North Fork of St. Vrain – 8/2/10

Time: 9:30AM – 4:00PM

Location: Unidentified

Trout Landed: 40

North Fork of St. Vrain 08/02/2010 Photo Album

Epic days are few and far between. Monday classifies as an epic day. After Jane and I did a hike on Sunday, I decided to return to the same location to fish on Monday. New home commitments precluded fishing Tuesday and Wednesday, and Jane and I were planning a camping trip to the Taylor River on Thursday – Sunday.

My Favorite View of Stream


I arrived at my selected destination at around 9AM, and then hiked for a half an hour to my starting point. The St. Vrain at this location is fed by a dam, but the dam contains two spillways. I wanted to get above the first spillway so that I was fishing in lower volume. This turned out to be a strategic win.

There was a nice deep pool right above the pipe that dumped water from the first spillway, but judging from the worn bank, I concluded the pool gets pounded by fishermen, so I moved above the pool to begin casting. I tied on a Chernobyl Ant with no dropper to start; however, after covering the first attractive water with no response, I supplemented the Chernobyl Ant with a beadhead hares ear nymph on a three foot length of tippet tied to the bend. Fairly quickly this began to produce, and I landed some small browns.

First Decent Brown


Over the next hour I landed approximately 10 small trout, mostly browns but a few rainbows mixed in. It was overcast and partly cloudy much of the morning. As the morning advanced, so did the fishing success. Between 10:30 and noon I landed another 15 trout. This hour and a half was magical with fish taking my offerings in most of the likely locations. The size of the trout improved, and I’m guessing 70% rose to take the Chernobyl Ant. Fishing the Chernobyl is great fun as the foam construction requires no backcasting to dry the fly. Some fish smacked the Chernobyl as it splashed down in the water, but the larger trout seemed to rise slowly, drift back under it, and then sip it in. This is nerve wracking to watch, but great visual fun.

An Even Better Workhorse on St. Vrain

In one short deep pocket behind a rock partially covered with foam, I tossed the two fly combination and allowed it to sit for what seemed like an hour. As I went to lift and recast a 15 inch brown grabbed the trailing nymph and dashed off across and down the small stream. I landed and photographed this monster relative to its small living quarters.

Length of Net Beauty


Foam Pocket

Eventually I approached a small cement dam and a nice pool below. There were several runs below the dam with nice seams and slower moving water in between. On one of the drifts another fish grabbed the beadhead hares ear and I carefully played it to my net. The fish was very silver in coloring as I watched it resist my pressure, and when I brought it to net I initially thought I caught the largest brook trout of my life. But it didn’t have the orange spots that I’ve grown to recognize, and I concluded I’d caught the first lake trout of my life. Perhaps it was an escapee from the reservoir above. I later caught a second laker, although this one was smaller and in the 12 inch range.

Lake Trout

The skies darkened some more and I heard occasional thunder. My fish count climbed to 31 by 1PM when I took a break to eat lunch as it began to rain. I climbed on a rock and sat under a dense evergreen while munching the lunch I’d stuffed in my backpack. After lunch I continued working my way up the stream. My first stop was another nice pool where the stream fanned out into multiple runs with current seams along the edges of the faster water. I spotted a couple rises along one of the seams near the top of the far run. I cast my double fly set up along the seams. On perhaps the fifth cast I spotted a flash to the Chernobyl and set the hook. A beautiful rainbow fought me up and down the pool before eventually succumbing to my side pressure and coming to net. This fish spanned my net from tip to handle, and I photographed it before releasing.

A Fine Cutbow

After the tussle with the rainbow I waded upstream the remaining fifty yards until reaching the settling pool below the dam. Another fisherman was casting up into the pool in the mist created by the rain and the flume shooting from the dam. During this section of fishing I slipped on the wet rocks along the edge and fell on my knee and then shoulder. But I survived and hiked back down the road to a point halfway between the point where the stream crossed under the road and the spot where I began my fishing in the morning. I was now in much heavier flows and had to be more selective about where to cast. There were fewer holding areas for trout in the swift flows below the second spillway from the dam.

Fresh Leaves

The fishing over the remaining couple hours was much slower, and I covered much more ground between fishable locations. I landed another six trout, mostly small rainbows, with one decent twelve inch brown mixed in. The skies clouded up again and more thunder and lightening added to the mix. I was stuck on 39 trout when I decided to exit and hike back down the road to avoid the approaching storm. When I reached the inlet to the Longmont Reservoir near the parking lot, I noticed a few rises in the riffles just above the lake. I scrambled down the bank and waded into the stream three or four feet then clipped off the Chernobyl and hares ear and tied on a CDC BWO. I’d seen a few BWO’s emerging during the earlier rain shower. It only took a couple casts and a twelve inch rainbow tipped up and sipped in the BWO fraud. I landed the pretty bow and completed my 40 fish day as the rain showers began again. 


The Rain Arrived


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