Brush Creek – 07/06/2013

Time: 1:00PM – 3:00PM, 6:00PM – 8:30PM

Location: Private water to Sylvan Lake Road

Fish Landed: 20

Brush Creek 07/06/2013 Photo Album

Dave G. called and reserved the stretch of private water for Saturday so we made plans to fish in Brush Creek for a second day, and why not with the excellent results experienced on Friday evening?

After breakfast Dave, Beth, Jane and I drove to Sylvan Lake State Park and explored the lake and adjacent campground. Jane and I had never been there so we hiked around the lake and then returned to the Gaboury’s house and grabbed some lunch. After lunch Dave G. and I put our waders on and geared up to fish the private water of Brush Creek. I took my phone along in a zip lock bag so I could call Jane or Beth for a pick up once we completed our afternoon fishing stint.

We began fishing just west of the private water and Dave G. was immediately into several fish. I began with the Chernobyl ant and beadhead hares ear and stayed with this combination the entire two hours we fished in the afternoon except for a brief period when I switched the hares ear for an emerald beadhead caddis pupa. The caddis pupa actually yielded a 14 inch brown, but Dave G. continued to have success with the hares ear so I reverted back to that productive fly. In the two hours we fished in the afternoon I landed 14 brown trout with two rising for the Chernobyl, one hitting the caddis pupa, and the remainder grabbing the trailing hares ear.

At one point I was walking through a muddy area on a high bank cautiously planting my feet so I would not slide. It appeared that beavers had been working this area as there were shallow troughs that connected the marshy field to the stream. As I stepped into one of the deeper channels I noticed movement and stared down to discover a trout in the one foot deep puddle. I waited for the muddy water created by my footstep to clear a bit and then was able to see a brown trout in excess of 15 inches. I reached down with my right hand and grabbed the brown and pushed it into my net and then walked to the rim of the high bank and released it into a nice large pool that Dave G. had already fished through. Why was this nice large brown landlocked in a tiny one foot deep trench? My only theory is that it ventured from the stream on a side channel created by beavers when the water was high due to run off and then the stream level dropped quickly leaving my friend landlocked. I felt good about returning this nice fish to Brush Creek and hopefully it will live to be caught and released by other fishermen in the future.

Dave G and His Fine Catch

Dave G and His Fine Catch

The highlight of the afternoon was a 17 inch brown that grabbed the hares ear near the top of a run. The large fish immediately dove and shook its head then made a couple hard but short spurts downstream and back up until I scooped it into my net. Dave G. snapped some nice photos before I gently released the healthy brown back into the cold currents. Just prior to my highlight Dave G. landed a bright yellow 18 inch wild brown, and I was able to record some video and capture some nice fin and grin shots of Dave and his prize catch.

Dave W with His 17 Inch Brown

Dave W with His 17 Inch Brown

When we reached Sylvan Lake Road I called Jane and Beth for taxi service, and we waited only a few minutes before our ride appeared. Once again I took a late afternoon bike ride with Beth and Jane and upon my return, Dave G. and I prepared to fish again. We asked to be dropped off at the very same spot as the morning and covered the same private water and Eagle Ranch public water to the east. I once again began with the Chernobyl ant and hares ear, but after covering two attractive stretches with no results decided to switch to a dark olive deer hair caddis. This was partially prompted by my spotting a nice rise along a juicy deep run.

Initially I received a few refusals to the caddis, but then I noticed a couple little yellow sallies fluttering up from the water and added a yellow sally as a second dry fly below the caddis. I moved on and began receiving refusals to the yellow sally, but I stuck with the combination and eventually had a hot streak where I caught four on the caddis in short order. At this point I began to overanalyze. Dave G. switched from dry/dropper to a royal wulff and began to catch fish with regularity. I remembered using a royal stimulator on Brush Creek in the evening with great success, so I clipped off my two flies and tied on a royal stimulator. This brought me nothing but refusals, so I added the caddis that had produced as a second fly behind the stimulator.

I somehow managed to catch a small fish on the caddis, but more often than not, the fish were focusing on the royal stimulator that passed over them first and refusing it. I decided to join Dave and sorted through one of my boxes and found a royal wulff and tied it on. Almost immediately I landed a small brown, but this success quickly gave way to refusals. As the daylight waned, I removed my sunglasses and put on my regular lenses and pulled my headlamp on to my head. For some reason I clung to the idea that the royal stimulator would produce in the low light and I returned to it as my only fly. Of course it failed to hook any fish and before long it was 8:30 and we called for our rides and returned home for dinner. I’ll never know if sticking to the subsurface approach would have outproduced the dry flies.

