South Boulder Creek – 10/29/2018

Time: 10:30AM – 3:00PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 10/29/2018 Photo Album

Due to technical issues I am unable to insert photos. If you click on the above link, you can view photos from this fishing trip. Hopefully I can resolve the problem soon.

The long range forecast projected rain turning to snow and cold temperatures beginning on Tuesday, October 30. Monday on the other had was expected to be gorgeous with highs in Denver peaking in the upper seventies. This could translate to only one thing; an opportunity to sneak in a day of autumn fly fishing before wintry weather predominated. Perhaps this would be my last day of fly fishing in 2018.

But where should I invest my scarce amount of remaining nice weather equity? I scanned the stream flows, and of course the first drainage that I check was South Boulder Creek below Gross Reservoir. The water managers were famous for making dramatic shifts in flows on the small tailwater west of Golden, and late October 2018 was not an exception to this tendency. My last visit to South Boulder Creek was on October 19, and I enjoyed an exceptional day, while the flows were a mere 14.4 CFS. The current DWR chart displayed a vertical rock wall for 10/24/2018, when the valve was opened to release 96 CFS. A dramatic change such as this caused me some concern, but it was five days ago, and I concluded that this allowed ample time for the stream residents to acclimate. I decided to give it a go.

I got off to a reasonably early start; and after I arrived at the trailhead, assembled my Orvis Access four weight and hiked down the path, I was in a position on the stream prepared to make my first cast by 10:30. The air temperature was in the mid-fifties, and the stream flow was indeed multiples higher than my previous trip. In fact the places were I was able to cross the creek were limited to wide shallow sections, and these were minimal within the predominantly narrow canyon environment.

Because of the higher flows akin to spring conditions, I opted to begin my day with a size 8 yellow fat Albert, beadhead hares ear nymph, and ultra zug bug. The first two pockets did not produce, but then I positioned myself near the middle of the creek and initiated some drifts through a prime deep run along the north bank. On the third pass a respectable South Boulder Creek brown trout pounced on the ultra zug bug, and I was very pleased to score my first fish of the day. I continued to prospect the quality run with across and downstream drifts, and I was pleasantly surprised to land five additional brown trout in the nine to eleven inch range. What a start to my day! Perhaps the elevated flows were not so bad after all, and the preponderance of brown trout relieved my fears of encountering mostly lockjawed spawning fish.

I wish I could report that this pace of success continued through my remaining time on the stream, but that was not the case. When I cast to the productive run three successive times with no resulting action, I departed and continued my upstream progression. Between 10:45 and noon I incremented the fish counter from six to ten, so clearly my catch rate declined; however, I remained quite pleased with the 1.5 hours of morning fly fishing. The yellow fat Albert began to distract the trout in the next several pools, and a string of refusals was ample testimony. I concluded that the fly was too large, and I converted to a size 12 peacock hippy stomper. The smaller foam attractor was an improvement, and it accounted for a few fish during the last hour before lunch.

After lunch I resumed my quest for South Boulder Creek trout, and I recorded quite a record of success. The fish count zoomed from ten to thirty-six, before I ended my day at 3PM. Although the three fly combination yielded fish at a steady rate after lunch, I sensed that I could improve my success rate, so I experimented with several fly exchanges. I removed the ultra zug bug and replaced it with a size 20 soft hackle emerger. This was an attempt to match a blue winged olive hatch or an emergence of small black stonefles. From past experience I knew that the small stoneflies were present on South Boulder Creek in the late October time frame. While the soft hackle emerger was on the line, it failed to yield a singe fish, but the hares ear became a favorite target.

Twenty minutes of no response to the soft hackle emerger caused me to once again make a change. This time I selected a size 14 iron sally from my fly wallet, and I positioned the heavier fly with the coiled wire body in the top position and moved the hares ear to the point. The hippy stomper, iron sally, and hares ear maintained their place on my line for the remainder of the afternoon, and they generated the most success.

Unlike my last outing at 14 CFS when upstream casts proved effective, the best approach on Monday was across and downstream drifts. The brown trout could not resist attacking one of the nymphs, as they began to swing at the end of the run, and many of my netted fish were victims of this tactic. Four rainbows joined the mix of catches, and they emerged from faster riffles of moderate depth, and the iron sally was their preferred food source. The hippy stomper was not purely a strike indicator, as it contributed quite a few respectable cold water fighters to the fish count.

By 3PM I reached a section characterized by fast chutes and whitewater, and the south canyon wall blocked the sun thus creating shadows over the entire stream. Tracking the hippy stomper became challenging and the catch rate plummeted, so I called it a day and made my exit hike. The air temperature remained quite comfortable, and climbing the steep path out of the canyon made me wish I had removed a layer or two of clothing.

In summary I landed thirty-six trout on a gorgeous fall day on South Boulder Creek. Five of the netted fish were rainbow trout, and as usual the rainbows were larger on average than the brown trout. Eight of my catch crushed the hippy stomper, four were duped by the ultra zug bug, six nabbed the iron sally, and the remainder snatched the hares ear. The higher flows made it more difficult to determine fish holding locations, which was a relatively easy exercise at 14 CFS. Counter balancing this factor was the relative ease with which I could approach fish holding lies, and the reduced level of stealth required.

If this was my last outing of 2018, it was a solid final episode. I suspect, however, that I will tally a few more days before my enjoyment of fly fishing is more that offset by the discomfort of cold hands and feet.

Fish Landed: 36

South Boulder Creek – 10/19/2018

Time: 11:00AM – 3:00PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 10/19/2018 Photo Album\

Due to technical issues I am unable to insert photos. If you click on the above link, you can view photos from this fishing trip. Hopefully I can resolve the problem soon. 

A warming trend exemplified by highs in the mid to upper sixties in Denver, CO had me itching for another fly fishing outing on Friday, October 19. I performed a long overdue assessment of the local streamflows, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that South Boulder Creek flows were augmented from 8 CFS to 14.4 CFS. The increase occurred two days earlier, and this provided ample time for the resident trout to acclimate. I knew from visits in previous years that 14.4 CFS represented an adequate level for successful fly fishing. The high temperature in the nearby town of Pinecliffe, CO was projected to reach the mid fifties on Friday, and the alignment of improved volumes of water, tolerable temperatures, and my desire to fly fish resulted in a trip to South Boulder Creek.

On Friday morning I drove to the upper parking lot and quickly pulled on my waders and assembled my Orvis Access four weight. My physical therapist suggested that I should resume casting with my index finger on top of the rod grip, as I was complaining of increased discomfort on the ulna side of the elbow. I was a bit concerned about this change, while at the same time I was anxious to give it a test, since my accuracy is greater, when my index finger points at the target.

Once I gathered all the necessary gear, I descended the steep trail to the creek, and I stood in the water ready to cast by 11AM. I began my day with a peacock ice dub body hippy stomper, and within ten minutes I registered two small brown trout. I was rather pleased with my choice of fly, but I was suspicious that my good fortune would not continue. Quite a bit of the river bed was exposed as a result of the low autumn flows, but many deep pools and runs sluiced around the large visible boulders to provide plenty of fish holding locations.

During the hour before lunch I covered a fair amount of water and built the fish count to ten. After landing three brown trout on the hippy stomper, I concluded that I was passing over quality fish holding locations with no response, so I added a beadhead hares ear nymph, and this improved the catch rate somewhat, although I was not completely satisfied with the action. This statement is actually a testimony to the density of trout in South Boulder Creek, when ten fish an hour is not up to my expectations!

