Time: 11:00AM – 2:30PM
Location: Mayhem Gulch
Fish Landed: 5
Seventy-two degrees on April 5, Easter, is rather balmy. With no Easter egg hunts on the calendar Jane and I decided to enjoy the spring weather with a trip to Clear Creek Canyon. We arrived at the Mayhem Gulch parking lot at 10:30AM, and Jane prepared to do the hike that looped to Cathedral Dome, while Dave prepared to fish in Clear Creek. The fishing destination was not extraordinarily appealing as earth moving equipment and orange cones adorned the stream. Apparently a bike path is being constructed on the south side of Clear Creek.
With the temperatures in the upper 50’s or low 60’s, I decided to forego any layers and descended to the slightly discolored Clear Creek with just a fishing shirt. Since the pine squirrel leech produced on the murky Eagle River, I opted to begin with a nymphing set up including the leech and an ultra zug bug. I fished this combination aggressively for a half hour with no results before switching the ultra zug bug for a red San Juan worm. This combination did not improve my results, so I exchanged the worm for a prince nymph. Again no fish, so another change was in order, and this time I clipped off the San Juan worm and tied on a bright green Go2 caddis.
After an hour of fishing I was skunked and frustrated, so I found a safe spot to exit the stream and climbed the steep bank to highway six and hiked back to the Mayhem Gulch parking lot. Jane was still in the midst of her hike, so I unlocked the car and enjoyed my lunch. I was a bit chilled during my one hour morning fishing experience, so I added my Adidas pullover and returned to the stream at the point where I exited. A significant head wind and canyon shadows made the air temperature feel five to ten degrees colder than the temperature reading.
Just before lunch I observed the first fish of the day as a shadowy form rose to inspect my bright pink-red strike indicator! While back at the car for lunch, I added a royal turk’s tarantula and royal stimulator to my front pack. I did not resort to these weapons immediately after lunch, but instead tested a tan pool toy trailing the ultra zug bug and subsequently a copper john. Neither of these offerings produced, so I swapped the pool toy for a Chernobyl ant, and I was still without a fish touching my net.
I was pretty much resigned to a zero fish day and considered returning to the car to see if Jane returned, but in a final effort to break the slump, I tied the royal turk’s tarantula to my line and added a beadhead hare’s ear below it. I was positioned across from a slow moving side pool with numerous submerged boulders, so I lofted the huge attractor dry to the middle of the area. I was shocked to see a slender undernourished brown trout rise to the surface and suck in the tarantula. Apparently these trout were serious about looking for a touch of red in their meal.
Since this initial catch was on the far side of the creek, I found a place to wade across and worked my way up along the left (south) bank. The tarantula enticed two additional trout to the surface including a ten inch rainbow trout. The fish catching improved significantly over the morning doldrums, but it remained relatively slow with significant wading and casting between takes.
After landing three fish, the large cumbersome attractor absorbed water and began behaving like a submarine with only the white poly tuft remaining above the surface. I grew weary of drying the waterlogged fly and clipped it and replaced with the royal stimulator. This move paid off with another small brown trout, and then I continued through another unproductive period until this fly also exhibited sinking tendencies.
One last change was in order, and this time I elected to tie on a dark olive size 14 stimulator. I approached a very attractive deep run, and fluttered the hackled stimulator to the top of the run. As it danced over the riffles and settled in the slower moving water near the tail, a small brown trout rose and gulped it. I was encouraged by this turn of events, but as I moved upstream and covered quite a bit of new water, I was unable to create any additional interest.
At 2:30 I reeled up my line and clipped the stimulator to my rod guide and made the long hike along the highway shoulder back to the car where I found Jane reading in her camp rocking chair. Five small fish over three plus hours was a bit disappointing, however, it was a pleasant Easter Sunday, and I enjoyed the outdoors in Colorado.