Time: 12:15PM – 1:30PM
Location: Below Gross Reservoir
As I reviewed flows on the DWR web site prior to my trips to Boulder Creek and the Cache la Poudre River, I noted that the water managers reduced the releases from Gross Reservoir to the 168 CFS range. Based on previous experience, I knew that this level is high in the narrow canyon; however, I have enjoyed decent success at these levels particularly when green drakes and pale morning duns are active. July 29 was a bit early for drakes, but I suspected some early emergers could be on the creek. I decided to make the trip on Friday, July 29, 2022.
One small hurdle remained; however, before I could finalize my trip plans. We were waiting for a visit from our new HVAC guy, and he suggested that he could stop by in the 8:00AM – 10:30AM window on Friday. Jane had waited for him earlier in the week, so in fairness to our relationship, it was my turn to forego other activities. Finally, at 9AM Jane called to inform me that she received a text message from John HVAC, and he was under the weather and unable to fulfill the promised appointment. I was now free to resurrect my fly fishing plans, and I quickly gathered my gear and loaded the car and made the drive to South Boulder Creek. Five cars were ahead of me in the kayak lot. I quickly assembled my Sage four weight and scrambled into my gear and made the hike to the tailwater creek.
When I arrived at my chosen starting point, my watch displayed 11:50AM, so I decided to consume the lunch stuffed in my backpack, before I began my quest for wild trout. Once my yogurt cup was empty, I knotted a tan size 8 pool toy hopper to my line and then added a beadhead hares ear nymph and salvation nymph. I was prepared for terrestrials, yellow sally nymphs and pale morning dun nymphs. In the early going I witnessed refusals to the hopper, but then my flies began to click, and I landed four trout within the first thirty minutes. Two gobbled the hopper, and the hares ear and salvation produced one each. The first four trout landed were all brown trout in the six to ten inch range.
By one o’clock the action slowed considerably, and refusals to the pool toy began to dominate. Since the fish seemed to be looking toward the surface for their meals, I decided to make a switch, and I converted to a double dry with a peacock hippie stomper followed by a yellow size 14 stimulator. The higher than ideal flows reduced the number of viable trout holding locations, and I was largely reduced to short drifts in bank side pockets, as I ignored the rapidly cascading flows in the middle of the creek.
The shrunken number of trout lairs caused me to advance up the stream more rapidly than usual, but the two flies clicked reasonably well, and the fish count elevated to nine. Two of the double dry fly attracted trout slurped the hippie stomper and three grabbed the heavily hackled stimulator. I sensed I was on the verge of a stellar outing, as a few mayflies made an appearance above the creek, and a couple were likely green drakes.
I photographed and released number nine, since it was my best brown trout of the day, and during this process the two dry flies twisted around the tip of my Sage fly rod. I grabbed the rod and executed a series of hand over hand movements, so that I could hold the rod in the middle and unravel the uncooperative dry flies. When the flies were free and separated, I reversed the hand over hand process to resume gripping the rod at the cork handle, but unbeknownst to me, the reel and butt end of the rod had dipped below the surface of the creek behind a large branch that was wedged between several large rocks. When I shifted my grip back toward the handle, the top of the rod elevated, and the current grabbed the reel and butt end and forced them beneath the branch, and before I could release, the rod snapped in the second section below the tip. It happened so fast that I could not react, and I sat down on the bank and grieved for a few minutes. Surprisingly nary a curse word was uttered, as I was depressed with the news, that I broke my second Sage rod of the season.
Since I hiked a decent distance from the car, I had no backup with me, and climbing the steep hill to retrieve another rod, and then returning to the creek only to make the hill climb a second time was out of the question. I broke the rod down to four segments and hiked back to the parking lot. My fishing session ended after one hour and fifteen minutes and nine fish, and I felt I was on the verge of some outstanding action. When I returned home, I immediately filed a repair claim with Far Bank (the company that now owns Sage), and then I printed the QR code and address and packed up the broken rod to ship for repair.
Friday was a bittersweet day. I now have two Sage rods out for repair, as I approach the meat of the summer and fall season. I have a backup four weight, a backup five weight, and a five weight that my friend, Dave G., loaned me. I anticipate a heavy dose of small stream fishing, and having one four weight for this duty concerns me a bit. In a pinch the Loomis 8.5 foot five weight could also suffice in close quarters. Hopefully I can return to South Boulder Creek in the near future for a full day of fishing; while abundant quantities of mayflies, caddis and stoneflies feed the stream residents. A reduction of flows to the low one hundred range would also be welcome news.
Fish Landed: 9