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

 

Brush Creek – 10/26/2018

Time: 10:45AM – 11:45AM

Location: Confluence with Eagle River upstream to just beyong US 6

Brush Creek 10/26/2018 Photo Album

After spending my second night at the Gaboury’s luxurious home in Eagle Ranch, my friend Dave G. was finally free to join me in some fly fishing. The night before we discussed a split session with a few hours in the morning on Brush Creek followed by an early afternoon session on the Eagle River. Based on my experience on the Eagle during the same calendar time period in 2017, I was fairly certain that we would encounter a decent blue winged olive hatch in the PM.

On Friday morning we tracked the hourly temperature on my weather application, and the graph displayed 45 degrees for 10AM warming to 49 by 11AM. Upon seeing this projection of chill, Dave G. decided to forego Brush Creek, so I made the short drive to Brush Creek Confluence Park myself. Although the air temperature was in fact in the forties, as I strung my Orvis Access four weight and pulled on my waders, the bright sun made it seem much milder. I wore my long sleeved insulated Columbia undershirt, my fishing shirt and a gray fleece; and I was relatively comfortable during my one hour on lower Brush Creek.

When I was properly attired and geared up, I completed the short hike on a well worn path to the point where Brush Creek empties into the Eagle River. The Eagle was quite turbid, so I was not tempted to make a few prospecting casts to the run below the merge point. I immediately veered to the left and knotted a peacock hippy stomper and iron sally to my line.

Nice Start on Friday

Over the next hour I progressed upstream, until I was just above the US 6 bridge that spanned the creek. Along the way I cast the two fly dry/dropper to all the likely trout holding locations. I maintained a decent distance, as the water was at low autumn flows, and I was very efficient in my prospecting. For the most part I limited my casts to three per spot, and only a couple places merited five or six drifts.

Representative of My Catch on Brush Creek on Friday

The strategy rewarded me with six landed brown trout in one hour of focused fly fishing, but all the trout were in the ten to eleven inch range. I was pleased with my catch rate but disappointed with the size of the fish. My cautious approaches were mainly effective, although I did observe a few fleeing trout at the tail of select pools. At 11:45 I reeled up my line and hooked the iron sally to the bottom rod guide and returned to the car.

Fish Landed: 6

 

Brush Creek – 03/14/2017

Time: 2:30PM – 5:30PM

Location: Tributary to the Eagle River.

Brush Creek 03/14/2017 Photo Album

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.

Looks Very Fishy

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.

Dave Gaboury’s Rod Is Bent

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.

In Better Light

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.

Another Gorgeous Rainbow Trout

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.

One of Four Fine Rainbows

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

Brush Creek – 04/30/2016

Time: 10:30AM – 1:30PM

Location: Confluence with Eagle River and then upstream in Eagle Ranch Water.

Fish Landed: 1

Brush Creek 04/30/2016 Photo Album

Saturday April 30 was our getaway day from Eagle Ranch, and the weather forecast appeared to be a mirror image of what Dave G and I endured on Friday. The high temperature was projected to peak at fifty degrees, and rain and snow were expected to descend off and on throughout the duration of the day. Dave G was unable to reach the owners of the private water to secure approval, so we made alternative plans.

Dave G. suggested that we begin fishing in the Eagle River at the confluence with Brush Creek. This strategy would enable us to fish in the bigger water of the Eagle in case the action and size of fish we experienced on Friday translated to the lower water by the confluence. If the Eagle was not productive, we could move into Brush Creek. I approved of Dave G.’s plan, and it was 39 degrees when we parked at the lot off of Violet Lane at 10:30 and hiked to the river. I bundled up similar to Friday, and I felt like the Michelin man of tire advertisement fame.

Two other fishermen were preparing to fish, so we hustled to beat them to the confluence. Fortunately we already had our waders on and our rods rigged, so we were successful in our efforts to reach the water first. We made a beeline for the deep run below where Brush Creek merges with the Eagle River, and I began my quest for fish with a beaded red San Juan worm and trailed an ultra zug bug behind it.

