Time: 12:00PM – 4:00PM
Location: Downstream end of catch and release stretch below Lake Estes
Fish Landed: 11
With work light and forecast of temperatures in the 60’s, I decided to try another day of fishing. I read the various reports, and the Big Thompson sounded like the least affected by the low elevation snowmelt continuing from the late March early April snowstorms.
I purposely started late since I knew it would be late morning/early afternoon before the air temperature and water temperature would allow the trout to become active. I drove to the downstream border of the catch and release area below Lake Estes and arrived around 11:30 AM. I ate my lunch and then began fishing above the bridge that marks the catch and release border.
I tied on a yellow Letort hopper and trailed a beadhead pheasant tail nymph and then a light olive beadhead midge larva. I fished for a half hour or so before catching my first fish, a small rainbow. My losing streak of three outings without a fish was over! I attempted to photograph the rainbow, but it got off the hook while in the net as I tried to position for a photo. I continued prospecting the water picking up fish on a fairly regular basis, although numerous casts were required to attractive water to get hookups. The fish were definitely somewhat lethargic.
Around 1PM I switched the midge larva out for a beadhead RS2. The reports I read said there were BWO hatches in mid to late afternoon in the lower to middle canyon on overcast calm days. I was covering my bases. The third fly continued to cause tangles if I didn’t pause long enough on my backcast to allow the flies to straighten, so I removed and fished the hopper/BHPT combination.
This proved to be a smart move as it eliminated wasted time spent untangling flies and didn’t impact my catch rate. I discovered that most of my catches were along the bank opposite the road and in slack water with depth of 3-4 feet. Of the eleven trout I landed, approximately four took the hopper and the remainder sucked in the pheasant tail. I hooked up temporarily on an additional 4-5 fish and had several refusals on the hopper, so the fish were definitely looking up. The best action occurred between 1-3, and it was quite slow in the last hour. A BWO hatch never materialized, although the sky was largely bright blue and cloudless. I’m guessing I caught 4 browns and 7 rainbows.