Category Archives: Uncompahgre River

West Fork of Cimmaron Creek – 06/22/2021

Time: 4:15PM – 5:00PM

Location: .5 mile from the turn off from Owl Creek Pass Road

West Fork of Cimmaron Creek 06/22/2021 Photo Album

West Fork

I spent forty-five minutes on the West Fork after getting blanked on the Middle Fork of Cimmaron Creek. It was a bit wider, slightly clearer, and a degree less gradient; but I experienced the same result. No fish. I exchanged the hippie stomper for a pool toy as the top fly for a different look and added a salvation nymph as the second nymph after the prince. This modification made no difference. Similar to the Middle Fork the gradient was steep; and, thus, at high flows the creek offered few, if any, slack water lies. The scenery was spectacular, and Jane and I enjoyed exploring a never before visited part of Colorado. The Uncompahgre River Valley humbled this fly fisherman.

Fish Landed: 0

Middle Fork of Cimmaron Creek – 06/22/2021

Time: 3:30PM – 4:00PM

Location: Upstream from the trailhead

Middle Fork of Cimmaron Creek 06/22/2021 Photo Album

I was frustrated by 3.5 hours of fishing on the Uncompahgre River, so Jane and I drove to Riggs Fly Shop in Ridgway, CO. We spoke to Heather, and I bought a tapered leader, five flies and a map of Ouray County. I asked Heather where I could go for some small stream fishing, and Heather suggested the three forks of Cimmaron Creek.

High Flows and High Gradient

Jane and I drove directly to the forks by way of Owl Creek Pass. It took us forty-five minutes on a dirt road that was reasonably improved. We checked out the West Fork first, but I was intrigued by the Middle Fork, because it was at the end of the road, and there was a hiking trail for Jane. We moved on to the Middle Fork.

Not Improving

The scenery in the area was spectacular, but the Middle Fork was still running high from snowmelt. It looked like a churning cascade over the entire distance that I fished with only an occasional marginal pocket along the bank. I cut my losses after thirty minutes, and we returned to the West Fork. I deployed a hippie stomper and prince nymph on the Middle Fork, but I never sniffed the sign of a fish.

Fish Landed: 0

Uncompahgre River – 06/22/2021

Time: 9:30AM – 11:30AM

Location: Pa-Co-Chu-Puk Loop H

Uncompahgre River 06/22/2021 Photo Album

Tuesday was my designated day to fish, and since we were within a few miles of the Uncompahgre River tailwater, I decided to give it another chance, although I was very apprehensive after Monday evening. I talked to several other anglers, and they all emphasized the need to fish deep and along the bottom in this temperamental river.

After Tuesday’s 1.5 hour skunking, I decided to change tactics on Tuesday morning. The bottom release water was extremely cold, and with minimal insect activity to bring fish to the surface, I concluded that fishing deep was the answer. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, other anglers confirmed this.

Tough River

I rigged my Sage One five weight with a New Zealand strike indicator and split shot and then attached a size 12 prince nymph as the upper fly. The prince remained in place over the entire two hours of fishing; however, the bottom fly rotated among a hares ear nymph, bright green caddis pupa, orange egg fly, super nova, pheasant tail nymph, sparkle wing RS2, salad spinner, and salvation nymph. The fly change circus was for naught, as the fish count remained locked on zero at 11:30AM. A guide and two clients came by and offered the unsolicited advice that a small brown mayfly nymph size 20-22 had been effective for them. This bit of information prompted the super nova, pheasant tail and sparkle wing RS2 trials on my line.

At 11:30PM I surrendered to the Uncompahgre River and sent Jane a text message with my satellite phone. She arrived within minutes, and I ended my torture session on the Ridgway State Park tailwater. Frustration ruled.

Fish Landed: 0

Uncompahgre River – 06/21/2021

Time: 7:00PM – 8:30PM

Location: Pa-Co-Chu-Puk area

Uncompahgre River 06/21/2021 Photo Album

In May Jane and I made some camping reservations at various Colorado state parks. Ridgeway State Park was one of these, and we chose the time period from June 20 through June 23. We were surprised to realize that June 20 arrived much sooner than expected.

We loaded the car with our camping, kayaking and fishing gear on Sunday morning and departed for the state park in southwestern Colorado. We visited the area in the 1990’s, when the kids were young, and we had favorable impressions of the experience. Before departing on the 5.5 hour drive, I downloaded an audiobook, Boundary Waters, by William Krueger Kent. This proved to be a solid choice, and we listened to the entire twelve hour novel during our road trip.

When we arrived at the state park on Sunday, we quickly sought our reserved campsite. My heart sank, when I realized that we reserved a walk-in site in the Pa-Co-Chu-Puk section. Jane and I parked and crossed the bridge and walked to our chosen site, and we were disappointed to discover it at the uphill tip of the walk-in loop. We estimated that it would take six to eight trips to lug our camping gear to the top of the hill, so we considered our options. We quickly decided to visit the park office to explain our dilemma with the hope that an alternative was available. We traveled south to the main office and visitor center at Dutch Charlie only to find that the office was closed, and the doors were locked. We turned away to walk to the car, when a woman opened the door to ask if she could help. We were overwhelmed by her kindness, and we entered the office and explained our situation. The park office employee quickly went on the reservation system and found us a site in the Dakota Terraces Campground. Since the campground was full, we guessed that the park reserved a spot for our type of situation. We paid an upcharge of $24, since site 23 had an electrical hookup. We were more than willing to pay this small fee to avoid the chore of lugging our car load of camping gear up a long hill. The site was devoid of any shade, but we had a canopy and were not in a position to be choosey.

Slack Water Along the Left Bank

On Monday Jane and I completed a very challenging six mile hike in the Uncompahgre Wilderness. When we returned to the campground, we enjoyed happy hour and dinner, and then I asked if I could fish for a few hours before dark in the tailwater at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk. Jane agreed, and we both made the drive to the northern area of the park along the river. The flows were in the 250 CFS range, and the water was clear, cold and a bit high. I wore my wet wading gear and rigged my Sage four weight for a few hours of fly fishing. The air temperature remained quite warm after a ninety degree day.

Pools Created by Stream Improvements

I fished the entire 1.5 hours with a chubby Chernobyl trailing an assortment of flies including a hares ear nymph, salvation nymph, bright green caddis pupa, pink San Juan worm, and a prince nymph. I never saw a fish or the sign of a fish.

We parked at the end of the G loop, and I cut perpendicular to the river from the parking area. I attempted to get close to the downstream border of the state park and away from theĀ  heavily pressured area at the footbridge by H loop. I was a tough 1.5 hours.

Fish Landed: 0