Dave G was ready before me, so he took the top half of the run below the entrance of Brush Creek, and I began in the bottom half. I fished it thoroughly for fifteen minutes with no results, so I moved to the attractive edge pockets above Brush Creek. I covered the deepest areas, and half way through this pursuit I exchanged the ultra zug bug for a salad spinner. I did not sniff any action, so I reeled up my flies and joined Dave G on Brush Creek. By now the two fishermen in the parking lot were scanning Brush Creek, and it appeared they were about to fish from the Eagle River up to Violet Lane, so Dave G and I returned to the car and moved to the shoulder of Violet Lane just below the route 6 bridge.

We advanced upstream from there and prospected a very nice long run and pool. I switched to a fat Albert with a beadhead hares ear and salad spinner, but this change did not improve my success rate to something greater than zero. Dave G was fairly convinced that Brush Creek was not going to be productive, since this honey hole did not produce, so we debated whether to move upstream to the Eagle Ranch section of Brush or to return to the Horn Ranch segment of the Eagle River, where we had decent success on Friday.

Because it was cold and Brush Creek was closer and easier to fish, and we were already rigged with dry/dropper configurations, we chose Brush Creek. Horn Ranch would have entailed switching back to a nymphing rig. We walked the short distance back to the car and drove back to Eagle Ranch where we parked at the bridge on Capitol Street and bushwhacked through the meadow until we reached the upper border of the private water. Over the next 1.5 hours we worked our way back to the Capitol Street bridge before quitting for the day.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-QcpaoDPOQ3E/VyafxFBvcpI/AAAAAAAA9Yw/nUv7XvxIizQDURm2WL_a2sHZi00BVwZQQCHM/s144-o/P4300058.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6279882385263848225#6279882395926622866″ caption=”This Pool Yielded My Only Fish on the Day” type=”image” alt=”P4300058.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

The second pool that I fished outside the private water was a huge bend pool where the current ran directly into a high bank and deflected at a ninety degree turn. I lobbed several casts directly upstream so that the fat Albert and trailing flies floated along the current seam back toward the bank. On the fourth drift the fat Albert paused, and I set the hook and found myself attached to a fish. Initially I thought the fish was foul hooked, but once I coaxed it into my net, I realized that it wrapped some line around its body in its efforts to reach freedom, and the beadhead hares ear was firmly embedded in the corner of the mouth. I snapped some photos, as I was not certain I would see any additional fish besides this nice thirteen inch specimen.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YgMNytpZozs/Vyafw1yPsMI/AAAAAAAA9Ys/TrtPxYySze4ecL2Lb9zW4sal_CN-emDGwCHM/s144-o/P4300057.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6279882385263848225#6279882391835095234″ caption=”My One and Only Brush Creek Catch” type=”image” alt=”P4300057.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

After releasing the precious brown trout, I proceeded upstream and prospected all the likely sweet spots that delivered fish in past visits to this waterway. Nothing. Dave G., whose confidence was already tattered at the lower end of Brush Creek by the Eagle River, experienced the same success rate. At 1:30 we reached the bridge, and the fish gave us no reason to continue fishing, and the rain picked up a bit. We were both damp and chilled and hungry, so we called it quits and returned to the warmth of Dave G’s house.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RuYac8gdk0A/VyafxJI8h4I/AAAAAAAA9Y0/KGT6gCkdAokwnjjJj0LbiZ7JV8vsOpJPwCHM/s144-o/P4300059.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6279882385263848225#6279882397030582146″ caption=”A Tumbleweed Collection Point” type=”image” alt=”P4300059.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

Where were the fish? Dave G had no explanation. My theory is that Brush Creek is nearly 100% a brown trout fishery. Brown trout are much less opportunistic than rainbows or other trout species. The water was cold, and there was little evidence of any hatching activity, so the browns retreated to their prime holding lies for safety and to conserve energy until some more abundant food source lured them out to more open feeding locations. The spots we were fishing were the locations that they claimed for feeding when food was more abundant. If I were forced to return to Brush Creek under similar conditions as Saturday, I would switch to a streamer, and I would be very selective and strip the meat past the undercut banks and along logs and rocks where the brown trout might hold. Perhaps a large minnow or crawfish imitation might lure a cautious brown trout from the security of its protected lair.

