Category Archives: Taylor River

Spring Creek – 07/28/2021

Time: 10:00AM – 1:30PM

Location: Between Harmel Resort and Spring Creek Reservoir

Spring Creek 07/28/2021 Photo Album

Wednesday was my getaway day from the Taylor River Valley, and I needed to choose between fishing the Taylor, returning to Spring Creek or seeking out another creek not yet visited. The choice was rather easy after landing a combined total of thirty-two fish on Spring Creek in two separate visits on Tuesday. I enjoyed the hour of fishing on the Taylor River with western green drakes on Tuesday, but the non-hatch times were extremely slow. I slept in a bit later on Wednesday morning and packed all my gear and departed the campground by 9:00AM. The tent was covered with dew, so I rolled it up along with the rainfly and stuffed it under a pair of bins. Once I returned home, I could spread everything out in the patio, and it would dry in minutes given the hot, dry temperatures in Denver.

I made the thirty minute drive to Spring Creek and found a pullout upstream from my locations on Tuesday. Before I parked, however, I drove north along the creek a bit to make sure that the gradient was not excessive, and also that I could find a relatively manageable exit point. My Orvis Access four weight remained rigged from Tuesday, so it was not long before I waded into the creek to begin my Wednesday adventure. I was admittedly rather confident, after I enjoyed substantial success the previous day. On Tuesday morning I prospected almost entirely with a peacock body hippie stomper, and this strategy led to eighteen trout in two hours of fishing. How could Wednesday not be a repeat?

Change is constant in fly fishing, and Wednesday was not a repeat of Tuesday morning. Naturally I knotted a peacock hippie stomper to my line, and in the first twenty minutes I landed two brown trout that exceeded my six inch minimum. This was not the relaxed dry fly fishing that I experienced on Tuesday. For each fish I landed, I witnessed three refusals. For some reason the same attractor fly that the Spring Creek trout loved on Tuesday was now avoided. On Tuesday afternoon I modified my approach to that of dry/dropper fishing, so I decided to make the same switch on Wednesday. My line absorbed a Chernobyl ant and trailed a salvation nymph and eventually a hares ear to gain more depth, but the dry/dropper technique on Wednesday morning was a bust. I landed one small brown trout on the Chernobyl ant, and the nymphs were blatantly ignored.

What now? I observed a couple of yellow sallies along with a veritable swarm of spruce moths. I began my experimentation with a yellow size 14 stimulator, but refusals reigned, so I abandoned it after ten minutes. I peered into my fly box for large caddis flies and spotted a size 14 muggly caddis with a light gray body. Perhaps the muggly caddis imitated the spruce moth? I knotted it to my line, and in a short amount of time it attracted the attention of two trout. My optimism quickly waned; however, as the fly failed to produce in some attractive spots, and the body and wing absorbed water and began to sink. I grew weary of the excessive drying and pondered yet another switch. By now I had fished for forty-five minutes, and the fish count rested on five.

Harrop Hair Wing Green Drake Getting It Done

Green drakes hatched on the Taylor River on Tuesday. Could the same aquatic insects be present on this cold tributary stream, and could their emergence lag their appearance on the main river? I decided to give one a try and attached a Harrop hair wing green drake to my line. Finally I met with success, and I began catching trout with some regularity bringing the fish counter to nine after one hour of fishing. Suddenly my day of frustration morphed into one of optimism, as my catch rate mirrored the rate for the two morning hours of the previous day!

Fine Brown Trout

After a period of steady production the hair wing became saturated with fish slime and moisture, and like the muggly caddis it required constant sopping, trips to the dry shake vial, and application of floatant. I yearned for a green drake imitation that floated better, and I actually had such a fly in my box. I retrieved a user friendly green drake with its narrow foam back, and I replaced the Harrop hair wing. The user friendly proved its worth, as five additional brown trout succumbed to its magic, but then once again I endured a lengthy lull in prime trout habitat.

What a Trout Lie!

