Trout Creek – 07/17/2019

Time: 9:30AM – 2:30PM

Location: Below Sheriff Reservoir

Trout Creek 07/17/2019 Photo Album

After two successive days fishing the same section of the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs I was ready for a change. When I planned my camping and fishing trip to Steamboat Springs, I was convinced that the flows on either the Arkansas River or Eagle River would drop to the top of my ideal edge-fishing range. They did not. I checked the flows from my phone on Tuesday afternoon, while I had a strong signal, and the Eagle was in the 1600 CFS range, and the Arkansas River at Salida was hovering around 2500 CFS. The Arkansas was actually hgher than when I reviewed the flows prior to departing on my trip on Monday. I was looking for 1200 for the Eagle and 1500 for the Arkansas.

When Jane and I returned from our trip to the Flattops on July 3, we utilized the Flattops Trail Scenic Byway, and I stopped to check out Trout Creek, where it flows underneath the gravel road. It was clear but similar to a whitewater log flume ride at an amusement park. On my many trips to fish the White River on the west slope I passed Trout Creek, and I was intrigued over what it might offer. Some online research revealed that it flows out of Sheriff Reservoir, and a campground is situated next to the lake.

High Gradient

I reasoned that it was now two weeks since Jane and I stopped to assess Trout Creek, and surely by now it was at a fishable level. In a worst case scenario I could scout the area for a later trip, and since it was on the east side of Dunckley Pass, I was not going significantly out of the way.

State Flower in Abundance

I woke up early and broke camp by 7:30AM, and this enabled me to arrive at the turn off for Sheriff Reservoir by 8:45AM. The road sign indicated that Sheriff Reservoir was four miles from the turn from the scenic byway, so I followed the road to the lake to gain a feel for the terrain and accessibility. A mile below the lake a bridge crossed the creek, and it was indeed clear but still rushing down the high gradient valley at a high velocity. The small lake was filled to the brim, and I was surprised to note that at least half of the seven campsites were occupied on Wednesday.

After I circled the campground, I retraced my route to a dirt road that turned left just before the bridge. This road led to a disbursed campsite, and I planned to park off to the side away from the campers, and hike downstream through a clear area on the west side of the creek. Unfortunately after I drove twenty yards, I realized that the road was extremely rough, and I was averse to putting my car at risk, so I backed out to the main road. I crossed the bridge and parked in a wide pullout on the east side.

While fishing on Tuesday on the Yampa, I detected a leak in the left boot foot of my waders, and since the temperature was expected to peak in the upper seventies, I decided to wet wade on Wednesday. I assembled my Sage four weight and stuffed my two large shirt pockets with fly boxes, that I normally carry in the bib area of the waders. When I was prepared to fish, I crossed the bridge on foot and took a shortcut from the road to the disbursed camping access road. I was surprised to encounter a young woman taking a pot to the stream for water, and we exchanged hellos. Next a friendly dog appeared, and I dug out my camera to snap a photo of my new found fishing buddy.

A New Fishing Buddy

As planned, I hiked along a barely visible trail through the clear area, until I arrived at a spot where the slope of the bank to the creek was more gradual, and I carefully sidestepped my way to the stream. Upon close inspection I realized that I was facing the double challenge of above average flows on a high gradient stream. Between 9:30AM and noon I bashed my way through shrubs and willows and cherry picked the few available spots, where trout might be able to exist without expending more energy than they consumed.

I Paused Here to Take It In

I began with a yellow fat Albert and copper john and covered a decent amount of stream, before a small brook trout crushed the fat Albert. This proved to be an aberration, and after another fifteen minutes with no response, I replaced the copper john with a beadhead hares ear. The viable casting spots were few, and I was uncertain whether my lack of action related to the flies or marginal water. Finally after an hour of fishing another small brook trout grabbed the hares ear.

Wild

I decided to persist, until I arrived at the bridge and then evaluate whether to continue the pursuit of tiny fish in very adverse conditions. On the plus side I was in a gorgeous remote setting and had the stream to myself. By the time I arrived at the bridge, the fish count rested on four, and this included another brook trout and an eight inch rainbow. Both late morning catches latched on to the hares ear, and I abandoned the fat Albert and replaced it with a hippie stomper halfway through the morning.

Before returning to the car I decided to explore the water just above the bridge. A quick inspection from the bridge revealed, that the creek braided into numerous channels, and I guessed that perhaps some of the side channels offered refuge for the resident brook trout. My hunch proved prescient, and I added three more brook trout to reach seven before I retreated to the Santa Fe. Two nabbed the hares ear and one mashed the hippie stomper. The latter was the largest brook trout of the day, and it appeared from beneath a foam patch in a relatively large swirling eddy.

Desired the Hippie Stomper

Perhaps the section downstream by the scenic byway offered a lower gradient? I was anxious to find out, so I reversed my direction and turned left on CO 8 and then executed a U-turn, after I crossed the stream. I parked on the southwest side of the road high above the creek and pulled out my stool and ate my lunch. After lunch I crossed the creek and angled down a drainage ditch,until I was along the edge of the rushing water.

I began progressing upstream along the left bank and continued for 1.5 hours, but I was unable to extract a fish. The terrain was very similar to that which I explored in the morning, and in many ways it was even more difficult to access. I replaced the hippie stomper with a size 10 Chernobyl ant and added a salvation nymph below the hares ear, but this three way combination failed to interest the local fish. Some earlier refusals to the hippie stomper suggested that perhaps the trout were looking to the surface for food, since the nymphs seemed to be totally ignored.

Stimulator Refused in This Gem of a Pocket

In a final effort to pound up a fish in the lower section of Trout Creek, I switched to a single gray size 14 stimulator. The high floating dry fly was reasonably easy to track, and it generated several refusals, but I was unable to close the deal. By two o’clock I was weary of parting branches and banging my rod tip into obstacles, so I reversed direction and returned to the car parked high above the creek.

A Hillside of Columbine

I spent four hours on Trout Creek, and I was not impressed. Certainly lower flows would make wading easier, but I suspect that the high gradient geography is the main deterrent to an attractive and productive fishery. The brook trout were tiny, and in my mind do not justify the hardship of whacking through thick vegetation while stumbling on slippery rocks and swatting aggressive mosquitoes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, but this may be my last visit to Trout Creek.