My main accomplishment on Saturday was the confidence I earned in my ability to fish in relative comfort in forty degree temperatures. I wore three layers, a hat with ear flaps, a neck gaitor, and fingerless wool gloves. Dave G taught me that I needed to remove the gloves in the event of landing a fish so that they remained dry, and this was a very useful piece of information for withstanding cold weather angling. Hopefully some warmer temperatures will arrive in Colorado soon, and that will enable me to enjoy a few more days of stream fishing before the heavy run off commences.

Brush Creek – 08/12/2015

Time: 10:00AM – 2:00PM

Location: E. Fork from where road crosses below yurts and then lower Brush Creek from above private water to above Sylvan Lake Road bridge

Fish Landed: 5

Brush Creek 08/12/2015 Photo Album

I was floating on a cloud of euphoria after two fun days of fishing on the Elk River in British Columbia. After one day of recovery on Monday, Jane and I drove to Eagle, CO to visit our friends the Gabourys at Eagle Ranch. Since we arrived around noon on Tuesday, and Dave Gaboury was tied up with an issue related to a company where he serves on the board of directors, I decided to skip fishing. Jane and I did a nice bike ride around Eagle Ranch that included a return on the cinder bike path that borders Brush Creek. I used this as an opportunity to scout the stream, and immediately I was struck by how low the water was compared to my previous visit in July.

Dave G. and I discussed fishing options on Wednesday morning. I reported tough fishing on July 30 and 31 on the Eagle River, and when Todd Grubin joined us for dinner on Thursday night, he confirmed that the last two weeks were slow. I suggested the East Fork of Brush Creek within Sylvan Lake State Park, and Dave G. quickly agreed. On Wednesday morning we packed our lunches, and I drove to a parking area along the East Fork just below the yurts that can be rented within the state park. Dave G. extended his tenkara rod, and I assembled my Orvis Access four weight. In addition I wore my Simms neoprene wading boots and prepared to wade wet for the first time.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-47WoRszVnoc/Vc0Ob402CLI/AAAAAAAA2yA/G1R5UGPXCZs/s144-c-o/P8120089.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/08122015BrushCreek#6182613735722846386″ caption=”Jake’s Gulp Beetle” type=”image” alt=”P8120089.JPG” ]

The air temperature was cool and in the low 60’s as we began on the west side of the road and began working our way upstream. In fact initially I was concerned that I would need to return to the car to pull on my waders, as both legs felt numb from the frigid high elevation water. Fortunately as we began to fish, my thoughts turned away from cold legs and focused more on what flies might tempt these high elevation trout to rise. Dave G. elected to cast a renegade dry fly first, and I opted for Jake’s gulp beetle. It worked well over the weekend on the Elk River, so why would it not shine on this small creek with tall grass and vegetation on both sides. Surely beetles inhabited these plants, and the wind certainly deposited numerous quantities in the tumbling stream.

Dave G. connected first, and as I looked on, he landed several fish and experienced an equal number of refusals. Once he was done harassing the small fish in the first attractive pool, he ceded the upstream position to me. I flicked the beetle to a nice deep run, but there was no reaction. We continued playing hopscotch in this manner, and Dave G. continued to see more reaction to his fly than mine, so I switched to a size 12 peacock stimulator. After quite a bit of upstream wading, the stimulator finally duped a small brown trout, and I was on the scoreboard. Dave G. meanwhile was dissatisfied with the number of refusals created by his renegade, so he tied on a royal wulff.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nXc-UYRs5PU/Vc0OcRIN2tI/AAAAAAAA2yI/Ps2YlZhD9Uo/s144-c-o/P8120090.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/08122015BrushCreek#6182613742246550226″ caption=”Brush Creek Brown with Peacock Stimulator” type=”image” alt=”P8120090.JPG” ]

 [pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zIN1coExMUM/Vc0Oc2PlxWI/AAAAAAAA2zA/K0RKMMcbuGw/s144-c-o/P8120091.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/08122015BrushCreek#6182613752209589602″ caption=”The Brown Came from Area Below Stump” type=”image” alt=”P8120091.JPG” ]