User Friendly Visible in the Mouth

I never actually observed a natural green drake, so I concluded that perhaps the sparse hatch was over or perhaps the normal emergence period had passed. I elected to try the terrestrial route and equipped my line with a size 14 Jake’s gulp beetle. The beetle prompted a few looks, but it was not on the menu, so I once again paused to consider my options. Could a double dry fly be the ticket? Maybe I did not give the hippie stomper a fair chance? I found a peacock body stomper in my frontpack and attached it to my tippet, and then I added a purple haze on a foot long dropper. The double dropper method seemed to be in vogue so far in the summer of 2021, so why not give it another chance?

Small Shelf Pool

Suddenly trout appeared where I expected them to be, and the purple haze became a desirable treat for the Spring Creek trout. The two relatively large surface flies with large white wings were relatively easy to follow, and I capitalized to move the fish counter from eighteen to twenty-six. The purple haze became a hot commodity, and some larger than average trout went out of their way to crush the purple bodied attractor fly.

Chunky One

Unfortunately the torrid action suddenly ceased, and I spent the last thirty minutes in futility. Quality pools and pockets similar to ones that recently delivered multiple trout abruptly seemed to be devoid of fish. The lack of action and the advancement of my watch to 1:30PM prompted me to call it quits with a 4.5 hour drive to Denver ahead of me.

Subtle Fish Holding Water Here

I approached Wednesday with the expectation of tying a hippie stomper to my line, and that simple step would invite a parade of wild trout to compete to chomp the large attractor dry fly. It did not evolve that way. Three flies accounted for the bulk of my catch, and they were the Harrop hair wing green drake, user friendly green drake and purple haze. Wednesday’s success required thought, experimentation and persistence; and fortunately I was up to the challenge. A twenty-six fish day in 3.5 hours of fishing is an outing to be proud of, Of course, the fish were on the small side with most falling in the seven to eleven inch range. A few stretched the tape to twelve inches, but Wednesday was definitely a day where quantity exceeded size. I love small stream fly fishing, exploring new sections of a creek, and moving along at a steady pace; and Spring Creek certainly met these criteria.

Fish Landed: 26

Spring Creek Afternoon – 07/27/2021

Time: 3:30PM – 5:00PM

Location: Between Spring Creek Reservoir and confluence with the Taylor River

Spring Creek Afternoon 07/27/2021 Photo Album

I was curious if I could catch fish on Spring Creek in the late afternoon, a time that is generally the doldrums on large rivers during hot summer days. My Orvis Access four weight remained set up with a peacock hippie stomper from the morning session, so I jumped right into action at 3:30PM. In a short amount of time the stomper delivered two small brown trout, but then a lull ensued, as I prospected some great looking water with no response. Would a nymph perform better in the late afternoon, when the hatches were history? I swapped the stomper for a Chernobyl ant for better flotation and added a salvation nymph on a two foot dropper. What a move!

Salvation Nymph Caught Fire

Handsome Brown Trout

The fish count soared to fourteen over the next 1.5 hours, and 80% of the brown trout snatched the salvation. I was particularly amazed at the trout that emerged from shallow riffle sections, when the Chernobyl paused. A few fish ate the attractor terrestrial, but it also generated a fair share of temporary hookups and refusals. I was using it as more of an indicator, with the main emphasis on the nymph. Most of the late afternoon fish were in the eight and nine inch range with a few stretching the tape to eleven inches. Another visit to Spring Creek is on tap for Wednesday, my getaway day.

Fish Landed: 14

Taylor River – 07/27/2021

Time: 11:30AM – 2:30PM

Location: Below Taylor Reservoir

Taylor River 07/27/2021 Photo Album

I quit fishing on Spring Creek at 10:30AM, and this enabled me to arrive at the Taylor River pullout above Lodgepole Campground by 11:20AM. I drove the ten miles from Spring Creek and stopped at the Harmel Resort store to purchase a ten pound bag of ice.

My Sage One five weight was rigged from Monday’s action, so I crossed the river at the same spot as Monday and then hiked down the north side of the river, until I was across from and above the paved parking lot across from Lodgepole. My Sage One five weight remained assembled from Monday with a tan pool toy hopper, iron sally, and bright green caddis pupa. I tested this threesome for thirty minutes with only a hopper refusal to show for my efforts. I began¬† to regret my decision to leave Spring Creek.

