Clear Creek – 03/10/2024

Time: 1:00PM – 4:00PM

Location: West of Golden, CO

Clear Creek 03/10/2024 Photo Album

My last fly fishing outing was on March 1, 2024, and I had a strong desire to revisit a local stream on March 10. The weather since March 1 was either too cold for my preference, or nice weather coincided with days, when I had other commitments. A high in the mid-60’s in Denver on March 10 convinced me to make the short drive to Clear Creek.

The canyon was packed with outdoor enthusiasts including dog walkers, runners, hikers, fishermen and rock climbers. The first two parking lots west of Golden along the Peak to Plains Trail were filled to capacity with Sunday visitors. I earmarked a section, where I experienced previous success, but when I arrived, the entire roadside pullout was filled with rock climber vehicles. I continued onward, until I finally found a wide pullout on the left side of the highway. One car preceded me, and of course the owner was fly fishing twenty yards downstream from my parking space. I decided to either hike a distance above him or to hike downstream and fish back upstream. I exited my new Telluride (nice wheels, by the way), and shouted to the angler as loud as I could and asked how far down he began. Surprisingly he heard me and answered, “around 100 yards”. I decided to hike downstream for .5 mile to get below where he disturbed the stream.

By this time it was 12:15, so I grabbed my lunch bag and carefully consumed my lunch and avoided dropping food in my new ride. Afterward I pulled on my fleece hoodie and strung my Loomis five weight two piece. As planned, I hiked along the narrow shoulder, as a steady stream of cars passed by, and I cut down to the creek after .5 mile. I paused at the edge of the creek and rigged with a yellow size 8 fat Albert, an olive mini leech, and a 20 incher. Ice shelves extended for three to four feet along the bank in many places,  but there was enough open water to allow casting to promising holes and runs.

I focused on the deep and slower moving spots for forty-five minutes, but I saw no signs of trout. Given my lack of action, I removed the leech, moved the 20 incher to the upper position and added a beadhead hares ear nymph to my lineup. Finally my luck reversed, and I landed a small brown trout on the hares ear and then a ten inch rainbow on the 20 incher. Both fish came from a long trough and current seam, and I was on the board with two landed fish within a fifteen minute window.

I continued on in a westward direction, and I managed to net one more rainbow on the hares ear along with a temporary hook up that resulted in an escapee. This time period involved a lot of casting and unproductive drifts. By 3:15 I reached the area bordering my car, so I exited and drove east on US 6 to the spot, where I originally envisioned spending my afternoon. Parking was available, so I grabbed my gear and hiked downstream fifty yards along the opposite bank. I fished back upstream, until I was next to the Telluride, and I was rewarded with two additional rainbow trout that snatched the hares ear nymph.

My watch registered 4:00PM, when I was across from the car, and my exit option was down to one steep climb up a rocky bank, so I took advantage and ended my day of fly fishing. Five trout in three hours was a below average catch rate, but I was pleased given the cold water temperatures and the lack of insect activity. Where are all the brown trout? Normally Clear Creek yields 80% browns and 20% rainbows, but in my two 2024 outings, I have landed nine rainbows and two browns. It is a perplexing question. Hopefully, as we move closer to the official start of spring, I will be able to unleash the new Telluride for a few more productive trips to area rivers and streams. Stay tuned.

Fish Landed: 5