After the stimulator registered one landed fish, it ceased to produce takes or even refusals, so I finally surrendered to adding a nymph dropper. I swapped the stimulator for a Chernobyl ant and then added a two foot tippet and a beadhead hares ear nymph. This improved my fortunes, and in a short deep run below some overhanging branches, the Chernobyl paused, and I made a quick hook set. I was shocked to see a substantial fish attached to the other end of my line, and when I eventually landed the feisty fighter, I discovered a thirteen inch brown trout in my net. A thirteen inch fish in the tiny East Fork is quite a catch, so I celebrated my good luck and moved on.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OjY7Odaim_Y/Vc0OdhKX83I/AAAAAAAA2yY/qwZQox35Fwc/s144-c-o/P8120092.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/08122015BrushCreek#6182613763730436978″ caption=”Giant for E. Fork Brush Creek” type=”image” alt=”P8120092.JPG” ]

It did not take long before I saw another pause in the ant and set the hook, and this time I found an eight inch brook trout. The brook trout was so pretty that I could not resist taking a photo despite its relatively diminutive size. Dave G. seemed to be passing me at shorter intervals by now, and he was voicing displeasure over the lack of action. I pressed ahead, but I knew that his frustration level would likely put an end to the East Fork adventure shortly. Just before noon I landed a small six inch brookie in a smooth shallow pool behind a large rock, and then I caught up to Dave G., and we decided to move downstream to Brush Creek in Eagle Ranch. Although I landed four fish in two hours, the action was admittedly rather slow, and I was amenable to making a change.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-X2SIFyxQVYI/Vc0Oe-WssBI/AAAAAAAA2yo/lVo_ztIKgO4/s144-c-o/P8120094.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/08122015BrushCreek#6182613788746625042″ caption=”Pretty Brook Trout” type=”image” alt=”P8120094.JPG” ]

We thrashed through some thick bushes until we reached the dirt road, and then we walked back to the Santa Fe and tossed our gear in the back. A brief fifteen minute drive brought us to the bridge on Sylvan Lake Road where I parked, and we grabbed our rods and tromped across a grassy field to the upstream border between the private water and the public Eagle Ranch section. Here we once again began playing the game of hopscotch as we worked our way upstream. The creek in Eagle Ranch was relatively low, although probably normal for the middle of August. The low clear conditions dictated much caution as one approached and cast to the deeper runs and pools.

Dave G. immediately began to experience success on his dropper, however, I was unable to unlock the secret code to catching these Eagle Ranch brown trout. I stuck to the Chernobyl ant and hares ear for awhile, but after a half hour with no success I switched back to Jake’s gulp beetle. This was rudely ignored, so I reverted to the Chernobyl ant with a hares ear and again the combination failed to excite fish. I swapped the hares ear for an ultra zug bug and then a salvation nymph, and none of these combinations put any weight on the end of my rod. Eventually I returned to the hares ear and picked up a six inch brown.

Dave G. began like a ball of fire, but after his initial success, he also found the fishing quite challenging. After two hours of difficult fly fishing on Brush Creek, we surrendered to the wild fish and called it a day. Wednesday on Brush Creek was disappointing, but the weather was pleasant and the scenery was outstanding. The August doldrums have officially arrived, and I now plan to seek out high elevation creeks and tailwaters to offset the impact of high temperatures and low flows.

Brush Creek – 03/28/2015

Time: 3:00PM – 5:00PM

Location: Private water up to Sylvan Lake Road bridge

Fish Landed: 2

Brush Creek 03/28/2015 Photo Album

Tom, Dave G. and I returned to the Gaboury house in Eagle Ranch and relaxed for a bit after eating our lunches. It was a gorgeous spring day in the Rocky Mountains and the temperature reached the low 70’s. By 2:30 we were sufficiently rested to embark on another fishing expedition, and this time we chose the convenient nearby Brush Creek. As we crossed the stream on our way back from the Eagle River, I glanced down and noted that Brush Creek was crystal clear.

