Clear Lake – 06/14/2024

Time: 10:00AM – 4:00PM

Location: Clear Lake

Clear Lake 06/14/2024 Photo Album

Friday was forecast to be a cooler day than Wednesday with highs in the low eighties in Denver and a strong chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Having spent Wednesday at the Curtain Ponds, I decided to take my chances with Clear Lake on Friday. I love the setting of Clear Lake, as it makes me feel like I am fishing in a high alpine lake without the long hike generally associated with such a setting.

When I arrived, I noted that the lower parking lot was full, so I circled around the loop and parked in the upper lot. As I did so, I noticed a fisherman positioned in the very spot that I was seeking, but it was a quick glance, and maybe I misjudged his spot. The air temperature was 62 degrees, so I pulled on my rain shell over my fishing shirt, and I assembled my Loomis 8.5 foot two piece five weight. I like this fly rod for casting three fly dry/droppers. I quickly ambled along the path that borders the lake, until I was across from the spot that I favor. As I suspected, another angler occupied “my” spot, so I configured my dry/dropper along the western shore. I began with a size 8 amber ice dub chubby Chernobyl and dangled a beadhead hares ear nymph and prince nymph. I was aware of the trees behind my backcast, and I began firing casts to the edge of the moving water across from me. As I began my day, two women arrived, and they positioned themselves ten yards north of me, and just as they arrived, the chubby dipped, and I guided an eleven inch stocker rainbow into my net.

Starting Point

Given the large number of vehicles and fishermen at the lower parking lot, I began to suspect that a recent stocking had taken place. Much to my amazement the angler opposite me relinquished his prime spot, and I watched him climb the bank and head south. I was not sure he was permanently gone, so I resumed casting, but after a reasonable amount of time, I spotted the tip of his rod on the south side of a huge boulder that blocked my view. This was all I needed to know, and I instantly followed the path to the south and found a crossing point for South Clear Creek, and then I carefully followed the trail on the other side of the lake to my targeted casting position. I passed the other gentleman and ended up twenty yards below him.

Opposite Bank Was My Favorite Spot

In the early going I focused on long sidearm casts (to avoid the overhanging evergreen boughs) targeted toward the faster flowing water, but I was disappointed with the results. After ten minutes of inactivity, I checked my flies, and somehow the prince and the lower tippet disappeared, so I added another length of leader and a replacement beadhead prince. Once this correction was made, the action picked up considerably. I also discovered that the more productive location was the slower moving deeper water directly across from me, where the current dropped off a ledge.

Heavily Speckled Stocker

My unknowing partner in this venture, meanwhile, was enjoying some success fishing downstream above me. As he moved about and released fish, his presence may have been sensed by the trout upstream of me, so that was another reason to focus in the deeper slow moving water near my location.

Pollen Was So Dense I Could Barely See My Chubby at Times

By noon I raised the fish count to double digits. Somehow in the process of landing fish using the dry/dropper, I lost three prince nymphs, and that raised my concern that I would run out of that valuable commodity. I replaced the third lost nymph with a size 16 ultra zug bug, and this move paid huge dividends, as the UZB boosted the fish count considerably throughout the remainder of the day.

Decent Stocker

Some large gray clouds rolled above me as I ate my lunch on the bank, and I was quite chilled. I needed another layer. The other angler had recently departed, and I owned the entire bay by myself, so I gambled that I could return to the car before another competitor arrived. When I reached the Telluride, I added my fleece hoodie layer beneath the raincoat, and I swapped my cowboy hat for the billed hat with ear flaps. In addition I raided my boat box, and I replaced the prince nymphs, ultra zug bug and hares ear nymphs that I lost during the morning session.

Smooth Lake

I returned to my bare spot between evergreens on the steep bank, and I resumed my fly fishing attack on the Clear Lake trout. Initially the results lagged the morning, but then I attempted a roll cast and snagged all three flies in a tall narrow evergreen. I was unable to reach the distressed flies, and after a brief assessment, I snapped them off. I used this interruption as an opportunity to reconfigure. The wing of the chubby was saturated and difficult to follow at times, and the surrounding trees made it difficult to generate multiple false casts to dry it, so I replaced the chubby with a yellow fat Albert. I retained the beadhead hares ear and opted for a size 18 beadhead pheasant tail as the bottom nymph. I had tested a supernova nymph and emerald caddis pupa previously with lackluster results, but the pheasant tail experiment proved to be a spectacular winner. I chose the pheasant tail after I spotted one lonely pale morning dun slowly elevating above the surface, and from past experience I knew that the pheasant tail was a solid representation of the pale morning dun nymph.


I raised the fish count steadily, until it perched on thirty-five by 3:00PM. I was tempted to depart, but as this scene unfolded, I observed quite a few refusals to the fat Albert and the hopper Juan that replaced the fat Albert. What if I was missing out on dry fly action? I converted to a double dry that featured a peacock body hippie stomper and a size 14 light gray comparadun. Both flies generated refusals. Eventually I replaced the comparadun with a parachute black ant, and that also prompted some refusals, so I never achieved my goal of landing a fish on a dry fly. I ended my day at thirty-five and made the hike back to the parking lot in a euphoric state of mind.

Point the Trout Home

What a day! It was overcast and chilly, but I managed to make up for my skunking on Beaver Lake with  thirty-five fish in my net. The ultra zug bug, beadhead pheasant tail and prince nymph were the top producers. Sure the fish were all stockers, but with rivers and streams in Colorado in a state of turbulence, I will accepted my good fortune at Clear Lake.

Fish Landed: 35

4 thoughts on “Clear Lake – 06/14/2024

    1. wellerfish Post author

      Can you resend? I saw it before I read this and didn’t know what it was and deleted it.


    2. wellerfish Post author

      Never mind. I recovered it from my email archives. It’s a spot on the map at Curtain Ponds. Can you elaborate?

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