Time: 11:30AM – 3:00PM
Location: Seven miles up Boulder Canyon from the end of the bike path. 1.5 miles above Boulder Falls.
Fish Landed: 17
By Monday morning my arm and shoulder were recovered from four straight days of fishing in the previous week. I was anxious to hit the streams again before the summer doldrums set in, but since I had a haircut appointment at 9AM, the destination needed to be reasonably close to Denver. I considered Bear Creek, Clear Creek, and South Boulder Creek; but I eventually chose Boulder Creek since the flows seemed lower and closer to ideal than the others. In addition I had a first hand look at the creek as we traveled along it on Sunday on our way to and from Rainbow Lakes.
On Monday I departed Denver by 10AM and drove up Boulder Canyon seven miles beyond the end of the bike path, and this also happened to be 1.5 miles above Boulder Falls. The gradient was quite steep, but I saw quite a few nice plunge pools from the car window. Also after seeing the number of fishermen in the small stream on Sunday, I assumed that the high gradient water was not as pressured, as most fishermen do not like fast steep water. As if to question the sanity of my water choice, there was a 10% grade sign along the highway.
I began with a medium olive stimulator and landed one small brown trout, but I was also frustrated by five or more refusals. While my impatience with being rejected built, I saw one yellow sally, so I tried a size 16 imitation, but that generated a couple refusals and then ceased to attract any interest at all. Perhaps I was over analyzing, so I tied on a solitary Chernobyl ant. This was a breakthrough, and I landed three small browns that craved the ant, but I probably had as many or more refusals to the large attractor terrestrial as I had hooked fish.
Just before lunch at 12:30, I began to see occasional PMD’s in the air. No fish were rising, but I thought perhaps nymphs were active subsurface, so I added a salvation nymph dropper to the Chernobyl. Almost as soon as I did this, a small brown crushed the salvation as soon as it entered the water. I broke for lunch at 12:30 and resumed fishing by 12:45 and managed to land two more browns on the salvation nymph. The salvation seemed to work best in riffled runs where the fish were forced to make a quick opportunistic grab.
In the slower moving deep pockets, the trout obtained a better look and refused the foam top fly. After 30 minutes of mostly refusals, I spotted a small splashy rise along the far bank. This fish was having nothing to do with my flies, so I made a radical change and went to a size 16 light gray comparadun. I was leery of using this small hard to see fly in the fast swirly currents of the steep gradient creek, but it paid dividends. I concentrated on water with some depth where I could get a decent drag free drift, and the fish responded. I moved at a quick pace, or as fast as rock climbing would allow, and made only a few casts to likely spots.
Between 1:30 and 3:00PM I registered ten more brown trout to end at seventeen on the day. The largest fish were in the nine inch range, so nothing to brag about, but I enjoyed the mental stimulation of trying to figure out what fly and what water type would produce fish. It is always challenging to solve this puzzle on brand new water.