We climbed back into our waders and jumped in my car and drove to the bridge where Brush Creek flows under Sylvan Lake Road. Our first move was to try the deep run just upstream from the bridge. Dave G. and Tom advanced to the sweet spot and began casting a dry/dropper, while I converted from deep nymphing to the dry/dropper technique. The flows were higher than during my visits in late summer and September, but still quite ideal as it was easy to read the likely fishing holding locations. Slapping a thingamabobber and split shot would have disturbed the water excessively, and snags and hang ups would have been frequent and frustrating.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/-oU9V4pRn-yg/VRiUUZHgSII/AAAAAAAAyT8/SBCVSYe5Nko/s144-c-o/P3280170.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/03282015EagleRiver#6131813970725587074″ caption=”Dave G. and Tom Stake a Nice Run on Brush Creek” type=”image” alt=”P3280170.JPG” ]

I elected to tie on a small Chernobyl ant and added an ultra zug bug below it and then attached a beadhead soft hackle emerger. I was hoping that blue winged olives were present in Brush Creek, and fish had a long memory as we were a bit late in the afternoon to expect an emergence. Finally I was ready and began casting to some small marginal pockets below the long juicy run being prospected by Dave G. and Tom. No fish were evident, so I moved below the point of a tiny island and tossed a couple casts to a small deep run on the north side of the island. Nothing showed in the bottom half of the run, so I decided to go for broke and fired a cast to the very top. Unfortunately there was a small log protruding along the upper edge, and I wrapped my flies around it. I waded to the location of my tangle, and as I approached a nice trout bolted from cover and shot downstream. Disappointment reigned.

Dave G. extracted three browns from the premium run, and now we climbed back to the road, crossed, and walked across the grassy flat to the end of the private water. At this point we played hopscotch and alternated from one attractive hole to the next. Tom and Dave G. moved as a team, and Dave G. was assisting Tom in casting and reading the water. I made one jump when I reached a long narrow run next to a high undercut bank. I was just above Tom and Dave G. who were thoroughly and expertly covering the tail of the long run just below me.

I actually saw a small brown rise, so I I began drifting my three flies through the general area where the fish appeared, but my flies were ignored until on perhaps the fifth drift closer to the undercut, the Chernobyl dodged sideways. I executed a solid hook set and felt some significant weight, but it was only momentary, and the line went limp. When I reeled up my flies I discovered that the soft hackle emerger was missing so indeed my hook set was apparently more than solid.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/-wXqVcSQxUvI/VRiUWGq5zdI/AAAAAAAAyRM/VJvcBt6vgxE/s144-c-o/P3280173.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/03282015EagleRiver#6131814000133524946″ caption=”Rainbow Rose Three Feet to the Left of the Log” type=”image” alt=”P3280173.JPG” ]

On I moved leapfrogging the fishing tandem a few more times until I came to another twenty foot long run next to another protruding log. This log however was right in front of me, and I had no problem drifting my flies several feet to the left. On the second drift I spotted the flash of a fish refusing the Chernobyl, and usually this means I will have no success, but I ignored the norm and tossed another cast upstream so the flies drifted back along the current seam a foot or two to the left of the previous lane. Near the end of the drift I observed a fish slowly shifting to the left, and then it sipped the Chernobyl ant. This fish was a rainbow, and it put up a brief battle before I subdued it in my net and snapped a couple photos. This was my first fish caught on a dry fly in the new season, and the exhilaration of a surface take remains one of the highlights of fly fishing.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/-w5t7Dlyl4fA/VRiUVtprQ7I/AAAAAAAAyRE/LIIuVXUaHm8/s144-c-o/P3280172.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/03282015EagleRiver#6131813993417491378″ caption=”The Rainbow Extended” type=”image” alt=”P3280172.JPG” ]

For the next hour I continued to skip around Tom and Dave G., but I was having no success. When the water is low and clear, I suspect that this method of fishing spooks a lot of fish as it is difficult to skirt the stream during the upstream detours. At any rate, my flies were no longer producing, and we finally reached the Sylvan Lake Bridge close to 5PM. Tom and Dave G. returned to the juicy run where they had begun their afternoon venture, and I once again worked some marginal spots below the bridge and then just above. I was wading to the bottom tip of the small island, when I saw Dave G. waving his arms. Clearly they wanted my presence, so I advanced to the base of the run and discovered a gorgeous brown trout in excess of 15 inches in Dave’s net. They were motioning me as Tom had landed this big boy, and they wanted to capture it in digital form. I snapped a photo of Tom holding the net and then a shot of the wild brown in the net and finally a couple shots of Tom gripping the brown with two hands.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh6.ggpht.com/-rF0SSqyi0T0/VRiUXQak4hI/AAAAAAAAyRg/5stdJ0YD3b0/s144-c-o/P3280175.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/03282015EagleRiver#6131814019929268754″ caption=”A Beauty of a Brown Trout” type=”image” alt=”P3280175.JPG” ]