It was still another great day on Brush Creek with 20 total fish landed including several in the 15 to 17 inch range.

Brush Creek – 07/05/2013

Time: 4:30PM – 7:30PM

Location: Behind Gaboury’s house then junction of Eagle River and Brush Creek to Sylvan Lake Road

Fish Landed: 12

Brush Creek 07/05/2013 Photo Album

After a nice lunch at the Grand Avenue Cafe we all returned to the Gaboury house, and then I went for a bike ride with Jane. The sun came out, but there were still some fairly large clouds floating by and keeping it from getting too hot. Dave G. and I decided to fish the bottom stretch of Brush Creek from the confluence with the Eagle River back to the house, but before Dave G. was ready at around 5:30, I headed to Brush Creek where it flows directly behind the house. I probably spent half an hour covering this short stretch of water and managed to land two browns and experienced long distance releases on two additional fish. One of the landed fish was an eleven inch brown and the other a nice 14-15 inch chunky fish. The larger brown and one of the momentary hookups grabbed the beadhead hares ear as it drifted along the bank in a very tight narrow one foot band between the bank and the current. I’m always amazed when large fish hang out in these type of locations.

At 5:30PM Dave G. appeared behind the house so we had Jane drop us off at Violet Lane and hiked down a path to the confluence with the Eagle River. I kept the Chernobyl ant and beadhead hares ear from the morning on my line and prospected the Eagle River right below the confluence with Brush Creek for a bit with no action and then moved up into Brush Creek. After only 25 feet or so we encountered a place where the small stream split around a tiny island so I explored the smaller right channel where there was a deep rocky hole. When I cast tight against a rock and as I lifted the flies so they wouldn’t snag, I felt some weight and set the hook then landed a fifteen inch brown trout and then photographed it.

Brush Creek Brown Landed Above Confluence with Eagle River

Brush Creek Brown Landed Above Confluence with Eagle River

We proceeded up the small stream playing hopscotch and circling around each other from one nice hole to the next. Not long after landing the fifteen inch fish, I lost my balance while standing in the middle of a riffle and sat back in the water inducing a wave of ice cold flow over the top of my waders. It was too early in our evening fishing venture to return to the house so I ignored the wetness and fished on and in fact settled into a nice rhythm and began catching fish at a steady rate. I landed another five trout as I worked under Violet Lane and route 6 and then upstream past the trailer park. Three snared the hares ear nymph and two smashed the Chernobyl ant on the surface.

By the time I reached the trailer park, the action slowed and Dave G. was up ahead so I skipped some water until I encountered a beautiful deep run that fed into a pool just above the trailer park. As I surveyed the water I spotted a rise in the center of the pool so I switched to a light gray caddis. I flicked a short cast across from my position and allowed the caddis to drift down the center current into the pool in the dim light and just as the fly reached the spot where I’d spied a rise, an eleven inch brown rose and slurped it in.

As this was unfolding I thought I spotted another rise across and slightly above my position. It was hard to determine whether it was a rise or riffle as it occurred at the tail of a secondary feeder run into the pool and there was a strong sun glare hitting the water. I cast my fly above the presumed rise and, wham, another twelve inch brown came to my net. Finally before leaving the pool I made an upstream cast to some slack water between the left bank and the main current, and a nice chunky thirteen inch brown attacked the caddis. I had taken three fish from this one area and all were fooled by the light gray caddis. Perhaps I was on to something.

I moved up under the Sylvan Lake Road bridge and approached a nice deep slick behind a rock in the center of the creek and flicked the caddis to the current seam. Another thirteen inch brown rocketed to the surface and sucked in the fraudulent caddis, and now I was pretty pumped thinking I unlocked the secret to some great evening hatch matching. Next I fished around a large horseshoe bend and covered what appeared to be some great water with a huge pool and some deep runs along undercut banks, but surprisingly this yielded no results. Later Dave G. told me he encountered several groups of fishermen in this area,  but I didn’t know this and probably should have skipped over the disturbed water.

