Exploring the Rockies

biker1usa

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Ivory Arrow welcome. I haven't seen this post before (I'm just too ignorant) but try someday to come down to the Spanish Peaks area and fish North Lake. Rainbow, Brown, Brookie and Tiger trout. Good lake for fly fishing.
 

ivory arrow

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I really enjoyed the small stream fishing I did in RMNP, but my 9ft5w is a bit overkill for six inch Brook Trout. I bought a cheap fiber glass rod that is short and has a soft action. I like it a lot. You can really feel the smaller fish and it bow and arrow casts well. It is much better suited to that style of fishing.

I took it to a small creek today to try it out. It was lots of work for little fish but I still had fun. Definitely put the small stream rod to the test. Not a single traditional cast all day. Only bow and arrow casts to tiny pockets. The creek is heavily overgrown this time of the year, so I had to bushwhack my way to what few spots I could find.






There wasn’t much water fit to hold fish and it was slow going. It did yield a few wild Brookies though. Eventually the little creek disappears into a rockslide. The entire little canyon that the creek flows out of gets buried by boulders. Many are the size of cars. Some are the size of school buses. I kept climbing up the rockslide looking for the other side, but it peters out in that canyon. I never found more fishable water, but I found some really unique habitat. The rockslide happened many years ago and much of it has layers of soil on top. Even trees have found their way through the jumbled mass. The moisture from the creek keeps it lush. In some places you can hear the water running ten to twenty feet below you under the rockslide as you climb. It’s really unique.



I sat down to catch my breath here. Despite the tree and what looks like the forest floor, I am several feet above the canyon bottom and have the river running below me in this picture. The tree must have snaked its way through the boulders to find light.
 
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harg311

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Next time try the black bridge just a few 100 yards west from 9th St. bridge. There's a big hole there. Also around Centenial Park has some good spots. I'm planning on getting back there this summer. "The Wall" near Raynolds Bridge holds big fish, that's for sure, but they are not easy. Grape Creek does well most of the time, if water levels are good.
Thanks Man i will give that a try this fall when the Browns start spawning. That area should be fun! I wanted to go to Grape Creek this year but just too low and warm so i will wait until next year, hopefully thinsg will be better. I havent been fishing the Ark this summer other than one trip up to Hayden Meadows in July. Water temps just too high. Been spending as much time in the high country and camping with the family. Alpine Lakes, Small streams, and Cheesman canyon (after flows were bumped) is where i have been spending time. I just got back from a trip to the North Platte River. That was a good time but that river was tough to figure out for me. I caught fish but it was tougher than i thought. And oh man you talk about some STRONG fish. Never felt fish that strong before. First time i had bent hooks, this trip i lost two hogs on two bent hooks. Not cool but just shows how strong these guys were.
 

ivory arrow

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Lately I have been exploring some small streams and lesser known hiking trails. So far it has been a lot of work without a ton of reward, but I have had fun hiking and learning new skills. I am sure it’s just a matter of putting in the time to find some good little spots. Aside from exploring new spots, I also want to get my body conditioned for some long backpacking trips next year.

The two new creeks I checked out so far are both extremely low and overgrown, but they do hold fish. These aren’t fishing destinations, so I was happy to find any fish in them at all. I am hoping to find a decent creek with Brook trout near me. I thought I found one, but at least in this warm and dry year only a short section of the river is holding trout.

I have numerous new spots to check out, and I am going to spend my fall fishing small streams until it gets too cold.







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del gue

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As per usual, a great report/update. I continue to think that Colorado country is the most scenic in America. If idiots hadn't taken over the state government, I would retire there.
 

ivory arrow

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Hi guys. I am back from an exhausting, but beautiful day of fishing. My friend Jake and I hiked about seven miles out and back of the Cache la Poudre Canyon yesterday. We wanted to get out there a few weeks ago when we knew the trout would be in the pre-spawn phase, but we both had other obligations. I have really been wanting to tie into a nice Brookie and was hoping to get a big colorful male before spawning season was over.

Jake thought he knew the spot and so we set out for dawn and drove the two hours to the trailhead. This is Jake’s home waters and he is completely bored of this drive, but I was glued to the window. The steep highway follows along the river for miles through beautiful scenery as it winds its way deeper into the canyon. We kept pointing out great looking fishing spots to each other that will have to wait until another adventure. The plan for the day is going way up into the back country.

Goats on the highway.



Fall comes early at this elevation. It was thirty degrees when we set out on the trail and was only going to reach a high of fifty for the day. The leaves have changed colors, and the river is low and moving slow. The last time I was here the water temps were too high for the fish, but now it feels frigid.

Jake led the way to “Katie Falls”. A name he gave to a fishing spot where his wife once fell in the river. Much to his amusement. It is a stretch of the river with large pools of deep water. The fish are congregating in the deeper pools as the water temperature continues to drop.

I was looking forward to doing some dry fly fishing and I decided to stick with a beetle and a small black stonefly dropper. A reliable early fall combo. They did the job and I caught maybe a dozen fish during our outing. Mostly quite small brook trout, with the occasional cut throat trout in the mix. The Brookies were thin, and appeared to be post spawn. Not quite as colorful as I hoped, but still pretty fish. Jake managed to hook two beautiful Brookies between about ten and twelve inches. That is really what I came for but they eluded me. Luckily I did get to catch a couple of nice Cuts on the dry fly.