Once my photography chores were complete, Dave G. suggested I take one last shot at the fish that I spooked on the other side of the small island, so I obliged. I did not require much encouragement. I cautiously positioned myself at the tip of the island and once again made a few short casts at the tail to no avail. It was now time to go for all the marbles so I lofted a cast to the top of the run, but learned from my past mistake and avoided the log. As the Chernobyl drifted back along the small current seam a fish nosed the surface and sucked in the fraudulent ant. I reacted and played a 13 inch brown to my net. Again I snapped photos and then gently nudged the catch back into the stream.

[pe2-image src=”http://lh4.ggpht.com/-C6cGG4iNbcw/VRiUZhuBmAI/AAAAAAAAySA/F4ywvm4-esc/s144-c-o/P3280179.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/03282015EagleRiver#6131814058933983234″ caption=”Deep Golden Color on this Fish” type=”image” alt=”P3280179.JPG” ]

It was an exciting end to a pleasant afternoon on Brush Creek. After an enjoyable morning on the Eagle River, two nice trout landed on Brush Creek were nice additions to a successful early spring day of fishing.

Brush Creek – 07/06/2014

Time: 11:00AM – 3:00PM

Location: Downstream boundary of the “private water” to the road near Bryse Gaboury’s lot

Fish Landed: 8

Brush Creek 07/06/2014 Photo Album

Before Jane and I arrived at Eagle Ranch, Dave G. called the owner of the “private water” and reserved Sunday, 7/6/14 for our personal enjoyment. Dave has cultivated a positive relationship with the owners of the private water by being respectful and providing occasional gifts as appreciation for allowing him access. The private water is roughly a .5 mile stretch within Eagle Ranch, and it contains numerous bends and pools as it winds its way through a large meadow. The combination of bends and limited access make this a very desirable piece of water to fish, and I’m always grateful that Dave G. invites me to join him.

Once again we asked Jane to drop us off near the beginning of the private water, and we began walking down a path at around 11AM. I elected to begin with a Chernobyl ant and a beadhead hares ear plus a salvation nymph, but I covered quite a bit of water without landing any fish. Because of the lack of action, I switched the salvation nymph for an emerald caddis pupa, and in an eddy, I landed my first fish. It was a brown trout that measured approximately twelve inches long.

A Brightly Colored Brush Creek Brown on Sunday

A Brightly Colored Brush Creek Brown on Sunday

Next I found myself at the bottom of a huge deep pool where the stream makes a ninety degree bend. I tossed several casts to the lower end of the pool and landed two small browns that couldn’t resist the caddis pupa. Perhaps I stumbled on to a winning fly.

Dave G. and I found ourselves across from each other, and he informed me that a purple San Juan worm had produced nearly all of his fish. I didn’t have any purple worms in my possession, so I tried a brown and light pink version to no avail. Next I added a red rock worm such as the variety that produced well on the North Platte River, but this also failed to attract any fish. Eventually I gave up on my worm patterns since apparently the fish were selective to purple, and I tied on a bright green caddis pupa.

Several Small Browns Came from This Deep Bend Pool

Several Small Browns Came from This Deep Bend Pool

The green caddis pupa produced a rainbow when I twitched my flies next to an undercut bank, and then I landed a small brown before the Brush Creek Road bridge. Above the bridge I landed another 12 inch brown on the hares ear nymph after a momentary hook up and refusal to the Chernobyl ant. The water above the bridge was quite fast and straight with minimal places to fish, but I did manage to hook and play a large brown in one of the few attractive spots. Unfortunately after quite a tussle, the fish managed to get in the fast current, and as I took my first step to follow it downstream, the fish made a sudden move and broke off three flies; a Chernobyl ant, hares ear nymph, and salvation nymph.

