Time: 9:00AM – 12:00PM
Location: Chuck Lewis access area
Fish Landed: 1
Jane wanted to leave early on Sunday to return to Denver, but I convinced her that since we’d made the three hour drive, we should stay and play in Steamboat a bit longer. It didn’t take much arm twisting, so we had a nice early breakfast at Winona’s in downtown Steamboat and then returned to the condo. The girls decided to either play tennis or go to the air show taking place. Steve and I planned to hit the Yampa at the Chuck Lewis access closer to Steamboat Springs. This was downstream from Stagecoach and Catamount lakes, but outside of town and thus avoiding the dense tube traffic that occurs in the town of Steamboat.
We arrived at the parking lot and wadered up and walked down the well defined path through the hay meadows between the parking lot and river. We arrived at a fork and chose the right fork only to stumble into two fishermen in a nice riffle and run stretch. We pushed back the willows and returned to the fork and hiked downstream a ways. Steve stopped below some stream improvement rocks and began to fish a beautiful run while I worked my way further downstream and crossed over then further downstream below a nice run and eddy. I tied on a yellow Letort hopper, beadhead hares ear and orange scud and began prospecting the run. Nothing was showing as I worked the riffles in the bright sunshine. Next I moved up along the bank to the eddy, and I thought I spotted a decent fish in the deepest part of the eddy. After numerous casts over the fish and switching to an RS2 as the bottom fly, I spooked the fish, so I moved on.
I went upstream to the nice wide riffle and run area where Steve had begun. This was fairly deep water and the dry/dropper combination seemed fairly futile. Also I was spotting the occasional small mayfly emerging in the riffles, so I abandoned the dry/dropper method and rigged up with a strike indicator, split shot, BHHE and beadhead RS2. I worked the water relentlessly with nice long drifts from the whitewater at the head to below me and finally after thirty or so drifts, the indicator moved slightly and I hooked and landed an eight inch brown trout. As I brought the fish near me I could see another larger fish trailing the brown. I wasn’t sure what to make of this.
Steve was opposite me and noticed numerous rising fish along the slow moving water between the current and bank. I finally gave up on the run and moved upstream above Steve and tried some water that was slower moving but did have a thin current seam through a deep trough eight feet from the bank. I worked downstream from the top to across from Steve with the nymphs and midway removed the scud and tied on a sunken trico. I had a RS2 and sunken trico combination. I suspected that the small mayflies I spotted earlier were emerging tricos and now judging from the characteristic slow steady rises felt that tricos were on the water.
The sunken trico didn’t produce, so I walked back downstream to a point where I could cross back over to Steve’s side of the river and then stood to Steve’s left and slightly below him and inspected the water. Sure enough I spotted tiny tricos in the surface film. I showed Steve a couple specimens I was able to dip from the water and he found some trico flies in his trico box to try. I had one trico spinner in the bottom of my round plastic container, and I carefully removed it and tied it to my line. I was skeptical that this would work as the samples I observed were size 26 or smaller whereas the fly I had was a 22.
Steve and I began to flutter casts to the current seam where at least five fish were rising but the fish were having none of our offerings. After 15 minutes of this futility I switched and put on a small fur ant with an orange tuft of poly on the back. After numerous refusals, a fish sucked in the ant, and I set the hook. As I suspected these were extremely small fish and I landed a three inch no count rainbow. Meanwhile Steve faced downstream and cast to the pod below us that had resumed rising and hooked three tiny fish.
We eventually left these small fish alone and moved upstream to some fishy seams and eddies, but it was now close to noon with the sun high above and our confidence was waning so we removed our flies and hiked back to the parking lot and ended our fishing for the day.