Prime Pool

Green Drake Snacker

At noon I arrived at a tantalizing pool at the upper end of a large rock moraine, and the air above the river came alive with a smorgasbord of insects. There were caddis, yellow sallies, pale morning duns, and a green drake or two. The pale morning duns seemed most prevalent, and I saw a few aggressive rises, so I replaced the bright green caddis with a pale morning dun juju emerger. It was soundly ignored. Perhaps the trout were chowing down on subsurface nymphs? A salvation nymph replaced the juju emerger, and it was treated with similar disdain. I spotted two rises along the well defined center current seam, so I removed the dry/dropper and presented a solitary size 16 light gray comparadun. This fly provided one temporary hookup, but the take seemed tentative.

Scene of Multiple Hatches

As I pondered my next move, the river came alive with green drakes. They appeared to be size 14, and they were nearly as abundant as the PMD’s. I abandoned the comparadun and knotted a size 14 parachute green drake to my line. This solved the puzzle, as two gorgeous brown trout in the fourteen to fifteen inch range inhaled the western green drake imitation. There was nothing tentative about the eats from the pool dwellers. I persisted with the parachute green drake, until the hackle began to slip up the wing post, and I replaced it with another fresh version.

Looking Back at Crossing Point

I vacated the quality pool and began working my way upstream, but the green drake hatch began to wane. I felt like my parachute was riding low in the surface film, and perhaps the fish were tuned into something with a large upright wing which created the illusion of motion. I swapped the parachute for a comparadun, and this fly duped a few trout, before I broke it of on a decent fish that dove under a rock or stick. I persisted with the green drake approach, until I quit at 2:30PM. The last thirty minutes were quite slow, and I ended with a peacock hippie stomper and purple haze. One small brown nipped the haze to put me at ten on Tuesday on the Taylor River.

Other that the first two fish from the moraine pool, all the remainder were relatively small browns in the seven to eleven inch range. I decided to return to Spring Creek in an attempt to recapture the magic of the morning session.

Fish Landed: 10

Spring Creek Morning – 07/27/2021

Time: 8:30AM – 10:30AM

Location: Between Spring Creek Reservoir and confluence with the Taylor River

Spring Creek Morning 07/27/2021 Photo Album

It was 46 degrees, when I rolled out of my sleeping bag at Lottis Creek Campground . I got off to a nice early start for my long day of fly fishing and arrived at a pullout along the dirt road that follows Spring Creek by 8:10AM, and the temperature was up to 51 degrees. I wore my fleece to start the day, since I planned to return to the car by mid-morning, and this would allow me to shed a layer prior to continuing through the warmest part of the day. I rigged my Orvis Access four weight for some small stream fishing, but I really had no idea what to expect on this rare early morning venture into fly fishing.

Honey Hole

Suffice it to say, that I never anticipated landing eighteen trout in two hours of fishing. The creek was running full, yet very manageable, so I began and ended with a peacock hippie stomper. During a thirty minute period I felt that the catch rate slowed, so I added a pheasant tail nymph, but the fish continued to attack the attractor dry fly and ignored the nymph. The dropper was simply a nuisance, and it seemed that I experienced more long distance releases perhaps due to the leader connecting the stomper to the trailing subsurface fly. I theorized that the small fish felt the line coming off the bend, and this sensation caused the fish to flip off the hook.

Large for Small Stream

Bankside Lie

My two hours on Spring Creek were great fun, Nearly all the likely spots delivered, and in many cases they yielded multiple fish. Of course most of the stream trout were small, but early in the game I tempted a fourteen inch brown to chase the hippie stomper from its lair under a log. I made a downstream drift, and just as the fly approached the submerged log beneath an overhanging branch, I lifted to avoid a snag, and the wily trout grabbed the dry fly, before it could escape.

Fish Landed: 18

Taylor River – 07/26/2021

Time: 1:00PM – 4:00PM

Location: Lodgepole Campground area

Taylor River 07/26/2021 Photo Album

A four hour drive landed me along the Taylor River on Monday, July 26, 2021. After a slow day on Boulder Creek I vowed to begin concentrating my fly fishing efforts on high elevation streams and tailwaters. The Taylor River below Taylor Reservoir was the beginning of that pledge.

