Time: 11:00AM – 3:30PM
Location: Club water above Eagle, CO
Eagle River 06/28/2022 Photo Album
I scheduled a guided float trip with my friend, Dave G., for June 29. Dave G. invited me to join him for a day of fishing on Tuesday, June 28 on some private water above Eagle, CO, and I readily accepted. I arrived at his house by 10:10AM, and I immediately pulled on my waders, and we traveled in his car to the crude parking area along the Eagle River.
Tuesday was a sunny day, and the afternoon high temperature peaked in the seventies. The river was clipping along in the 700 CFS range, and most of my fishing was confined to the edge, although there were a few spots, where the river widened, where I was able to cast to mid-river locations.
I rigged my Sage One five weight and began with a dry/dropper configuration that included a yellow size 8 fat Albert, olive-black Pat’s rubber Legs, and a salvation nymph. On the first cast I hooked a stick that was wedged between two rocks, and somehow in my effort to free it, I broke the rod tip six inches from the endpoint. I did not apply undue pressure to the rod, so I suspect that there was a nick or scar on the tip section. Dave G. offered his Scott five weight that he won in a raffle, and my backup rod remained in my car back at his house, so I took him up on the offer. I liked the rod quite a bit, as it had a bit more flex than my Sage One, but it was not too whippy.
A hour and a half of intense fishing yielded no fish, and after a torrid day on the Arkansas River on Monday, I was perplexed and disappointed. I exchanged the rubber legs for an iron sally and swapped the salvation for an emerald caddis pupa, but none of these changes reversed my bad karma.
After a brief lunch, I resumed tossing the dry/dropper, but then Dave G. pointed out some active fish six inches below the surface in a tight eddy at the top of a long shelf pool. I thought perhaps a pale morning dun would coax the fish to the surface, so I converted to a solo cinnamon comparadun, but that move failed to bring a fish to my net. We moved upstream a bit, and finally I saw some fish rising in a spot toward the center of the river, where two currents merged to form a V-shaped trough and another eddy. While this scene evolved, I began observing golden stoneflies, yellow sallies, caddis, pale morning duns, and blue winged olives. None of these emerged in dense quantities, but I decided to imitate the stoneflies and pale morning duns with a double dry consisting of a yellow size 14 stimulator and a size 16 light gray comparadun. The ploy worked temporarily, as a torpedo of a rainbow sipped the PMD. Unfortunately, after several mad dashes, the irate fish turned its head and slipped free from the small size 16 hook. I persisted in the central trough, as several fish continued to swirl periodically, but the strong current between me and the eddy made attaining a drag free drift nearly impossible. I surrendered and moved on.
We once again transitioned upriver a bit, and Dave G. was in a state of frustration over a large brown trout that broke him off, so he invited me to fish the attractive run that he vacated to reconfigure his line. I lobbed the double dry to the center of a twelve foot width run of moderate depth, and a mouth appeared, and the trailing comparadun disappeared. Initially I thought I connected with a twelve inch fish, but after a lengthy tussle I discovered a gorgeous sixteen inch brown trout resting in my net. Wow! Fish number one was worth the wait.
I continued along the bank a bit farther, and while my flies drifted over a very small two foot depression between a large submerged rock and the bank, a fish swirled. I could clearly see a large rainbow trout, and my heartrate leaped precipitously. I made ten additional casts, and the target bow looked at three or four drifts, but I suspect it was focused on and rejecting the lead yellow stimulator. Meanwhile the picky fish continued grabbing naturals, so it was not spooked by my presence. Finally, on drift number eleven, the comparadun slid over the fish ahead of the stimulator, and the pale morning dun disappeared in a swirl. Now all bets were off, but I fought off several streaking runs and landed number two on the day; a spectacular eighteen inch rainbow trout.
I persisted with the double dry a bit longer, but the type of water was not conducive to dries, and the PMD hatch waned. I probably stuck with the surface approach too long, as Dave G. converted back to dry/dropper earlier and quickly increased his fish count. Eventually I absorbed the message and converted as well. In this instance I opted for a size 8 amber ice dub body chubby Chernobyl accompanied by an iron sally and salvation nymph.
For the next hour I prospected my way upstream and pierced the lips of five additional trout to bring the daily total to seven. One additional brown visited my net, and it was a fifteen inch beauty that emerged from an extremely marginal, shallow riffle. My cast to the area was actually an afterthought to keep busy while progressing upstream.
Of the four rainbows landed on the dry/dropper, all were rainbows, and three were very robust and energized trout that made landing them a risky proposition. I also experienced two long distance releases and two foul hooked fish during the afternoon time frame.
The quantity of fish was a bit below my expectations on Tuesday, but the quality was outstanding. I suspect that an earlier conversion to dry/dropper with the salvation would have produced more fish, but the dry fly eaters were two of my best fish of the day, and that counts for a lot.
Fish Landed: 7