Time: 12:00PM – 4:00PM
Location: .3 mile downstream from where Platte Trail meets river.
Fish Landed: Dave 14, Dan 7
Jane wanted to go to the mountains either Saturday or Sunday. I suggested hiking in to Wildcat Canyon on Sunday and she agreed. I emailed Dan and told him of our plan and invited him to join us. He agreed to meet us at 8AM on Sunday morning.
We drove south through Colorado Springs and reached the trailhead at around 10AM where we organized all our gear and clothing and food and began the three mile hike on the Platte River Trail. We arrived at the junction with the river and then continued down the trail on the west bank for .3 miles to a nice clear area with a fire pit. We ate our lunches and then got into our waders and fishing vests and prepared to fish. The sun poked out occasionally, but for the most part it was overcast and the temperature probably never reached 60 degrees. Dan and I wore ski caps and two layers on top, and we were glad we did.
We hiked down the trail another .2 miles and then went perpendicular to the trail to the river. Dan began fishing with a Chernobyl ant and beadhead hares ear, while I tied on a caddis and began prospecting on top. In the first hour I landed five trout and Dan picked up three. I was prospecting the left side of the river with the caddis, and I was having luck in fairly shallow riffles near rocks and along the bank. Dan was catching his fish early on the beadhead hares ear.
After the initial flurry, the catch rate slowed. Dan picked up another fish on the Chernobyl and I continued casting the caddis and landed a couple more. When we had covered half the distance to the base camp where Jane was set up reading her Kindle, we reached a nice deep run and pool. It was around 2PM, and I was still anticipating a BWO hatch, so I put on a strike indicator, beadhead pheasant tail, and a small beaded baetis nymph. I ran this through the deep run and hooked up on a fish that leaped out of the water several times, but eventually released itself before I could count it. I continued drifting my nymphs through the run and caught and landed a nice rainbow, and Dan photographed the fish and me.
Dan seemed to be experiencing more tangles and was catching the trailing nymphs on sticks and rocks. I continued working the nymphs in the deeper runs and pockets and picked up another five fish within the hour. Quite a few came in one particularly nice deep riffle. At 3:30PM we were back at the base camp, and I returned to my pack to restock my fly patch with the small beaded baetis nymphs. Dan took off his waders and rubbed and warmed his feet. The clouds were getting thicker and the wind picked up a bit so Jane decided to begin hiking back to the car. Dan and I prepared to fish for another .5 hour in the beautiful pool directly across from our base camp.
When we approached the pool, we observed numerous rises near a rock on the far side as well as in the midpoint of the pool. I decided to work with Dan to see if he could catch some fish on the surface. I stared closely at the water, but couldn’t see any obvious insects, so I elected to tie on a tiny size 22 CDC BWO that I’d tied during the winter. I told Dan it would be difficult to see, as it looked like a piece of gray lint. We decided to try for the fish in the mid-pool first, and Dan shot a nice cast four to five feet above the target area. He couldn’t see the fly and neither could I, but after a moment a fish rose about where we thought the fly was, and Dan set and hooked into a 9-11 inch fish. Apparently the BWO’s were beginning to emerge.
Next Dan targeted two fish rising along the far bank near a protruding rock. This was a difficult cast as there were faster currents between Dan and the fish that caused drag pretty quickly. After four or five casts the fish stopped rising, so we refocused on the midstream fish and some rises at the very top of the pool. Dan picked off another fish above the midpoint, then returned to the tough fish on the far side and managed to dupe the one that was second in line. I took a couple of photos of Dan landing and releasing this fish as it turned out to be larger than he anticipated.
As Dan was working to fluff the CDC wing, I spotted a rise in the run at the head of the pool, so suggested that Dan move above the mid-pool rock and give it a shot. As I was trying to describe where the fish rose, it revealed itself to Dan with another rise. Dan put a cast above the point of the rise, and right on cue the fish rose and sipped in the BWO. Dan had now landed four trout from the base camp pool on a tiny size 22 CDC BWO. I was quite pleased with his improving skills and success.
It was looking more and more like rain as the skies darkened, and it was now moving toward 4 o’clock. I suggested to Dan that we hike up the path to the next pool and look for rises. If we didn’t see any, we’d quit. The next pool was not as juicy as the base camp pool, but it looked like it could produce. The pool was on the left side of the river where the main current angled and fanned out in to some smooth water that was three to four feet deep. We observed for a bit, but saw no risers, so I suggested that Dan try prospecting the area with the CDC BWO. He made some nice casts and covered the area, but to no avail. Meanwhile I had tied on an olive deer hair caddis, so I took the left side and began prospecting. On the fifth or sixth cast just before I was going to suggest quitting, a brown tipped up and took the caddis. I landed my fourteenth fish of the day, and we both decided to pack up our gear and begin the three mile hike back to the car.
While we were hiking out, it began to rain, and we had to remove our backpacks and dig in for our raincoats. Jane was enjoying a nap when we reached her in the van at the trailhead.