I needed a campsite for Monday and Tuesday night, so I investigated the Lottis Creek Campground before moving on to my final fishing destination. I found one open campsite, number thirteen, on the Baldy Loop and immediately snagged it. A no vacancy sign at the entrance to the loop left me skeptical, but apparently a camper departed after the sign was posted. The hosts were absent, when I arrived, and I needed to pay them directly, so I unloaded some camping gear and left them a note and headed to the river to fish.

Fisherman Campsite

I found a parking space in a wide pullout above Lodgepole Campground, where I like to cross the river, and I geared up with waders and my Sage One five weight rod. I was quite anxious to cross the river at one of the few spots, where it is safe to do so, but another fisherman was stationed just above my desired crossing route. Yet another angler was thirty yards downstream. I decided to amble east beyond the upstream angler while allowing adequate space. This ploy worked out quite well, as I found some interesting pocket water and another spot where a crossing was possible.

A Fine Brown Trout

I began with a tan pool toy hopper, prince nymph, and iron sally and prospected some moderate depth pockets in the middle of the river.  Within ten minutes a fish grabbed a nymph on the swing, and I felt a brief connection, before I realized that both nymphs broke off! I replaced the prince with another similar version, but for some reason I added a salvation nymph instead of the iron sally. I had a hunch that pale morning duns were active. This theory never became reality, but I landed a very nice fourteen inch brown trout on the hopper and a small brown on the prince, before I worked my way up to a point, where I could cross to the north bank.

Same Fish

This Bank Pool of Moderate Depth Invites Some Casts

I hiked through the woods, until I was just above the moraine field, and at this point I cut to the river and resumed my dry/dropper prospecting. Another fat fourteen inch brown smacked the hopper as well as a small aggressive surface feeder. I was pleased with the two hopper eaters, but I covered a ton of attractive water to net four fish, and quite a few refusals to the hopper accompanied the intermittent action. I spotted two green drakes during this time period, so I converted to a solitary parachute green drake. Over the next hour I incremented the fish count to eight, as the parachute green drake worked its magic, although quite a few of these fish were dinks barely over the six inch minimum. The drake was drawing interest, but some of the takes were tentative, and looks and refusals accompanied the action.

Pretty Brown Trout

I began cycling through my inventory of green drakes including a user friendly, comparadun, and other parachute models. I added a peacock hippie stomper in the forward position to aid in tracking the earth toned drakes. This fly rotation enabled me to add three more trout to the count including a very fine fourteen inch brown that sipped the green drake comparadun. The hippie stomper picked up a medium sized brown, and a replacement parachute attracted a small fish as well.

The last hour was extremely slow, and I switched back to the dry/dropper approach for the last thirty minutes, with the pool toy leading the way followed by an iron sally and bright green caddis pupa. The dry/dropper gambit was futile, and I quit and crossed the river at the same place that I forded earlier and returned to the car.

In the Middle of the River

Monday was a decent day on the Taylor River that included four browns in the thirteen to fourteen inch range, three browns of eleven to twelve inches, and the remainder barely over the minimum six inch size requirement. I started fishing late in prime time, so hopefully an earlier start on Tuesday will yield more action and some insect availability. Securing a campsite at Lottis Creek was a bonus during the peak summer season in Colorado.

Fish Landed: 11

Taylor River – 07/22/2020

Time: 12:30PM – 3:00PM

Location: Taylor Canyon

Taylor River 07/22/2020 Photo Album

I was reluctant to return to the same area that I fished on Tuesday, because my favorite ploy there is to wade to the opposite bank and fish upstream. With only a few hours available to me on Wednesday, before I needed to launch my return drive, the risk and time necessary to cross the river two more times were not justified. Instead I opted for another area a bit upstream. I estimated that the trout upstream would be tuned into the green drakes similar to my experience on Tuesday.