After lunch I resumed my upstream progression, and after another fifteen minutes I hooked an average sized fish, but it escaped before I could guide it into the net. I was surprised by this turn of events, until I realized that the struggling fish broke off the hippy stomper. A small curly end provided proof that my knot was faulty, or that it was nicked or abraded during the earlier action. Rather than replace the hippy stomper and hares ear, I used the lost flies as an excuse to experiment with a size 12 Jake’s gulp beetle.

I was quite confident that the small terrestrial would arouse the interest of the trout in the low clear flows of October, but fifteen minutes of futile casting suggested otherwise. I deployed the beetle in three quality pools, and it attracted quite a bit of attention, but something prevented the trout from transforming from observers to eaters.

The ineffectiveness of the beetle forced me to dig into my fly box for another peacock hippy stomper, and I found my last one, and I tied it to my line along with a fresh beadhead hares ear. My hippy stomper inventory contained quite a few silver and red body versions, but the peacock stompers were depleted. With another month of fly fishing remaining in 2018, I may be forced to spend some time at the vise to spin more hippy stompers.

As the sun appeared above me, its warming rays elevated the appetites of the South Boulder Creek residents. I sensed that I was bypassing available feeders, so I added an ultra zug bug below the hares ear, and the three fly combination finally clicked. Between 12:30 and 2:00 the action on South Boulder Creek was insane. Every time I cast to a deep pocket or pool, I expected to connect with a fish, and a high percentage of the time my prediction was correct. In short I enjoyed hot action, and the fish count rapidly mounted through the twenties and thirties. Most of the netted prizes were brown trout in the eight to eleven inch range; however, six rainbows also appeared, and these fish were larger on average than the brown trout.

By 2:30 the action slowed measurably. It was as if someone locked the doors to the cafeteria, and the trailing nymphs were totally ignored. In the shadows along the south bank a couple aggressive feeders burst to the surface to inhale the hippy stomper, and this enabled me to attain a count of forty one on the day. In the process of landing the small fighters, the trout created messy snarls, and since the nymphs were being ignored, I snipped them off. Not wishing to risk the loss of additional peacock body hippy stompers, I replaced it with a silver ice dub body version, but the trout gave this move a solid thumbs down.

At three o’clock I reached a narrow section of the canyon with deep plunge pools, and it was totally ensconced in shadows. Historically this area demarcated my end point, and I saw no reason to vary from this practice on October 19. I stripped in my line and hooked the silver hippy stomper to the rod guide and scaled a steep bank covered in a jumble of large boulders, until I was on the trail. During my return hike I paused at two quality locations to execute a few casts, and the brief rest stops produced two small brown trout to boost the fish counter to forty-two. The first brown crushed the silver hippy stomper and the second sipped a size 16 gray deer hair caddis, when I presented it on a downstream drift. Three fish refused the same caddis earlier in the tail of the pool.

What a fantastic day on South Boulder Creek!. I was extremely excited to discover the flows were raised to 14.4 CFS, and my Friday adventure did not disappoint. I saw two other anglers on my hike to the creek, but the four hours on the stream felt as if I had my own private stretch of water. The sun raised the air temperature to a comfortable level, and the residents of South Boulder Creek were hungry and willing to grab my offerings. Admittedly I experienced a significant number of refusals, but more than enough willing eaters compensated for the the picky ones. Roughly one-third of the netted fish opted for the hippy stomper, while another third snatched the ultra zug bug, and the remainder nabbed the hares ear. The period between 12:30PM and 2:00PM was spectacular, as trout after trout aggressively pursued my offerings, and I could bank on a hit on nearly every cast. Hopefully the water managers maintain the flows in the current range, and additional warm autumn days allow me to revisit South Boulder Creek.

Fish Landed: 43

 

South Boulder Creek – 09/25/2018

Time: 11:30AM – 4:00PM

Location: East of Pinecliffe, CO

South Boulder Creek 09/25/2018 Photo Album

Due to technical issues I am unable to insert photos. If you click on the above link, you can view photos from this fishing trip. Hopefully I can resolve the problem soon. 

Flows on South Boulder Creek below Gross Reservoir were 7 CFS; however, upstream of the dam they were 54 CFS. After driving for 2.5 hours to the Colorado River on Monday I  preferred a short local trip on Tuesday. Another factor impacting my decision was the forecast of high temperatures of 67 degrees in Denver, and I assumed that this translated to the fifties in the foothills and mountains. I opted to stay close to home with the unfavorable weather expected.

I arrived at the parking lot in the small town of Pinecliffe by 11AM, and after I strung my Orvis Access four weight, I pulled on my insulated UnderArmour long sleeved undershirt, and then I topped it with my light down coat. I debated wearing my New Zealand billed hat with earflaps, but I concluded that ear coverage was excessive for fifty degree temperatures.

I hiked downstream along the railroad tracks and remained alert for train activity, but fortunately after fifteen minutes I found a somewhat manageable path down the steep bank to the creek. I slid slowly in the loose gravel, until I negotiated the upper one-third. Train traffic was not part of my late morning experience.

The creek where I began my day was characterized by a high gradient, large plunge pools, and huge boulders. Wading was extremely challenging, and I began with a yellow fat Albert, ultra zug bug, and a hares ear nymph. During the first hour I landed three relatively small rainbow trout, and I donated the ultra zug bug and hares ear to an evergreen branch. The trout came from the lip of pools, and imparting a lift to make another cast seemed to prompt takes, although many areas appeared to be particularly attractive yet failed to produce. Over the course of the day I never established consistency in terms of productive water type.

After lunch I hooked a trout near the opposite bank, and inexplicably the ultra zug bug and salvation nymph broke away from the fat Albert. I used the need to re-rig as an excuse to try some solo dry fly offerings, and I cycled through a Jake’s gulp beetle, size 16 gray deer hair caddis, and a parachute black ant. None of these flies generated more than a perfunctory look, so I reverted to a dry/dropper featuring a red hippy stomper, an ultra zug bug, and a salvation nymph. These three flies remained on my line until three o’clock, and they lifted the fish count to ten. One trout crushed the hippy stomper, but the rest grabbed the nymphs. The salvation was the favorite, and lifts and swings seemed to enhance the interest level of the fish. This string of netted fish included two plump rainbows in the twelve to thirteen inch range, and these were easily the best fish of the day.

By 3PM I reached a long deep pool next to a large flat-topped rock, and I remembered it as a prime fish holding location from my one prior visit to the stream near Pinecliffe. I flicked some casts along the rock wall, and this generated a pair of refusals. I was concerned that the red body color of the hippy stomper caused the rejections, so I replaced it with a dubbed peacock body version. The change made no difference, so I moved to another large quality pool that was ten yards upstream.

This area offered the benefit of being in the sun. I lobbed some casts to the left side of the strong center current, and I spotted several trout, as they elevated to inspect the hippy stomper, but I was unable to provoke a strike. Clearly these fish were looking toward the surface for their meal, and they totally ignored the nymphs. I cycled through a series of single dry flies including Jake’s gulp beetle and a parachute black ant. The visible fish ignored both flies, so I tested a parachute green drake. This large mayfly actually generated a pair of refusals, but again I was unable to close the deal. Perhaps the South Boulder Creek residents were looking for a smaller mayfly? I swapped the green drake for a size 16 gray comparadun, and this pale morning dun copy fooled a small rainbow to bring my fish count to ten for the day.