After completing the horseshoe, the stream returned to the road, and feeling chilled because of the dunking and my watch displaying 7:30, I climbed over the fence and hiked back to the Gaboury house. In spite of the spill, it was a fun evening on Brush Creek.

Brush Creek – 07/14/2012

Time: 10:00AM – 12:00PM, 5:00PM – 7:30PM

Location: Eagle Ranch Rd bridge to Brice’s land, Undercut bank through private water to Eagle Ranch Rd bridge

Fish Landed: 6

Brush Creek 07/14/2012 Photo Album

Dave G. called the landowners of a private stretch of Brush Creek and obtained permission to fish through it on Saturday, so that was part of our gameplan. Dave suggested that we fish Brush Creek from the Eagle Ranch Road bridge upstream to the southern end of the Eagle Ranch property in the morning, and then fish the private water in the evening, and I readily agreed to the plan. After a hearty breakfast with Beth and Jane, Dave and I prepared to fish, and Beth drove us to the bridge where we began fishing. We once again employed the hopscotching method and built cairns to denote where the upstream fisherman entered the water.

I began fishing the water closest to the bridge while Dave changed his flies from the previous outing. I decided to go with my standard starting pair of flies, a yellow Letort hopper with a beadhead hares ear nymph. I didn’t have any luck in the first short run so I moved up to a nice ten foot long pool. On the first cast I witnessed a refusal from a small fish and then on the second cast my trailing nymph snagged on a submerged stick. I waded into the pool to free my fly and disturbed it, so I moved on to the next stretch. This was very attractive water with a long 25 foot pool and the main current flowing along the grassy left bank.

I began casting to the lower part of the pool where it tailed out but didn’t have any luck, so I moved up a bit and was standing at the very bottom of the pool. I shot a few casts up higher in the slack water to the right of the current and again had no reaction. However on perhaps the third cast closer to the edge of the current a huge head appeared which engulfed my fly. I set the hook thinking the fish had taken the hopper, and the fish immediately arched above the water so I could see it was a nice football shaped brown. Next the brown shot to the left and headed for the undercut bank. I continued to apply side pressure and moved it away from the bank. By now Dave G. had come up behind me and was watching the ensuing battle. The brown kept trying to go under the bank, and I kept guiding it back out. After three or four of these episodes, the brown made an upstream run and then quickly stopped. I frantically reeled up line to maintain tension as I worked the fish back toward me, and then the torpedo shot by me and went five feet below. I could see by now that the fly was in the brown trout’s mouth. I pivoted around and worked the tiring fish back above me a bit and guided it up on some exposed midstream rocks and then slid the net underneath. I now noticed that the beadhead hares ear was lodged in the corner of the mouth. Dave G. hypothesized that the brown turned away from the hopper and grabbed the nymph on the downturn. Dave G. graciously snapped a nice photo of me holding my prize trout, and I returned it to Brush Creek to grow and be caught again.

Dave with Catch of the Weekend – 16 Inch Brown

Shortly after this experience I landed a twelve inch brown on the beadhead hares ear in a similar spot along a current seam near the left bank. I’d caught two fish within the first half hour, so I was feeling pretty optimistic about the remainder of the day. Alas, the action slowed considerably. I continued fishing and hopscotching for the next hour or so with no action. Dave G. meanwhile was picking up three or four twelve inch fish. Finally close to noon I hooked and landed a pair of seven inch browns, but then it became dead again. Much of the stream was shaded by cottonwood trees, but there were some long open stretches. The sun was now quite high in the sky and very intense, and I was perspiring as I walked the bank from pool to pool.

Upper Brush Creek at Eagle Ranch

When we reached another bridge, I asked Dave G. if we should quit. He had likewise experienced a long period of inactivity, so he decided to cast to a nice spot above the bridge and then we would adjourn to the house. I pulled out my camera and snapped a few photos of Dave working the stream, and then Dave G. called Beth on his mobile phone. We waited only ten minutes or so on a bench on a small corner park in the shade before Beth arrived and taxied us back to the house.


Some rain clouds moved in after lunch but we managed to enjoy a nice bike ride between 4 and 5PM. After the bike ride, Dave and I grabbed our rods and walked down the bike path to the stream above the first bridge to the visitor center and near a high cut bank. We began fishing the stretch of water next to a long undercut bank where I’d had great fun in July 2010, but I was unable to pound up any action. I had replaced the yellow Letort hopper with a Chernobyl ant and reattached the beadhead hares ear. Dave waited while I fished this usually productive stretch as he was certain I would need his services for photography. Unfortunately photo opportunities did not materialize and we moved on.

