beadhead hares ear off the bend on a 2.5 foot length of leader. In the first deep run I had a momentary hook up as I lifted my rod to recast. I worked my way up the small stream prospecting all the likely pockets, seams and holes. It didn’t take long before I landed a small brown on the beadhead hares ear and photographed it for proof.

Small Brown from Bear Creek

Bear Creek 45 Minutes from Home

Shortly after catching the first brown, I snagged on a stick and thinking it was a fish, set the hook and broke off both flies. I’m guessing a bad knot was the culprit. I decided to replace the Charlie Boy with a Chernobyl ant and the hares ear with a bright green caddis pupa. The Chernobyl would remain as my top fly for the remainder of the afternoon, and the bright green caddis pupa got switched out for an emerald caddis pupa half way through my remaining fishing. I landed an additional seven small browns, and the frequency of fish hooked or observed increased as I moved farther from the parking lot and trail. Casting was difficult in the small stream with tight overhanging vegetation, but flipping the foam Chernobyl helped quite a bit. All the fish caught were on the beadhead subsurface fly with roughly half taking the bright green caddis and the other half the emerald caddis.

Huge Fish by Bear Creek Standards

Just before 4PM the stream met the trail again, and I managed to catch a brown in a nice deep run and pool as I heard thunder and the sky grew ominously dark. I decided to quickly exit and walk back down the trail and change out of my waders before the next storm hit. By this time my hands were red and curled from the cold air temperatures. It was 42 when I checked the car thermometer. Before I could reach the car, the rain began to come down steadily and not wishing to get my clothes wet while changing, I threw my rod, wading stick and fishing backpack in the car, and drove back to Denver in my waders.

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