Time: 1:00:PM – 4:00PM
Location: Sylvan Lake State Park Payment Location Upstream
Fish Landed: 19
As has been the custom for the last several years, Beth and Dave Gaboury invited us to join them for the weekend at their second home in Eagle, CO. Dave and I were fishing buddies when he lived in Castle Rock, but eventually Dave moved to Kansas City for a position with an engineering firm there. For several years Dave would visit and we’d go on fishing trips, but in 2006 he and Beth purchased a home in Eagle Ranch in Eagle, CO. They visit fairly frequently and invite friends from various parts of the country to stay with them when they don’t have their family present.
Their house in Eagle Ranch is quite close to Brush Creek, a small tributary stream that flows into the Eagle River a mile or so below their house. It’s hard to pass up fishing Brush Creek because of the convenience of walking from the garage to the stream. Because of the drought and heat wave I was skeptical of fishing in the Eagle River and even Brush Creek, and the temperatures were forecast to be in the 90’s in Denver. Dave is a big fan of my beadhead hares ear nymphs, so I tied ten as a gift for him one evening before our scheduled visit. Jane needed to work on Friday, so I called on Thursday to let Dave and Beth know that I was taking off work and driving up from Denver on Friday morning. Jane would drive up separately after work on Friday.
I got off to a reasonably early start at 7:45 and arrived at Eagle Ranch at around 10AM. Unfortunately I called their land line in Kansas City on Thursday and they didn’t check it for messages, so they weren’t aware that I was arriving. When I knocked on the door, no one answered even though their car was parked behind the garage. I assumed they had gone for a bike ride or walk, and this proved to be correct. Within a half hour they both returned from a long morning walk and the three of us walked up to the town center and had a quick lunch at HP’s Market.
After lunch, since it was already approaching noon, Dave and I decided to drive up Sylvan Lake Road to the upper reaches of Brush Creek where we thought the fishing would be better in the peak of the warm day. It wasn’t as hot in Eagle as was expected for Denver and there was significant high cloud cover for much of the afternoon. I drove the Santa Fe so Beth could use her car to do some shopping and we drove the 10-15 miles to Sylvan Lake State Park and paid the day use fee and then parked at a pullout just above where the creek went under the road.
Dave uses his tenkara rod for fishing the small high mountain streams so he was ready to fish quite quickly. We decided to do the routine of leap frogging each other with the upstream fisherman responsible for building a cairn to mark his beginning point. I fished the stretch closest to the road while Dave moved upstream. I began with a size 12 heavily hackled stimulator with an olive body and immediately experienced three or four refusals from tiny brook trout in the tail of the pool. However, as I moved up the stream I picked up a few 6-8 inch brookies as well as some tiny specimen that were below my counting cut off. I added a beadhead pheasant tail in hopes that a trailing nymph might attract some larger fish, and did manage to land an eight inch brown among the first five fish landed.
As Dave and I hopscotched our way up the small stream I landed five more brook trout to reach ten. Most of the fish were rising to the stimulator, but a couple grabbed the trailing nymph. When I’d reached ten I decided to begin experimenting with different flies. I clipped off the stimulator and pheasant tail and tied on a Chernobyl ant for flotation and added a beadhead hares ear. The buoyant foam ant does a nice job of supporting the larger hares ear and again I was hoping to attract some larger browns and avoid the tiny brook trout.
This strategy did in fact work, and I landed another nine trout over the course of the remainder of the afternoon. Three were brown trout with two being in the 12-13 inch range. I also landed a couple brook trout that were nine inches, and that is large for the colorful species in a small stream environment. Dave G. meanwhile was having great action with his long tenkara rod and a stimulator/flashback pheasant tail combination. By 4PM we’d covered quite a distance as we were hitting only the deeper attractive pools and leap frogging each other. We decided to call it a day and return to the house for liquid refreshments and appetizers while we waited for Jane to arrive from Denver.