I was satisfied with my hard earned accomplishment, and I waded back to the lower pool with the intent of quitting. Before I stepped up the bank, I scanned the pool and noticed a pair of rises at the tail below the long rock. I unhooked the comparadun and flicked two downstream casts to the vicinity of the rises. On the second drift a mouth emerged, and it chomped down on the mayfly imitation, and I landed a feisty brown trout. I carefully released my late catch, and turned my attention back to the pool. Suddenly the area came alive with six rising fish, but I was unable to determine the food source that created the commotion.

It was clearly something small, so I removed the size 16 fly and replaced it with a size 22 CDC blue winged olive. After fifteen casts to several feeders, I fooled a vividly colored rainbow and guided it into my net. The pace of rising fish slowed, and four o’clock appeared on my digital watch, and I was quite chilled while standing in the shade, so I called it a day and returned to the car.

Tuesday was a reasonably successful day, and I was relieved to overcome the difficult wading conditions while toughing out the first chilly outing of the fall season. Two of the twelve landed fish were respectable rainbows, and I fooled two trout with dry flies near the end of the day in the quality pool. These were worthwhile accomplishments. I was unable to discern a water type that produced consistent results, and consequently I never established a steady rhythm. I battled on and posted a reasonably successful day, and for that I am satisfied.

Fish Landed: 12

South Boulder Creek – 08/22/2018

Time: 11:30AM – 3:30PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 08/22/2018 Photo Album

Due to technical issues I am unable to insert photos. If you click on the above link, you can view photos from this fishing trip. Hopefully I can resolve the problem soon. 

Jane and I returned from Wyoming and Montana on Monday, and that was a bit earlier than planned. I caught up on some chores on Tuesday and cleared the calendar for a day of fishing on Wednesday. Since my outstanding visit on 08/09/2018 to South Boulder Creek, I was aching to return, in case the green drake activity intensified. Wednesday, August 22 would be that day.

I delayed my departure until 9:10AM in order to check on an issue at a store, when it opened at 9:00AM, and this enabled me to arrive at the kayak parking lot below Gross Reservoir by 10:30AM. Three other vehicles occupied the parking lot, and two fishermen were about to embark on the trail, as I threw on my waders and assembled my Orvis Access four weight. The air temperature was in the low 60’s, as I took my first step down the steep trail to the edge of South Boulder Creek. Flows were 117 CFS, and the water managers held the flows at this level for a week in a welcome and unusual display of cooperation with anglers.

I hiked a decent distance below the dam, and I passed a cluster of three young fishermen in the first section above the pedestrian bridge. I never encountered the two gentlemen, who departed as I was preparing in the parking lot. By 11:30 I was positioned on the creek in a nice section characterized with an abundance of pockets and tumbling riffles. I pondered my choice of flies and decided to begin with a parachute green drake. If the large western mayflies were in attendance, I speculated that the trout might react to a large dry fly regardless of the time of day.

It was a strong hunch, and it was on target. Between 11:30 and a lunch break at 12:15 I netted ten trout from South Boulder Creek. All of the beautiful wild fish chowed down on the size 14 parachute green drake, and I was in a state of euphoria. I sat on a large flat rock in the middle of the creek and consumed my sandwich, while I observed the water, and surprisingly I never saw a green drake in the surrounding air. The first seven trout were fooled by the green drake that duped two gorgeous rainbows on the North Fork of the Shoshone River in Wyoming, but then a feisty brown dragged my line over a sharp branch and snapped off the popular paradrake. The replacement was slightly larger, and it accounted for three additional creek dwellers, but refusals were part of the package with this fly.

After lunch rejections of the parachute green drake became more frequent, so I elected to switch to a size 14 comparadun with no ribbing. The smaller mayfly imitation was effective initially, but when I cast to a pool with smooth water, the trout once again inspected but did not eat my fly on a repetitive basis. I reverted to a parachute style; however, the new dry fly was smaller than the previous replacement for the lost fly.

In the early afternoon time frame the catch rate slowed from the morning blitz; however, enough trout consumed the parachute green drake to maintain my interest. I cast the low riding parachute to appealing pockets and deep runs, and a steady supply of positive responses enabled the fish count to climb to twenty-two. During the 1-2PM period rainbows began to dominate my net, and I was pleased with this shift.

At three o’clock I began my return hike; however, along the way I paused at a productive section to spray a few casts. The trout in this area rejected the parachute green drake, so I decided to experiment during my lingering time on the creek. I clipped off the drake and replaced it with a size 12 Jake’s gulp beetle, and I began to plop it behind exposed rocks. The ploy paid off as two trout smacked the terrestrial within five minutes of making the conversion.

I spotted several fish in a nice pool along the bank, but they darted upward and snubbed the terrestrial, so I paused to make yet another change. Several rises commenced along the edge of a nice long run above my position, and a size eighteen mayfly floated upward. This observation persuaded me to knot a size 18 cinnamon comparadun to my line, and the low floating mayfly imitation prompted a slurp from a pretty ten inch rainbow. The comparadun did not appeal to other trout in the pool, so after ten minutes of futile casting, I called it a day and completed the hike back to the car.

Wednesday was a fun and productive day on South Boulder Creek. Twenty-five fish was a rewarding experience, and the ability to confidently cast a single green drake for three hours was highly appreciated. Hopefully the flows will remain in the current range for the foreseeable future, and this fly angler will certainly return for more green drake action. I already restocked my boat box with my remaining supply of size 14 parachute ties from the winter.

Fish Landed: 25

 

South Boulder Creek – 08/09/2018

Time: 10:30AM – 5:00PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 08/09/2018 Photo Album

Due to technical issues I am unable to insert photos. If you click on the above link, you can view photos from this fishing trip. Hopefully I can resolve the problem soon.

I continually monitor the flows on South Boulder Creek, as it remains my favorite Front Range destination. A check last week revealed that the water managers dropped the flows to 127 CFS, and although this remains on the high side, it remained within a comfortable range for fly fishing. I generally prefer water levels in the 50-80 CFS range. I planned a trip, and Thursday morning I packed the car and made the slightly over one hour drive to the kayak parking lot below the dam but high above the small tailwater creek. When I arrived four or five cars occupied spaces, and while I pulled on my waders and assembled my Orvis Access four weight, three additional vehicles secured spaces to my left. Needless to say I was concerned about solitude and space.

To my pre-fishing ritual I added elbow glides and stretches, and on Thursday I secured my new cho pat strap just below my right elbow. I was anxious to determine if the device would reduce the pinching pain that plagued my casting elbow on Tuesday on the South Platte River. Even at the elevated flows I was able to ford the creek at the bottom of the steep path, and this enabled me to hike along the south side of the stream. This is a positive, as the north path involves quite a bit of rock climbing. Fortunately I passed four solitary anglers along the way on the upper water, and this accounted for most of the vehicles. I hiked a decent distance beyond the active fishermen, and I encountered two outliers who endured a longer hike.

When I sufficiently distanced myself from the other fishemen, I cut down to the creek and began my day with a size 8 Chernobyl ant, a size 12 beadhead prince nymph, and a salvation nymph. I chose the prince nymph with the hope that green drakes were active, and that the long slender prince might serve as a reasonable representation. I carefully approached a nice deep pool along the right bank and began flipping short casts to the likely fish holding locations. In the first pool a small trout spurned the Chernobyl, and I immediately feared that refusals might rule the day. Another rejection occurred in the next nice pool, and I began to formulate alternative approaches.

Fortunately a small brown nabbed the prince in the next decent location, and I delayed my plan to change tactics. Adhering to the Chernobyl/prince/salvation proved to be a solid strategy, as the fish counter climbed to sixteen by the time I paused for lunch at 12:15. One brown trout crushed the Chernobyl, and a couple nipped the salvation, but the coveted offering proved to be the prince. I will never know for sure whether my green drake nymph theory was the reason, but the results were outstanding regardless of the reason.

