South Platte River – 5/22/11

Time: 1:30PM – 4:00PM

Location: Between Osprey Campground and Willow Picnic Area

Trout Landed: 0

South Platte River 05/22/2011 Photo Album

Chalk this outing up to rod testing. Jane and I drove to Royal Gorge Anglers so I could purchase a new fly rod and reel for my Alaska trip on Saturday, and I was dying to give the new rod a try. The only stream with reasonable flows after the heavy rains during the week was the South Platte River below Cheesman Reservoir, so off I went. I got off to a late start as the reports indicated caddis were beginning to emerge late afternoon into the evening.

I planned to stop at the Jarre Market in Sedalia and purchase a tapered leader, but forgot, so I was banking on having a spare in my front pack for my new fly line. I arrived at the stream at around 1PM and parked at a pullout below Willow Picnic area. I searched through my bag and backpack and then finally found a new leader tucked in my front pack. I made a loop to loop connection with the tip of the new line and attached the Orvis reel to my new rod and prepared to fish.

New Reel and Rod for Alaska

I wore my raincoat as a windbreaker. It was a cool day with partly cloudy skies and a fair amount of wind. I strung my new rod and walked down the road and cut over to the river approximately where I’d stopped fishing on my last trip to the South Platte. I propped the rod on a large stump and took some photos of the reel, the rod and the model and line size on the rod. I began fishing with a yellow Letort hopper and trailed a beadhead hares ear and began prospecting the likely spots. The flows were up since my last trip, and I noticed a considerable amount of aquatic moss floating in the river. In fact it was so dense that I had to remove moss from my flies nearly every third or fourth cast.

New Rod Leans on Tree Stump

After I’d covered a considerable amount of water, I reached a small island below Willow. Some geese went up the right channel so I retreated back to the bottom of the island to fish up the large and faster left side. Here I spotted a rise and switched to a caddis and experienced a split second hook up with the small fish that had risen. This would prove to be the extent of my action on the new rod.

Typical South Platte Landscape on Trail to Oxbow

I switched over to a strike indicator and nymphs and fished the nice deep run below the island to no avail. The larger but light stiff Scott rod handled the heavier nymphing rig easily. I decided to drive further up the river to the catch and release area as I wasn’t seeing much evidence of fish where I was fishing. I drove 5-10 miles to the oxbow area before Trumbull and hiked back the trail to the tip of the oxbow. I continued working the nymphs including a RS2 as the bottom fly. The sky clouded up and a brief shower occurred but much to my chagrin this did not provoke any BWO or caddis activity. I worked my way around the oxbow fishing the likely runs and seams but I wasn’t rewarded for my persistence. After the brief shower passed and the sun came out I decided I’d had enough and returned to Denver. The rod was a success from a casting standpoint, but remains unproven for fish catching ability.

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