Time: 1:30PM – 4:00PM
Location: Near Big Blue Creek Campground
The temperature at 10,000 feet when we awoke on Tuesday morning was around 40 degrees, and it elevated to 48 by the time Jane and I completed a hike on the Big Blue Creek Trail. We covered 5.0 miles during our out and back.
Our neighbor at the campground departed during the morning, and this raised our concern about the lack of human contact in case of emergencies, such as the dead battery we encountered at Peaceful Valley Campground. We carried jumper cables, but there was no source of power to jump from! A new concern appeared on Tuesday morning when the tire pressure warning light alerted us to low pressure in the left rear tire. I cycled through the maintenance screen and learned that the culprit tire dropped to 26 PSI. Cold temperatures and driving on a rough rocky dirt road probably explained the new worrisome circumstance. When we returned from our hike, we utilized a bicycle pump to inflate the left rear tire, and we reviewed the Santa Fe manual to assure ourselves that we had a spare tire for backup. Fortunately we did.
After lunch I drove a mile from the campground to a trailhead, where I prepared to fly fish. I was reassured, when the tire pressure screen displayed 34 PSI after our energetic hand pumping effort. I wore my waders and assembled my Orvis Access four weight and hiked a couple tenths of a mile on a trail, until I intersected with the Big Blue Creek. Unlike Monday the section of the Big Blue that I fished on Tuesday meandered through a wide valley. This translated to more beaver ponds and long sweeping runs and riffles with periodic deep bend pools. The prime fishing spots were easier to spot, and I logged more time wading between fishing locations. In addition the creek was generally more placid, and this led to longer casts, stealthy approaches, and the inevitable scattering of fish after a clumsy cast or snag.
As was the case on Monday I spent most of my angling time tossing a peacock hippie stomper with a beadhead hares ear nymph dropper. This combination accounted for the first eleven fish, with roughy half smashing the stomper, and half nabbing the hares ear. An extended lull, when the count paused at eleven, caused me to cycle through some fly changes. The hippie stomper was a constant, but I combined it with a pheasant tail nymph and an assortment of dry flies including a light gray size 16 comparadun, a size 16 olive brown deer hair caddis, and a size 14 parachute green drake. The pheasant tail, comparadun and caddis each recorded a landed trout, but the hippie stomper continued to surprise with a few netted fish. During the late afternoon phase the catch rate slowed, but I landed a pair of gorgeous hook-jawed male brook trout with flaming orange colors, as they entered their spawning phase.
Tuesday was a slower day than Monday, and I had to work harder for my success. The brook trout were on average a bit larger. Sixteen trout in 2.5 hours was a satisfying day given the more challenging stream conditions.
Fish Landed: 16