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Old 04-04-2014, 08:28 PM
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Default 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

Traffic in the metro area was pretty rough, and Hwy36 was detoured from Lyons west, so I had to take Hwy 7 through Allenspark. Very pretty drive...
My intentions for this trip were to try and hook into a few fish using a euro/Czech method as best I understood it by watching the DVD from Blue Quill Angler. I have tried this method for about 12hrs worth of fishing previously, and really need to work on it I had just received a Hardy Zenith 10' 4wt a few weeks earlier (early 30th bday present) and this rod was asked for mainly for that purpose. It has been a few years since I have been on the Big T, but plans put me in the area for the weekend and I had nothing to do on this Friday.
I arrived at the base of the dam around 1030 and there were several vehicles in the parking lot. A quick survey of the river showed about 20 guys evenly spaced. I had previously heard that sediment made the river unfishable just a few miles lower, so I was pretty worried. I set off downstream.
The river has changed somewhat from what I remember. This is the furthest out of winter that I have fished it, and either the flow was down significantly, or flood driven boulders and rocks had changed pools that I remember into shallow riffles. I continued downstream to the Sleepy Hollow picnic ground that I remembered, worried that I may be below where sediment turned the river to muck as it is about two miles from the dam. I was pleasantly surprised to see clear water and no other anglers.
1115 my line hit the water and I quickly hooked into a small brown. An immediate brown followed, and until about 1500 I landed several more, the rest being rainbows and what I am going to call cutbows (I will post a picture if I can figure it out). I lost more fish than I caught (10 or so), and I believe that coming from an 8' 3wt to this rod, combined with the barbless hooks, would be to blame. The flies of choice here were a pink/shrimp vladi ~10, red copper john ~14, and bright green vladi ~10.
I moved up to the dam hoping that the other anglers had cleared out and they had. I noticed many fish up in the column chasing emergers and rolling, so I switched over to some midge nymphs. I did not change out my leader from my "euro" setup, and was running about 20" 2x indicator tippet off my fly line, followed by 4x for about 5' to a tippet ring, and then a long and short 5x dropper from there. With no wind this worked fine, but was a bear to lay of the midge nymphs with a noticebale breeze.
I landed a handful more rainbows on ~20 top secret midge and ~ jujubaetis. I also lost just as many again, and hope I will figure things out with this rod in the future. I headed out about 1700. Overall I am pleased with the day landing 12!
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

Sounds like a great day on the water, congrats!
I also have that same Hardy 10 ft 4 wt, but haven't tried it out yet.

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Old 04-04-2014, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

I did drift out a setup of the copper john, a TBPT, and a TBrojo below an indicator in the lower spot, and it cast effortlessly with the airflow mend line. It also was nice to reach and flip the line for mends.
I was very torn on going with the 3wt or the 4wt, but I figured between my old and my new I would be a lot more versatile, whereas had I gone with the 3wt I might have run the risk of being understicked during runoff periods.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

I went through the same decision and came to the same conclusion as you and went with the 10' 4wt although not a zenith. FRA almost sold me the Zenith 10' 3wt a few weeks back but I held strong

Im finding the 10' is a great rod for the Big T
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Old 04-04-2014, 11:24 PM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

Ive wade fished through the Blue Valley Ranch numerous times on above average flows, wade fished on the Yampa below whatever private reservoir is on the west side of Rabbit Ears during incredibly heavy flows; all with the 2 wt and have landed several dozen 10lb fish in those places. The only time I have ever felt over matched by a hooked fish was in the pumphouse area of the Colorado putting stones against the bank during runoff. Identical tippet is tippet regardless of what rod it is on, and I really love the way the average clear creek/Big T/Waterton trout feels on the lighter rod.
However, trying to get out a TB San Juan, TB Copper John, and some random third fly with an indicator could take some work with the 2wt. I thought it would be easier with the 3 wt, allow me to dabble in euro nymphing, but still retain the fun in bringing an average trout to the net. Ultimately though, I wanted a rod that would be "easy" and not just "easier" with the multi fly indicator rig. I was a little surprised that this rod still had some play with it.
My first rod was from FRA and I wanted to keep the same mojo, but I found the new rod about $100 cheaper with the airflow line than FRA with any discounted line I could find, and they weren't willing to come down from their closeout price.
Hopefully I can get better at the euro nymphing, because there are some aspects of it that I feel very clueless on...