At some point during the morning the salvation and its attached dropper disappeared in the process of releasing a fish, so I replaced it with an ultra zug bug. My fly box contained only one size 12 2XL prince nymph, so I was hopeful that the smaller ultra zug bug might be equally effective, but unfortunately it was not. When I snapped off the zug bug on a dead tree limb, I decided to continue with a two fly arrangement, since the prince nymph was overwhelmingly the main attraction, and this choice proved to be sound.

After lunch on a large flat rock I continued prospecting with the two fly dry/dropper, and I incremented the fish count to twenty. At this point the jagged teeth of twenty trout reduced the prince nymph to a peacock body with no additional appendages. The tails were long gone, and the thread began to unravel, and this resulted in the loss of the two goose biot wings. I would have continued, but the long strand of dangling black thread portended a near term end to the life of the prince.

I removed the productive fly and experimented with an ultra zug bug and salvation nymph for ten minutes, but I sensed that the fish were not interested in these two substitutes. I looked in my fleece wallet and found a size 14 prince tied on a standard length hook, and I knotted it to my line and retained the salvation nymph. The performance of these flies outpaced the previous ones, and I managed to bolster the fish count from twenty to twenty-six, but the pace was much slower than that of the morning, and I covered considerably more stream including some appealing spots that should have produced more fish, than what I was able to attract.

In the midst of this early afternoon period I began to observe a decent quantity of yellow sallies and even larger golden stoneflies. I almost switched to a yellow stimulator, but before doing so I swapped the prince for an iron sally. Several of the seven fish that moved the count from twenty to twenty-six grabbed the salvation, while it was paired with the iron sally.

By three o’clock I was perched on twenty-six, and the catch rate slowed measurably. The sun was now high in the afternoon sky, and it beat down on the canyon and caused the temperature to elevate. The impact of the heat seemed to slow this fisherman and the fish. I contemplated quitting for the day, but again I noticed a wave of yellow sallies, so I decided to implement the single dry fly idea that crossed my mind earlier.

Initially the size 14 yellow stimulator prompted a couple refusals, but then I executed a cast across a main current to a long shelf pool along the opposite bank. I raised my rod high to avoid drag and managed a long drift, whereupon a brown trout surfaced and slashed the stimulator. Maybe there was something to the yellow sally dry fly after all?

I exited the creek at a place where huge boulders on both sides made additional progress impossible, and I hiked a fair distance until I reached two very nice pools. The most attractive water in the first pool was again on the far side, and I deployed a similar technique that fooled number twenty-seven, but in this instance I failed to generate a response.

The next pool was a crown jewel with a deep run down the center and pulse-raising shelf pools on either side. I fired ten casts to the area on the right side, and the yellow stimulator went unmolested. I was certain that fish inhabited this place, and I noticed several green drakes near the 3:30 time frame, so I switched to a size 14 parachute green drake. I tossed the newly attached fly to the top of the pool, and a bulge and swirl ensued. At least the green drake attracted attention, but how could I prompt a take?

I persisted with a few more casts, and the large low riding piece of meat became too much to resist. I had my first South Boulder Creek green drake victim in the form of a small brown trout. My switch to the green drake and the small dose of success led to another 1.5 hours of fly fishing, and eleven additional trout found my net, before I called it a day a few minutes before five o’clock. A few refusals marred the successful late afternoon action; however, I stayed in a zone of angler bliss most of the time. Green drakes continued to appear albeit in a very sparse hatch, and a few pale morning duns joined the party. During the hot afternoon days of August, the drake hatch apparently delayed, until the shadows lengthened from the steep canyon walls on the south side of the creek. I moved quickly and sprayed casts to moderate riffles and runs, and quite often a brown trout rewarded me with an aggressive bite. A few very colorful rainbows joined the mix as well to add a bit of diversity to my stay.

On Thursday I had a blast on South Boulder Creek. I learned that fly fishing at 127 CFS can be very worthwhile, and I also documented that green drakes appear in early August. I also learned that leaving early on hot days carries the risk of missing the best insect activity on the small tailwater. Prior history suggests that the best of the green drake hatch is in the future, and I anxiously anticipate those occasions.

Fish Landed: 38

South Boulder Creek – 07/12/2018

Time: 6:30PM – 9:00PM

Location: Below Gross Dam in the area of the pedestrian bridge on the Walker Loop Trail.

South Boulder Creek 07/12/2018 Photo Album

Due to technical issues I am unable to insert photos. If you click on the above link, you can view photos from this fishing trip. Hopefully I can resolve the problem soon.

Thursday was intended to be a day of rest after three straight outings on my recent camping and fishing trip. Imagine my surprise, when I checked my phone and noticed a text message from my son, Dan. He planned an after work visit to South Boulder Creek and asked, if I was interested in joining. Opportunities to fish with Dan are rare, as he is engaged to be married, in the early stages of a career, and the proud owner of a new puppy dog. Fatigue, aches and rest suddenly became secondary considerations, and I quickly agreed to join Dan at the kayak parking lot at 6PM. Of course I also took a peek at the stream flows on South Boulder Creek, and I was pleased to see that they were steady at 151 CFS for the last four days. 151 CFS is higher than I prefer, but I knew from past experience that it was manageable.

I arrived fifteen minutes early at the parking lot that already contained five other vehicles. I got a jump on preparation and donned my waders and assembled my Orvis Access four weight, while I waited for Dan’s arrival. A bit past 6PM he appeared with two Snarf’s submarine sandwiches in his possession. We made quick work of the Italian sandwiches, and then we descended the steep trail to the creek below. At a wide area shortly after encountering the stream, we crossed to take advantage of the easier hiking trail along the opposite shoreline.

Since we only had a few hours of daylight, we decided to allocate more time to fishing and less to hiking, so we began our quest for trout twenty yards below the first pedestrian bridge. Dan initiated his fly fishing adventure with a size 16 stimulator with a dark brown or maroon body. I selected a size 14 gray stimulator from my fly box and tied it to my 5X tippet. I began the evening with some downstream casts to a deep eddy at a large bend in the creek, and Dan meanwhile cast to some very enticing slower moving runs along the bank.

The trout in the eddy below me showed no interest in my attractor fly, but a nice ten inch rainbow attacked Dan’s high floater, and we celebrated his initial success. We spent the first hour familiarizing ourselves with the higher flows, and where the trout were holding. We discovered that the faster runs did not produce, and the fish were concentrated in the slow moving pools along the bank. Within these locations they frequented the seams along faster water and sheltered lies next to large boulders.

After 7:30 we progressed above the pedestrian bridge and cherry picked the spots that conformed to our stream criteria. We were both frustrated by evening glare and our inability to follow our flies, so we independently switched to a Chernobyl ant and trailed a dropper nymph. I chose an emerald caddis pupa, since I observed adult caddis, as they danced along the surface of the water. Dan and I both foul hooked a rainbow trout, when we reacted to a refusal to the Chernboyl and embedded the hook of the trailing nymph in the reluctant feeders.

By 8PM I failed to land a fish, but I was content to give my son first shot at quality spots. I had my fill of fishing success during my recent road trip, and I was genuinely content to enjoy the cool evening, while Dan took advantage of some sorely needed mountain time. I was now above the bridge in an area with numerous huge boulders and below a nice smooth pool. Dan approached from below and executed some nice casts to the lower portion of the run, where the creek swirled around several large exposed boulders. I suspected that the fish in this area inhabited the narrow lanes, where the current passed between the three large boulders, so I lobbed the dry/dropper to the current seam above rock number two. I could barely see the chartreuse indicator on the foam ant, and then it disappeared in a bulge, and I raised my arm and felt a connection to a nice eleven inch rainbow. Although I was content to be an observer, I must admit I was surprised and pleased to notch a fish on the scoreboard.

