Thursday we drove down to Denver and packed my parent's house into a moving truck, then camped in their living room. Friday they finished packing up the utility trailer and cars while I worked at the local McD's and then headed over to New Castle, CO. Forrest and my Dad had left in the big truck about 2 hours before me and by the time I got there Forrest had unloaded the truck except for the heaviest items while my Dad paced around wondering where he was going to put everything.
We awoke early Saturday morning to watch the deer feeding in the farm field behind their new place and have a danish before heading over to Almont. This drive would take us over McClure Pass and Kebler Pass to Crusty Boot. I hadn't thought about it but it seemed like there was an awful lot of traffic up there, then I realized it was for the leaves. They turned quite quickly this year but there was still plenty of yellow left to see.
It took longer than expected to get to the Roaring Judy hatchery, but this trip wasn't only about fishing. Upon arriving at the upper parking lot and prepared for the hordes of people, we were greeted by ... nobody. This was slightly concerning. We went and took a look at a couple holes and figured out why. There were only a handful of salmon. We gave it a shot but decided to head downstream to the Confluence Hole.
Upon arriving at the Confluence Hole we found more like what I expected. A dozen anglers either fishing or sipping a brew on the banks. It was lunch time so we busted out the stove while watching. Five people were working the hole but only one woman seemed to be catching consistently (catching ... or snagging, hmm). Turns out almost all of the people here were one party and they had been here for days. Nice group of folks welcomed us to join them. As one person would catch one, new people would swap in.
We fished for a few hours and landed 8-10 fish, with two of them being foul hooked and many lost during the fight. The fishing would slow dramatically, then three or four of us would hook up within a couple minutes. At one point seven of us were fishing this hole. At times it was like tailwater fishing as there would be fish sitting right in front of you or jumping everywhere and nothing was biting. Fly of choice for me was a san juan worm, though we also caught fish on egg patterns and red midge. Others were using egg sucking leeches, but most of the fish I saw with them were snagged. I collected a few for myself from fish landed. Forrest and I decided we had caught a few and the fishing had slowed so we went over to the Almont resort for Happy hour and a steak dinner (actually I had homemade Chile Rellenos, excellent).
You may ask why we only fished this spot. Simple as this is where the salmon were. Over the course of the day, we had talked with several other anglers that had fished all the way up from Blue Mesa or down from Roaring Judy. Their were a few salmon here and there but this hole made all the rest look like a waste of time. I don't know what's up with that. One had talked to an RJ employee and he said the water was so low the fish just weren't making a strong push up the East. Might be true but I've seen salmon in less water before.
We returned to the water at 6:30 and I fished until dark while Forrest read. She chose wisely as the fishing never heated up and I lost one fish. We attempted to find a FS road to camp on but the map is lies, not to mention all the real campgrounds are closed (like I want to pay $7 to have access to an outhouse while I sleep...). Headed up Spring Creek road and "camped" in the off road area.
Sunday morning we planned to be on the river at daybreak but honestly did not feel we needed to rush. We arrived around 8:30am and there were only a couple guys fishing here, two young guys we had met the day before. They had only landed one fish, so apparently low light wasn't the key. They went to get breakfast and we had the place to ourselves. We definitely had the most action during this time. Forrest hooked up before I even had my waders on. We landed about as many as the day before including one brown. Several fish landed had flies in them from the day before, including one I had seen swimming in front of me the night before with a huge orange fly in its back.