Time: 9:00AM – 12:00PM
Location: City of Boulder
After a frustrating and disappointing day on Tuesday on Clear Creek, I essentially closed the book on fly fishing in 2017. Surely a cold winter weather pattern was around the corner, and I eagerly welcomed some relaxed fly tying while listening to my favorite playlists. And then Thursday happened. The weather forecast predicted a warm sunny day on Thursday with a high temperature of 72 degrees in Denver. This windfall of mild November weather prodded me to text my Instagram friend, Trevor (@rockymtnangler), and he replied that he was off from work and available to fish on Thursday morning. After a few additional exchanges we agreed to meet in Boulder at 9AM on Thursday morning to sample some urban fishing.
I arrived a bit early, and the timing afforded me an opportunity to realize that I forgot to pack my sunscreen. I had an old backup supply in my fishing backpack, so I extracted it and used up the contents. While I waited for Trevor to arrive, I opened the tailgate, and I was surprised to discover a puddle of water under my fishing bag. Fortunately the bottom of the bag is waterproof, but the start to my fishing day was not very auspicious. I persisted with my preparation after tightening the hose on my hydration bladder, and then I assembled my Orvis Access four weight rod. As I was doing this, Trevor pulled into the space next to me, and since I knew he required some time to prepare, I decided to knot a fly to my line. I stretched out the tippet to find the end of the line, and I was disappointed to notice a wind knot tucked between two surgeons knots. How can this happen? The cause was irrelevant, and I snipped out the three knots and reattached the end of my leader. Three strikes and you are out. Fortunately I was fly fishing and not playing baseball.
Finally Trevor and I were ready to attack the stream, so we ambled across a patch of lawn to the creek, and we began fishing above a bridge. Trevor began with a buoyant humpy dry fly and a hares ear nymph dropper, and after five minutes of casting, he connected with and landed a nice eight inch brown trout. The creek was in fine condition, and the flows were low but not at a challenging level. I left Trevor in his nice run and moved below the bridge to a very nice deep hole. I cast the beetle upstream and prospected some quality locations for twenty minutes with nothing to show for my efforts. Trevor abandoned his starting point to join me, and I managed to generate a swirl to the beetle as he looked on.
The sight of a surface refusal caused me to reevaluate, and I replaced the beetle with a parachute black ant. This tactic proved successful on many occasions during 2017 particularly in the autumn season. On Thursday, however, the Boulder Creek trout were having none of it. Trevor’s success came from his hares ear dropper, so I borrowed a page from his book and added a RS2 on a two foot dropper. This addition simply increased the number of artificial flies that were ignored by the resident trout.
We decided to move upstream, and we migrated above the bridge and above Trevor’s starting point. Trevor allowed me to inspect his nymphs, and I noted that his size 16 represented a bigger mouthful than my small RS2, so I once again reconfigured. I knotted a hippy stomper with a silver body to my line as the surface fly, and then I added a beadhead hares ear, and a soft hackle emerger. This combination stayed in place for fifteen minutes and resulted in another resounding rejection of my offerings. In a last ditch effort to find a winning combination I replaced the soft hackle emerger with a salvation nymph. My lineup now included the most productive nymphs in my fly box, and I reminded myself that I was playing the percentages.
My luck began to turn in a wide relatively shallow riffle. I tossed the three fly dry/dropper upstream, and as the hippy stomper drifted slowly back through the middle of the riffles it paused, and I reacted with a hook set and stripped in a small brown trout barely over the six inch minimum. It was a small triumph, but after an hour of fruitless casting, I was pleased to land a fish.
Over the remainder of the morning we progressed upstream beyond several bridge crossings, and the fish counter swelled from one to six, before we called it quits at noon. The third fish to find my net was a ten inch brown trout that swirled and refused the hippy stomper on the first drift, but then savagely attacked the same offering on the next pass. Another fish in the ten inch range grabbed the salvation nymph in a deep depression along the left bank. In addition to the six landed fish, I experienced four or five temporary connections, so the action accelerated significantly during the last 1.5 hours of the morning. The juicy deep pools did not yield fish, and I enjoyed much greater success in riffles and runs of moderate depth.
Thursday was a fun day and restored my confidence after a dismal outing on Tuesday on Clear Creek. The high temperature reached 75 degrees in the afternoon, and the pleasant weather in and of itself made the day memorable. Spending a morning with Trevor and catching up on his life was the main purpose of the outing, and that goal was realized. Landing six brown trout in the middle of November was a welcome bonus. The day on Boulder Creek may have been my last of 2017, but the one week forecast remains relatively mild for late autumn. Who knows, I may report on some more urban fishing days. Stay tuned.
Fish Landed: 6