Fish Landed: 7

Yampa River – 07/16/2019

Time: 9:30AM – 3:30PM

Location: Steamboat Springs

Yampa River 07/16/2019 Photo Album

Camping at the Meadows Campground on Rabbit Ears Pass on Monday night enabled me to return to the Yampa River within the town of Steamboat Springs for another day of fly fishing, and my arrival time was much earlier, than when I began on Monday. In retrospect the morning fishing was superior to the afternoon, and this cast my results from Monday in a new favorable light.

Unlike Monday, a storm never developed, so the sky was mostly clear, and the thermometer peaked in the mid-eighties. The river was down in the 600 – 650 CFS range, and this translated to easier although moderately challenging wading. The lower flows also meant that the fish spread out more, and I landed several from mid-river lies behind large boulders that served as current breaks.

Tuesday developed into my best day of the year on the Yampa River. The first seven landed trout were in the thirteen to sixteen inch range, and I was quite pleased with this result. For the entire day eight trout measured in that range, and another was a surprise ten inch brook trout. I fell a cutthroat shy of a traditional grand slam, unless the rules allow a cutbow and rainbow as separate species. In addition to the fish tally my fly supply was not depleted to the same magnitude as Monday, although I managed to break off the one remaining olive ice dub chubby Chernobyl that remained in my possession.

I decided to cover the south bank of the Yampa in town for the second day in a row, but the game plan included more rapid movement in order to reach the river section above the Fifth Street Bridge. I never made it to that point on Monday.

Looking Back Toward the Hot Springs

I began with a Chernobyl ant and trailed a dubbed peacock stonefly and hares ear nymph, and my starting point was above the fast section upstream of the hot springs. Within the first thirty minutes I landed a feisty fourteen inch rainbow and a gorgeous fifteen inch brown trout. The rainbow gobbled the stonefly, and the brown took the hares ear. The brown wrapped the leader around itself in an effort to escape, and at first I thought it was foul hooked, but eventually while resting in the net, it was obvious that the small nymph fooled the wily brown.

Better Perspective

Early on I exchanged the Chernobyl for a yellow fat Albert, as the low riding foam attractor was difficult to track in the glare from the eastern morning sun. After the first two fish I suffered a bit of a lull, so I switched to the olive ice dub chubby Chernobyl that was on fire on Monday. In addition the peacock stonefly was not producing, so I reconfigured with the hares ear placed in the upper position and the salvation in the end spot. This combination clicked in the 11AM to 1PM time frame, and suddenly the salvation was the fly of choice. Initially the chubby served as an indicator, and it was quite adept at that function. The foam made the fly very buoyant, and the double poly wing when coated with floatant rode high above the water. A grab of the nymph caused the wing to slide under the surface in a seductive manner, and this prompted an instant set. During this time I could count on a nice fish in all the obvious holding lies.

Salvation Nymph in Demand

Splendid

The fish count increased from two to seven, and as mentioned earlier all were very nice strong fish. At the count of seven the fish began to show interest in the chubby, and initially this manifested itself with a pair of refusals, but then an eleven inch rainbow grabbed the salvation, and a respectable brown smashed the chubby. I had visions of another chubby Chernobyl blitz, when I was beset with a dose of misfortune. A nice rainbow or cutbow elevated and nipped the chubby, and I quickly responded with a lift. This action resulted in a momentary connection, but then the fish twisted its mouth and the flies sprung free. The pent up energy in the rod catapulted all three flies into an aspen branch twenty-five feet above the ground. I tried to retrieve the flies with a long dead branch, but the limb was young and stiff, thus preventing me from breaking or bending it to recover my flies. I had no choice but to apply direct pressure, and my precious remaining ice dub chubby remained dangling from a tree along the Yampa River along with two nymphs.

Lowering the Torpedo

My fly fishing continued, but I could not resurrect the magic. While I ate my lunch next to a small thirty foot run, I spotted several fluttering stoneflies and a rise, so I removed the dry/dropper elements and tested a size twelve yellow stimulator. It immediately generated two refusals, so I downsized to a size fourteen and then a sixteen, but the fish were apparently wise to my trickery.

Another Favorite Pool

I vacated the troublesome run and returned to the size fourteen stimulator, and this fly produced trout numbers ten through twelve. One was a small rainbow and another was a nice thirteen inch brown. Both these trout slurped the stimulator on downstream drifts in a large midstream pool. Number twelve was a ten inch brookie, and it also fell for the stimulator.

The last hour of the afternoon was spent mostly above the Fifth Street Bridge. It seemed that the middle of the afternoon coincided with increased run off, and this reduced the number of attractive spots. I switched back to a dry/dropper with a standard Chernobyl ant, hares ear, and iron sally; but none of these flies were a hit with Yampa River trout. I finally reached the point where the river splits around a huge island, but after some fruitless casts and drifts below the confluence, I called it quits.

Lurking

The afternoon was slow, but a twelve fish day including eight in the thirteen to sixteen inch range was a fine outing. I suspect this is the end of my Yampa River visits for the year barring an unexpected return in the fall. I love fly fishing the Yampa during high flows within the city of Steamboat Springs.

Fish Landed: 12

 

Yampa River – 07/15/2019

Time: 11:30AM – 4:30PM

Location: Steamboat Springs

Yampa River 07/15/2019 Photo Album

After several days visiting our friends the Gaboury’s in Eagle Ranch with limited fishing options, Jane and I spent a hot weekend in Denver. I am proud to announce, however, that I placed first in my age group in the Sand Creek 10K. The downside to this accomplishment was the onset of a very sore heel, and I decided to take a break from running for a couple weeks, while I waited for new shoes to arrive.

The readers of this blog can probably predict the outcome of this near hiatus from fly fishing in July. I had a strong itch to cast a line in a moving river or stream. As in past seasons I eagerly tracked the declining flows on three large Colorado freestone rivers: the Arkansas River, the Eagle River and the Yampa River. I visited the Yampa on July 9 with reasonable success, and the DWR chart depicted steady declines with flows in the 700 – 750 likely for Monday, July 15. The Eagle River finally crashed beneath the 2000 CFS range, and the Arkansas River at Salida flattened out between 2200 and 2500. The top of my range for edge fishing the Eagle River is 1200 CFS and for the Arkansas 1500 CFS.

I planned to capture a couple days on the Yampa, while the flows remained elevated. I hoped that the flows on the Eagle or Arkansas would drop to the upper range of my edge fishing window by Wednesday, and I would move my camping gear to the new destination.