Not far from this starting point I ducked under a barbed wire fence running over the stream, and now we were both fishing the private water. Brush Creek makes numerous bends as it winds through this private land creating nice pools and runs in the process. We continued to leap frog over each other, but we did short stretches, therefore, no longer requiring the cairn building exercies. I spotted several rises so I switched to a bushy caddis and this prompted a smug refusal. Perhaps the fly was too large? I clipped it off and replaced it with a size 16 deer hair caddis with a light gray body. Sure enough when I placed the smaller imitation over the spot of the rise, I hooked and landed a twelve inch brown.

As we moved along, the sky remained overcast and I was certain we’d experience some fast action on the surface. At one point Dave G. wasn’t having much luck with the beadhead hares ear so he asked me what might be a good sufsurface fly to use as a dropper. He had showed me a box with numerous caddis pupa and larva flies on Friday so I suggested he try one of them since there were caddis present. This ended up being a great recommendation and Dave experienced some great action on the caddis pupa dropper including a 17 inch brown. The caddis pupa had a light olive body with a black thorax and white legs protruding from each side behind the head.

Meanwhile I spotted a rise at the very top of a run and close to the bank. I could see the side of the fish and it appeared to be a decent fish. I slowly moved closer and popped a cast a foot or two downstream from the location of the rise and immediately a twelve inch brown inhaled my fly. I quickly played it to my net and released. Was that the fish I observed? Perhaps I overestimated its size, but I decided to shoot another cast higher and above where I’d seen the fish. On the second cast a fish burst through the surface and grabbed my caddis dry. This fish felt heavier than the previous, but not as large as the 16 inch brown of the morning, as it shot downstream along the bank and then made a quick lateral move to go underneath. I held on and in a split second my line came flying back toward me with no flies attached.

The sudden force of turning had caused my surgeon’s knot that attached the tippet to the tapered leader to break. Dave G. had once again come up behind me and witnessed this dose of misfortune. I tied on another deer hair caddis and moved on but had only one more momentary hookup below some large beaver dams before arriving at the bridge where we’d begun our morning fishing. Dave G. continued to have decent success with his caddis pupa, but I was too stubborn to listen to my own advice and stuck with the dry fly under the mistaken assumption that a hatch would materialize.

It was 7:30 when we reached the bridge so we called Beth for another pickup and returned to the house for dinner.


East Fork of Brush Creek – 07/13/2012

Time: 1:00:PM – 4:00PM

Location: Sylvan Lake State Park Payment Location Upstream

Fish Landed: 19

East Fork of Brush Creek 07/13/2012 Photo Album

As has been the custom for the last several years, Beth and Dave Gaboury invited us to join them for the weekend at their second home in Eagle, CO. Dave and I were fishing buddies when he lived in Castle Rock, but eventually Dave moved to Kansas City for a position with an engineering firm there. For several years Dave would visit and we’d go on fishing trips, but in 2006 he and Beth purchased a home in Eagle Ranch in Eagle, CO. They visit fairly frequently and invite friends from various parts of the country to stay with them when they don’t have their family present.

Their house in Eagle Ranch is quite close to Brush Creek, a small tributary stream that flows into the Eagle River a mile or so below their house. It’s hard to pass up fishing Brush Creek because of the convenience of walking from the garage to the stream. Because of the drought and heat wave I was skeptical of fishing in the Eagle River and even Brush Creek, and the temperatures were forecast to be in the 90’s in Denver. Dave is a big fan of my beadhead hares ear nymphs, so I tied ten as a gift for him one evening before our scheduled visit. Jane needed to work on Friday, so I called on Thursday to let Dave and Beth know that I was taking off work and driving up from Denver on Friday morning. Jane would drive up separately after work on Friday.

I got off to a reasonably early start at 7:45 and arrived at Eagle Ranch at around 10AM. Unfortunately I called their land line in Kansas City on Thursday and they didn’t check it for messages, so they weren’t aware that I was arriving. When I knocked on the door, no one answered even though their car was parked behind the garage. I assumed they had gone for a bike ride or walk, and this proved to be correct. Within a half hour they both returned from a long morning walk and the three of us walked up to the town center and had a quick lunch at HP’s Market.

