Time: 5:00PM – 7:00PM
Location: Emerald Park
Steve and I agreed to resume the pursuit of Yampa River trout in the evening on July 3, and our wives approved our plan. Initially we attempted to fish from Rotary Park, which is a short distance from the condo, but we were unable to obtain a parking space due to the congestion created by float tubers. We were forced to select option number two, which was the Emerald Park area that we fished in the morning.
Steve read on the Steamboat Flyfisher web site that caddis and green drakes were hatching in the evening, so our true motive for the evening excursion was to ascertain the validity of this report. We both began our evening outing at Steve’s favorite spot near the bench across from the ball fields. Steve chose the top half of the long riffle, while I began at the bottom. Almost immediately Steve hooked and landed two small brown trout that rose to his size sixteen brown caddis. Initially I rigged with nymphs, but after witnessing Steve’s success, I switched to a size 16 deer hair caddis. I followed Steve’s lead in the morning, and it led to success, so why not continue my education?
For me, however, the caddis failed to excite the fish, and this lack of action continued in the next couple of upstream areas that I explored. The small caddis was very difficult to follow in the mixed shade and sunlight, so I added a size 14 gray stimulator and fished it in front of the caddis. The double dry was not the solution, and I remained fishless.
At this point I lost confidence in the dry flies due to the high flows (although lower than the morning), so I converted to a nymph system once again. Hoping to at least repeat my morning success, I once again opted for a 20 incher and copper john, and I began bouncing these flies through likely fish shelters. This approach also failed me, as I fished all the best spots until I arrived at the pipe hole where I caught the sixteen inch brown in the morning.
Here I paused to exchange the copper john for a dark cahill wet fly, but again nothing to report. I inched to the middle of the shelf pool and began hooking casts around a protruding branch to the top riffle section. As I was doing this, I spotted a single rise below the branch. This one sign of surface feeding provoked me to once again make a big change, and I switched back to the gray stimulator. In the area where I observed the rise, I landed a tiny rainbow trout that was too small to count. At least I knew that the trout would go for the stimulator.
Once again I moved up a bit so I could better cover the area above the branch, and on the third drift I noticed a decent fish, as it swirled to look at my fly, but it rejected the stimulator. This really increased my level of interest, and I decided to downsize to a size 16 light gray deer hair caddis. My first response to a refusal is generally to use a smaller version of the same fly. In this case, my rule paid dividends. On the third drift a sixteen inch rainbow turned and nabbed the caddis, and after a tough fight I coaxed it into my net. The surface feeding rainbow was a great ending to a tough two hours of evening fishing on the Yampa River.
Fish Landed: 1