I continued on and managed one more small brown and then reached an angled pool near Bryse Gaboury’s lot. As Dave G. was quite a distance downstream, I took the time to switch my floating line for a sink tip and tied on a sculpzilla that I’d purchased for Argentina. The big ugly olive concoction produced three follows from small fish, but none chose to close the deal and bite on the big streamer.

Wildflowers Along Brush Creek

Wildflowers Along Brush Creek

I somehow managed to land eight fish, but they were mostly small with only a couple extending to 12 inches. Overall it was a slow day, but it was still fly fishing in Colorado, and that is always fun.

Brush Creek – 07/05/2014

Time: 4:00PM – 6:00PM

Location: Confluence with Eagle River up to split in Brush Creek downstream from the Gaboury’s house

Fish Landed: 5

Brush Creek 07/05/2014 Photo Album

After a fun morning of edge fishing the Eagle River at 900 cfs, Dave G. and I returned to the Gaboury house where we ate leftover barbecue from the neighborhood Fourth of July party. We hadn’t had our fill of fishing after three hours on the Eagle River, so we decided to undertake a second outing on Brush Creek. Once again we enlisted Jane to be our taxi driver, and she drove down Violet Lane and dropped us off next to the open space path that leads to the confluence of the Eagle River and Brush Creek. Again a red pick up truck was parked beneath route 6, but this time we chose to ignore it, and made the assumption that a fishermen would have passed through this stretch of Brush Creek hours ago.

When we reached the mouth of Brush Creek, I fished a short stretch of the Eagle downstream but had no success. I then waded across a rather swift Brush Creek and fished along the Eagle for a short distance before turning my attention to the smaller tributary. As was the case on Friday, Brush Creek was still flowing at a high level with only a few spots that fish could find refuge in and fishermen could fish. I began walking along the left or north bank and came upon Dave G. fairly quickly. Through no planning, it worked out that we were on opposite sides of the stream as we progressed back toward Eagle Ranch.

In a long straight stretch below Violet Lane I encountered a three foot wide swath of slower moving water next to the bank and tossed my pool toy and salvation nymph within a foot of the bank. The pool toy drifted a short distance when it paused, and my reflexes took over with a solid hook set. The fish reacted with a dive and head thrashing and then a brief downstream attempt at escape, but I managed to maintain control and landed a beautiful 15 inch brown that consumed the salvation nymph. My good fortune from the morning seemed to be continuing.

Fine Chunky Brown from Brush Creek on Saturday

Fine Chunky Brown from Brush Creek on Saturday

Once I’d released the husky brown, I ventured further upstream under route 6 and then contorted myself to scramble over a steep bank and through some difficult wooden thickets. Next came a long straight fast riffle stretch, and that did not offer any viable locations to cast a fly. Finally in a deep pocket next to the bank below a dead tree branch, I landed two chunky twelve inch brown trout. I was thrilled to experience some action after a long dry spell.

Once again I skipped around quite a bit of water that offered few holding spots, and then passed under the Sylvan Lake Road bridge. From the bridge to the point where Brush Creek divides into two roughly equal channels, I landed two small 6-8 inch browns from marginal areas. The split afforded me an opportunity to cross the brawling stream, so I took advantage and met Dave G, and we decided to return to the house so we could prepare for a dinner date at Pastatively with Jane and Beth. Brush Creek continued to be tough fishing with few viable spots that could yield fish, but I’d managed to pick up five fish in two hours including a 16 inch beauty.

Brush Creek – 07/04/2014

Time: 3:30PM – 5:00PM

Location: Upstream boundary with private water to Sylvan Lake Road bridge

Fish Landed: 2

Brush Creek 07/04/2014 Photo Album

Dave and Beth Gaboury invited us to join them for the Fourth of July weekend at their house in Eagle Ranch, CO, and we quickly accepted. Eagle Ranch is a beautiful development south of Eagle, CO in the valley between the town and Sylvan Lake. We packed our bicycles, fishing gear, and suitcases; and made the drive on the morning of the Fourth of July. Unfortunately we encountered heavy traffic from the bottom of Floyd Hill through the small tunnels east of Idaho Springs, but we eventually arrived at the Gaboury’s house on Founders Avenue by 1:15. After a quick lunch, Dave was ready to fish, so we put on our waders and threw our rods in the 4 Runner, and Jane drove us to Violet Lane. Our plan was to walk down the trail along Brush Creek in the open space area and then fish back to the Gaboury house.