As darkness slowly descended, Dan and I migrated to the tail of the long and popular pool a bit upstream. Other anglers vacated the popular spot, so I assumed a position near the tail. A jumble of long logs angled across the stream bed to create the lower pool, and just above them a huge area of foam suspended between the logs and the bank. I paused to observe, and I was pleasantly surprised to note three subtle rises just above the foam. One exposed boulder was positioned fifteen feet above the foam patch, and suddenly another rise appeared five feet below it. I followed the path of the feeding fish, and noticed a very respectable rainbow, as it settled back along the sandy bottom.

The Chernboyl and caddis pupa were still on my line, so I delivered five drifts over the upper fish below the rock, but the target displayed no evidence of interest in the Chernobyl or pupa. I elected to reconfigure to a dry fly, but before doing so, I caught Dan’s attention and invited him to join me. Upon his arrival, I pointed out the rising fish, and he began the task of converting to a single caddis as well. Just enough light remained to allow me to thread the leader through the eye of a small size 18 caddis adult, and I was finally in a position to cast, while Dan continued his conversion.

The scene that ensued was an example of why I love fly fishing. I made three downstream drifts toward the fringe of the foam patch, where I observed several rises earlier. I was having difficulty locating the small tuft of deer hair in the waning light, but on the third cast I picked it up quite clearly. I checked my fourth cast high and the deer hair caddis fluttered down in the subtle current seam above the foam, and a foot above the white blanket of bubbles a mouth appeared and gulped down my impostor. Dan saw the entire episode develop, and I quickly lifted my arm and connected with an eleven inch cutbow. The South Boulder Creek gem displayed a brilliant crimson cheek and a pink-red stripe, and it was truly a jewel in the wild.

I released my prize, and Dan was now prepared to prospect the area of rising fish with his caddis. He demonstrated some excellent casts and drifts and extracted two aggressive surface feeders from the area. The trout were quite diminutive, but he was nonetheless pleased to earn a level of success, as darkness rapidly descended. We expected to quit at 8:30, but 9PM found us returning on the path to cross at the wide section, and then we warmed ourselves with a steady ascent of the steep path to the parking lot.

Dan and I both enjoyed 2.5 hours of evening fishing on Thursday, and a couple wild trout were icing on the cake. A ninety degree day transformed into a pleasant cool evening, and we both gained insight on fishing South Boulder Creek at elevated flows. Best of all I spent a few precious hours with my son, and I always treasure such an occasion.

Fish Landed: 2

South Boulder Creek – 04/02/2018

Time: 12:00PM – 3:30PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 04/02/2018 Photo Album

What does a forecast of high temperatures in the low seventies in Denver, a rescheduled doctor’s appointment, and nice steady flows of 20 cfs on South Boulder Creek yield? A fishing adventure for Dave of course. Originally I aspired to make a longer trip to the Eagle River or Arkansas River; however, projected high winds across Colorado discouraged me from those options. Weather prognosticators anticipated high wind velocities of 27 MPH at both locales. Pinecliffe just west of my desired destination on South Boulder Creek was marginally better, but I concluded that I was reducing my drive time investment in the event that the gusts were not tolerable.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jgma52cZMk0/WsOfZhN4iXI/AAAAAAABaqE/21NjhJ2avEINe9Z9DdWDqNLiXKgBlJcggCCoYBhgL/s144-o/P4020001.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6540246344192866385?locked=true#6540246344634239346″ caption=”Lunch View” type=”image” alt=”P4020001.JPG” image_size=”4608×3456″ ]

I arrived at the kayak parking lot by 11AM, and after assembling my Sage four weight I completed my normal fishing preparation routine and hiked to the creek. Since it was approaching noon, when I arrived streamside, I paused and munched my snack and consequently began fishing at noon. I kicked off my day with a yellow fat Albert, a beadhead hares ear nymph, and a salvation nymph.

The air temperature was in the low fifties as I began to cast, and the wind was in fact a significant hurdle throughout much of the afternoon, although it seemed to relent a bit toward the end of my venture. The creek was extremely clear and flowed at 20 CFS. Past experience at these low levels or even less taught me to approach each target spot cautiously and with a low profile.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-uBttJdofwcs/WsOfZkrfcJI/AAAAAAABaqE/Vf55U6dmjxQQhESARI-_m1j5IMTs2Do3ACCoYBhgL/s144-o/P4020002.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6540246344192866385?locked=true#6540246345563730066″ caption=”Number One” type=”image” alt=”P4020002.JPG” image_size=”4608×3456″ ]

During the first twenty minutes even these measured precautions failed to yield a fish, although admittedly the quality of the water was lacking compared to that which I would encounter over the remainder of my day. I was beginning to consider a change in flies, when I approached a long smooth pool with a very deep trough near the far bank. I restrained myself from getting too close and lobbed a long cast to the top of the faster run that entered the deep section, and after a five foot drift the fat Albert suddenly plunged toward the depths. I raised my arm and connected instantly with a decent brown trout that seemed to materialize from the brown stream bottom. The fight was on, but I quickly gained the upper hand and guided the wild beauty into my net. What a start to my day! A thirteen inch brown rested in my net with a beadhead hares ear nymph firmly embedded in its lip, and I was quite pleased to extract such a noble fighter from the challenging clear pool.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Jip4RXIPD3o/WsOfZrUYqkI/AAAAAAABaqE/YsPFCNjAnh0lxSYTY-K8L09L_SMN1jXFQCCoYBhgL/s144-o/P4020005.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6540246344192866385?locked=true#6540246347345865282″ caption=”Again” type=”image” alt=”P4020005.JPG” image_size=”4608×3456″ ]

This episode symbolized the remainder of the afternoon, although the size of the remaining catches failed to measure up to number one. I continued my upstream migration at a steady pace and added eighteen trout to my count. All except two were brown trout, and the two exceptions were rainbows in the ten inch range, but they compensated for their lack of size with sheer beauty.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bt-_luOXoFs/WsOfxKB-v8I/AAAAAAABaqE/Ell5CXt4_TA7GJEgkc5M47lA39d9JPydgCCoYBhgL/s144-o/P4020016.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6540246344192866385?locked=true#6540246750727159746″ caption=”One of Two Rainbows Landed” type=”image” alt=”P4020016.JPG” image_size=”4608×3456″ ]

After the first hour the fish count perched on four, and I endured a dry spell of fifteen minutes. During this time several small trout elevated and inspected the fat Albert, but they shunned the large offering and returned to their holding positions. I was having some success with the nymphs, but now the residents of South Boulder Creek seemed to be distracted by the large surface offering. I opted to downsize and removed the three fly dry/dropper lineup and replaced it with a peacock body hippy stomper. I fished the smaller foam attractor solo for a bit with no results, so I added a beadhead hares ear and beadhead sparkle wing RS2.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-lG5JrtWdaTI/WsOgCzzcyQI/AAAAAAABaqE/yi9r6Ws4mTQ6wSiL-CX-FrMAcC4JGDl_QCCoYBhgL/s144-o/P4020021.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6540246344192866385?locked=true#6540247053998278914″ caption=”Careful Approach in Order” type=”image” alt=”P4020021.JPG” image_size=”4608×3456″ ]

The shift in approach paid huge dividends, and these flies remained in place during the remainder of the afternoon. The trout overwhelmingly favored the hares ear, although two eager eaters chomped the hippy stomper. The sparkle wing RS2 failed to attract interest, and I removed it after a thirty minute trial period.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0iweARBpBEY/WsOfxK1ydfI/AAAAAAABaqE/6ukEPS_j8bIbSzmR02RpvjUVFUio-eltwCCoYBhgL/s144-o/P4020019.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6540246344192866385?locked=true#6540246750944458226″ caption=”Decent South Boulder Creek Brown Trout” type=”image” alt=”P4020019.JPG” image_size=”4608×3456″ ]

The wind was a constant nuisance, but it abated enough to make casting a reasonable endeavor. The warmth of the strong spring sun counterbalanced the wind, and I thoroughly enjoyed my continuous progression along South Boulder Creek. My initial foray into the South Boulder Creek canyon was a solid success, and I hope to return before the water managers initiate their inevitable fluctuation in flows.

