All reports call for crowds and wind, all the time. But this is one of Colorado's premier stretches of C&R water, and the lure of big rainbows is hard to beat.
I went on a thursday and friday to hopefully avoid the weekend mob.
If you want solitude, don't fish here.
Success with the larger fish was based on knowing key holds and runs, or being able to sight them on the move. Once finding them, action was pretty fast and furious and you had to be on the ball.
Lighter crowds on thursday allowed me to move around quite a bit and learn the stream and some of its better holds. (disclaimer, I have XXL hands!)
The cutt throat below ran me into an older gentleman's bend, where he was kind enough to net for me and take this photo. Despite the crowds, it seems that everyone is keen on respecting each other and helping each other out. After catching 2 in 10 minutes (my only two large fish of the day), I gave Bob the run and sighted for him, giving him a leech for luck and karma I guess. His cast in that wind was beautiful
an old Jedi for sure
Then it would die a bit and I would be in the hunt. I would fish streamers for these guys (lost count) while hunting pigs.
These guys would be a blast on a 3wt, but most on the stream were slinging 5 or 6wts.
Anglers on 'the right holes at the right time' would hook numerous 20"+ fish within an hour. Those in the wrong spots would catch 12" resident fish.
On friday I was bangin on the little guys, but not finding the hogs. Every bend had an angler present. keep walking... very pretty at the inlet, but not many fish. A good lunch spot to get away from everyone if you dare leave your good run/riffle/hold.
Around noon I stopped to watch a guy in a big fight, and his friend yells out my name. Lucky me to have found a friend from town and his friend who really knows his stuff about the dream! They invited me to join in their hold, and first cast was a big fight and a breakoff
Up the tippet strength and minutes later this guy was running like mad in every direction, one of my toughest fights, although not a personal best (average pig in here
Mike in the background must be a lot quicker on the draw than I, he had a lot of fish on! Mike claimed Pete must have hooked 30 big fish and landed 20+ before about 2pm in that hold; beautiful lake run rainbows.
They liked worms, but not the colors I had. They liked eggs, but not the size I had. They liked my home made egg sucker leeches though. I was lent some worms and eggs in the correct variety and hooked a few more; karma returned. I had one long fight with something that could have been a 'best', but it managed to shake the leech out right at the net (at least no new jewelry?!) The bite quickly shut off around 2 for me. No more big fish for me... As the sun dropped, spotting the take became tough, I believe I missed a few.
I followed the run upstream and found anglers getting into more nice fish. I photographed 3 hogs in an hour for one guy, he in kind gave me some killer eggs which produced a few smaller fish for me only 50 yards upstream; you really gotta be on the right spot for the big guys. Thanks again whoever you are for all those eggs!
I was sore, sleep deprived, hungry, thirsty, sunburnt, and the dog and my back were nagging at me to leave after being there 2 long days. I had not hammered the big guys as I had seen other do and was jealous of, but I kind of felt bad for the pigs; having to slog through that gauntlet of hooks and fishermen to do their nasty. I fought 6 large fish and landed three, only breaking off one. It is a fiendish place where people show up at 5am to stake out their claim, but people make the most of it and share, and ask if they can encroach before doing so. It was not relaxing
, after two days I feel utterly taxed, but in a good way that makes me want to stay home and take care of some unattended items...
I probably won't be back for a while, but I will be heading to a certain spot very early with very certain fly patterns next time! Thanks again to Mike and Pete for sharing, it was great fishing with you guys.