One of the Prime Spots at Elevated Flows

I departed Denver by 8:15 on Monday morning and arrived at the Howelsen Hill parking lot by 11AM. The sky was cloudy and overcast much of the day, and the temperature peaked in the low eighties. This development was a nice break from the nineties that blanketed the city of Denver. The flows, as suggested by the DWR graph, were in the 650 CFS range, and this allowed for much easier wading compared to the conditions I endured on July 9.

Once I pulled on my waders and assembled my Sage four weight, I hiked along the railroad tracks, until I reached the hot springs. The pungent smell of sulfur dried my throat, and numerous trickles of hot water cascaded from the rocks and entered the high flowing river.

The Run on the Left Usually Produces a Fish

My starting lineup included a tan pool toy, iron sally, and salvation nymph; and in the first hour I landed two twelve inch rainbow trout, as they sucked in the salvation. I stopped for lunch on a large rock among some willows at 12:30. Shortly after my early afternoon meal I broke off all my flies, and as part of my new rigging I substituted a fat Albert for the pool toy.

Husky Rainbow Trout

In the first hour after lunch I built the fish count to four, with the salvation nymph accounting for the additional fish. The fat Albert was not generating interest, so I replaced it with an olive ice dub body size 8 chubby Chernobyl, and this fly produced three swirls but no takes. I interpreted this to mean that the trout were seeking golden stoneflies or yellow sallies, so I cycled through a yellow stimulator and yellow Letort hopper, but my theory was apparently off base, as the trout did not respond to these attempts at a more exact imitation of yellow stoneflies.

The Prize Olive Ice Dub Chubby Connected

I returned to the dry/dropper for the remainder of the afternoon and committed to an iron sally and salvation nymph as the droppers. Suddenly the olive ice dub chubby started to generate takes, and I elevated the fish count to nine. The ninth fish was a very respectable brown trout that slurped the gaudy foam indicator fly.

On Full Display

A bit beyond the spot where the brown trout temporarily rested in my net, a nice cutbow hammered the chubby and escaped after a valiant battle. Shortly after this disappointment a brown trout gulped the chubby in the same deep run near the bank, but in the first couple seconds the hook pulled free, and one of the trailing nymphs snagged the tail of the trout. I was unable to follow the fish downstream, and it eventually snapped off all three flies including the highly prized olive ice dub chubby Chernobyl. I rigged anew with a green foam chubby bearing a yellow body, bit it generated only one swirl during its extended tenure in my dry/dropper lineup. It never produced a fish, and I concluded the ice dub body was the key to chubby Chernobyl success on the Yampa River. The last two fish of the day took a trailing hares ear.

Another Nice Pool Below Man Made Structure

Monday was a so so day of edge fishing. The quantity of fish landed was satisfactory, although size was a bit lacking compared to historical edge fishing experiences on the Yampa River. Putting a damper on the afternoon was the loss of eight flies including the valuable ice dub olive chubby, three iron sallies and three salvation nymphs. I also failed to land the best fish of the day as described in the previous paragraph. I never observed much insect activity, and this circumstance may be attributable to a brief thunderstorm that coincided with the time, when stoneflies normally frequent the river. Stoneflies seem to pop off during warm sunny early afternoons.

I stopped at the Steamboat Flyfisher and purchased five new chubby Chernobyls, but as you might imagine, they did not stock olive ice dub versions. I took stock of my supply in my boat box and stumbled across one more with an olive ice dub body. Needless to say, I moved it to my MFC fly box for Tuesday action. Wading on Monday was improved from the previous week, but fighting the current in the many areas, where the strong velocity bordered the bank, remained taxing.

Fish Landed: 11

My Home for Two Nights

Frost Creek Ponds – 07/12/2019

Time: 10:30AM – 2:00PM

Location: Pond in the middle of the field west of the golf course; Brush Creek; and pond by golf course near entrance gate.

Frost Creek Ponds 07/12/2019 Photo Album

On Thursday Dave G. and I attempted to fish in Brush Creek, but we both concluded that the flows remained too high for reasonably successful fly fishing. Dave G. is a non- golf member of Frost Creek Golf and Fishing Club, and this entitled him to fish in the ponds on the premises. Needless to say, I was happy to tag along.

We arrived at 10AM, and Dave G. stopped by the clubhouse to obtain intelligence on the status of the four fishing ponds. The regulations vary by pond, and he required a refresher course on the rules. Once Dave G. obtained this critical information, we found a nice deep pond situated in a large field west of the golf course. I chose to wade wet, and our rods remained strung from the previous day, so we arrived along the shore of the lake in a short amount of time. A small feeder creek entered the pond from the south, and Dave G. positioned himself on the eastern side of the entering flow. I, meanwhile, assumed a position on the south shoreline, but west of the inlet.

The Frost Creek Pond We Fished

The sky was blue, and the temperature was in the high seventies, as we began to fish. Knee high narrow reeds surrounded the pond, and an abundant quantity of blue damsel flies and striped-wing dragon flies darted about the area and occasionally hovered within inches of the surface of the water. Instantly I became aware of sporadic rises in the lake, and many were fierce slashing rushes, that caused the trout to break the surface or even leap above the water in pursuit of food.

My line remained rigged with a chubby Chernobyl with a tan ice dub body, and below the foam top fly were a flashback peacock stonefly and copper john. Rather than switch to different offerings, I began to lob casts with the three fly configuration. For ten minutes the stationary chubby attracted no attention, but then following the observation of an aggressive boil within several feet of the bank, I launched a thirty foot cast to the vicinity of the activity. The top fly rested for a few seconds, but then a large bulge appeared just short of the large foam attractor. My heart beat elevated, but a refusal was my first taste of action.

With fresh optimism I continued to cast to areas with recent rises, but a relatively long lull in action ensued. I decided to remove the dry/dropper components and switched to a different dry fly, but at this point I realized that I left my fly box in my waders, and they remained in my car back at the Gaboury’s. The only dry flies in my possession were in a small plastic canister that contained an assortment of large top flies for the dry/dropper method. Given the surface activity, I concluded that I might be able to make the most of my limited fly selection.

I replaced the chubby with a classic black Chernobyl ant, and I sprayed thirty and forty foot casts toward the middle of the stillwater, but the fish ignored the black impostor. I sifted through the canister and spotted a parachute hopper with a gray body. Perhaps the large grizzly hackle splayed about the center wing post would create the illusion of movement and attract some feeding action? I allotted ten minutes to the hopper, but it was also treated with disdain.

