Bear Creek – 03/12/2024

Time: 11:30AM – 3:00PM

Location: West of Morrison

Bear Creek 03/12/2024 Photo Album

I did not lose any flies, and I did not fall in the creek. I did not injure myself in any way, and I did not break any equipment items. The weather was quite nice for late winter, and my new car performed admirably. My friend, Howie, accompanied me on this trip to Bear Creek, and he was the perfect companion. There were a lot of positives on March 12, 2024.

Howie and I arrived at our chosen fly fishing destination at 11:10AM, and the parking lot was completely devoid of vehicles. I was curious to know what it looked like on the previous sunny Sunday. I pulled on my North Face light down coat and added my rain shell along with my billed hat with ear flaps. The dashboard thermometer registered in the low 50’s, but I knew from previous visits that fishing in the shadow of the nearby ridge was a chilly experience. Quite a bit of snow and ice shelves remained along the first section of the creek that we fished, and this was testimonial to the lack of sunshine and frigid temperatures.

Initially I rigged with a yellow size 8 fat Albert, size 14 prince nymph and a size 16 beadhead hares ear. Howie opted for a grasshopper with a gray dubbed body and a beadhead hares ear nymph, that he tied. We alternated casting in pools for the first hour, but there was no evidence of trout in the crystal clear and low Bear Creek. After thirty minutes I swapped the hares ear for a salvation nymph, and the change had no impact on the sulking trout population in Bear Creek.

After lunch we resumed our upstream migration; but, alas our fortunes remained on the negative side of the ledger. I cycled through numerous fly changes including an olive mini leech, a 20 incher as the top fly for added weight, and an RS2. The 20 incher was an experiment with fishing depth, and the RS2 tested the idea that the fish were tuned into smaller natural food items. Neither theory applied, but I searched for answers nonetheless. Howie stayed with his hopper and hares ear, and midway through our afternoon, I swapped the hares ear for an apricot egg.

By 2PM we reached a less attractive section of water that was characterized by wide and shallow riffles, so we hoofed back to the car and drove to another parking lot farther upstream. Here we quickly grabbed our gear and hiked for .3 mile, before we cut to the creek and resumed our dance with futility. During this last part of our day, I witnessed a brown trout, as it rose and snubbed the fat Albert, and that was my closest encounter with a trout during the three hours of fly fishing. I also sighted a trout along the bank below an ice shelf, but I was unable to get quality drifts over the target, and it disappeared into the depths.

Toward the end of the day Howie broke off both his flies on a rock, so he converted to a deep nymphing configuration with a strike indicator and beadhead hares ear. I observed, as he made some impressive drifts through promising runs and along undercut banks, logs and ice shelves; but the magic was absent for him as well. The sky once again clouded over, and a sudden chill enveloped our persons, so we returned to the parking lot at 3:00PM and made the return drive to home.

I listed the positives in the first paragraph, but I am forced to admit that we were victims of a double skunking on Bear Creek. For me, early season fly fishing is very temperamental, and I anxiously look forward to warmer temperatures, increased insect activity and active fish. A large winter storm is on the horizon for Denver, so I will likely not be posting additional fishing reports for a bit.

Fish Landed: 0