East Fork of Brush Creek

After lunch, since it was already approaching noon, Dave and I decided to drive up Sylvan Lake Road to the upper reaches of Brush Creek where we thought the fishing would be better in the peak of the warm day. It wasn’t as hot in Eagle as was expected for Denver and there was significant high cloud cover for much of the afternoon. I drove the Santa Fe so Beth could use her car to do some shopping and we drove the 10-15 miles to Sylvan Lake State Park and paid the day use fee and then parked at a pullout just above where the creek went under the road.

Dave uses his tenkara rod for fishing the small high mountain streams so he was ready to fish quite quickly. We decided to do the routine of leap frogging each other with the upstream fisherman responsible for building a cairn to mark his beginning point. I fished the stretch closest to the road while Dave moved upstream. I began with a size 12 heavily hackled stimulator with an olive body and immediately experienced three or four refusals from tiny brook trout in the tail of the pool. However, as I moved up the stream I picked up a few 6-8 inch brookies as well as some tiny specimen that were below my counting cut off. I added a beadhead pheasant tail in hopes that a trailing nymph might attract some larger fish, and did manage to land an eight inch brown among the first five fish landed.

Size of My Hand

As Dave and I hopscotched our way up the small stream I landed five more brook trout to reach ten. Most of the fish were rising to the stimulator, but a couple grabbed the trailing nymph. When I’d reached ten I decided to begin experimenting with different flies. I clipped off the stimulator and pheasant tail and tied on a Chernobyl ant for flotation and added a beadhead hares ear. The buoyant foam ant does a nice job of supporting the larger hares ear and again I was hoping to attract some larger browns and avoid the tiny brook trout.

Large Brown for These Waters

This strategy did in fact work, and I landed another nine trout over the course of the remainder of the afternoon. Three were brown trout with two being in the 12-13 inch range. I also landed a couple brook trout that were nine inches, and that is large for the colorful species in a small stream environment. Dave G. meanwhile was having great action with his long tenkara rod and a stimulator/flashback pheasant tail combination. By 4PM we’d covered quite a distance as we were hitting only the deeper attractive pools and leap frogging each other. We decided to call it a day and return to the house for liquid refreshments and appetizers while we waited for Jane to arrive from Denver.

Brookie Took Chernobyl

Brush Creek – 10/29/2011

Time: 11:30AM – 1:30PM

Location: Eagle Ranch from Sylvan Lake Road upstream to first bridge

Fish Landed: 1

It was now late in October and I managed to come within nine fish of last year’s cumulative count. I have to admit this was on my mind as Jane and I prepared to drive to Eagle on Saturday morning to visit the Gaboury’s at their home in Eagle Ranch. My expectations weren’t high, but it would be nice to close the gap on last year’s numbers late in the season. Knowing Dave G’s love of my beadhead hares ear nymphs, I tied five new ones on Thursday night while watching the seesaw game six of the World Series.

Jane and I got off to a late start on Saturday morning and arrived at Eagle Ranch at 11AM. Dave and I decided to try Brush Creek directly behind his house for a couple hours and then re-evaluate when we returned for lunch. Beth and Jane planned to drive to Glenwood Springs for the afternoon. We put on our waders and strung our rods and hiked down the bike path until it intersected with Sylvan Lake Road at the western edge of Eagle Ranch. The stream level was ideal and higher than when I’d visited in mid-August. I told Dave I was going to try some streamer fishing, so he led me to a nice deep hole where the main current angled against the bank and then made a sharp bend.

I searched through my fleece fly pouch and decided to start with a muddler minnow. I pinched a split shot on the line a foot above the streamer and cast across the current and let the fly sweep through the heart of the pool. I worked the muddler across different distances and stripped in various ways, but nothing was moving for the fly. I wasn’t satisfied with the sink rate, so I clipped it off and tied on a different streamer that didn’t contain buoyant deer hair. This fly sank better but didn’t produce either, so I went to a third streamer, an orange body woolly bugger with a black tail. This fly looked good as the marabou tale undulated in the water, but once again no action resulted.

I moved on up the stream casting the woolly bugger to some additional deeper runs and pools, but I wasn’t seeing any fish and finally decided to give up on streamers and try a parachute hopper with a beadhead hares ear. By this time Dave G. and I became separated, and I wouldn’t catch up to him until I was nearly at the bridge that crosses the creek to the visitor center for Eagle Ranch. I covered a lot of water and finally in a riffle near the bridge, I hooked and landed a 10 inch brown trout. Dave G was just above me and I asked him how he’d done, and he replied that he’d landed one 10 inch brown near where I had just landed my first fish.

