Time: 4:00PM – 7:00PM
Location: Below wide pullout below Lottis Creek
Fish Landed: 2
I invited my fishing friend, Jeff Shafer from Whitehall, Pa., to visit me and spend some time fishing in September 2013. We found a window of time that fit our schedules from September 20 until September 24, and Jeff booked his flights and arrived at 10:15AM on Friday.
My original plan was to spend two days on the Arkansas River and then travel over Independence Pass to Basalt and spend Monday and Tuesday on the Frying Pan River. We wanted to avoid the Frying Pan on the weekend if possible. Unfortunately the rain that caused flooding in the northern Front Range rivers also created high and dirty water on the Arkansas River, although there was no flooding on the larger Arkansas drainage. Two subsequent storm systems west of Salida added more murkiness to the river just before Jeff’s arrival, so I switched plans to the Taylor River instead of the Arkansas.
I had the Santa Fe packed with camping and fishing gear for two people and picked Jeff up at the airport after his timely arrival. We were instantly on our way to Buena Vista and then over Cottonwood Pass to the Lottis Creek Campground three miles below Taylor Reservoir Dam. Jeff and I stopped at the hog trough, but it was crowded with fishermen and we decided to avoid the combat fishing and moved on to the campground. We were pleased to discover that Lottis Creek was still open even though the NFS office informed me that it was closed on September 16. We quickly paid for a campground on Friday night and then drove down the road a mile and parked at a wide pullout across from the river. Next we hiked down the road a ways to a place where a dirt lane angled toward the river and then we cut through the woods to some nice water with large pools.
Since the water was fairly narrow and swift at this spot we elected to not attempt a crossing, and Jeff and I alternated the attractive locations along the right bank. I fished for quite awhile with a parachute gray hopper and a beadhead hares ear before landing my first fish. During this time I experienced several refusals to the hopper but eventually landed a small brown on the hares ear nymph.
The hopper became saturated with water and required frequent drying and wasn’t producing any fish, so I exchanged it for a yellow pool toy as I hopped around Jeff on my way to the area across from the Santa Fe. Jeff meanwhile was having more success using dry flies and actually spotted some fish rising to dry flies and landed several of them.
When I reached the smoother water near the car I switched to a light gray caddis and a 13 inch brown slurped it in a small pocket along the edge. This would be my best and last fish on the evening. We concluded our fishing by 7PM and returned to the campsite where we put up the tent using the propane lantern for light and then ate our dinners before crashing under the shelter of the tent. It was a decent beginning to our five day fishing trip.