Fish Landed: 19

South Boulder Creek – 11/22/2017

Time: 11:00AM – 2:30PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 11/22/2017 Photo Album

Yet another mild fall day in Colorado motivated me to load the car with my fishing gear in preparation for a local fishing trip. Wednesday November 22 was a day to cherish for  another reason unrelated to the weather. My son, Dan, claimed a rare vacation day from work and agreed to join me on a venture to South Boulder Creek. I regularly updated him with tales of my fishing success on the small front range tailwater, and he agreed to join me for a late season adventure.

We arrived at the kayak parking lot below Gross Reservoir, and by the time I assembled my rod and climbed into my waders and hiked a fair distance from the parking lot, we began casting at 11AM. Dan and I both began with a Jake’s gulp beetle on our line, and that was probably not smart given our opportunity to present two different food imitations. Within twenty minutes Dan connected with a nice eleven inch trout, when he flicked a fairly long cast to a narrow pocket along the right bank. After the beetle drifted six inches, the head of a brown trout appeared, and it confidently chomped on the fake terrestrial. I was thrilled to watch, as Dan reacted with a swift hook set and then expertly guided his catch to his net. It was a great start to a fun day on South Boulder Creek.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OQQhjVg07-I/Whcng4CRA0I/AAAAAAABR6Y/AEzeLJjS1Cs6LAQ09-bIjeP5jd1uCiQugCCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB220003.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6491700812093616049?locked=true#6491700833629045570″ caption=”A Happy Fisherman” type=”image” alt=”PB220003.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

We continued fishing for the first hour, and I endured quite a few refusals to my beetle, until I finally hooked and landed a small brown trout that stretched slightly beyond my six inch minimum requirement for counting. Dan, meanwhile, enjoyed a bit more success, as he built his fish count to two, before we paused for lunch in an area bathed in sunlight on the bank high above the creek.

After lunch I concluded that the beetle no longer possessed the fish attracting charm, that it exhibited earlier in the fall, so I swapped it for a size 16 light gray deer hair caddis. The change was somewhat beneficial, and I enticed two additional small brown trout to my net. Dan added a third trout to his cumulative tally with the beetle, and then after witnessing my moderate success with the caddis, he followed suit.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HTwWsr8j1vE/WhcniVEfvnI/AAAAAAABR6Y/nSHsehusQQQ_UEYAC0Ek1gJfjJzbS7siACCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB220005.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6491700812093616049?locked=true#6491700858602897010″ caption=”Shadows and Glare Were a Challenge” type=”image” alt=”PB220005.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

By two o’clock the stream was almost entirely covered in shadows, and this condition translated to difficulty tracking the small size 16 fly. Dan progressed upstream along the right bank which remained in sunshine. After several hours of fishing I concluded that most of our success originated in slow pools along the rocky bank. The faster runs and pockets in the middle of the creek were not productive unlike my earlier trips to the same section of the stream. With this observation described to Dan, he approached a very nice long narrow pool along the right bank that matched the description of attractive water.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-mAnnmojJQLQ/WhcnkAOuCqI/AAAAAAABR6w/6e6S1VhqIF0dT1Q78G_neVQF66KoTI72ACCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB220008.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6491700812093616049?locked=true#6491700887368370850″ caption=”Dan Landed Two Trout from the Area Next to the Rock Shaped Like a Whale” type=”image” alt=”PB220008.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

He placed a nice cast to the top of the gently flowing trough, and after a five foot drift his caddis sank, and Dan alertly spotted a subsurface flash. He reacted with a quick hook set and quickly netted fish number four. I was quite impressed that Dan’s fly fishing skills advanced to the point, where he reacted to a subtle take below the surface. Once he released his recent catch and refreshed his caddis dry fly, he placed a similar cast upstream in the same area but closer to the large rock along the bank. An instant replay resulted, when another brown trout snatched the caddis just after it dipped beneath the surface near the streamside boulder.

We resumed our upstream migration and approached a spot where a nice deep run cut down the center of the creek and then split around a large rock that was mostly submerged, except for the small round top that poked above the water. Dan spotted a rise in the swirly current just above the rock, so I targeted that area with my casts. Unfortunately the caddis did not appeal to the riser, so I decided to experiment with a size 18 cinnamon comparadun. I quickly made the change and executed five nice drifts along the current seam, but again the cagey feeder refused to be fooled. What would cause this recalcitrant stream dweller to eat?

I decided to make a last ditch effort with a dry/dropper approach, and I knotted a hippy stomper with a red body to the end of my leader and then added a beadhead hares ear on an eighteen foot dropper to the bend of the foam top fly. As Dan looked on, I lobbed the two fly combination to the scene of the single rise, and after a two foot drift the hippy stomper dipped, and I connected with a ten inch brown trout. Dan was impressed with the instant success, and I was appropriately inspired by this late good fortune.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RH-QbtvEs9M/WhcnlG-AI2I/AAAAAAABR6w/q3GaCu4lKac8YlD4QVxvvNkOYERjy9S6QCCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB220010.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6491700812093616049?locked=true#6491700906357171042″ caption=”Zoomed on a Nice S Boulder Creek Brown Trout” type=”image” alt=”PB220010.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

Dan stashed his backpack downstream at our lunch spot, so he decided to embark on a retrieval mission, while I continued to evaluate the effectiveness of the recent shift to a dry/dropper approach.  Over the final twenty minutes of my fishing day I landed two more brown trout in the ten to eleven inch range. Number five grabbed the hares ear in a deep slot between two large exposed boulders, and the last landed brown trout smacked the red hippy stomper in a small shelf pool along the left bank. I was pleased with my late burst of success, but three fish in thirty minutes left me pondering whether I should have converted to the dry/dropper system earlier in the day.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_GHJBkc49oE/Whcnnh8vgjI/AAAAAAABR6w/vZPjyx-Pp5g88ATnE6kMlOmHBwUR9rksACCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB220015.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6491700812093616049?locked=true#6491700947959382578″ caption=”Another Shot of the Hippy Stomper” type=”image” alt=”PB220015.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

Six fish on November 22 was a fine outing, and the setting was glorious. The weather enhanced our enjoyment, and spending 3.5 rare hours with my son on a remote trout stream was an occasion to treasure.

Fish Landed: 6

South Boulder Creek – 11/13/2017

Time: 10:30AM – 3:00PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 11/13/2017 Photo Album

Jane and I returned from four fabulous days in Moab on Saturday, November 11, and I noted that the weather forecast predicted a high of 69 in Denver on Monday, November 13. I thoroughly enjoyed four days of hiking and cycling in the Utah canyons, but I also missed my frequent weekly fly fishing adventures. An abnormally warm day in the middle of November in Colorado was too much to pass up.