Brush Creek – 8/13/2011

Time: 9:30AM – 12:30PM

Location: Private water to second bridge

Fish Landed: 5

Brush Creek 08/13/2011 Photo Album

Dave G. called the owners of some private land that covered both sides of Brush Creek within Eagle Ranch and obtained permission to fish on Saturday morning. Jane had arrived on Friday, and she and Beth were going to walk to some shops in Eagle during the morning while we fished.

Dave G. on Eagle Ranch Private Stretch

Dave G. and I set out walking on the paved path within Eagle Ranch. We walked a good distance south and then entered the creek just below the spot where I’d had so much fun by the undercut bank the previous summer. I tied on the gray Letort hopper and trailed a beadhead hares ear nymph. I decided to be much more cautious in my approach on Saturday and it paid off. When I approached long runs and pools, I cast from quite a distance below the lip. I also cast as close as I could to the bank. This was tough fishing and required long accurate casts tight to the bank. If I erred on accuracy, and I did a few times, I’d hook the tall grasses that lined the bank.

I managed to land five brown trout fishing in this manner. All were in the 12-13 inch size range so they were nothing to brag about, but I was still proud to land this many fish under such demanding conditions. I also had two hookups with fish that felt a little heavier, but I was unable to land. One of the trout took the hopper on the surface, and the remainder grabbed the subsurface beadhead hares ear offering.

While we were on the private land, the owner startled me and appeared out of nowhere. He asked if we had permission, and I replied that my friend Dave G. had called, and he should talk to Dave G. The owner’s name was Bill and he walked over to Dave G. who informed Bill that he had called and received permission from his wife. Everything was smoothed over, and we had a friendly chat with Bill.

Nicest Fish Landed on Saturday

Buttery Color

Meanwhile Dave G. was having less success than Friday, although by the end of our time he’d landed a couple nice browns and accumulated a similar count of trout. We returned to the house at 12:30PM and had a nice lunch and then relaxed before doing a bike ride in late afternoon. For dinner we drove south on Brush Creek Road to a resort called Adam’s Rib. Adam’s Rib was more luxurious than a Ritz Carlton in my opinion.

Dave G, Jane and Dave W on Bike Ride in Eagle Ranch

Eagle Sculpture at Adam's Rib

East Fork, Brush Creek – 8/12/2011

Time: 2:30PM – 6:00PM

Location: Below Yeoman Campground

Fish Landed: 8

East Fork, Brush Creek 08/12/2011 Photo Album

I was pretty frustrated with my lack of fish in the morning and fortunately Dave G. suggested we go higher up to the East Fork of Brush Creek. After a good lunch we put our waders back on and jumped in the rental car and headed south on Brush Creek Road. When the road enters Sylvan Lake State Park, the stream splits into an East and West Fork. The West Fork comes out of Sylvan Lake, but we chose the East Fork and drove another 3-4 miles to a pullout near some yurts that can be rented. We paid our fee and began fishing where the stream came close to the road. The stream at this location had a lower gradient and was surrounded by low shrubs so casting was fairly open with much room for backcasts.

Dave G Shows Trout Caught with Tenkara Rod

Dave G. brought along his new Tenkara Japanese rod. It telescopes down to a couple feet long. To use it, one grabs the tip and pulls it out to 12 feet long. The length of the line is equal to two times the length of the pole and there is no reel. It is basically a sophisticated version of cane poling.

Dave Tries to Capture Line in Wind

I began first and switched things up with a Chernobyl ant trailing a beadhead hares ear. In the first nice pool I experienced three or four refusals to the Chernobyl before finally landing a small brook trout. I fished this combination for a bit, but soon switched the Chernobyl ant for a gray body Letort hopper. I landed a couple brookies and then Dave G. landed a nice brown on his stimulator. Shortly after Dave’s fish I hooked what felt like a decent fish in a very small plunge pool, but the fish charged into a small nook and wrapped me around a branch and escaped.

