Curtain Ponds – 07/02/2024

Time: 12:30PM – 3:30PM

Location: Near Copper Mountain

Curtain Ponds 07/02/2024 Photo Album

Tuesday, July 2, 2024 was my first of two scheduled days of float fishing during 2024 with a guide from Cutthroat Anglers. I drove to Eagle, CO on Monday evening and stayed with my friend Dave G. and his wife, Beth. Dave G. sets up multiple guided float trips each summer, and I join for a few of them. On Monday evening Dave G. communicated with our guide, Reed, and we agreed to meet at the Eagle rest stop at 9:00AM on Tuesday.

All went as planned. We arrived at the parking lot at the rest stop on time, and Reed was already parked with his SUV and raft. Unfortunately a significant amount of rain fell over the previous 48 hours, and the volume of the Eagle River surged by 50% to over 2000 CFS, and the clarity was not very good. Dave G., Reed and I discussed the options, and after Reed checked some turbidity and stream flow data, we decided to shift our focus to the Colorado River. Dave G. and I parked our cars at Wolcott and jumped into Reed’s SUV, and we made the drive to Twin Bridges boat access below State Bridge. Upon our arrival, we inspected the river and the flows were more amenable to fishing; however, the clarity was worse than the Eagle River. We decided to reschedule later in the season during more favorable conditions, and I departed for Denver.

Starting Pond

For some reason I had the foresight to pack my wade fishing gear, even though I do not typically need it on a summer float trip, and since I was passing by Copper Mountain, I decided to spend a few hours on the Curtain Ponds. Why not? it was a beautiful day, I already allotted a day for fishing, and it was a stone’s throw off the highway.

Near the Start

Another Orange Belly

I did not, however, pack a lunch, since that was to be provided on the float trip by Reed, so I quickly devoured a granola bar and prepared to fish. The dashboard temperature reading was 58 degrees, and there was a light wind, so I pulled on my fleece hoodie and covered that with my raincoat for a windbreaker. I was comfortable for the remainder of the afternoon, as the temperature remained in the sixties as a result of long periods of dense cloud cover. I assembled my Sage R8 four weight, and I was on my way to one of the many ponds that border interstate 70.

Placid at the Moment

Orange Fins

As was the case on my previous visit, I began my quest for trout with a peacock body size 14 hippie stomper and a size 16 iight gray deer hair caddis on a twelve inch dropper. These flies dominated my line for most of my time on the water except for the final hour, when I swapped the caddis for a size 16 light gray comparadun, after a callibaetis mayfly landed on my hand.

One of the Better Fish of the Day

Darker Body on This Prize

Over the next three hours on the pond I had a blast. I landed 32 brook trout; however, the largest probably stretched the tape to ten inches. Yes, it was a day of landing eye-catching colorful small trout, but the action was rapid. 60% of the takes were on the caddis adult, 10% smacked the comparadun, and the remainder gulped the hippie stomper. I deployed various techniques, but the most successful was allowing the flies to rest for ten seconds, and then popping the flies with a quick strip, resting a second time and then executing a second pop followed my some short rapid strips. Some fish crushed the flies as soon as they hit the water, and a few sipped one of the flies after they remained motionless for ten to twenty seconds. Casts parallel to the shoreline seemed to be the ticket to more and slightly larger fish.

A Different Pond

For the last thirty minutes I shifted to a second pond to add some variety to my day and test different water. This move was actually somewhat successful, as I landed my last four brook trout from the different pond, before a brookie took me into some sort of underwater snag, and I was forced to break off the hippie stomper and comparadun. I was averse to setting up a new double dry system, so I used this as an excuse to end my day.

I Love the Overhead View

My last minute decision to fly fish for three hours paid dividends, and I amused myself by catching small brook trout at a rapid clip. Hopefully the rain subsides, the run off diminishes and I can log a few days edge fishing freestones over the early part of July. Stay tuned.

Fish Landed: 32