Time: 2:30PM – 5:30PM
Location: Tributary to the Eagle River.
Our friends the Gabourys invited us to join them for a few days at their beautiful home in Eagle Ranch, CO; and Jane and I quickly accepted. Jane made plans to ski with Dave on Wednesday, and I looked forward to fly fishing with Dave after our arrival on Tuesday afternoon. Jane and I had doctor appointments on Tuesday morning, so we packed our bags ahead of time, and this enabled us to depart as soon as we returned from our medical obligations.
We arrived in Eagle a bit later than expected, and after we exchanged greetings, Dave G. and I prepared to fish in nearby Brush Creek. The weather was nearly ideal for March 14 with high temperatures reaching the middle sixties. Not to be outdone the stream was crystal clear with flows slightly below perfect. Snow remained in the shaded areas, but the warm temperatures and subsequent melt did not appear to affect the creek.
Dave G. and I agreed to cover a lot of water and focus only on the most attractive spots. These juicy locations were characterized by depth and slower current velocity, and we held to our plan fairly rigorously. Particularly enticing sections were deep holes that bordered banks, logs and tree root systems.
I began my day with a yellow fat Albert and trailed a beadhead hares and followed that with an ultra zug bug. Dave G. selected a Chernboyl ant, beadhead hares ear, and beadhead pheasant tail. Almost immediately Dave G. connected with four fish near our starting point, and several were quite nice rainbow trout in the fifteen inch range. This flurry of early action caused my heart rate to elevate in anticipation of similar success.
Unfortunately I plugged along for twenty minutes with nothing to show for my efforts. Finally Dave G. graciously offered me first rights to a long pool, and I began at the slow moving tail section. My success rate ticked upward slightly, as I experienced two momentary hook ups, but this merely served to whet my appetite for a netted fish. My frustration was building, but I contained it, as it was an absolutely spectacular late winter day.
We continued moving at a rapid pace, as we cherry picked only the most inviting areas, until we approached an absolutely surefire trout haven. Dave once again gave me first dibs, and I finally connected on a twelve inch brown trout. This apparently was the icebreaker, because over the remainder of the afternoon I landed four additional rainbow trout. All were chunky fish in the fifteen to sixteen inch range, and every fish that I landed on Tuesday succumbed to the ultra zug bug. During the first thirty minutes I was close to abandoning the ultra zug bug, but I patiently persisted, and I was rewarded for not making a change.
Quite a few of the rainbows were visible in the low flows, and it was exciting, although challenging to place casts above the sighted fish, and then watch intently for a sign of the fish taking the subsurface offering. In one noteworthy case I approached a deep shelf pool on the left side of the center current. I placed a cast along the current seam, and the fat Albert drifted off to the side and into the slow water, until the surface fly nearly came to a standstill. I decided to lift the fat Albert to check for a snag, and I was pleasantly surprised to feel the throbbing weight of a fat fifteen inch rainbow trout. Several of the takes were quite subtle, and success required extreme concentration.
Tuesday was a fun day on Brush Creek, and the effort resulted in four of my best fish of 2017. Only the seventeen inch surprise from the Cache la Poudre in Ft. Collins surpassed the afternoon rainbows on March 14. The Colorado weather is improving, and my excitement for the coming season is escalating at a comparable rate.
Fish Landed: 5