Blue Damsel Haven

The wind kicked up a bit, and the rising fish seemed to be concentrated on the south side of the inlet, so I moved below Dave G. I was contemplating my next move, when I examined the reeds along the shoreline, and I was astounded by the quantity of slender blue-bodied damsel flies. Surely these delicate odonata had recently emerged, and perhaps the trout were gorging subsurface on migrating nymphs? It was worth a try. I stripped in my dry fly and knotted an olive slumpbuster to my line and followed that with a wiggle damsel on an eight inch dropper. Surely this move would initiate torrid fishing action from these lake dwellers.

The damsel hatch materialized in my mind but never commenced in the pond. I stripped and hand-twisted the streamer and nymph combination for an hour, but I never generated as much as a follow or bump. Needless to say I was very disappointed. The stronger wind caused small wavelets, and the surface feeding fish seemed to be concentrated at the eastern end of the lake. I abandoned the subsurface approach and once again examined my fly canister for options.

I was now fairly certain that the damsel hatch was pretty much completed, and the pond residents were tuned into the hovering adults, and this explained the splashing slashes and leaps above the surface of the water. I spotted a tan pool toy and decided to give it a try. I had nothing that was close to resembling the narrow blue body of the damsels, so my only ploy was testing the remaining flies in the plastic cylinder.

I knotted the pool toy to my line and began targeting the spots, where trout recently revealed their presence. I was now within twenty yards of the end of the pond, and the wind caused my foam dry fly to drift eastward. Ten minutes of boredom followed the fly change, and then I glanced back from looking away to notice that the pool toy disappeared. Was it hidden by a wave? I reacted by lifting my rod and felt the significant weight of a thrashing fish. I carefully played the fighter, until I guided it into my net, and at this point I realized that I landed a scarlet hued rainbow trout. Needless to say I was ecstatic with this recent dose of good fortune, and I snapped a few photos to verify the catch.

My Reward for Persistence

Dave G. was impressed with my success, and I gifted him another pool toy, since it was the only fly that resulted in success thus far in our day. I continued floating the pool toy near the end of the lake; but, alas, it was a one shot wonder. I thought back to the early refusal on the chubby Chernobyl, and now that I was fairly convinced, that the trout were feeding on damsels, I concluded that the ice dub body foam fly with the large high white wing was my closest approximation to the naturals.

I swapped the pool toy for the chubby and resumed casting, and within minutes another fish slurped the size eight attractor. Unfortunately the connection only lasted for a two second spurt, and the fish escaped with only a minor lip pricking. Given the lack of success, I was more frustrated than normal with this lost fish. Dave G. managed a refusal to the pool toy, but then the frequency of slashing rises declined, and we decided to test the Brush Creek stream section within Frost Creek.

We hopped back in Dave G.’s car and drove to the entrance gate, where we parked and then followed a designated grassy path along the creek. I added the peacock stonefly back to my line as a dropper and placed a salvation nymph below it, and we stopped at two or three slower water places to try our luck. In one spot where a side channel merged with the main creek, I allowed the three flies to drift downstream to the seam, where the currents merged, and I felt a brief bump, but I was unable to connect.

Heron Rookery

The high flows and steep gradient created minimal soft water refuges for the fish, so after a ten minute walk we reversed our direction and returned to the car. Near our turnaround point we passed through a blue heron rookery, and I observed five or six massive nests in some very tall trees next to the creek and above us. Our presence caused at least six huge adult herons to leave the nests, and I was in awe, as they flapped their huge wings and tucked their long legs and glided above us.

Pond Number 2 at Frost Creek

When we returned to the golf course, I began fishing in a pond next to the entrance road and near the gate. I spotted a pair of decent trout, as they cruised along the shoreline ten feet from where I was standing. Dave G. moved to the north end of the pond, and he also began to lob some casts toward the middle of the tiny body of water. Our confidence was quite low, but miraculously Dave G. landed a rainbow that grabbed a purple San Juan worm. A skunking was avoided minutes before we returned to the car and drove back to Eagle Ranch.

Fish Landed: 1

Brush Creek – 07/11/2019

Time: 10:30AM – 1:30PM

Location: Eagle Ranch

Brush Creek 07/11/2019 Photo Album

On Thursday we were met with a bright and sunny day with temperatures in the eighties. Certainly this level of heat was making significant inroads on the thick snow fields in the Rocky Mountains. Or was it? Brush Creek was flowing very high, but clarity was decent, as the water was only slightly off colored. My host in Eagle, CO, Dave G., was confident that we could enjoy some success in spite of the elevated stream flow conditions.

In order to minimize walking excessively in the mountain heat, Dave G. and I utilized a shuttle, so I parked the Santa Fe at our estimated end point, and then Dave G. drove us to our start, where Sylvan Lake Road crossed over Brush Creek near U.S. 6. In total we fished for three hours, and we advanced very quickly, as we searched for soft water along the bank, where trout could hold without expending excessive energy. With two anglers alternating between limited holding spots, we covered a lot of water. Wading was another adverse proposition, as the strong current tight to the bank forced us to bash through thick bushes repeatedly. The land bordering the creek was a massive quagmire due to the recent flooding from run off.

Murky High Flows on Brush Creek

I began fishing with a yellow fat Albert and trailed a 20 incher. The fish did not respond, so I added a go2 caddis pupa, as I approached a very attractive and wide shelf pool. This spot was perhaps the most appealing of our day on Brush Creek. As I added the go2 caddis to my line, Dave G. landed a small rainbow trout on a purple San Juan worm. On my fifth cast to the pool, I snagged bottom, and in an effort to save my flies, I walked directly upstream and applied direct pressure. Pop. All three flies broke off, where the eye of the fat Albert hook was knotted to the tippet.

Seldom Used Chubby Chernobyl Saw Extended Action

Dave G. Gives It a Test

Not wishing to lose more prime flies to marginal conditions, I rigged with what I perceived to be secondary imitations from my box. These were seldom used flies that would yield less pain in the event of another unfortunate loss. I tied on a chubby Chernobyl with a tan ice dub body as my top indicator fly and added a flashback peacock dubbed stonefly below it. On the end behind the stonefly I knotted an emerald caddis pupa. I stuck with the Chernobyl and stonefly for the remainder of my time and rotated the end fly from the caddis pupa to a copper john.