The real lesson I learned from this trip is about streamer fishing in the fall. Jake out fished me at least 3 to 1. He was using a spinning rod to cast a marabou jig and crushed them. I saw fish that barely glanced at my fly swim several feet to attack his jig. I never throw streamers, but after what I saw this trip that is going to change.

Jake working a jig through a pool. He must have caught two dozen fish in this spot.


A little slice of heaven.


Until next time.
 
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ivory arrow

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Hello guys. I am glad people are still tuning in for my thread here.

I have been fishing but I am also dog sitting for a couple of weeks, so my trips are short and close to home. I have a few new spots that I still want to explore this season, and hopefully I can fish them in November before winter sets in.

I went high into the mountains last week, and timed it right. The fall colors were incredible. I was headed to fish a small creek, but most of the water was so low that not much of it was fishable. I caught a few brown trout where I could find deeper water, but what really made the trip worth it was the ride out there.





This week I went to the Canon City Riverwalk. A place I get skunked more times than not. It was low, and a little dirty, but not full of leaves yet. It was a cloudy and overcast day. The fly shops were talking about BWO hatches but there was nothing going on out there. It was perfect for a streamer and I swung one for an hour with no luck. I don’t have tons of confidence in streamers and some of the water looked great. I was frustrated that I wasn’t catching anything and I decided to switch to dead drifting a small woolly bugger under an indicator with a nymph trailing it. The rig looked great in the water, but still nothing. Never saw a fish rise, and never even spooked one. Not uncommon for me here.

I sat on a rock on the side the river for sunset. Smoking my pipe and thinking about how this freestone always gets the better of me. I was a little upset that I went to the indicator and I decided to put back on the Clouser minnow. Nymphing is my comfort zone, but I need to become competent with other fishing methods. I figured I would swing my streamer some more for practice as much as anything else. Mid-swing I saw my line straighten, and start to pull from my hand. I pulled back and tied into a decent little wild brown trout. Not a lunker, or a beauty, but I am very pleased to have him. It gives me more confidence in fishing streamers, and more confidence I might actually learn this freestone.





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del gue

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Well done! That's how you learn. By visiting new places, by trying new techniques, and by not getting discouraged and giving up. That being said, it's not a certain game, and some days the fish get to win.
 

ivory arrow

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I have been throwing streamers a lot more lately. It’s something I was always hesitant to do. My early experiences casting with streamers were with oversized flies and leaders that were way too long. Now I pretty much have it figured out, and I have become a big fan of swinging streamers. They aren’t as effective as using a jig and spinning rod, but they are a useful arrow to have in the quiver of the fly fisherman. They add to the versatility of fly rod. They can really turn a day around.

I was fishing for a couple of hours after work a few weeks ago. I spent about an hour nymphing without a bite. The water was a bit off color, and nothing was hatching or rising. Then I put on a streamer and caught five fish in an hour and a half. None were under twelve inches. Three were very nice.

When I set the hook on the first one I saw this big football of a fish leap a foot out of the water. It was definitely a “Holy S#!%” moment when I saw him jump. With the heavy leaders you can really horse them in, and despite the size I took it to net quickly. All the big fish I caught were ridiculously fat, but this one was a pig.


The next fish I caught was a very healthy brown trout. He almost swallowed a Clouser Minnow, but thanks to using a barbless hook it came right out without any blood. It might have killed him if it were barbed. Definitely the nicest brown I have caught in this section, and I would have been upset if I hurt him.


Then the last big one. He was actually the biggest fish of the day, but was so big and full of hell that I couldn’t get much of a picture. I hooked him in stiff current, and he pulled hard, but I still got it to net quite fast. Absolutely beautiful fish. Wish I had a grip and grin to be honest, but he had plenty of fight left in him, and I didn’t want to stress it any more for a photo.


Since that day I have been throwing streamers more often. Now I look forward to when the sun starts going down and the shade comes across the water. I am quick to tie on a streamer, and chase the bigger fish in the water.


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flyminded

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Funny how a little success and increased confidence has us all reconsidering our options. That last bow has definitely been eating well ... congrats.
 

ivory arrow

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That is very true fly minded. I talk about confidence a lot in this thread. For me it’s a big deal. I am a decent fisherman and when I am not catching fish my ego sort of kicks in. I fall back into doing things that I am confident will produce fish. It makes it difficult to learn new tactics if you always fall back into old habits.

After catching those trout on the streamer I have been fishing with them more often in the evenings. I have moved some pretty nice fish doing that. I spooked a really nice Brown Trout in a popular fishing spot. I threw a streamer in that spot a few times since then but didn’t see him again. Then I found him... dead on a rock. Not sure why he was just left there. I hate to see a beautiful trout like this go to waste. He’s a big wily old trout. The Brown Trout are either wild or stocked at 5 inches in this area. So he had lived and survived in a popular fishing area with no special regulations to protect him. He got to breed one last time this year, and at least his genetics will live on.




While I was on the river my friend Jake called me and said he was in town. I happened to be fishing a half hour from him and told him to come meet me on the water. We only got to fish for an hour or so but he still caught his personal best Brownie that day. He was pretty happy and I was happy to see him get it. It was a solid football shaped fish.






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