The time changed on November 5, and consequently I planned an earlier start to my fishing day. Prior to the time change, the prime period for fly fishing was 11AM until 3PM, so with a one hour fall back, the ideal time shifted to 10AM until 2PM. I departed the house at 7:45AM, and this enabled me to arrive at the kayak parking lot below Gross Reservoir by 9AM. I quickly assembled my Orvis Access four weight and pulled on my waders. The temperature was around fifty degrees, so I tied my fleece cardigan around my waist and under my waders. I knew I would overheat on the hike to the stream, if I wore the fleece, but I desired the insurance of an extra layer in case I fished in the shadows of the canyon walls.

Two cars were already parked in the lot, but I never encountered another fisherman during my entry walk. After a decent hike from the parking lot I cut down to the stream and began my quest for South Boulder Creek trout. I knotted a size 12 Jake’s gulp beetle to my line for the trek to the creek, and it remained on my line for the first three hours of fishing. The section that served as my entry point was mostly in sunshine with only five feet along the left bank covered by shadows.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-TIzqb6xzgMQ/Wgp5lwJ-s8I/AAAAAAABRmA/TXZf7aPkUi8Fqg5iwGELp4CaO95JaE5cwCCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB130007.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6488131863009294385?locked=true#6488131902669501378″ caption=”Quite a Jumble of Rocks and Logs” type=”image” alt=”PB130007.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

The stream flows were 15.8 CFS, and this level is below ideal, but adequate for enjoyable fly fishing. My outing on 10/17/2017 was strong testimony that excellent fly fishing was available on South Boulder Creek at low flows. I prospected some very attractive water in the first fifteen minutes with no reward for my efforts, but then I lobbed a cast in the shadows in a deep run along the left bank. I was unable to follow the beetle, but a sudden swirl where I estimated my fly to be evoked a quick hook set, and after a short battle I guided a deep olive-colored eleven inch brown trout into my net. I was pleased to register my first fish of the day.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rpEpNbWlHf4/Wgp5lX9_UTI/AAAAAAABRmA/Lj6v3d9NMUQov_3tyLauYZvq4LuT89itQCCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB130006.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6488131863009294385?locked=true#6488131896176759090″ caption=”Better Light” type=”image” alt=”PB130006.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

I moved on and landed a second brown, but the catch rate lagged my expectations, so I made an adjustment and added a size 20 RS2 on a two foot dropper. The addition was a solid move, and when I stopped for lunch, the fish count paused at eight including one rainbow and the remainder browns. Two of the netted fish favored the RS2, and six savored Jake’s gulp beetle.

While eating lunch on a large rock bathed in sunlight high above the creek, I observed quite a few small stoneflies, as they fluttered in the streaming beams of sun next to two large evergreen trees. After lunch I persisted with the foam beetle and RS2 combination for a bit, and the RS2 delivered a third trout to my net. My results were decent, but I approached a nice pool and observed several fish rising, so I decided to once again change my tactics. I swapped the RS2 for a size 20 soft hackle emerger with no bead. I applied a thick coat of Gink floatant to the body and fished the emerger in the surface film. I was hoping that the small emerger would cover two bases; blue winged olives and small gray stoneflies.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vbKOdUKMrsw/Wgp5oVygUUI/AAAAAAABRmA/xNSdlH1nafs-IGWVvEEAdmyrmNJpP6XFACCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB130013.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6488131863009294385?locked=true#6488131947131326786″ caption=”Beauty with Fins” type=”image” alt=”PB130013.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

The foam beetle and bwo emerger tandem enabled the fish count to elevate to twelve by 1:30, and two landed trout devoured the emerger. It was gratifying to receive some positive feedback on my greased emerger ploy. At the twelve fish milestone I could attribute three to the RS2, two to the soft hackle emerger, and the remaining seven slurped the beetle. I was rather pleased with my twelve fish day in the middle of November, and I settled on a two o’clock quit time, as the shadows lengthened over the stream.

Just as thoughts of quitting crossed my mind, I noted a pair of fairly large mayflies, as they slowly floated up from the surface of the creek. On my last visit to South Boulder Creek I experienced decent success with a size 16 cinnamon comparadun, so I copied the move and knotted a pale morning dun imitation to my line. I was situated along the right bank above a gorgeous deep run that fanned into a nice deep pool. I began presenting the comparadun on downstream drifts by checking my cast high and fluttered the single dry to the seam at the top of the run. On four successive casts a very respectable rainbow emerged and hovered beneath the mayfly, but on each drift it resisted the temptation to sip the fraud.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-m9f93-t6lPA/Wgp5qyJlQ9I/AAAAAAABRmA/D9yErVFQGjgmI48U6NMqD8QgpC-XDQ97wCCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB130020.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6488131863009294385?locked=true#6488131989104051154″ caption=”Love the Sheen” type=”image” alt=”PB130020.JPG” image_size=”1536×2048″ ]

I opted to employ my usual tactic in response to refusals, and I knotted a size 18 cinnamon comparadun to my line. Unfortunately on this occasion, downsizing was not the answer, and the rainbow never budged from its hidden lie to inspect the smaller offering. Perhaps size was not the issue? I pondered the situation and decided to test a size 16 light gray deer hair caddis. A tan body would have been preferable, since the cinnamon color of the comparadun seemed to attract attention, but light gray was the best I could do.

It was one of those situations where making do paid off. During the remainder of my time on the water I added nine trout to the fish count and ended the day at twenty-one. In many cases the first cast to a likely pocket or pool elicited a confident slurp. Several times I watched as a brown trout darted two or three feet to snatch the small drifting caddis adult. I am always amazed by how fast a trout can snatch a piece of food from the surface.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zxDXe12wSBk/Wgp5rV753rI/AAAAAAABRmA/FqjDG_ojDrM6fV9-EW4zwWwoFrffqgsowCCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB130021.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6488131863009294385?locked=true#6488131998710357682″ caption=”Likely Productive Spot” type=”image” alt=”PB130021.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

A few minutes before 3PM I reached a convenient point to step out of the water. The path was within a few feet of the bank, so I began the return hike to the car. The sun was now positioned quite low in the western sky, and the entire stream was shrouded in shadows. The temperature dipped noticeably, but my quick strides warmed my body. When I started the car, I checked the dashboard thermometer, and I was surprised to see a reading of 51 degrees.

Monday was a very enjoyable day on South Boulder Creek. I landed twenty-one trout, and sixteen fell for a dry fly. I was quite pleased to experience a twenty fish day on November 13, and I plan to take advantage of any additional unseasonably mild weather breaks.

Landed Fish: 21

 

South Boulder Creek – 11/02/2017

Time: 12:30PM – 4:00PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 11/02/2017 Photo Album

Fishing with cold hands is not fun, but that is one of the conditions I endured on Thursday, November 2, 2017. I could not resist the temptation to fish for a second day in a row, when I noted a weather forecast with high temperatures peaking around seventy degrees in Denver, CO. I reviewed the usual assortment of front range destinations, and I was pleased to learn that Denver Water boosted the outflows from Gross Reservoir from a trickle of 9.3 CFS to 16.7 CFS. During September I enjoyed some robust action at 15 and 13 CFS, so I decided to make the short drive to the parking area below Gross Dam. The high temperature at Pinecliffe just west of my chosen fishing spot was projected to reach 54 degrees.