My Only Landed Trout

Half way through my three hours on the stream, I tossed the three flies tight to the bank beneath an inside bend and the Chernobyl dipped. The erratic movement caused me to set the hook, and after a brief tussle I guided a twelve inch brown trout with a peacock stonefly in its mouth into my net. That was the extent of my action on Brush Creek on Thursday, but I was very thankful to avoid yet another 2019 skunking.

Fish Landed: 1

 

Yampa River – 07/09/2019

Time: 10:00AM – 3:00PM

Location: In the town of Steamboat Springs

Yampa River 07/09/2019 Photo Album

Finally the window of opportunity, that I was anxiously waiting for, arrived. Every year I enjoy some of my best fishing, when the run off subsides to high but clear and manageable levels. During these conditions the trout are pushed up against the banks to avoid the high velocity current in the main riverbed, and I focus my efforts on the narrow ten foot band of water, where obstacles slow the ever rushing flow. I carefully tracked the flows on my three favorite freestones for this type of fishing over the past week, and all the DWR stream flow graphs displayed consistent downward curves. The most advanced was the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs.

Jane and I were committed to spend Wednesday evening through Friday evening with our friends the Gaboury’s in Eagle, CO, and I was unsure that fly fishing would be part of the scheduled itinerary. The window on the Yampa was open during this time frame, so I decided to gamble, that I could sneak in a day of fishing on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, and I estimated the flows would reside in the 1250 range. When I read the Steamboat Flyfisher report, it mentioned visibility to two feet, so this raised some concern, but I decided to make the trip anyway.

The drive to Steamboat is more than three hours, and a six hour round trip is a lot to absorb for one day of fishing, so I decided to do a one night camping trip. When I mentioned my plans to Jane, she determined that she had an open calendar, and she jumped on board. We loaded the Santa Fe on Monday afternoon and departed Denver by 3:30PM. In order to minimize the camp packing we stopped at the Grand Old West restaurant in Kremmling and savored some cowboy cooking, before we arrived at the Meadows Campground on Rabbit Ears Pass. This would serve as our lodging on Monday evening.

Tuesday morning was on the chilly side, and it reminded of me of why snowdrifts were scattered among the many campsites at the high elevation campground. Jane and I took our time to sip our coffee and tea, and then we downed some bagels and zucchini bread and broke camp by 9AM. This enabled us to arrive at the Howelsen Hill parking area by 9:30, and after I donned my waders and assembled my Sage five weight, I was on my way. Jane unloaded her mountain bike from the rack and departed on a ride on the many bike paths in the resort town.

The air temperature was in the 60’s, as I hiked downstream along the railroad tracks, and the thermometer peaked at 80 in the afternoon. The sky was clear, and the flows were indeed high in the 1250 CFS range. I was very pleased to observe that the clarity was quite good. I advanced downstream, until I encountered the sandstone rock wall just upstream from the hot spring. I knew I was close by the pungent smell of sulfur that wafted in my direction. Before I stepped down to the river, I peeked downstream and discovered a female angler twenty yards below, so I reversed my direction and retreated upstream for twenty yards to allow adequate space.

High Flows Dictated Edge Fishing

After I carefully maneuvered down some large boulders, I configured my line with a size eight fat Albert and a size 14 twenty incher, and I began to lob casts to the soft water along the right bank. The likely holding water was easy to identify, and after ten minutes the fat Albert dipped, and I set the hook and found myself connected to a twelve inch rainbow trout. I was pleased with this auspicious start to my day. After a lull in action I added a slumpbuster as the bottom fly below the 20 incher, and I was surprised to note several follows, but the chasers veered away at the last instant. Eventually I felt a bump and foul hooked a small brown trout with the slumpbuster.

Nice Start

I grew dissatisfied with the catch rate of the 20 incher and slumpbuster, so I executed another change, and I knotted an iron sally to my line as the top fly and followed it with a salvation nymph. I also extended the dropper to four feet and added another eighteen inches between the top nymph and the end fly. I suspected that the high flows dictated a longer leader. The change paid dividends in a wide section, where the river spread out and created some nice deep runs of moderate depth. I lobbed the three fly offering, and a nice thirteen inch rainbow nabbed the iron sally near the tail of the run.

My View Through Flooded Willows

On Display

Between 11AM and noon I persisted with the iron sally and salvation nymph, and in the process I increased the fish count from two to four. The two additional fish included a small brown trout and another twelve inch rainbow. The iron sally accounted for three of the first four fish. Jane and I planned to meet at 12:15PM at the gazebo next to the rest rooms, so I battled through some bushes and crossed a swampy irrigation canal and returned to the car.

A Nice Long Stretch of Slack Water

After lunch I returned to my lunchtime exit point and progressed along the right bank, until I was at the eastern end of the town of Steamboat Springs. Along the way I boosted the fish tally from four to thirteen. All of the afternoon catches were rainbows except for one small brook trout. The salvation nymph gained attention, and most of the afternoon chompers favored the size 16 imitation with the flashback strip. Among the afternoon catch was a fifteen inch rainbow and a fourteen inch cousin. I observed quite a few golden stoneflies and yellow sallies in the 12:30PM to three o’clock time period, and a smattering of small caddis and size sixteen mayflies joined the party.

One of the Better Fish on the Day

The highlight of my day occurred across from one of the many streamside restaurants on the opposite side of the river. I bashed through some dense vegetation, until I was positioned just above a string of man-made stream improvement boulders. A small narrow channel was along the right bank, and a quasi-island populated with flooded willows was straight ahead. The thirty feet of river beyond the willow island consisted of a nice deep pool of moderate depth. I landed four trout from this stretch including a fine fourteen inch rainbow. In addition I connected with three additional trout that escaped, before I could coax them into my net. During this fishing highlight film, I noticed a female diner at the restaurant, as she stood up to snap a photo of my success. Each time I landed another fish I glanced toward the outdoor seating, and she rose and focused at least two more times!

Nice Release

By 2:45PM I moved above the Fifth Street bridge, and in the nice deep shelf pool above the bridge I connected with a fish that felt substantial. I suspect it was a brown trout, as it never surfaced, so I could catch a glimpse. Instead it bulled and dove in the manner of brown trout, and eventually the fly pulled free.

Tough Lie

Tuesday developed into a fine day of fishing on the Yampa River. The size of the fish was beneath previous edge fishing standards, but after three weeks of lake fishing with minimal returns, I was very pleased with a double digit day, and I am now optimistic that edge fishing on the Arkansas River and Eagle River will be just around the corner. A drop of an additional 200 CFS would improve the Yampa River, as it would enable much more manageable wading. Difficulty in accessing sections limits competing anglers, but on Tuesday this circumstance forced me to skip some fairly extensive stretches.

