Time: 1:00PM – 5:00PM
Location: Philadelphia Mills Open Space then east of Hidden Valley
Fish Landed: 14
On Friday morning I returned to work and finished the commentary package for June. I left work at around 11AM and returned home. I’d left my fishing gear in the car hoping to get a trip in to a closer destination that allowed me to return in time to accompany Jane to pick up Dan at DIA as he returned from three weeks in China. Originally I was considering the North Fork of the St. Vrain at Wild Basin within RMNP, but I wasn’t going to depart until around noon, so that crimped my fishing time. Next I considered Bear Creek, Boulder Creek and Clear Creek. I could make it to each of these destinations in an hour or less. I’d read reports on the Orvis store email and on Blue Quill Anglers recommending Clear Creek as a decent nearby fishing destination. I called Blue Quill Anglers, and asked Chris, the young man who answered the phone, for a recommended stretch of Clear Creek.
He pitched the Clear Creek Canyon stretch between Floyd Hill and Golden, but he fishes it in the evening. Since it was a very warm day again with minimal cloud cover I decided to drive further west beyond Idaho Springs to an area called Philadelphia Mills Open Space. I’d fished here several years ago. I parked on the eastbound side of the Frontage Road and began fishing at the eastern edge of the open space. I tied on a Chernobyl Ant and landed a brown and cutbow from the first two deep slots I tried. This hot fishing continued for the next three hours as I landed 13 trout, three bows and the remainder browns. All fish were in the 6-10 inch range, but quite feisty.
At around 2PM, I began to notice sporadic green drakes taking off, so I tied on a green drake comparadun and prospected the likely locations. This produced three trout, but then I experienced a dry spell so I reverted to the Chernobyl. Once again the Chernobyl came through and I picked up the remaining six trout. At around 4PM the action slowed considerably so I decided to experiment and drive back down I70 toward Denver and try an area east of Idaho Springs.
I exited at Hidden Valley and then turned left and drove .2 miles on the frontage road to a place where it dead ended, and a bike trail began. I parked and grabbed my rod and hiked down the bike path .2-.3 miles or so to a place where the stream fanned out a bit from the narrow fast chute that characterized much of the stretch. I began working some deep slow areas between the bank and stronger current. I spotted a brown holding in the water three feet behind a boulder and tossed the hopper/dropper above it, but there was no interest. Since I’d sighted a fish, I decided to switch flies and try to entice it. I removed the hopper/dropper and tied on a lime green trude. Once again there was no sign of interest. Next I clipped off the trude and tied on an olive-brown deer hair caddis. On the third drift the brown drifted up and sipped the caddis.
After releasing the fish, I moved up 5-8 feet and began casting again. Once again I spotted a trout hugging the bottom. This fish was demonstrating no interest in the caddis. I decided to try something different and tied on the royal stimulator on top and trailed the caddis. On my first cast I created a serious tangle between the two flies. As I was untangling my mess along the edge of the stream three rafts went by and pulled in to the bank just below me. I could still see my target fish. But then a flotilla of rafts, perhaps five, came down the rapids and pulled in practically next to my elbow. Occupants jumped out of the rafts, and the guides encouraged them to climb the bank and jump in the creek and float the rapids in their life jackets. While I was untangling, one of the guides asked me how I was doing. I replied that I was doing pretty well until they arrived. He told me that unfortunately this was the only slow spot on their drift and, therefore, they were going swim here. I replied that didn’t do me much good, and climbed the bank and hiked upstream beyond the narrow chute stretch.
Once I untangled, I continued prospecting some nice water and no additional rafts appeared. I landed two more trout in the 7-8 inch range and when I reached the minivan, called it a day.