Beaver Lake – 06/07/2024

Time: 11:00AM – 3:00PM

Location: Western levee

Beaver Lake 06/07/2024 Photo Album

We planned a trip to Carbondale, CO to visit our daughter, Amy, on June 6 – 9. I was excited for the opportunity to fly fish the Frying Pan River tailwater, as it was one of the few moving water options that was not blown out by snow melt.

When we arrived at Amy’s house, I decided to confirm that the flows remained in the 260 CFS range, as this was the level that displayed, when I checked several days prior to our trip. In short, the flows did not remain in that range. Over the previous twenty-four hours the water level climbed to 470 CFS. I was more than disappointed. When I informed Amy of this turn of events, she produced an article from the local online newspaper that outlined the program to implement flushing flows on the Colorado River at Grand Junction to assist in the reproduction of endangered native fish species. Reudi Reservoir was one of the dams participating  in the coordinated releases, and the water manager announced that flows on the Frying Pan River would peak at around 650 CFS before returning to pre-flushing flows in a couple days. My timing could not have been worse.

I was not inclined to sacrifice a day of planned fly fishing on the western slope, so I initiated a web search of local lakes and quickly settled on two options: Reudi Reservoir and Beaver Lake. I was familiar with Reudi, since I fished it a few times while camping at Little Maud Campground. I also visited Beaver Lake several years ago after a hiking expedition near the town of Marble. Beaver Lake is situated on the southern edge of the small town of Marble next to the upper Crystal River. During that visit, the lake was overrun with tubes, SUP’s, kayaks, and pool toys; and Friday was forecast to feature high temperatures in the upper eighties, so a repeat of that experience was a concern.

Nice Conditions Early On

I found another article from the Aspen newspaper online, and it announced the Colorado Department of Wildlife policy of limiting usage of Beaver Lake to hunting and fishing, and it stressed the requirement of a State Wildlife Area license or a hunting or a fishing license. This, and the prospect of fishing a new body of water, sold me on a drive to Marble, CO to fish Beaver Lake.

I arrived at the small parking lot at the Beaver Lake State Wildlife Area at 10:15AM, and several vehicles and fishermen preceded me. The temperature was 72 degrees, but some large gray clouds in the western sky prompted me to slide into my rain shell. The rain protection came in handy during several periods of wind, chill, and light rain. In fact, one small storm forced me to retreat to the car for an angling rain delay. I put together my Sage R8 four weight to facilitate longer casts, and I marched around the northern shoreline to the western levee that separated the lake from the bloated and muddy Crystal River.

Between 11:00AM and 3:00PM I fished a thirty yard stretch of shoreline in an attempt to land a Beaver Lake trout. My efforts were only interrupted by lunch, the rain delay, and a visit from my daughter and wife after their wonderful hike. I deployed three different fly fishing approaches, but none resulted in a flopping fish in my net. Early and late I tossed a double dry fly rig with a hippie stomper and chubby Chernobyl with a variety of trailing dries including a gray stimulator, a size 16 olive-brown deer hair caddis, a black parachute ant, and a size 20 parachute Adams. I observed very sporadic rises throughout my tenure on the lake, and three or four tentative refusals were highlights.

Damsel Just Emerged

My second method was a dry/dropper with a beadhead hares ear as the dropper. The hippie stomper dove a couple times, but I attributed the action to weed snags. My third approach was a streamer gambit. I spotted and photographed a few damsel nymphs emerging on the shoreline rocks, so I knotted a wiggle nymph to my line. I truly believed that I found the answer, since I read numerous articles about torrid lake fishing during a damsel nymph migration to emergence on shore side weeds and rocks. I utilized a hand twist retrieve with no weight, but there was no response from the fish.

This Damsel Was Further Along in Its Transformation

Perhaps the nymph needed to crawl along the bottom to entice an eat? I added a split shot and a black ghost and trailed the wiggle nymph, and during this phase of my fly fishing day I felt a take and set the hook. I felt the throb of a fish, but after five seconds the fish flopped free, and I was mired in a day of skunking.

Western Shoreline View

By 3 o’clock my confidence plummeted, and I returned to the car to feel sorry for myself. My lake fishing expertise is still in its formative stages. The weather was nice, the scenery was spectacular, and I watched two juvenile eagles circle the lake, so the day was a success in spite of the challenging fishing.

Fish Landed: 0

 

4 thoughts on “Beaver Lake – 06/07/2024

  1. Frank Cada

    When there are no hatches, I would try a leech. Either under an indicator or slow retrieve. If I saw a water boatman or scud I would have tried them. Damsel Nymphs are quite close to the surface when they migrate to the shore before hatching. I am sorry you had a bad day. Lakes can be quite temperamental.

    Reply
    1. wellerfish Post author

      Hi Frank, Thanks for the tips. Interesting point about the damsel nymphs being near the surface. I need to remember that and not add much weight. I think it is the early stages of damsel emergence at Beaver Lake. I like your idea of a leech, although I tried that today with no positive results. And there were quite a few weeds under the surface, so a scud may have been a winner as well. Oh well, I’m still learning. It was maddening because there were rises, but they were so spaced out with no consistency. I thought about trying my adult damsels, but that fly box was on my fly tying counter in Denver. Remember, I thought I was going to be fishing the Frying Pan! Dave

      Reply
  2. Ken

    A friend and myself use to stay in Marble once a year in the 80’s -90’s. We loved to fish the Crystal and Beaver Lake. Back then fishing was good. Just a couple years ago, I went to one of our go to fishing spots on the Crystal and was eagerly waiting my return after a 15 year absence. Sadly the fishing hole had turned into a place for families, kids, teens and dogs to loudly frolic. It was nothing like my memory… and sadly I anticipated your story of a great fishing day at Beaver Lake, only to read it had changed too. Only change is constant, and not always for the best…

    Reply
  3. wellerfish Post author

    Hi Ken,
    Sad to hear. Yes, Friday was a tough day. Beaver Lake was stocked in mid-May, but either the fish were caught or they became extremely educated. It was pretty cool to see some damsel nymphs transforming into adults, and I did get one strike on my damsel nymph, but overall it was a tough day. Thanks for you history lesson. Dave

    Reply

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