Fish Landed: 13

Trappers Lake – 07/02/2019

Time: 4:30PM – 5:00PM

Location: Eastern shore.

Trappers Lake 07/02/2019 Photo Album

Jane and I returned to the North Fork Campground after an excellent cycling trip from Buford to South Fork Campground and back. The gravel road rose relatively gradually on our outbound leg, but rolling hills required 1,300 feet of elevation gain over the course of the total ride. After lunch we decided to make the drive to Trappers Lake, and ultimately quaff a couple brews at the Trappers Lake Lodge and Resort.

Grass and Aspens at a Resting Place

Trappers Lake

When we arrived at the parking lot below the outlet from Trappers Lake, I decided to do some fly fishing in the fabled body of water below the striking cliffs of the Amphitheater. I elected to forego waders and wading boots, and instead utilized my Oboz hiking boots. I assembled my Sage four weight, and wore only my front pack and backpack, and Jane and I hiked over the ridge and then along the eastern shoreline of Trappers Lake. The lake was quite high as a result of the recent snow melt, and the water lapped against the dense border of shrubs that covered the shoreline. When I noticed this situation, I realized that not wearing wading gear was a mistake.

A Weak Attempt to Catch a Fish

 

It was mostly windy with a mild chop on the surface, so I sought protected coves. I began my fly fishing effort with a size 12 olive stimulator that trailed a salad spinner midge larva. Multiple swarms of large midges were visible, as we hiked from the parking lot to our position along the lake. A short period of casting the stimulator failed to provide positive results, so I moved along in search of another protected area.

Jane hiked ahead and found a nice cove, where a creek entered Trappers Lake from the east, and it was situated below a rustic cabin. This description fit my vision of an ideal location, and she led me there, as my enthusiasm spiked. I surveyed the surroundings and found a gap between some clumps of willows, and I shot some nice casts near the current seam created by the incoming creek. Fifteen minutes of searching without tangible results caused my confidence to ebb; however, I remained certain that the inlet was a prime fish holding area. The lake residents could hold in the lake and expend minimal energy, while the creek delivered food to their hungry stomachs.

Zoomed on the Bugger

Prince Nymph

I switched to a streamer method and knotted a Cathy’s Super Bugger to my line and trailed a size 12 prince nymph. What respectable cutthroat or brook trout could resist this delicious combination meal? I cast and stripped these flies to all the reachable positions in the sheltered inlet, but I was unable to generate a response.

I Fished Along the Current Seam Where the Creek Entered

At 5PM I surrendered in my quest to land a trout from Trappers Lake, and I joined Jane on top of a hill overlooking the lake. We hiked back to the car and then stopped at the Trappers Lake Lodge for a brew.

A Dirty Hippy and Fat Tire at Trappers Lake Lodge

I retrospect I should have worn my waders. This preparedness would have enabled me to attain a better casting position away from the shoreline obstacles, and at the cabin cove area it would have allowed me to probe the deeper areas, where the current fanned out into the lake. Although I experienced yet another stint on a lake with no fish, I cannot complain about the beauty of my surroundings. The Amphitheater and various rock wall formations provided a breathtaking 360 degree panorama, and I cannot complain.

Fish Landed: 0

Avery Lake – 07/01/2019

Time: 4:30PM – 5:00PM

Location: Dock at the north end of the lake.

Avery Lake 07/01/2019 Photo Album

After our hike to Skinny Fish Lake Jane and I returned to the North Fork Campground to rest and change out of our hiking clothes. Before we departed from Denver, I noticed that Avery Lake was stocked by the CO DOW, and I mentioned this to Jane. Being the considerate wife that she is and knowing that I failed to land a fish at Skinny Fish Lake, she suggested that we drive west to Avery Lake. I drove by the sign to Avery on many previous trips, but never made the turn to explore the area, so I agree to the late afternoon side trip.

Jane packed her chair and book, and we made the twelve mile drive to Buford and then slightly beyond, where we turned on to a gravel road and crested a ridge. After maneuvering around a sharp turn, we reached a wide open meadow populated with a number of RV’s. The closest RV was surrounded by a dense flock of sheep, and we were baffled over what this human and sheep rendezvous was all about. A sign identified the area as a campground, but the campsites lacked picnic tables or fire pits, and a solitary pit toilet was available for the campers. We removed the Avery Lake Campground from future camping consideration.

How Do These Sheep Afford a RV?

We continued down a gradual hill that skirted the eastern shoreline of the lake, until we arrived at a turnaround, and we parallel parked next to some large bushes. Jane jumped out of the car and got comfortable in her chair, while I geared up with my Sage four weight. A RV was parked southeast of the Santa Fe, and the owners were running a generator. The constant din detracted from the ambiance of the setting. When I was ready, I strolled down the dirt road to a wooden dock that extended into the lake. Quite a few preteens were swimming and paddle boarding near the dock, so I strolled south along the shoreline and found a small indentation, where I knotted the black woolly bugger and wiggle damsel to my line.

Avery Lake

For the first twenty minutes I moved southward along the edge of the lake and sprayed forty foot casts at regular intervals, but I was unable to move a single fish. A couple families continued to splash and play in the vicinity of the dock, but I spotted a few rises in the calm cove on the north side, so I wandered through the group and fished to the sporadic feeders. Initially I tried the streamers, but those offerings were ignored. I switched to a parachute Adams and cast it for ten minutes, and again the fish showed no interest.

In a last ditch effort I swapped the Adams for a size 18 parachute black ant, and I managed to generate a swirl, as I picked up the terrestrial to make another cast. That was the extent of my action on Avery Lake. By 5PM I was burned out on fruitless casting and dismayed by the Avery Lake atmosphere, so I returned to the car, and we hastened back to the campground for happy hour. While I was fishing, a pair of dirt bike riders arrived, and the smell of their gasoline/oil mix fuel combined with the constantly humming generator was making me nauseous.

I allocated another thirty minutes to lake fishing on Monday afternoon, and unlike Skinny Fish Lake, I did manage to spot feeding fish. But the inability to catch fish, the distraction of the swimmers, and the noise pollution of the generator and dirt bikes encouraged Jane and I to seek the calm and quiet atmosphere that existed at our campsite.

