South Boulder Creek – 10/15/2023

Time: 12:00PM – 2:30PM

Location: Below Gross Reservoir

South Boulder Creek 10/15/2023 Photo Album

When my son texted me on Saturday regarding a day of fly fishing on South Boulder Creek, I immediately checked the flows, and I was pleased to discover that they remained at 83 CFS, thus holding basically constant, since I checked on Monday, October 9. I responded to Dan with an affirmative, and I suggested that I pick him up at 10AM on Sunday morning. In addition to checking the water level, I used my Weather Underground application to review the weather, and the high temperature in Pinecliffe, CO, the closest town to South Boulder Creek, was predicted to be 55 degrees. All systems were go for a Sunday fly fishing adventure with my son; a rarity, as he juggles a career, being the father of a three year old, and spending quality time with his wife.

As planned, I picked Dan up at 10:00AM, and my grandson, Theo, appeared on the porch to offer me a soft pretzel shaped like an E. Dan and Theo baked soft pretzels on Saturday, and they formed four into the letters: T, H, E and O. I accepted Theo’s gracious gift and stuffed the pretzel into my lunch bag. By the time we drove from Louisville to the Walker Ranch Trailhead parking lot, prepared to fish and hiked down the Walker Ranch Loop trail; it was 11:45AM, so we immediately found a spot on a log in the sun and ate our lunches. I selected my Loomis two piece five weight, and I packed in my Under Armour undershirt and North Face light down coat. Before I began fly fishing, I pulled on my light down, but I never accessed the Under Armour shirt, as the air temperature and sun were warmer than I expected.

Opening Location

Fine Brown Trout

I began my quest for wild trout in a gorgeous pool along the left side of the creek, and within the first fifteen minutes I landed three small fish. Two were browns and one was a rainbow, and each of my first three flies produced a fish. I began with a peacock hippie stomper, beadhead hares ear nymph and salvation nymph. I was predictably optimistic, as I moved upstream, and another small trout attacked the hippie stomper to boost the count to four. That’s when the real challenge began. For the next couple hours I moved steadily upstream, as I prospected likely spots, and I managed to add one additional trout that sipped a size 14 gray deer hair caddis. The nymphs were ignored after the early flurry, and the hippie stomper attracted an abundance of refusals. I clipped off the nymphs and added the caddis on a two foot dropper behind the hippie stomper. The fish continued to focus on the hippie stomper via refusals, so I defaulted to a single deer hair caddis, and that resulted in the aforementioned trout. I moved on to some very attractive longer side pools, but the solo caddis was ineffective, so I eventually removed it and reverted to a red hippie stomper trailing a size 18 dark olive stonefly imitation, that I designed myself. Miraculously in a nice pocket around a bend, I spotted a fish in a depression in front of a submerged rock, and once I floated the double dries over its position, the fish darted to the surface to grab the stonefly imitation. The hungry stream inhabitant was a ten inch rainbow trout, and it boosted my fish count to six.

Dan Landed a Pair from This Area

Dan was also catching trout sporadically, and he now caught up to me, as we approached a gorgeous deep run with attractive shelf pools on each side. I spotted a rise, but the trout ignored the stonefly, so I replaced it with a soft hackle emerger, that I greased with floatant. I hypothesized that the small soft hackle fished in the surface could imitate small stoneflies or blue winged olives, but the theory never gained traction with the fish of South Boulder Creek.

Likely Fish Holding Spot

Another move upstream placed me next to a nice deep shadowed pool, and I could see two fish finning in the tail area. I flicked the double dry, but the fish did not respond, so I swapped the soft hackle emerger for a parachute black ant size 18. I was certain that the trout could not resist a large juicy terrestrial, but I was again proven wrong. In a final act of desperation, I exchanged the ant for a size 16 olive-brown deer hair caddis, and this fly was also treated like inert flotsam.

By this point is was 2:30PM, and another angler appeared in the nice pocket water ahead. I was weary and frustrated, and Dan readily agreed that it was time to leave and undertake the one mile hike from the creek back to the parking lot, so we quit for the day. Sunday was admittedly somewhat disappointing from a fish count perspective, but the weather was favorable, and we managed to land a few wild jewels from the clear tailwater. Most importantly I was able to spend some rare time with my son, and that was the most valuable gift for me on Sunday, October 15 on South Boulder Creek.

Fish Landed: 6