Colorado River – 7/22/10

Time: 10:00AM – 4:00PM

Location: Kemp-Breeze and Breeze Access Areas

Fish Landed: 9

Colorado River 07/22/2010 Photo Album

I almost finished all the June closing work by Wednesday, July 21, with a couple hours of work remaining. I decided to take off on Thursday to make a longer fishing trip because I had to be back on Friday to pick Dan up at the airport from his trip to China. I wanted to try the Colorado again as I hoped the PMD hatch had begun, and I didn’t want to miss any of this hatch action. The forecast called for cloudiness in the afternoon with the threat of thunderstorms.

I got off to a nice early start and arrived at the first fisherman access west of Parshall and began fishing at around 10AM. There were a number of cars in the lot, but not full like occurs when the fishing is very hot. When I got to the stream by the handicapped platform I could see two separate fishermen positioned near where I hoped to fish. I walked down along the north bank and crossed below the island across from the platform. The mosquitoes were intense and swarmed around my arms and head in spite of a heavy dose of high percentage DEET. I fished up the smaller channel on the far side of the island with a yellow Letort hopper and beadhead hares ear and landed one small brown trout. When I got to the top of the island I crossed and fished the nice run and riffle opposite the platform. One of the fishermen was 30 yards above me, and I didn’t want to crowd him. I didn’t have any success so switched to a double nymph set up with a strike indicator. I tied on a beadhead hares ear and put a beadhead pheasant tail on the point. This didn’t produce any fish, so I crossed back over below the island again and hiked upstream along the bank to an area where I’d previously seen many fishermen. There was a wide riffle about 3-4 feet deep and I probed this water with the nymphs and again had no action. Next I walked back along the bank toward the parking lot and stopped opposite the second fisherman who was now working the far bank area. I didn’t want to get too close, so decided to break for lunch at around 11 and went back to the parking lot.

I felt constrained on where I could fish, so decided to drive to the second access, and see if there was more open water. There were a couple cars in the lot, and I walked out along the high bluff so I could look back up the river to the sweet spot where I had previous success. I didn’t see any fishermen there, so I returned to the car and ate my lunch. After lunch I hiked out along the ridge, then down the steep hill, then turned left and went up along the north side of the river to the targeted run and pool. When I entered the river at the tail of the pool and looked up, two fishermen were sitting on the bank. I’d spent all this time to get to the desired area, and now it was occupied. Meanwhile I spotted several rises at the lip of the pool. I looked closely and saw a few PMD’s floating on the surface, so I tied on a size 16 light gray comparadun, my go to fly for PMD hatches. On perhaps the third cast of the comparadun, a spunky 13 inch brown rose and sucked in the fly.

Colorado River Brown

I continued casting where I saw rises, but couldn’t entice anymore fish. The hatch only lasted 15 minutes at most. What should I do now? Would it be bad manners to cross to the opposite bank and fish across from the two fishermen who by now had returned to fishing the pool? I decided to cross and see how they reacted. I walked up along the far bank and went above them by 30 feet or so. I didn’t get a good feeling about fishing close to them, so I moved upstream beyond the long run and pool. Between the long run and pool there was a succession of three or four sections where the current tumbled over some rocks then flowed on an angle toward either bank. I removed the comparadun and tied on a size 14 yellow sally as I’d noticed quite a few dapping the water. I caught a small rainbow on the yellow sally. I was also noticing occasional caddis dapping the water, so I tied tippet on to the bend of the yellow sally and added a light gray caddis and fished a two dry fly setup.

Two Fishermen in My Pool
Blue Heron

I systematically worked my way through the next three stretches of riffle/runs prospecting with the two dry fly configuration and landed six nice brown trout mostly ranging between 13 and 15 inches. Four inhaled the yellow sally and two others attacked the caddis on the end. Most of the action occurred at the tail of the run or at the head of the run. It wasn’t total blind casting as I spotted occasional subtle rises, and when I did, I placed my flies in the vicinity of the rise, and was typically rewarded. I’d reached nine fish caught on the day and approached the bridge separating the first access area and the one I was currently in, so I exited and hiked across the bridge then back down route 40 to the parking lot. Some nasty clouds were brewing to the west, so I put on my raincoat and returned to the river, this time going right and reaching the long pool where I’d had so much success the previous summer. I prospected the riffles, the far bank, and the eddy around some rocks on the far side at the top of the pool, but had no success. The wind started gusting and sheets of rain burst from the sky, so I retreated to the bank and stood and watched the water as it was pelted. I did this for five minutes or so hoping to see some sort of hatch instigated by the overcast conditions, but nothing was changing, so I reeled up my flies and called it a day.

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