I made an interim stop at a potential fishing destination, but once I surveyed the situation, I decided to move up river a bit farther. Before doing so, however, I sat on the stool that I keep in the car and munched my small lunch. Afterward I continued along the highway a bit, until I found a convenient wide pullout. I removed my Sage One five weight from its case and quickly assembled it, and I was ready for a few hours on the high gradient Taylor River. I upgraded to the larger rod to counter wind and to cover a bigger river and, hopefully, tangle with some larger fish.

User Friendly Green Drake Fan

I crossed the road and threaded my way through a sparse forest and eventually arrived at a nice spot along the tumbling river. I borrowed from my success on Tuesday and immediately tied a size 12 yellow stimulator to my line along with a size 14 user friendly green drake. For the next 2.5 hours I fished the stimulator with an array of green drake patterns along the south bank and built the fish count to ten. I only spotted two natural western green drakes during this time, and inexplicably the trout were much more selective during the early afternoon than was there mood on Tuesday. The weather was quite different, as large dark clouds blocked the suns rays for much of the afternoon, and this in turn created cooler temperatures and more air movement.

As Good a Place As Any

The narrow river bed and high gradient in this section of the Taylor forced me to fish entirely in bankside pockets and runs. The first five trout were relatively small, and I remember this, because I was waiting for at least a twelve incher to photograph. I covered many places that appeared promising with no success, and refusals were part of the early game. These factors caused me to cycle through nearly all my green drake styles. I began with the user friendly, then tested a parachute version, and then switched to a Harrop hair wing. After the hair wing I reverted to a user friendly for buoyancy and visibility, and my last change placed a size 12 comparadun at the end of my tippet.

Size 12 Green Drake Comparadun Did the Heavy Lifting

Every green drake style yielded a few trout, but none emerged as a consistent producer. The average size of the landed trout increased during the last hour, and I managed to net a substantial fifteen inch brown trout that slurped the comparadun within the last thirty minutes. Several twelve and thirteen inch browns also thrashed in my net during the latter half of my stay on the Taylor River. Surprisingly the larger size 12 comparadun seemed to produce more confident takes, as it accounted for the last three fish of the day. A substantial, muscular rainbow crushed the user friendly on a downstream drift at the tail of a wide deep pool, but after several streaks, it flexed its substantial muscles and shook free of the fly.

Easily the Fish of the Day

In another example of my lack of good fortune, I spotted a very nice trout hugging the bottom of an appealing shelf pool. I placed eight casts over the dark figure with no response, and then it suddenly elevated and confidently sipped in the green drake. This decent brown trout also managed to shed my hook after a couple head shakes and a roll. By 3PM a storm threatened, and the wind gusted, and I decided it was time to initiate my return drive over Cottonwood Pass back to Denver.

Wednesday afternoon on the Taylor River was a challenge, but I did attain double figures and landed a few nice fish. The conditions were more adverse than Tuesday, but I was nevertheless pleased with the results, and the day yielded twenty-three fish in total when combined with Spring Creek. My 2.5 day stay along the Taylor River was an enjoyable experience, and my goal of encountering green drakes was fortunately achieved.

Fish Landed: 10

Spring Creek – 07/22/2020

Time: 9:00AM – 11:30AM

Location: A couple miles upstream from the Spring Creek Campground

Spring Creek 07/22/2020 Photo Album

During the morning of Tuesday, July 21, I was unable to land a single fish on the Taylor River; so I decided to delay my arrival on the frigid tailwater until the afternoon. Not wishing to waste a morning after the long drive to the Taylor River valley, I decided to spend Wednesday morning on Spring Creek, a small tributary. I fished Spring Creek one other time many years ago with decent results, and I was anxious to discover, whether the fishery continued to flourish.

I packed up my camping gear and made the fifteen minute drive to CO 744, and I followed the creek on a washboard riddled dirt road. I passed the area that I fished previously and looked for a spot that combined four key criteria: a pullout where it was safe to park, a lower gradient section, reasonable access although not too easy, and the absence of other anglers. I found a location that seemed to meet these criteria and prepared to fly fish with my Orvis Access four weight. Once I was ready, I hiked downstream along the dusty road, until I arrived at a spot, where the creek made a bend next to the road. Thick bushes occupied most of the area between the road and the creek, and gaps that afforded reasonable access were few and far between.

