Time: 1:00PM – 5:00PM
Location: Philadelphia Mills Open Space Area west of Idaho Springs
Fish Landed: 9
Dan called while I was in Eagle and wanted to fish on Sunday, so I suggested we could meet in Idaho Springs and fish in Clear Creek on my return trip. As I drove along Clear Creek on my way to Eagle I observed that the stream was still somewhat high but clear as its name suggests. I was hoping that the fish would still be hungry from the protracted snow melt.
Jane drove on ahead to Denver, and I met Dan at a parking lot near interstate 70 in Idaho Springs. We transferred Dan’s gear to my car and drove west on route 6 paralleling the interstate. We turned into the open space and crossed an old bridge and parked. We both got into our waders, and although I noticed some dark clouds to the west, I eschewed my raincoat. We hiked back across the bridge then along the shoulder of the road heading back east until a point where the stream bends and runs along the road.
Dan started with a Chernobyl ant with a beadhead hares ear, and I tied on a gray Letort hopper with no dropper. Almost immediately I experienced several refusals to the hopper and then hooked and landed a small fish. Meanwhile nothing was looking at Dan’s Chernobyl, so we tied on a yellow Letort hopper and paired it with the BHHE.
After we’d changed Dan out, there was a spot with an overhanging branch. I attempted to shoot a cast back under the branch and succeeded only to see a refusal to my hopper. On a subsequent cast I looped my line over the branch, and as the hopper dangled above the water, a trout leaped and tried to grab it. Next I cast further upstream and hooked another branch. I wasn’t able to free the fly, so I suggested that Dan make a cast while I held my rod and line back so as not to interfere with his cast. Sure enough he flicked a cast under the branch and a small brown rose up and smashed his hopper.
The fly change worked and Dan began landing browns on the hopper. The river spread out near the bend and afforded us the ability to fish together in parallel. Dan took the north shore and I remained on the more shaded south bank. I watched Dan make an expert cast within a foot of the bank near some evergreen trees and a nice brown rose and took his fly.
As this was taking place I noticed two lumbering green drake naturals buzzing up from the stream. Also the dark clouds were moving closer. I clipped off my hopper and tied on one of the bushy green drakes I’d bought at the Conejos River Angler shop. This was a magical move as I landed a couple fish on the first cast. It started to rain lightly, and I called for Dan to come over so I could tie a green drake on his line. He came over, and I tied on the second and last bushy green drake that I’d purchased. I told him to test it in a nice long pocket above us, and a fish immediately rose and smashed it.
Now the intensity of the rain increased, and I told Dan I was going to return to the car and get my rain coat. As I walked along the road, it rained pretty hard and my fishing shirt was saturated by the time I got to the car. I removed my shirt and went with my T-shirt with my raincoat on top of it. I grabbed Dan’s net, raincoat, and a vial of white powder for drying flies and returned to where Dan was positioned. I fully expected him to report that he’d landed three or four fish on the green drake while I was gone. Unfortunately he announced that he’d snapped the fly off on the first fly that rose and then tied on a bushy caddis and landed a fish on that fly.
Of course the rain ended when I got to the car, and the storm clouds were replaced with partly cloudy skies and occasional sun. When the weather changed, the fishing also deteriorated. We worked the stream a bit more, and I landed a couple fish but the shadows and sun glare made it difficult to follow our flies. Eventually as we neared the bridge, we saw another fisherman, so we exited the stream and hiked back across the bridge. I suggested we go upstream from the parking lot and fish for another hour until 5PM so we scrambled over some large boulders on the steep bank just below interstate 70.
We got to a spot where the river spread out and there was a nice long smooth pool on the opposite side so we waded a bit beyond midstream and made some casts. Dan got a refusal on his Chernobyl, and I had one on my fly. I saw several mayflies that looked like PMD’s so I tied on the gray comparadun and flicked it out near a rock and let it drift the bottom half of the pool. At the very tail a small brown sipped it in. We made a few futile attempts in the pockets above the long pool, but as 5PM approached we decided to call it a day and return to Denver.