Time: 1:30PM – 4:00PM
Location: Philadelphia Mills Open Space
Fish Landed: 3
Denver high temperatures were projected to be in the 70’s on Friday, so I decided to give fly fishing another try for the 2010 season. Since it was quite chilly in the morning I busied myself running errands and taking care of other miscellaneous chores, as I waited for the fall sun to warm up the air. I left the house at around 12:30 and headed to Clear Creek west of Idaho Springs. I arrived at the Philadelphia Mills Open Space parking lot and was dipping my boots into the water at 1:30PM.
The stream was up a bit from the September low point probably due to melting snow in the high elevations. I began fishing just above the bridge and tied on an olive body deer hair caddis. I covered 30-40 yards of water with no success, and concluded that this was futile with the water temperature quite cold due to snow melt, so I tied on a Chernobyl ant trailing a beadhead hares ear on a long 2.5 foot dropper. I fished this combination for an hour or so. At one point I flicked it into an eddy behind a large boulder next to the bank and spotted a fish rising to inspect the Chernobyl, but no take. When I got close to the eddy, I spotted several fish hovering in the slack water below the rock. I cast above the rock and felt a tug and landed a small brown trout on the BHHE. I could see at least five trout in this area, but once I landed the small brown, they were showing no interest in my offering so I moved on and considered returning on my way back at the end of the day.
The wind began to gust in frequent intervals, and I ended up with several significant tangles. The wind was blowing from the north across my backcast, and this was causing the double flies to catch my fly line on the forward stroke. I spent fifteen minutes trying to undo one particularly nasty tangle that resulted in tight knots that I picked apart with the point of two fly hooks.
Once I’d saved my leader from the epic tangle, I decided to go to an olive woolly bugger with a black marabou tail. I began working the deep pools of which there were quite a few. I tried casting up into the pools from below and bouncing the bugger with an up and down movement. I experimented with casting across the center current and letting the line drag the streamer down and across. The last technique was to cast three quarters downstream and strip the fly back across and then up toward me. I was enjoying the casting and creativity. I’d fished the bottom of a nice hole and placed the rod in my left hand while I grasped my wading stick to move to the top of the pool and try some downstream presentations. The rod was out over the water and the woolly bugger was dangling in the current. When I glanced back to look at my fly I saw a fish quickly move to the surface and grab the fly. I set the hook and landed my largest trout of the day; all of eight inches. It had extremely dark coloration; in fact so dark that I thought it was a catfish at first.
With this positive reinforcement, I continued working the woolly bugger with renewed enthusiasm. But alas it wasn’t drawing any attention, and in fact I wasn’t even seeing any fish. At around 3PM the sun was getting lower in the sky and casting shadows across much of the water, and I was bored with the lack of action, so I hiked up the steep bank and walked back toward the car on the shoulder of interstate 70. When I reached a point which I thought contained the large boulder with the pod of brown trout, I dropped back down to the stream. However, I was mistaken and had to wade downstream along the edge of the bank for a bit before I eventually found the sought after boulder.
I stopped above the boulder and swung the streamer down from above and then twitched it through the pocket in front of the rock. I kept recasting and feeding out a bit more line. On the sixth cast the fly swung back toward the side of the boulder, and I felt a bump and hooked and landed a small brown similar in size to the first fish of the day. Next I waded to the top side of the large boulder and peered over the top into the eddy behind it. I spotted a decent sized trout along the stream bottom in the middle of the eddy. I twitched 5-10 casts through the eddy, but the observed trout was ignoring my efforts.
I thought perhaps the trout would move to something on top so I tried the olive deer hair caddis, and the targeted fish actually moved up toward it a bit but rejected. Maybe I needed something small? Next I tied on a CDC BWO and tried to tantalize it with the tiny olive morsel. Gusting winds might be blowing ants in the water? I tied on a parachute ant and let it spin in the eddy, but the fish showed no interest. That was enough fun. I allowed the smart eddy resident alone and quit fishing for the day.