Nice Fish Landed by Dave W

I managed some small fish on the beadhead hares ear, but I was covering a lot of very attractive water with minimal success, so I tied on an olive body deer hair caddis dry fly. This proved to be a success, and I landed a pair of quite nice browns for the size of the stream on the caddis. In both cases I approached from the side and stayed quite a ways back from the stream and flicked my fly into a nice clear pool. The fish confidently appeared from the depths and inhaled the size 16 caddis.

Nice Fish for Small Stream

We went through a section that contained more rocks and trees and eventually came to an open area where we could see the road. It was close to quitting time so we decided to cut across the meadow to the road and hike back down the road to the car. By this time I’d landed eight trout, a couple brook trout and surprisingly the remainder were browns. Dave G. had described this small stream as predominantly a brook trout fishery.

Aspens Blanket Hillside

As we hiked down the road a couple in a white pickup truck came by and asked if we wanted a ride. We accepted the lift, and I threw my rod in the back of the pickup truck and sat on the tailgate. When we arrived at our car, Dave G. showed the driver his Tenkara rod and the driver was quite amazed by the simplicity of the concept.

Brush Creek – 8/12/2011

Time: 9:30AM – 12:30PM

Location: Cottonwood area above second road crossing in Eagle Ranch

Fish Landed: 1

Brush Creek 08/12/2011 Photo Album

Our friends Dave and Beth Gaboury invited us to join them at their second home in Eagle Ranch. I was in a good position at work, so I called and informed Dave that I would leave Thursday and stay Thursday night so we could fish on Friday. The Eagle River flows had dropped to high 400’s so I feared fishing on the Eagle would be tough. In addition the weather forecast was for hot weather and no precipitation.

When I talked to Dave, he had set up a schedule to fish the upper section of Brush Creek on Friday morning as it was at least covered by a canopy of cottonwood trees. Since this stretch was at the southern end of Eagle Ranch, we had Beth drop us off and then scheduled for her to pick us up at 12:30. Brush Creek was at August levels unlike many other small streams in northern Colorado. I began fishing with a parahopper but wasn’t getting any looks. Dave G meanwhile hooked and landed two decent browns on a beige body stimulator. I added a beadhead hares ear and sometime during the first hour picked up a small brown.

The stream was too small to fish in parallel so we took turns leapfrogging around each other. When one of us entered the stream above the other, we built a small cairn (pile of rocks) so the trailing fisherman would know the water had already been covered. Unfortunately the water was low, and it was difficult to walk up and around without being in the vision of the upstream fish, and I believe this may have affected our success.

Dave Marks Where He Entered Upstream

Dave G. landed a couple more small browns and then we both suffered through a long dry spell until just before we quit for the morning. Near the end of our upstream migration Dave G. tied on a renegade and landed five trout, two decent sized browns. Unfortunately we couldn’t experiment more with the renegade as we needed to meet Beth at the appointed time of 12:30.

Brush Creek – 7/10/10

Time: 7:00PM – 9:00PM

Location: Eagle Ranch

Fish Landed: 6

Brush Creek 07/10/2010 Photo Album

Dave G was adamant that we were going to fish Saturday evening in spite of protestations from our wives. Dave G had discovered a place with a three foot undercut bank, and he wanted to experiment with a mouse fly tumbling off the bank. I was skeptical that this tactic could work in a small tributary stream such as Brush Creek. Call me a doubting Thomas.

Dave Gears Up for Evening Fishing

We finished our Thai curry noodle bowl dinners and did some clean up then headed to the stream. We hiked upstream on the path from the house beyond the bridge over the creek and then another .2 miles or so then cut down to the creek. I tied on the usual Letort hopper trailing a beadhead hares ear. Dave was using a Purple Haze trailing a beadhead pheasant tail. Once again we hopped from pool and run to pool and run. I was giving Dave first crack at each attractive stretch of water, but he was staying back from the water so I could try my flies after he’d taken first shot.

Coming Down the Trail

Dave was getting quite a few refusals to the Purple Haze on his first casts to new water. My combination wasn’t doing a thing, and I had little confidence that this would change. There were quite a few caddis flitting about as daylight faded so I tied on a bushy size 14 caddis with a palmered body. This provoked at least a refusal. Perhaps they liked the caddis concept but I needed to go smaller? I replaced the bushy caddis with a sparse light gray deer hair caddis on a size 16 hook. Nothing. Finally we neared the two long runs that Dave was targeting with his mouse. Dave G moved up ahead to work the mouse, but suggested I try something darker to contrast against the sky. I searched my fly pocket and came upon a size 14 royal stimulator that I’d tied several years ago out of the Scott Sanchez book. The fly had a 2XL hook with peacock herl body and a red floss section in the middle. A hackle was palmered over the body and a white calf tail wing swept back over the body down wing style.