Fish Landed: 0

Skinny Fish Lake – 07/01/2019

Time: 12:30PM – 1:00PM

Location: Natural dam next to the outlet.

Skinny Fish Lake 07/01/2019 Photo Album

On July 3, 2018 Jane and I trekked to Skinny Fish Lake in the Flattops Wilderness, and I fished for a short amount of time with no success. We held our experience in such high regard, that we decided to once again travel to the Flattops and repeat the hike in 2019. In advance of the trip I contacted the White River National Forest ranger station in Meeker, CO, and I discovered that Ripple Creek Pass was closed as a result of a surprise late snowstorm and a generous number of fallen trees. This news forced us to revise our route, and we traveled west on Interstate 70 to Rifle, CO and then journeyed north to Meeker, CO and finally made an eastern swing on CO 8 to the North Fork Campground. I reserved campsite number 27 in advance for Sunday through Tuesday nights.

Monday was forecast to be a gorgeous day from a weather standpoint, so Jane and I elected the repeat hike to Skinny Fish Lake as our destination. The report that Ripple Creek Pass was closed prompted us to pack snowshoes, and these were a backup plan in the event that we encountered deep snow on our hike. On Sunday evening after we arrived, the campground host stopped by to introduce himself, and when queried on the Skinny Lake Trail he was fairly certain that snow would not be an impediment to our hike. Based on this information we lightened our loads and left the snowshoes behind.

As we traveled along the White River and the North Fork of the White River on Sunday, it was evident that fly fishing in rivers and streams in the Flattops would not be an option on this July 2019 trip. I was thwarted in my attempt to land a fish from Skinny Fish in 2018; so I packed my wading socks, wading boots, fly rod and fishing packs for the trip. I conjectured that our timing was more appropriate than the previous year given the late snow pack and ice-off on the lake. A twin lake to Skinny Fish Lake named McGinnis Lake is located a half mile to the east, and it can be reached via a trail that branches off from Skinny Fish. My goal was to reach McGinnis and thus experience some new terrain and sample a different high elevation lake.

The Amphitheater Left of Center

We departed from the Skinny Fish Lake Trailhead at 10:30, and we arrived at Skinny Fish Lake by noon. Wait, you might ask, what happened to McGinnis Lake? We took the right turn at a Y in the trail and advanced .2 mile, until we reached a stream crossing to continue to McGinnis Lake. The stream was bloated with run off, but it split into three braids, and we evaluated several crossing schemes, but eventually our better judgment prevailed, and we reversed to the Y and continued to Skinny Fish.

Water Gushes from Aspen Trees

The hike was as breathtaking as we remembered. The meadows and grasses were in a lush green state and wildflowers abounded. We were surrounded by spectacular views of the Chinese Wall, West Wall and Amphitheater; and the wild fire of fifteen years ago opened the vistas in every direction. The path was quite muddy in spots, but we both wore our hiking boots. Several stream crossings presented a challenge due to the melting snow in the headwaters, but we managed to overcome these early season obstacles.

Making Progress

Skinny Fish Lake

When we arrived at Skinny Fish Lake, we immediately extracted our sandwiches and snacks to refuel for the return trip. As I ate, I scanned the surface of the lake, but I was unable to identify a single rising fish. This circumstance reinforced my experience of the previous summer. I had my wading socks, wading boots and quick dry pants for wet wading; but I decided to cast from the natural earthen dam on the south side of the lake and forego changing into the wet wading gear.

I rigged my Sage four weight and walked along the lake to the outlet, and I decided to attempt a crossing on several wide logs that angled across the moving creek. This was a significant error in judgment. I placed my left foot on a log next to the bank, and as I leaned to disengage from land and placed my right foot on another log, I discovered that the first step was perched on a floating log. Both my feet sank two feet below the surface, and I found myself wet wading in my hiking boots. I quickly jumped back on land, but my pants, boots and socks were saturated with ice cold lake water. How ironic that I lugged wet wading essentials for 2.5 miles and then ended up with wet feet while forsaking the appropriate equipment.

Wet Oboz

I shrugged off the minor mishap and focused my attention on fly fishing. Jane of course chuckled at the entire episode. Evidence of surface feeding continued to be absent, and an advantage of remaining on the earthen dam section was the open space for backcasts. I abandoned all thoughts of fishing a dry fly, and I crimped a split shot to my line and then added a black woolly bugger and wiggle damsel nymph. This combination accounted for seven fish on Flatirons Reservoir, so why would it not entice wild trout from Skinny Fish Lake?

Shooting a Cast

I cannot answer that question, but it did not lure any trout to my flies during thirty minutes of focused casting and stripping. I launched forty foot casts, counted down the sink period, and stripped them back with varying cadences; but I never saw a follow or felt a bump. I began near the outlet and moved in three step increments, until I was in the southwest corner to the lake. My confidence sank to a new low, and combined with the futile experience in 2018 I gave up hope and called an end to Skinny Fish Lake fishing by 1:00PM.

Run Off in Full Swing

Jane attempted to hike around the lake, but this endeavor was thwarted by deep snow drifts, and this scouting report convinced me, that trying to circle the lake to try different areas was not worthwhile. I repacked my fishing gear in the backpack, and we began our descent to the trailhead parking lot. Skinny Fish Lake pitched me a second strike, and I am not certain, that I will offer it the opportunity to strike me out.

Amphitheater in the Distance

Thirty minutes is not a long time, and some inbound fishermen that we encountered on the return hike assured us that fish do call Skinny Fish Lake home. Perhaps the end to my quest for trout was premature, but the primary objective of the hike was accomplished. We were together in a beautiful remote Colorado environment, we viewed pretty wild flowers; and we overcame the mud, snow and snow melt to reach our destination. The hike to Skinny Fish Lake was a win in my book.

Fish Landed: 0

Perfect Columbine

Flatirons Reservoir – 06/25/2019

Time: 11:00AM – 3:30PM

Location: Southeastern “fishing access” shoreline

Flatirons Reservoir 06/25/2019 Photo Album

I was on a losing streak having endured two consecutive fishless days in June. The first was on June 20 at Pine Valley Ranch Lake, and the subsequent humbling transpired on the South Platte River on Monday. All the river and stream options continued to post flows that were off the charts, and my attempt to beat the odds with a trip to the South Platte River tailwater was a bust on Monday. My schedule was filled with appointments for the remainder of the week, and I felt a strong desire to fit in one more day of fly fishing. My thoughts again turned to stillwater options reasonably close to Denver. Lakes offered dependability in the form of clear water and the absence of dangerous high currents.

