Monthly Archives: March 2022

Arkansas River – 03/28/2022

Time: 10:30AM – 3:30PM

Location: Chafee – Fremont County Line

Arkansas River 03/28/2022 Photo Album

The last of a string of very nice days prompted me to make my second fly fishing excursion of the year. The forecast high temperature in the Salida, CO area was 72 degrees, and this prospect along with flows in the 300 CFS range enticed me to make the nearly three hour drive to the Arkansas River for a day of fly fishing on a much larger body of water than that which I explored on Friday.

I arrived at my familiar pullout by 10:10AM, and this enabled me to make my first cast to the river by 10:30AM. The air temperature at the start of my day was 54 degrees, and I wore my light fleece cardigan, and it remained in place for the five hours I spent on the river, and I was never too warm. With winds in excess of 10 MPH predicted for the afternoon, I rigged my Sage One five weight, and this allowed me to utilize my new fly line for the first time. The line was a gift from Jane at Christmas.

The only other fisherman I saw all day happened to be parked in the same pullout as me; and, of course, he was ready before me and had first dibs on the river. He hiked quite a distance east along U.S. 50, before he dropped out of view in his descent to the river. My favorite location on the Arkansas River was downstream in the same direction, although I prefer crossing to the opposite side, and I contemplated that ploy, but in the end I opted for solitude and began working my way upstream along the south bank that bordered the highway. The south bank probably absorbed more fishing pressure than the north side, but I prefer the structure of the water on the highway side of the river.

Optimistic About This Section

I configured my five weight line with a beadhead yellow-light green Pat’s rubberlegs, and below it I added a mini leech with no bead. These two flies were present with a nymph rig that included a split shot and a New Zealand strike indicator. I began prospecting the water and quickly learned that the slower shelf pools and seams along the faster currents provided the most action.

During the first 1.5 hours, before I broke for lunch at noon, I landed one trout and endured four temporary hook ups. The Pat’s rubberlegs accounted for the single landed brown trout, and the success story was accompanied by four temporary connections. After a decent trial period I exchanged the mini leech for a size 22 zebra midge, and I suspect the long distance releases resulted from the tiny midge fly.

Molting Pat’s Rubber Legs Was Desirable

After lunch I continued with the deep nymphing approach and persisted with it until I quit at 3:30PM. I never saw any insects besides tiny midges and a very rare caddis. I was anticipating some blue winged olive action, but either it was too early in the season or the bright sun combined with a lack of cloud cover prevented a BWO appearance.

Lunch View

I managed to increase the fish count from one to seven, and the additional six included a twelve inch brown trout, and five browns in the nine to eleven inch range. The average size for the day surpassed the length of my North Fork of St. Vrain catches on Friday, but I have to admit that my expectations for size and quantity were a bit higher.

I Suspect a Moth

After a lull in action with the Pat’s rubberlegs and zebra midge I switched to a 20 incher and classic RS2. Five of the six PM fish that I landed chomped the 20 incher, and one grabbed an emerald caddis pupa, after I replaced the RS2. A couple more fish felt the penetration of one of my flies, but they managed to evade my net.

Another Decent Brown Trout

Between 2:30PM and 3:30PM I covered a significant amount of water and failed to land a single fish. In fact, I never experienced a look or refusal or temporary connection. I swapped the emerald caddis pupa for an iron sally during this time frame, but the move proved futile. The wind gusts made casting upstream a formidable challenge, and I finally surrendered at 3:30PM and climbed the bank to the highway, and walked a mile along the shoulder back to the car.

Juicy Shelf Pool

Monday was a fun day under bright sunshine with temperatures eventually touching the upper sixties and possibly nudging seventy. The wind was a nuisance, but I logged quite a bit of fishing time before it became a hassle. I suspect the absence of significant insect activity explained the slightly below average catch rate. I will probably return to the Arkansas River in a few weeks when the blue winged olives make a more sustained appearance.

Fish Landed: 7

03-25-2022 North Fork of St. Vrain Creek

Time: 10:45AM – 3:30PM

Location: Button Rock Preserve

03-25-2022 North Fork of St. Vrain Creek Photo Album

I must admit that my first fishing outing of 2022 was  a bit disappointing, but at least I lit up the scoreboard with six fish. Unfortunately they were quite small. One twelve inch brown chomped a fat Albert after lunch, but the other landed trout were in the six to eight inch range. As I look back on first days in Colorado, I can remember a few skunkings on the South Platte River, so at least I avoided that embarrassment.

The high temperature was predicted to be in the mid-60’s in Denver, so I checked the options within a one day drive of Denver, and I settled on the North Fork of St. Vrain Creek. A high in Lyons, CO was predicted to peak at 62 degrees, and the flows on the small tailwater hovered in the 25 CFS range. The South Platte River on a Friday was risky due to crowding, and the temperatures were colder in the narrow canyon that carries the flows of South Boulder Creek. These were my alternatives.