Concentrating on His Fly

I noticed a small soft area of water against a three foot high bank on the opposite side of the main current. I figured Dave hadn’t touched this water, and perhaps I could get a decent downstream drift by positioning above the slack water and feeding down to it before the main current grabbed my line. I was right. On the third cast a 12 inch brown slashed at the stimulator, and I landed my first fish of the evening.

Next I moved upstream to the first of the long runs that Dave was targeting. The next half hour or so turned out to be some of the most memorable fishing ever. The sun had just dropped below the horizon and daylight was waning. Some birds (nighthawks?) with wide wings and white stripes on the wing were flying frantically back and forth up and down the stream eating insects and adding to the excitement. First I tossed the royal stimulator to the tail of the run and wham I was hooked to a powerful brown. I landed it quickly and dried my fly. The only thing that limited my fish count over the next half hour or so was the time it took to play and release the powerful browns I was catching. In almost every case the trout slashed my fly, and when I set the hook they rocketed upstream and beneath the undercut bank. Only strong side pressure prevented losing the fish. In every case the royal stimulator was embedded deep in the mouth of the fish, an indication that they were taking the fly with confidence. When I’d landed the fifth fat brown, I asked Dave G to photograph me. I offered him the stretch I’d been fishing and one of my flies. He declined the fly, but did swap runs with me.

Dave’s Fine Catch Late Saturday

I moved to the last run before the private boundary and promptly landed a 13 inch brown. The royal stimulator had now produced fish in three separate locations so it was beyond fluke status. When I returned to the first run with the deep undercut bank, Dave G accepted my royal stimulator offer, but struggled to thread the eye with the waning light and a poorly tied fly. I’d crowded the head with the calf tail wing and also closed it with head cement. Dave held his light while I managed to thread the hook eye and tie a clinch knot. Alas, the calf tail fibers were pulling free due to all the handling and poor workmanship on my part. Dave G got in a few casts, but the lack of white wing for visibility and the fact that I’d already pulled four fish from the water provided difficult circumstances. We called it an evening and returned to the house. Wow!

Brush Creek – 7/9/10

Time: 10:30AM – 12:00PM

Location: Eagle Ranch

Fish Landed: 1

Brush Creek 07/09/2010 Photo Album

As I drove from the Arkansas River through Leadville and on to Eagle on Thursday evening, the weather grew clearer. I could see that the Eagle River was clear and a bit high as I followed it down the valley to Eagle, CO. I stayed overnight with my friends the Gaboury’s, and Dave suggested we fish Brush Creek in Eagle Ranch in the morning then hit the Eagle River near Edwards in the afternoon. Friday turned out to be a gorgeous day from a weather standpoint with relatively clear skies and temperatures in the upper seventies or low eighties.

Dave G. and I were ready to fish by around 10:30, so we hiked down the path behind their house and entered the water downstream. Brush Creek is kind of small for two fishermen, so we decided to alternate attractive pools. Dave was catching small browns on a beadhead pheasant tail, but I wasn’t having any luck whatsoever. I was using a yellow Letort hopper trailing a beadhead hares ear, beadhead green caddis, copper john, and beadhead pheasant tail. We reached a point where the creek divided into two channels with roughly equal volume, so Dave G. took the north side and I explored the south. There was some caddis buzzing about, so I made yet another fly change and tied on a size 14 beadhead prince nymph. Halfway through the south channel just below a bend and in a seam, my hopper disappeared, and I hooked a nice brown that probably measured around 15 inches. I photographed the fish while holding in my hand as there was tall vegetation all around and no good spot to place the fish.

Nice Brush Creek Brown

I continued fishing the south channel and met up with Dave. We moved rather quickly now as Dave G. wanted to try a stretch .3 miles upstream where he’d caught some very nice browns on previous outings. There was one spot that Dave had already fished with a refusal to his stimulator where I hooked three fish, but only landed a very small brown that didn’t meet my minimum length for counting. After this I thought perhaps the prince was the magical fly to turn things around, but alas, it didn’t produce again. We called it quits around noon and returned to the house for lunch.