---------- Post added at 10:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:46 PM ----------

It looks like I need photobucket or the like in order to post a picture of what I think may be a cutbow, but am not sure? If anybody would be willing to post it for me, as I do not have photobucket, please let me know.
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:38 AM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

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Originally Posted by sndmn11 View Post
Ive wade fished through the Blue Valley Ranch numerous times on above average flows, wade fished on the Yampa below whatever private reservoir is on the west side of Rabbit Ears during incredibly heavy flows; all with the 2 wt and have landed several dozen 10lb fish in those places. The only time I have ever felt over matched by a hooked fish was in the pumphouse area of the Colorado putting stones against the bank during runoff. Identical tippet is tippet regardless of what rod it is on, and I really love the way the average clear creek/Big T/Waterton trout feels on the lighter rod.
However, trying to get out a TB San Juan, TB Copper John, and some random third fly with an indicator could take some work with the 2wt. I thought it would be easier with the 3 wt, allow me to dabble in euro nymphing, but still retain the fun in bringing an average trout to the net. Ultimately though, I wanted a rod that would be "easy" and not just "easier" with the multi fly indicator rig. I was a little surprised that this rod still had some play with it.
My first rod was from FRA and I wanted to keep the same mojo, but I found the new rod about $100 cheaper with the airflow line than FRA with any discounted line I could find, and they weren't willing to come down from their closeout price.
Hopefully I can get better at the euro nymphing, because there are some aspects of it that I feel very clueless on...

---------- Post added at 10:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:46 PM ----------

It looks like I need photobucket or the like in order to post a picture of what I think may be a cutbow, but am not sure? If anybody would be willing to post it for me, as I do not have photobucket, please let me know.
I hear you on the 2wt. I fish a TXL-F 1wt regularly but for this application I knew I was going to be fishing with yarn indicator and 2 or 3 nymphs possibly with at minimum one of them being a tungsten bead head. Also if I am on the water you can guarantee the wind is blowing so I went 4wt to avoid struggling with a 3wt (I already own 4 other 3wts too).
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

I had a pretty good day down in the canyon on 4-9. It was the first time I'd been outside the meadow area since the flood and was really encouraged by the amount of fish.
I've probably spent more time on the Big T than any river aside from Boulder Creek so I know it well. The river has changed. Holes and runs that used to be there are no longer, while new holes and runs are there. Boulders, and I mean huge boulders are gone or have been partially buried by sand. The amount of destruction the further you travel from Estes is devistating. A few years back My parents and I stayed in a cabin in the riverside just past Drake, those cabins aren't there anymore. Very sad. Anyhow...The good news.
I started about 2 or three miles into the canyon as the meadow was full and I didn't feel like fishing around a bunch of people. I was rigged up with a #14 prince nymph and JU Ju baetis. The fish were mainly hitting the Prince. I caught about a dozen, mostly in slack water and in pockets. I eventually ran into private propert and headed back to the car and headed downstream.
The second spot I hit was the Picnic area on the right just before the bridge. That area had changed significantly. Numerous braided channels flowed around the bend an I caught maybe 6 in the tailouts. The private property sign was no longer there so I ventured into unknown territory. Nice deep pools with lots of structure. All in all a great day. Happy to see the trout are as resiliant as the residents of the communities hit so hard by the flooding.
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Old 04-19-2014, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

i was in FRA last week and Wallace said he and antoher guide hooked a 18" brown that chased an enormous rainbow (he said 20+") out from under a boulder. So Im definitely going to hit it up this week

Does anyone know if you can travel up US34 yet instead of going around through lyons?
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

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i was in FRA last week and Wallace said he and antoher guide hooked a 18" brown that chased an enormous rainbow (he said 20+") out from under a boulder. So Im definitely going to hit it up this week

Does anyone know if you can travel up US34 yet instead of going around through lyons?
Yes I've gone from loveland to estes straight away several time. The floods did wash some bigger fish from lake Estes in to the river. I caught a 18" bow below the lake earlier this spring.
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:02 PM
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Default Re: 4/4/14 Big Thompson-Estes Park

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Originally Posted by comeonavs View Post
Yes I've gone from loveland to estes straight away several time. The floods did wash some bigger fish from lake Estes in to the river. I caught a 18" bow below the lake earlier this spring.
The floods even brought in some walleye and muskie, heard people were going up there with large streamers trying to get into some.
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