Snow Remains on the Bank

I arrived at the Button Rock Preserve parking lot by 10:00AM, and I quickly pulled on my waders and assembled my Sage four weight rod. I considered the shorter and lighter Orvis Access, but periodic gusting wind convinced me to go with the rod that carried a stiffer backbone. The temperature, as I embarked on the dirt road that follows the creek, was 42 degrees, and I wore my light down parka and New Zealand hat with earflaps. These clothing choices were welcome, particularly, when I waded through shaded areas. A fair amount of snow remained along the stream; however, the creek was very clear and devoid of any ice or snow.

Fish Number One of 2022

After a medium hike I configured my line with a peacock hippie stomper, beadhead hares ear nymph and salad spinner. I cast this combination for thirty minutes and managed to land my first trout of the 2022 season. It was a seven inch brown trout that munched on the hippie stomper, and I was quite pleased to be on the scoreboard. In the next half hour before lunch I swapped the salad spinner for the ultra zug bug to gain more depth, and this fly accounted for a second and slightly larger brown trout.

Number Two Nabbed an Ultra Zug Bug

I tied some beaded mini leeches on Thursday, and I was itching to break them in, so I exchanged the hares ear for the mini leech after lunch. In order to support the extra weight of the larger bead on the mini leech, I replaced the hippie stomper with a size 8 fat Albert and added a sparkle wing RS2 on the point. Amazingly the fat Albert produced two fish including a twelve inch brown, and that was my largest fish of the day.

Best Fish of the Day Ate a Fat Albert

During my time on the North Fork I cycled through a large array of flies including a soft hackle emerger, sunken ant and prince nymph in addition to those already mentioned. At one point I revisited the hippie stomper, and it yielded a small brown in addition to several refusals. Between 1:15PM and 1:30PM I spotted four or five blue winged olives, as they danced along the surface during a gust of wind. A few dimples revealed rises in some slow moving sections, and I converted to a single CDC BWO, but I was unable to fool any surface feeders. In addition, three small gray stoneflies fluttered above the creek just before the blue winged olive emergence, and I tried a non-beaded gray soft hackle emerger in an attempt to mimic the small stoneflies, but this ploy also failed to lead to success.

Gorgeous Pool Beckons

After I reverted to the peacock hippie stomper accompanied by a size 14 prince nymph and sunken ant I managed to land two more small trout on the prince. I covered a significant amount of water including some very attractive pools, and the small trout were my only reward. By 3:30 my back began to cramp, and I concluded that 4.5 hours was an excessive amount of time for my first outing of the season, so I hooked my fly to the rod guide and made the return hike to the parking lot. It was fun to get out on a stream again, and I am anxiously checking the weather for another opportunity to fly fish in the near future.

Fish Landed: 6

Gray Deer Hair Caddis – 03/12/2022

Gray Deer Hair Caddis 03/12/2022 Photo Album

Gray is another favorite deer hair caddis color, and I cast this fly quite frequently. In a manner similar to the olive deer hair caddis, I utilize this fly as the point on a double dry, when the trout are picky about the larger stimulator or hippie stomper. It works quite well in these situations. I have also encountered situations where trout refuse the light gray caddis, and I switch to a light gray comparadun with success. The similar size and body color to a pale morning dun seems to attract interest, but the wing configuration is wrong. At least in this case I appreciate the attracting quality of the light gray deer hair caddis. For more on the deer hair caddis go to my post of 02/22/2021.

Popular with Trout

I took inventory of my light gray caddis and determined that I required some replacements, and I produced eight new models. I am certain that these flies will see abundant time on my line in the upcoming season.

Eight Completed

Olive Deer Hair Caddis – 03/07/2022

Olive Deer Hair Caddis 03/07/2022 Photo Album

This fly is one of my workhorse dry flies, as I extract it from my fly box quite frequently. During the spring grannom hatch, it is a very effective imitation, but it also performs admirably throughout the season.


My 02/22/2021 post does an excellent job of discussing all things olive caddis. I mention using it in a double dry configuration, and in this post I would like to reinforce the effectiveness of this strategy. During the 2021 season I tossed a hippie stomper and olive deer hair caddis quite frequently with excellent results. A bushy stimulator combined with the olive deer hair caddis was another killer combination.

Nine Size 16’s

I also tend to knot a deer hair caddis on my line, when I approach a lake, and I am not sure what to try. The small and sparse deer hair caddis seems to be a food item that stillwater residents are familiar with, and they respond accordingly. Sometimes the high mountain trout grab the caddis even though they are primarily feeding on small items such as midges and ants.

After I counted my backup supply, I manufactured nine additional dry flies for 2022. Bring on the caddis.

Olive Stimulator – 03/05/2022

Olive Stimulator 03/05/2022 Photo Album

Olive is a third favorite body color for stimulators. On several occasions I used an olive stimulator successfully during a green drake hatch. The body color matches, and the dense hackles create the illusion of rapid wing movement. The wing angle deviates from the traditional mayfly upright style, but when green drakes are struggling to get airborne, the wing position may be a secondary consideration.

Opposite Side

My post of 01/29/2020 does a nice job of providing additional background information regarding stimulators. Check it out.

Trout Candy

My supply of olive stimulators was somewhat depleted, so I generated an additional four for the 2022 season. I am quite anxious to break these in on some wild western trout in the near future.