Taylor River – 06/20/2016

Time: 10:30AM – 3:00PM

Location: Hog trough and then upstream from Lodgepole Campground area after lunch.

Taylor River 06/20/2016 Photo Album

Monday June 20, the first day of summer, was devoted to a full day of fishing. I was torn whether to fish in the popular public water below Taylor Park Reservoir, or whether to drive to the canyon water downstream near the Lodgepole Campground. Fighting crowds and catching one lunker in the hog trough is not my idea of fun, but the short section below the dam was above Lottis Creek and therefore offered lower flows.

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Selecting Flies for the Hog Trough

I decided to compromise and try both. After breakfast was completed, and we packed our camping gear, Jane and I drove the short three miles required to reach the area below the dam. I pulled on my waders at the campsite, so all I needed to do was assemble my rod, and I was ready to fish. Jane lingered for a bit and took some photos, before she jumped on her bike and pedaled back to the South Lottis Creek trailhead to take a hike. I elected to walk downstream to a short section that contained a beautiful run that fanned out into a long pool. I was perfectly located between a fisherman in the slow deep pool just below the bridge and another pair of fishermen near the downstream border with the private section.

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A Happy Fisherman

I began fishing with a strike indicator and a weighted Arkansas rubber legs nymph and a tiny black zebra midge. It is golden stonefly time on many Colorado waters, so I hoped that the Taylor was one of them, thus the stonefly nymph. Midges are always present on rivers and streams in the morning. After ten minutes of drifting the nymph combination along the deep center current seam, I failed to arouse the interest of any trout, and I was certain that fish were present, so I made a change. I clipped off the rubber legs and replaced it with an emerald caddis pupa, and then I swapped the zebra midge for a beadhead hares ear. Because I removed the weighted stonefly nymph, I crimped a split shot to my line above the caddis pupa for added weight.

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The Big Picture

These flies also failed to interest the residents of the lower hog trough so I moved to the very top of the deep run. At this point there was a short deep pocket created by a huge submerged boulder that was positioned six feet below the beginning of the run. I flipped the nymphs into this deep hole, and on the fifth drift, the indicator paused, and I hooked and landed a small seven inch rainbow trout that grabbed the beadhead hares ear nymph. My skunking was eliminated, but this was not a trout that gave the hog trough its reputation.

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Best Fish of the Day Came from the Hog Trough

The next section of water was populated by numerous large boulders, many submerged, but a large quantity exposed. It was impossible to wade into this rushing mass of whitewater, so I decided to work the edge. One-fourth of the distance along the left bank from the start of the frothy section, I found myself downstream from a narrow deep slot between the bank and a large rock that jutted into the river. I hid behind the rock and lobbed the nymphs above the boulder, and as they passed by the current break, the indicator dipped. Once again I executed a swift lift of my rod tip, and instantly it began to throb with the weight of a very angry and energized rainbow trout. The rambunctious fish eventually looped my line around a small branch just below me, but I was fortunate enough to wade a few steps and scooped the prize catch before it could break off the hares ear. The rainbow was thirteen inches in length and very chunky, and it proved to be my best fish of the day.

I continued fishing the left bank and managed one more deeply colored eleven inch brown trout on the hares ear before I reached the bridge pool. It was 11:45AM, and I was hungry, so I concluded it was a perfect opportunity to migrate downstream to the area above Lodgepole for the afternoon.

After lunch on a nice flat rock overlooking the Taylor River, I hiked along the shoulder of the road until I was below the wide pocket water area near the car. I cut down to the river and fished some nice shallow shelf pools next to a raging whitewater chute. I anticipated that the afternoon fishing would consist of fishing shallower areas, so I converted to a dry/dropper approach with a yellow fat Albert as the leading fly, and I trailed the emerald caddis pupa and hares ear.

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Clear River and Green Surroundings Equals Beauty

I spent the remainder of my afternoon prospecting the relatively shallow pockets and runs with the dry/dropper. Early on I replaced the caddis pupa with a salvation nymph, and along with the hares ear and fat Albert, these flies were featured for the bulk of the afternoon. I landed seven additional fish, but I also suffered numerous foul hooked incidents. I suspect I was getting refusals to the fat Albert, and I hooked fish on the trailing flies, when I executed a hook set. I was also disappointed with the size of the brown trout that responded to my flies, as the largest was probably in the eleven inch range. The sun was bright and the air temperature rose into the eighties, and it was delightful to wade in the cool water while I felt the warmth of the sun on my upper body, but the fish apparently did not favor the warm conditions.

At 2:30 I decided to make a change, and I removed the dry/dropper flies and replaced them with a gray size 14 stimulator. A few caddis were present, so perhaps the stimulator would arouse interest while also being fairly visible in the tumbling currents. The thought was good, but it did not pay dividends. I abandoned the stimulator strategy and returned to the dry/dropper approach with a size 8 Chernobyl ant, beadhead hares ear and beadhead bright green caddis pupa. Almost instantly a twelve inch brown trout rose at the tail of a run and nipped the Chernobyl, but the connection was only temporary.

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Deep Color on This Taylor River Brown Trout

That was the last interest in the foam indicator fly, but then I achieved some success with the bright green caddis pupa with several more brief hook ups and a small landed fish. By 3 o’clock I moved within forty yards of another fisherman, and Jane was relaxing in the shade near the car, so I decided to end my day. Ten fish is a reasonable fish count for four hours of fishing, but the size of the fish was disappointing. In retrospect, I should have deployed the Chernobyl ant and bright green caddis sooner, and I should have been more selective about casting locations and sought deeper bank side pockets and slots. Fishing in a river on June 20 is always a treat, and I remain pleased with my Fathers’ Day fishing outing.

Fish Landed: 10

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