Unfortunately my path to fly fishing incorporated the stretch of highway named Interstate 270. Inevitably the section between Interstate 70 and Colorado Boulevard requires stuttering along in bumper to bumper traffic, and Thursday was not an exception. I maneuvered into the left lane and progressed slowly in fits and starts, and during one of the stalled periods I was surprised by a thwacking sound, as my car lurched forward for an instant after the impact. I quickly steered the Santa Fe on to the left shoulder and opened the car door to determine the cause of this sudden interruption of my progress toward fly fishing. A woman exited the car behind me, and she quickly announced that it was not her fault. Another car was parked along the shoulder behind her, and the driver was surveying the situation. Apparently the young driver of the rear automobile failed to stop in time and smacked the woman next in line, and her car smacked into the bumper of my vehicle.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dFDl8zyHeVk/WgJVGpgpdyI/AAAAAAABQ_o/ktyHAUwnDZ4w2X2_0ZakBjBTSMM96bIgwCCoYBhgL/s144-o/IMG_3401.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6484036369698251681?locked=true#6485839986077300514″ caption=”The Most Damage on the Middle Car” type=”image” alt=”IMG_3401.JPG” image_size=”750×1334″ ]

I quickly examined the rear of my car, opened the hatch and pushed on the trailer hitch. Everything seemed to be in working order, and all I could find was a small deep scratch on top of the bumper. I was hesitant to leave in case some non readily visible damage lurked, so I began collecting contact information from the other two drivers. Vanessa was the driver of the sandwiched vehicle, and she immediately dialed 911 and asked for the police. This made sense, since the rear of her vehicle suffered the most damage. Gerardo, the driver of the rear most car, meanwhile paced about in a white T-shirt. I approached him and obtained his key information, while he shivered almost uncontrollably. It was not clear if his condition resulted from shock or being attired in a short sleeved shirt in 35 degree temperatures.

As this scene evolved I heard sirens, and an ambulance and fire truck rushed through traffic on the eastbound lane. Within minutes the emergency vehicles exited the eastbound lanes, crossed the highway and proceeded west until they reached our little impromptu gathering. The ambulance parked in the left lane in front of my car, and the fire truck angled and blocked the left lane behind the rear vehicle. The first responders approached each occupant of the three vehicles and asked our conditions. Vanessa accompanied the female medical professional to the ambulance, and the passenger in Gerardo’s vehicle joined her.

We waited impatiently for another twenty minutes, as a large traffic jam developed in the one remaining westbound lane. Finally a Commerce City patrol car pulled over ahead of the fire truck and an officer emerged. He collected driver’s licenses, registration and insurance cards from each of the drivers and returned to his patrol car. Vanessa and I began chatting, and she asserted that Gerardo reeked of marijuana. Finally the officer returned and spoke to Vanessa and I together. He gave us a card with the traffic report number and his contact information, and he informed us that the rear driver was at fault and would be fined. We could use the police trip report, if we filed an insurance claim, and we were free to go.

Forty-five minutes after being struck, I was once again on my way to South Boulder Creek. I arrived in the kayak parking lot at 11AM, and after I pulled on my waders and strung my Orvis Access four weight, I hit the trail by 11:20. I descended to the stream below the dam and hiked a good ways downstream. The flows were indeed higher than my last visit at 9.3 CFS, but the stream level remained on the low side compared to ideal conditions. The temperature in the parking lot was in the upper thirties, and consequently I wore my light down coat and hat with ear flaps.

Once I reached my designated entry point, I unzipped my backpack and pulled out my lunch and ate while observing some nice deep pools in front of me. No aquatic insects revealed themselves, so I decided to begin my day with a parachute black ant with a pink wing post. The ant has been a hot fly for me during the autumn season of 2017 on front range streams. I prospected the ant through two delightful sections with deep slow moving pools, and the terrestrial imitation failed to draw even a slight amount of interest.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Er3mhl1aVjA/WfvsuzguPFI/AAAAAAABQzc/-aCu6KdDaXQlDEP–qIkqUwvJa3THOW3wCCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB020024.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6484036369698251681?locked=true#6484036377375554642″ caption=”First and Best Fish on Thursday” type=”image” alt=”PB020024.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

I reeled up my line and decided to swap the ant for a size 12 Jake’s gulp beetle. The change proved fortuitous, and a fat thirteen inch rainbow surged to the surface and crushed it at the tail of a gorgeous deep pool. This was my first fish of the day and likely the longest to find my net. I continued on my upstream path and landed four more trout on the beetle, although I sensed that some quality areas contained fish but did not produce. In an effort to increase my chances, I added a three foot dropper and knotted a size 20 beadhead RS2 to the extension. These two flies occupied my line for the next 2.5 hours, and they were very effective. I nudged the fish counter to twenty, and most of the fish between four and twenty snatched the beetle. However, between two o’clock and three o’clock the RS2 caught fire, and six trout nipped the small baetis nymph on the lift or as it tumbled behind the beetle. I nearly removed the trailing nymph, as it created moderate tangles on several occasions, when fish smacked the surface beetle. I was rewarded for persistence, as the fans of the RS2 were some of the larger brown trout landed during the day.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bobQD4lqdYQ/WfvsvW4FlnI/AAAAAAABQzc/cwcOrZZbM2golbxCbimXiYBEsBz13zUJACCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB020026.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6484036369698251681?locked=true#6484036386868794994″ caption=”Very Inviting Section” type=”image” alt=”PB020026.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

By 3PM the shadows extended over nearly the entire creek, and my hands were stinging from the evaporation and intermittent breeze. I was about to call it quits in order to initiate the exit hike, but then I spied three large mayflies. It was refreshing to see a mayfly that dwarfed the tiny blue winged olives that dominated my recent dry fly fishing, and I guessed that the bugs that tumbled across the surface were extremely lagging pale morning duns. They seemed to have a pink hue to their bodies, although they bounced along the surface in a haphazard manner making color determination a difficult chore.

I delayed my departure and decided to experiment with a size 16 cinnamon comparadun. Could I catch trout on November 2 on a pale morning dun imitation? PMD’s typically hatch from mid-June until mid-July in freestone streams in Colorado, although they are prevalent in tailwaters during August and September. I followed through on my plan and began casting the comparadun to all the likely pools. Positioning was now critical, as the sun was low in the western sky, and this created severe glare depending on the angle of my view. I moved to the right bank and adopted the practice of making across and downstream drifts, and the fish responded. I landed eight additional trout between 3PM and 4PM, and the South Boulder Creek residents smacked the comparadun with absolute confidence. I recall one or two refusals, but in most cases a fish shot through the water and inhaled the low riding dun on the first cast to a pool or pocket. Pale morning dun dry fly fishing was an enjoyable way to spend the last hour of my day on South Boulder Creek.

[peg-image src=”https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7QehIi6VXuE/Wfvsy21L4VI/AAAAAAABQzc/KYmZyatnRWosWO4UndZV2XGgY3WOD_ZOACCoYBhgL/s144-o/PB020032.JPG” href=”https://picasaweb.google.com/108128655430094950653/6484036369698251681?locked=true#6484036446986166610″ caption=”Another Member of the Brown Trout Parade” type=”image” alt=”PB020032.JPG” image_size=”2048×1536″ ]

Finally at 4PM the temperature dropped, and I reeled up my line and tucked the PMD into my rod guide. A twenty-eight fish day on November 2 was a satisfying accomplishment. My hands grew stiff and began to resemble fleshy claws, so I climbed the rocky bank and ambled pack to the parking lot. I was fortunate to escape a fender bender without damage or bodily injury, and I managed to post a fine day of fly fishing in November. Not bad.

Fish Landed: 28