When we arrived, however, there was a red pick up truck parked under route 6, so we elected to fish a different stretch of Brush Creek. Jane drove us back around the circle on Sylvan Lake Road and eventually dropped us off in Eagle Ranch where we could cross a field and meet the creek just above the private water. The stream was clear, but the level was still quite high thus offering few attractive locations to fish. Fish could only hold in spots along the bank where obstacles slowed the rushing water, and these were the locations that two fishermen covered in alternating fashion.

I began with a chubby Chernobyl and added a salvation nymph and emerald caddis pupa, and in a short amount of time Dave G. and I encountered a huge deep pool at a 90 degree bend in the river. I was standing on the bank just downstream of where the main current deflected off the bank and made a turn and then flowed beneath my position. Before I could cast I saw a fish rise twice and much to my surprise on the third drift of my flies, the fish rose and attacked the chubby Chernobyl. I made a quick lift and hooked the eleven inch brown, but it quickly managed to wiggle free. I was pleased to experience some quick action early in my fishing outing.

Next I moved forward eight feet until I was standing directly above the point where the current was swirling against the bank, so I tossed my three flies upstream and allowed them to drift along the edge of the current seam. I looked away for a spit second and when I returned my gaze, the fly was no longer visible. I quickly reacted with a hook set and felt the weight of a decent fish, but once again this fish escaped, and I was more disappointed than after the previous lost encounter.

I moved on and navigated through some muck that bordered a beaver dam and next found a small slack water area just above a point where the current once again deflected off the opposite bank. There was some tall grass hanging over a small bank next to the slow moving pool, and I thought I noticed a slight flash on one of my drifts. I kept working my flies until they were within an inch of the overhanging grass, and the Chernobyl darted causing me to set the hook and land a chunky 12 inch brown. This fish was not large, but I was rather pleased that I’d observed the subtle signs of his presence and coaxed him out of a difficult lie.

Nice Brown Landed on Friday in Brush Creek

Nice Brown Landed on Friday in Brush Creek

Again I moved upstream to a nice 5 foot by 5 foot swirling pocket at the top of a long run. Dave G. advised me that he was having success with a beadhead hares ear, so I swapped the bottom fly to that proven fly and after quite a few casts, the top fly dipped and I hooked a nice 12 inch brown trout. Again I walked upstream along the edge of the water and found another possible holding area not far from the road. Here I hooked what appeared to be a decent sized fish, but it swam downstream to some heavy current, and instead of following along with the fish, I attempted to apply side pressure. This was a lapse in judgement and the battling brown trout snapped off all three of my flies. Needless to say, I was quite upset with my fishing abilities after this turn of events.

Dave G. Approaching

Dave G. Approaching

I took some time to reconfigure my line and tied on a yellow pool toy and another beadhead hares ear on a three foot dropper. I caught up to Dave G. just above the bridge, and while he fished a deep riffle, I went above him. But the water was rushing downstream in this area with no current breaks, so I circled back to a spot between the bridge and Dave G. where there was a short five foot wide and eight foot long pocket behind some large rocks. I flicked the yellow pool toy to the edge of some white frothy water, and I was surprised to see a substantial brown trout emerge from the bubbling water and snatch my fly. I immediately set the hook and the fight was on. The brown thrashed about in the pocket and moved from side to side, but then it slid into the faster current toward the middle of the small stream. I allowed the fish to swim downstream and let the line slide through my fingers until the trout paused 15 feet below me. I started to stumble along the bank to get next to the fish, but before I could take more than a step or two, the fish veered back into the heavy current, and at this point, my line went limp, and I’d once again lost a fish and two more flies. I was even more exasperated than after losing the previous fish, so Dave G. and I decided to call it a day, and we hiked back to the house to prepare for the neighborhood Fourth of July party.