Time: 2:00PM – 4:00PM
Location: Across from confluence of Eagle River and Brush Creek and upstream
Fish Landed: 5
After lunch Dave G. and I threw our rods and gear in his rental car and decided to drive to the Eagle River and give it a try. Dave G. felt we needed more volume in order to use nymphs as the fish were hugging the bottom of runs and riffles in depths of three to four feet. Dave G. suggested trying the water below the Eagle County Fairgrounds across from the confluence with Brush Creek, and I agreed as it would be fun to try water that I’d never fished before. We parked in a large dirt oval parking lot beyond the fairground parking and hiked down to the river. Some high slate clouds moved in from the west and the wind kicked up, and I was wishing I’d worn another layer.
When we arrived at the river, we noticed another fisherman on the opposite bank positioned to fish the sweet riffle below where Brush Creek entered. Dave G. called out to ask how he was doing, and he replied that he was having great action drifting nymphs slowly along the bottom. He recommended a Prince nymph and jujubaetis and invited us to fish the riffles on our side of the river across from him. Dave G. seemed interested in doing that as he was already set up with a strike indicator and nymphs, so I told Dave I’d work my way upstream along the bank.
I began casting the parachute hopper and trailing BHHE upstream along the bank and to attractive slots and pockets behind boulders within ten to fifteen feet of the left bank. I approached a nice run that tumbled between some boulders that left a nice slack area along the bank that was approximately ten feet wide and flicked a twenty foot cast to the lower end of the side pool and within a couple feet of the bank. All of a sudden the hopper dipped and I set the hook and played and landed a nice brown that extended beyond the length of my net. This was quite a surprise after the lackluster experience on Brush Creek.
Now feeling re-energized by the recent action, I moved up along the left bank with increased focus and intensity and sure enough landed four more browns, all on the trailing beadhead hares ear. All the fish were taken in long pockets and riffles with three to four feet of water depth. I was feeling quite chilled by the wind, but as long as I was having success, I could ignore the discomfort. I now reached a spot where the river divided around a small island, and landed my fifth Eagle River fish from a nice slot where two currents merged below the island. As I played and released the fish, Dave G. approached and inquired about my success and what was working. After filling him in, he retreated downstream below me forty yards or so and I waded to the point of the lower end of the island and began fishing a nice deep run on the larger south channel.
I didn’t have any success but there was a sweet deeper run on the opposite side of the strong mid current and after I’d covered it with some long casts using the hopper/dropper I decided to prospect with a streamer. I tied on the orange and black woolly bugger and on one of the sweeps along the far bank a fish bumped the fly and I set the hook and felt the throbbing of a fish. I played the relatively small fish for a bit and it got free. Next I decided to try going deep with a strike indicator and tied on a prince nymph and a split shot. Before I could add a second fly and indicator, Dave G. began calling to me and was walking up along the bank. I couldn’t hear him over the rushing water next to me, so I retreated toward the shore where he stood. He was pointing down toward his feet, and I soon discovered he was pointing to his wet fleece vest, and he had stumbled and went in the river over his waders.
Given the cold overcast sky and the wind, we quickly hiked up to the car and turned the heater on and returned to the house for hot tea and a hot shower.