Perhaps the Best Pool of the Morning

I began my effort to locate Spring Creek trout with a size 14 yellow stimulator, as I surmised that yellow sallies were present on the mountain stream. The fish seemed to recognize my fly as a local food item, as I immediately experienced four very brief hookups. I was pleased with the recognition of my fly as food, but the takes seemed to be very tentative, and I attributed the temporary connections to the reticence of the trout to fully commit to the yellow stimulator. Quite a few small caddis and spruce moths occupied the shrubs and trees that bordered the stream. I decided to persist with the stimulator concept but change body color, and I switched to a gray size 14. This fly drew refusals, but it also registered a few brown trout, and I was off and running.

Mono Wrapped Early Brown Trout Took a Gray Stimulator

At some point I attached a six inch leader to the bend of the stimulator and added a size 16 olive-brown caddis. The move benefited my quest for trout, and the fish count quickly climbed. It seemed that every nook and cranny in the creek yielded a trout in the early going, although in many cases the interest was a look or long distance release. After I reached eight trout, the flies became permanently waterlogged, and I grew weary of sopping up the moisture and dipping the flies in dry shake, so I initiated a new approach. I yearned for the additional buoyancy of foam and snipped off the double dry and knotted a size 12 peacock hippie stomper to my line.

Even Marginal Spots Like This Held Trout

Hippie Stomper Fan

The stomper performed well, although the frequency of rises ebbed, and the fish that exerted the energy to crush the foam attractor seemed to be larger. By 11:00AM I noted another fisherman fifty yards upstream, and naturally I was disappointed with this development. Apparently he spotted me, and departed after a few casts, but I was nevertheless concerned that he moved a short distance upstream and out of view. As I moved closer to the opening, where the other angler appeared, the frequency of interaction with trout lessened, and I attributed this circumstance to easy access for fishermen who, unlike me, were unwilling to bash through bushes or wade in fast currents.

Very Nice for a Small Stream

Size 12 Peacock Body Hippie Stomper

I added a beadhead hares ear on a dropper off the hippie stomper to counter the assumed pressure, and two of the last three trout nabbed the subsurface offering. My final tally leveled out at thirteen, and after glancing at my watch I noted that it was approaching 11:30. I decided to climb the bank and walked back down the road to my car in order to secure a few hours on the Taylor River during prime time. My morning on Spring Creek was a pleasant change from the larger brawling Taylor, and I had a blast prospecting with attractor dry flies. Thirteen trout in 2.5 hours of fishing was a pleasing outcome, and Spring Creek seems to be thriving since my previous visit. I would eagerly welcome a return.

Fish Landed: 13

Taylor River – 07/21/2020

Time: 10:30AM – 4:30PM

Location: Lodgepole Campground area.

Taylor River 07/21/2020 Photo Album

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 developed into a nice day along the Taylor River, as it was actually fairly cool with long periods of dense cloud cover. The high temperature probably peaked in the upper seventies, and flows were in the 300 CFS range. I arrived at a wide pullout next to the river by 9:15AM and started fishing by 10:30AM. I assembled my Sage One five weight and methodically moved through my preparation routine, as I planned to cross to the opposite bank and be away from the car for the remainder of the day. I was quite pleased, when I was able to realize my goal of crossing, and the last ten percent was the most difficult, as I tested every foot placement and leaned heavily on my wading staff.

Stair Step Section

Once I climbed the bank opposite the road, I chose a path through the forest, until I was downstream at my chosen starting point. I rigged with a tan ice dub chubby Chernobyl, 20 incher, and salvation nymph. After thirty minutes of unproductive fly fishing, I reconfigured with a size 12 prince nymph and hares ear. These flies were equally unimpressive, and I sat down in a grassy area next to a gorgeous pool to consume my lunch at 11:45AM. I did hook a very nice rainbow in the lunch pool on the hares ear, but after a twenty foot streak, it shed the fly.

