Time: 12:00PM – 3:00PM
Location: Clear Creek Canyon
I endured the last two weeks of March with no break in the weather that promised a solid day of fly fishing. Nice days in March consisted of high temperatures in the low fifties in Denver. and highs at that level translate to low forties and thirties at best in the foothills and mountains, where I fish for trout. Fortunately the weather forecast projected a brief window of nice weather on April 1 – 3, so I jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately the best day was Sunday, and as a retiree I am loathe to fish on weekends, but I decided to leverage the small window of seventy degree weather before another cold front rushed across the state.
I reviewed my Front Range options and settled on Clear Creek in the canyon west of Golden. Why? High winds were a factor on South Boulder Creek and the Big Thompson. Bear Creek and Boulder Creek were viable options; however, flows were low, and these two destinations do not offer as much space in case of crowded weekend conditions. The North Fork of St. Vrain Creek was also considered, but I experienced minimal success on my first trip of the season, and I was also fearful of elevated fishing pressure there.
I arrived at my chosen starting point at 11:30AM, and I layered with my fleece hoodie. The temperature was a comfortable 64 degrees, but the wind accelerated periodically, and I was in the shade of the narrow canyon from time to time. I rigged my Loomis five weight two piece, and then I devoured my small lunch, since it was approaching noon.
After lunch I hiked downstream from my parking space and fished mostly along the south bank of the creek. Thick patches of snow and ice shelves remained, but they receded significantly from previous scouting hikes along Clear Creek, and the stream was in fine shape at 27 CFS. I began my quest for trout with a size 8 yellow fat Albert, a beadhead hares ear nymph, and an ultra zug bug. In the early going I landed five rainbow trout, and I was quite pleased with the success. One of the bows grabbed the ultra zug bug, and one aggressive feeder crushed the fat Albert, while the remainder nabbed the hares ear nymph. Based on past experience I knew Clear Creek as primarily a brown trout fishery, so I was unable to explain the heavy weighting of rainbows on this fine spring outing.
Number six was a thick ten inch brown, and I built the fish count to eleven over the remainder of the afternoon, as I steadily worked my way upstream. On my hike to my starting point along the south side of the creek, I passed at least six other fishermen stationed on the north side, but by the time I reached their positions, they had abandoned the effort.
My lineup of flies remained the same as the start, and on the day I tallied one on the fat Albert, three on the ultra zug bug, and seven on the hares ear nymph. Most of my action materialized from riffles and the tail of runs that consisted of three to four feet of depth with a slowing current. Nine landed trout were rainbows and two were browns. I have no explanation for this aberrant ratio of species compared to my normal experience.
I am off and running with a double digit day to start April, and hopefully the weather will afford me more opportunities than were available in March. It is blue winged olive time, so trips to the Arkansas River and South Platte River are highly anticipated.
Fish Landed: 11