I made a list of recently stocked lakes within a convenient range of Denver, CO prior to my trip to Pine Valley Ranch Lake, and I referred to it once again, as I researched options for Tuesday. Flatiron Reservoir stood out as a place of interest. It is located northwest of Bethoud, CO and is part of the Larimer County Parks system. Carter Lake and Pinewood Reservoir are part of the same system. I decided to personally explore Flatiron Reservoir on Tuesday, June 25.

I arrived at the pay station by 10:30AM, and I was pleased to discover, that I could use my credit card to purchase a one day use permit for $9. The fee seemed a bit high compared to other Colorado recreation areas, but I was willing to gamble once to determine what Flatirons had to offer. After I paid my fee, I turned right on a rough gravel road and proceeded to a crude parking lot, where I spotted a sign that pointed to fishing access. I knew from studying the online map, that fishing was permitted along the southeastern shoreline as well as the opposite shoreline next to the campground. I owned the only vehicle in the parking lot, and I was pleased with this circumstance, although I also feared that this was an indicator of poor fishing.

The Path to Fishing Access

I pulled on my brand new warranty replacement waders and rigged my Sage four weight and walked up the worn path, until I was next to the earthen dam. Fishing from the dam was off limits, so I descended a packed red earthen path and approached the lake in the extreme northeastern corner. Several clusters of fishermen occupied places on the opposite shore, but I had the entire “fishing access” beach to myself. My stillwater fishing skills are still under development, and I pondered where to begin fishing in this large body of water.

Mirror Near the Start

I observed for a short time, and the lake was relatively smooth, so I gambled that a few rises would reveal the whereabouts of fish. I tied a size 16 gray deer hair caddis to my tippet and hooked it to the rod guide, and then I ambled along the red sand beach for forty yards, while I scanned the water for signs of fish. Eventually a pair of rings on the surface caught my attention, and I flicked a few casts to the areas of feeding activity. This lasted for fifteen minutes, before some clouds blocked the sun, and this in turn prompted successive breezes that ruffled the surface of the lake.

Rather than wait out the clouds and the air movement, I changed tactics and tied a beadhead black woolly bugger to my line followed by a size 12 beadhead prince on an eight inch dropper. I cast and stripped this two fly combination for the next forty-five minutes, until I paused for lunch, and I managed a temporary connection with one fish and then guided a ten inch rainbow trout into my next. I celebrated the end of my losing streak and snapped a photo or two as proof of my stillwater breakthrough. The landed rainbow trout snatched the woolly bugger twenty feet from my position on the beach.

Losing Streak Ends

During the morning session I snapped off the prince nymph on an underwater obstruction, and I replaced it with a go2 sparkle pupa. Between 12:15PM and 2:45PM I progressed in a southerly direction along the shoreline and repeatedly cast the two fly combination into the depths of the lake. Some trees, bushes and rocks behind me dictated cautious backcasts, and I adopted the practice of casting at a forty-five degree angle. I plunked fifty foot casts on an angle and then took three lateral footsteps, while I counted off twenty seconds to allow the flies to sink, and then I stripped the flies with rapid twelve inch pulls. I repeated this cycle time after time, until I reached the southeastern corner of the lake.

I Covered This Shoreline

Shortly after lunch I inspected my flies and noted that the go2 sparkle pupa hook was missing its point. Just prior to this I noted a blue damsel fly, as it fluttered over the water, so I used this as justification to tie a Charlie Craven wiggle damsel to my line. The wiggle damsel proved effective on the lakes in Patagonia, so why not test it in Flatiron Reservoir? My hunch was a winner, and I moved the fish count from one to six during the early afternoon, as the rainbow trout slashed the damsel nymph. I would not describe this as white hot action, but the takes were consistent enough to support the repetitive cast, step and strip game. All the landed trout during Tuesday’s outing were rainbows in the nine to thirteen inch range.

Wiggle Damsel Came Through

Damsel in the Lip

When I reached the southwest corner of the lake, I climbed a short path to a two track lane that had not been used for awhile as evidenced by the overgrown weeds. I hiked back to the dam and decided to cover the section that I skipped, when I first arrived. I was surprised to encounter a young couple, as they inflated their kayak, and this puzzled me, since I read that no boating or swimming was permitted. I decided not to pry into their affairs and walked a courteous distance beyond them to resume my casting.

I repeated the cast, step, count and strip routine and landed the sixth trout of the day by 2:45PM. At this point the intermittent clouds disappeared, and the sky was pure blue, and this in turn created a very still atmosphere. The smooth surface of the lake in these conditions assumed the appearance of a mirror, and random surface dimples began to appear along the shoreline. My arm was very tired from chucking the streamers and lead, and I was bored by the repetitive routine, so I decided to try a dry fly during my remaining time on the lake.

Parachute Adams Out There

I removed the split shot, woolly bugger, and damsel nymph and dug a size 22 parachute Adams from one of the cylindrical canisters that I carry in the zippered pocket in my wader bib. I added some 5X for a finer more supple tippet and then knotted the Adams to the line. Fly fishing on Flatirons Reservoir now became a game of cast and wait. When I spotted a dimple and ring on the surface, I fluttered a cast to the vicinity, and then waited in hopes that the underwater eater would find my offering. Sometimes the wait extended for three or five minutes, before the slight drift caused me to recast.

On one of these interminable waits I was shocked when a trout darted to the surface and consumed the Adams. I was attentive enough to respond with a lift, and I connected for a split second, before the feisty feeder escaped. Despite my disappointment over the lost opportunity, I scanned the shoreline farther south, and I was pleased to notice another series of random rises. I moved fifteen yards, and renewed my quest for dry fly success.

Dry Fly Fan

Finally around three o’clock another lake resident created a bulge under my small dry fly, and this time I set the hook and battled a twelve inch rainbow into my net. A brief celebration with myself ensued, and then I released number seven to return to its normal life. With this small victory in hand, I hooked the fly to my rod guide and returned to the car and ended my exploration of Flatirons Reservoir.

Prickly Pear Cactus Blooms

All in all Tuesday was a nice day. I broke my losing streak and landed seven rainbow trout in four hours of fishing. I managed to fool one on a dry fly, and I rediscovered the effectiveness of the wiggle damsel. Lake fishing will likely be my only option for the next week or two, as I wait for the rivers and streams to drop to manageable levels.

Fish Landed: 7