Lunch Pool

i observed the pool during my lunch break and spotted two green drakes and five pale morning duns. After lunch I decided to hedge my position, and I replaced the chubby Chernobyl with a size 12 peacock hippie stomper. For droppers I stayed with the prince, but I replaced the hares ear with an ancient cranefly larva. It was simply a hunch. The hippie stomper generated a pair of refusals, but the nymphs were ignored. A swarm of caddis on the streamside bushes prompted me to remove the larva, and I replaced it with an emerald caddis pupa. None of these well conceived moves broke the zero fish logjam, so in a final fit of frustration with my inability to land a fish, I made a total commitment to the green drake. A series of very attractive riffles of moderate depth suggested a perfect trial situation for the olive-hued mayfly.

Dense Spots

Pretty Summer Arrangement

Finally my intuition paid off, and I landed an eleven inch brown trout that slurped the parachute green drake imitation. The remainder of the afternoon was a Taylor River trout feast. I prospected my way along the left (north) bank and methodically picked up twenty-four additional trout. All but four were brown trout including four in the twelve to thirteen inch range. Of course quite a few browns also measured in the seven to eleven inch slot. The minority population of rainbows were well represented and included sixteen and fifteen inch slabs.

Yowzer

The catch rate seemed to accelerate around 1:30PM and remained fairly intense until 4PM. A couple was sitting on a log eating lunch, as I fished upstream a bit from the Santa Fe. I performed a nice show, as they watched, and I landed two medium sized browns, but the highlight and crowd pleaser was a sixteen inch rainbow. As I continued above them, another fisherman arrived, and he chatted with the couple and watched me intently. As he looked on, I suffered through four long distance releases. Two of the releases catapulted my flies into the trees, as the coiled energy of the bent rod was suddenly released. I am sure my fans were jealous of my action but thankful to not be part of the associated woes. The angler who joined the couple simply shook his head in sympathy, when I looked back at him. I managed to recover the first set of flies that lodged in a tree; but I battled, broke and crushed quite a few dead branches in the process. Of course that episode was also part of the price of admission.

Another Slab Rainbow

Slick Behind the Exposed Rock Delivered the Rainbow

I would be remiss, if I did not mention that I added a size 14 yellow/orange stimulator to the green drake and fished a double dry for much of the afternoon. The green drake dominated the action, but the stimulator aided significantly in tracking the green drake and produced eight of the twenty-five landed trout. I added a stimulator as the top fly, after I spotted a pair of yellow sallies in the atmosphere above the river. The double dry ploy that I copied from my Cutthroat Anglers guide is becoming an increasingly important element of my fly fishing arsenal.

Hello There

After two parachute green drakes migrated to the damaged and unraveling space in my fleece wallet, I experimented with a user friendly green drake, and the foam backed imitation once again impressed. The fifteen inch rainbow was among the user friendly fans.

On Tuesday, July 21, I discovered that I do not need to rush to fish the Taylor River. A noon or one o’clock arrival would be sufficient. Once the water warmed up, and I attached a green drake to my line, a very satisfactory day of fly fishing unfolded. My ongoing quest for green drakes was successful, and I logged three hours of fast paced action. Showing off to spectators was an unexpected bonus.

Fish Landed: 25

My Rocking Chair

Lottis Creek – 07/20/2020

Time: 4:00PM – 5:30PM

Location: Near Lottis Creek Campground

Lottis Creek 07/20/2020 Photo Album

July in Colorado is green drake time, and on an annual basis I travel around the state attempting to meet my favorite hatch. After a couple nice outings on the Cache la Poudre River, when the trout responded to my green drake patterns, I researched other destinations that might offer me an opportunity to visit this western mayfly emergence. I read my various books that cover the rivers and streams of Colorado, and anxiously reviewed the hatch charts. I quickly determined that the best green drake hatches in July were along the western slope, and I narrowed the possibilities to the Taylor River and Roaring Fork River. The Roaring Fork event is an evening affair, and I preferred daytime, so I gathered my fishing and camping gear and made the drive to the Taylor River.

