Time: 2:30PM – 6:00PM
Location: Junction of Brush Creek and the Eagle River to area behind Dave and Beth Gaboury’s house
Fish Landed: 10
Dave and Beth Gaboury, our friends from Kansas City, invited us to spend the weekend with them at their home in Eagle Ranch, CO over the last weekend of September. I managed to make great progress on my tasks at work, and Jane was able to take off on Friday so we made the drive to Eagle, CO on Friday morning. Upon our arrival we noticed that the house next to the Gaboury’s was for sale as well as another similar duplex unit down the street. Jane and I discussed buying a duplex unit during our previous visit on the Fourth of July so Jane called a realtor and set up appointments to view the homes on Saturday morning. Meanwhile Jane and I treated the Gabourys to lunch at the Dusty Boot in Eagle Ranch Village, and when we returned to the house Dave G. and I prepared to fish in Brush Creek.
Once we were ready, we asked Jane to drive us down Violet Lane to a bridge over Brush Creek and then Dave G. and I hiked along the stream in the open space area to the junction of Brush Creek and the Eagle River. Dave decided to begin exploring Brush Creek, but I was interested in fishing the Eagle River at the confluence first. I put on a strike indicator and then tied on a weighted 20 incher and below that a hares ear nymph and worked the current seam where Brush Creek met the Eagle River. The Eagle River was the color of tea or coffee that had a fair amount of milk added to it, but Brush Creek was crystal clear, so the seam was quite obvious due to the offsetting colors. Unfortunately my plan did not pay dividends as I ran the nymphs along the seam from bottom to top with no results.
It was quite chilly Friday afternoon with temperatures climbing to 51 degrees, and I’m sure the high occurred while we were eating lunch as the wind was gusting briskly and dense gray clouds filled the sky above. I decided it was time to make my way up Brush Creek and find Dave G., but before doing that I clipped off the nymphs and tied on a Chernobyl ant and hares ear nymph. However, before wading up Brush Creek I decided to pop a cast or two into the pocket in the Eagle River that was just above the Brush Creek flume and on perhaps the fifth cast the Chernobyl paused and I set the hook and found myself attached to a hard charging 13 inch rainbow. This changed my outlook regarding the turbid Eagle River and I worked my way upstream along the right bank of the Eagle continuing to toss casts into the pockets and runs within ten feet of the bank.
Unfortunately my enthusiasm waned as I was not able to attract anymore fish from the Eagle so I retreated to the mouth of Brush Creek and waded upstream until I found Dave G. who informed me he had landed four fish already. Once we met, we played hopscotch up Brush Creek and in the process I landed eight additional fish beyond the Eagle River rainbow. A couple were small rainbows and the remainder were mostly chunky 12 and 13 inch browns with one 14 inch brown in the mix. I enjoy this type of small stream fishing with an attractor and nymph combination and moving along prospecting all the likely locations. Interestingly I was taking fish from obscure locations and in faster water than normal for brown trout, but I attributed this to the elevated flows resulting from the greater than normal precipitation in September 2013.
Eventually Dave G. and I met again just above the bridge where Sylvan Lake Road crosses Brush Creek and at this point the stream branched into two channels. Dave suggested that I fish up the right braid which carried more water than the left to a point where a gate can be opened to redirect the flow of the stream. He proposed circling around this water himself and beginning where the river merged again upstream. I covered this water with no success until I reached the gate that Dave described and just below the gate the channel split around a small island. One part of the current flowed along the bank and the other rushed straight ahead and through a short pocket and then merged perpendicular to the bank current before continuing downstream.
I dropped the Chernobyl into the short pocket and on the third cast it paused and I set the hook and found myself attached to a 16 inch brown. After a fairly long dry spell it was encouraging to land a fine chunky fish attesting to the benefit of persistence. Somehow the hares ear got embedded in the lip of the brown is such a way that I couldn’t extract it so I clipped it off and allowed it to remain as a badge of courage. As I struggled to remove the fly and then released the brown I immersed both of my hands in the frigid water, and afterward the combination of the plunging air temperature and the accelerated evaporation effect from the wind caused my fingers to curl and take on the rigid appearance of claws. I struggled to tie on another hares ear and moved upstream but at this point the wind kicked up even more and a combination of rain, hail and snow began pelting me on the back. Frozen hands and a driving snowstorm do not make for enjoyable fishing weather, so I followed the trail in pursuit of Dave G. but after a short while I noticed that the garage door to his house was open so I cut through the field and returned to the warmth of the house.
The fishing conditions once again were not amenable to human beings, but apparently quite favorable for fish. In spite of the adverse weather it was an enjoyable and productive afternoon on the Eagle River and Brush Creek.