Time: 10:30AM – 1:00PM
Location: Private water up to Sylvan Lake Road Bridge
Fish Landed: 4
Dave G. reserved the private water for Sunday so once again I would be exposed to fishing under snowmelt conditions. When I gazed at Brush Creek behind the Gaboury house on Sunday morning it appeared that the stream had risen even higher than the level we experienced on Saturday. In addition the sky was quite overcast, and it seemed inevitable that we would encounter rain at some point during the day. After a tasty breakfast of scrambled eggs and spinach, Dave G. and I once again prepared to fish.
Dave G. came up with a two car strategy for fishing the private water. Dave G. drove the BMW to the bridge near where we would end and parked it there, and then we both hopped in the 4 Runner driven by Beth. Beth took me to the entry point to Brush Creek below the private water and then dropped Dave G. off on the other side of the creek. By doing this, Dave G. was locked into the east side of the creek while I was committed to the west bank.
We began our fishing adventure at 10:30AM, and the foreboding clouds continued to build in the western sky. Dave G. was also out of red San Juan worms, so he was forced to experiment with the brown variety, and guess what? He began catching fish on the brown worms that I had rejected on Saturday because I didn’t think there was enough contrast against the brown water.
Initially I used the red annelid worm as my top fly and returned to the orange and black woolly bugger, but once again I was not having any success while Dave G. landed a fish or two. The private water contains many more oxbow bends, and this actually provided more slack water where fish could gain shelter from the raging main current. At one long juicy slow moving stretch, I actually saw a fish rise and jump from the water in pursuit of some sort of emerger. This provoked me to try an emerald caddis pupa as my point fly, but I suspect I was overanalyzing at this point. I ran through a bunch of fly changes as my point fly including a prince nymph, 20 incher, egg fly and the caddis pupa.
Once again my frustration was building when we arrived at a huge pool with an eddy in a 90 degree bend in the stream. Dave G. worked ahead of me, but it was here that I looked in my fleece pouch and spotted a pine squirrel leech that I purchased in Wyoming. I figured this fly would offer contrast, and it also offered the seductive wiggling movement that drives fish crazy. I replaced the caddis pupa and began lobbing the worm and leech combination to the current seam on the opposite side of the main current. Wham! The indicator dove, and I set the hook and felt the weight of a decent fish. Unfortunately in a short amount of time I discovered that the leech was embedded in the side of the head of the trout, and the fish wasn’t as big as I expected.
At least the fish was attracted to my flies in the murky conditions. I continued to drift the long slack water area between the opposite bank and the rushing main current, and in a brief amount of time the indicator paused, and I once again set the hook. This time I was relieved to discover that the brown trout had grabbed the top red annelid worm. I’d finally broken through and hooked and landed a trout during runoff! Had I been able to reach across the stream, I would have high-fived Dave G., but instead I moved on.
Over the remainder of our time on Brush Creek on Sunday I landed three more browns to bring my snow melt total to four. Three of the fish grabbed the red annelid worm and one took the leech. The one that hit the leech actually responded to a lift as I tried to avoid getting snagged on a stick.
As 1PM arrived the dark clouds hovered above us, and the wind kicked up, and some light rain began to fall. I was already wearing my raincoat for added warmth so I was prepared for the moisture. We crossed Sylvan Lake Road and prospected a spot that historically yields nice fish, but the deep run and pool of summertime was now a raging torrent with only a small pocket along the west bank that might hold fish. We gave this area a solid effort, but nothing was showing, so we reeled up our flies and stashed our gear in the BMW and returned to the Gabourys to escape the building rainstorm.
It was a fun day in the high and turbid waters of Brush Creek, and I now have confidence that I can catch fish in these conditions. I also resolved to learn how to tie pine squirrel leeches, as I’ve now discovered their effectiveness on several occasions.