Before departing I studied the campsites in the destination area, and I quickly learned that all the sites that could be reserved were taken for Monday and Tuesday night. Fortunately I counted one hundred first come, first serve sites in the vicinity, so I decided to gamble that by arriving at 3PM on Monday, I could snag a walk up site after campers departed following the weekend. On my trip to the area I drove over Cottonwood Pass, which was under construction for the last two years. The main improvement was the paving of the west side of the pass, and this bit of road construction shaved thirty minutes off the trip. Despite the paving project the views from Cottonwood Pass remain breathtaking.

Typical

Once I landed on the western side of the divide, I circled Taylor Reservoir and stopped at Lakeview Campground across from the marina. The national forest web site indicated that ten first come, first serve sites existed at Lakeview, but I only found two with that designation. I did not agree with the vibe of the Lakeview Campground, so I decided to continue my quest for a tent site elsewhere. I assumed I could return later and grab one of the two available sites. Lodgepole Campground was my location of choice, and it contained five walk up sites. I began driving along the river toward Lodgepole, but as I passed Lottis Creek along the way, I decided to make a quick survey. The web said that only two sites were first come, first serve (FCFS). Much to my surprise I discovered one campsite next to the campground host that was open on the Union Loop, and one available on the Baldy Loop. I quickly set up at the Baldy Loop site, as it was beneath a nice grove of evergreen trees and not next to the campground host. I unloaded the car with camping gear and set up the tent by 3:45PM, and this left me with some free time before dinner and clean up. What should I do?

Fine Start

Lottis Creek ran by the campground on its way to the Taylor River, so I decided to devote an hour or two to the small tributary. After a disappointing day on the Taylor last summer, I defaulted to Lottis Creek for an hour and a half and experienced decent luck, so why not attempt a repeat? The sky was dark with clouds most of the time, but rain did not fall, until I returned to the campsite, but even that amount was minimal. The flows are not tracked on the DWR web site, but they seemed nearly ideal to me. During my 1.5 hours on the creek, no significant insects were observed other than a few small caddis.

Another Vivid Brown Trout

I fished the entire 1.5 hours with a size 14 peacock hippie stomper and a beadhead hares ear nymph. In an auspicious start I landed a decent wild brown trout on the second cast, when it gulped the hares ear. The greatest challenge on Monday was avoiding the tight streamside vegetation and untangling the inevitable snarls. I experienced steady action and moved constantly. Three brown trout crushed the hippie stomper, and five nabbed the hares ear.

The Only Place with Cell Phone Signal

The late afternoon time on Lottis Creek was not perfect, as I endured numerous refusals and even more long distance releases, but it was a splendid introduction to the Taylor River valley and increased my anticipation for a full day of fly fishing on Tuesday.

Fish Landed: 8

Lottis Creek – 08/20/2019

Time: 3:00PM – 4:30PM

Location: Near Lottis Creek Campground

Lottis Creek 08/20/2019 Photo Album

As I reeled up my line in a state of frustration with the slow fishing on the Taylor River, I decided that I was not ready to quit for the day, so I remained in my waders and returned to the campsite. I found Jane reading her book in the shade, and I informed her, that I planned to sample Lottis Creek for the remainder of the afternoon.

I ambled across the dirt road that leads to the South Lottis Creek Trailhead, and then I continued through some spaced bushes, until I intersected with Lottis Creek just below a beaver pond. I continued fishing with the yellow stimulator that remained on my line from the Taylor River, and it attracted the interest of a small brown trout in some riffles at the inlet to the beaver pond. When I moved above the pond, the stream morphed into a more normal fast flowing creek, and I switched to a size 10 Chernboyl ant and a beadhead hares ear nymph in an effort to create improved visibility.

Typical of the Water I Fished on Tuesday Afternoon

In the Sun

I persisted with this combination until 4:30PM, when I reached a cattle bridge that spanned the small waterway. During this time I fooled six additional trout with the hares ear, and they were all brown trout, with the largest approaching twelve inches. The successes were accompanied by quite a few refusals to the Chernobyl ant. The trout density was not great, as I covered a decent amount of stream real estate between hook ups. Although the fish were small, I enjoyed the fast paced action and the improved catch rate on the small tributary as compared to the larger fast flowing main river.

Fish Landed: 7

Another Decent Brown Trout