Went fishing with Erika and her friend Rachel today! None of us caught, or even saw, anything. Oh well. I fished tenkara, they were fishing traditional fly.
I went on an overnight backpacking trip just north of Silverthorne, which involved a few lakes. You can read about the hike itself at the link above, but the fishing was pretty slow. I mainly fished at Upper Cataract (although I dropped a line in at Eaglesmeare as well), and didn’t catch a thing. The water was clear enough to be sight-fishing, but the fish I was after were not interested in my flies in the slightest. Oh well; beautiful scenery, so it’s definitely not all bad.
On Day Four of my SCOUT Epic, I hiked up to Blue Lakes in the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness, and camped the night there. I got soaked on the hike, but by the middle of the afternoon things had dried out, so had a chance to try my luck fishing in Lower Lake. I should have tried on the second lake as well, which apparently is fished much less, so I’d have probably done better.
Since I’d already walked around the edges a bit, I’d seen that the fish mostly hung out where a few small streams fed into the lake. That’s where I fished, and worked my way back and forth amongst the different streams. I don’t know if I had the wrong fly, or if it was the super clear water, or just that the fish are used to people trying to catch them, but these guys were not biting. I’d cast right in front of them, and they’d lazily take a look at my fly, then just slide right past and keep feeding.
With nowhere else to be, I tried out a few different flies, and eventually got a nice, solid hit from a Rainbow. After a quick fight, I had her landed, snapped a pic and let her go again. Amazingly, she just kept on circling in the same area.
A little later on, I was chatting with another guy who was there also fishing (and who I’d passed on the trail). He had apparently caught a few, and he gave me the fly he was using, which was one that he’d tied himself, so he had a bunch of them (pictured below).
Day Three on the SCOUT Epic had me stopping off near Cimarron (which isn’t even really a town) at the Gunnison River. There’s a huge dam there (Morrow Point Dam), and the river below that is beautiful. It runs down into Black Canyon (and the National Park sharing that name), and apparently you can take a boat tour down there if you want.
There’s a short trail along the North side of the river (accessible via footbridge), so I went down there and tried my luck for a bit. On the way there, I chatted with a Ranger for a minute, and he mentioned there was an area near the base of the footbridge where Cimarron River meets the Gunnison that he’d seen some fish rising. After going down and back on the trail, I was going to head there, but saw that a younger guy was already there. Apparently he’d been successful as well, because he had a full net of cleaned fish that he was taking home with him.
When he was done, I dropped my line in there for a while, and came up completely empty handed. Not a single nibble. I don’t know what rig he was fishing with, but my dry flies on a tenkara rod was definitely not working that day.
The first stop on my SCOUT Epic adventure was in Deckers, where I stopped off at a few places along Hwy 67 to wet a line, and get the trip started. I had thought I’d be able to get away with wet-wading in sandals, but the water (and the weather) was a lot colder than I’d hoped, and that turned out not to be the case.
When it started raining a bit, I decided I didn’t really want to start the whole trip off wet, so I bailed and headed on my way.
Today was my first real fishing trip this summer, and also the first time I’ve taken out our “new” truck (2002 Ford Ranger), and my bike to get me around. It was a triple-win — the bike in the back of the truck worked nicely, riding was a perfect way to get to the good spots in Waterton Canyon, and I actually hooked and landed my first (and second) ever fish!
I was totally stoked. I rode up to the Strontia Springs Reservoir first, just to check it out. That took me about 6.5 miles along the Colorado Trail, which allows bicycles in most sections (might be worth checking it out for more riding?). The dam is restricted-access, so I just took a break there, had a snack, then started rolling back down the trail (a well-kept gravel road) to find a good spot to drop a line.
After not too long, I spotted a nice little bend that seemed to have a bit of an access trail. I stopped and scouted it out, and knew that I’d found a perfect spot to set up for a while. Since I would be down at the river, I locked my bike up (just to itself), and headed down a short trail that lets you out at a pebble beach, with perfect river access. From there, I could get around to the right (downriver) and a little to the left (upriver), giving me some space to try some different casting and waters.
It was a perfect little, secluded spot, and allowed me to fish for about 2 hours, catching both of these little guys (maybe 10″ and 8″?). Absolutely loved it and will probably be back. Adding in the riding is a nice change as well, and opens up new areas that aren’t as accessible on foot.
This weekend I headed down to Waterton Canyon to fish a section of the South Platte River (technically, just further upstream from when I fish Carson Nature Center). I picked this spot based on the book I picked up a few weeks ago, “Colorado’s Best Fishing Waters“. I’m not a huge fan of the book to be honest — it doesn’t seem to give a huge amount of information other than “there’s pretty good fishing in almost all running water in Colorado”, except for a few places that it mentions as being “barren”.
Anyway, I picked Waterton Canyon because it seemed accessible and they describe it as having “very good fishing” (although they mention needing to go further upstream than where I was to get to the best stuff). I didn’t get a single bite the whole time I was there.
I only actually saw 2 fish; one just below and one just above a small waterfall/dam constructed within the stream. The one I saw above the dam was mottled and looked like it was crossed with a goldfish or something, although it was hard to tell while it was underwater. I lost a nymph trying to cast towards it, because it was hiding near the banks, under some overhanging branches.
This trip was spent mostly fishing with an elk hair caddis dry-fly, and some of the time (until I lost it in a branch!) I had a zebra nymph dropping off that.
If nothing else, this trip convinced me to get some waders (and wading boots) so that I can get access to more waters — it’s been frustrating at times to only be able to cast from whatever spots I happen to be able to get at from the shore of a stream. More on the waders front in another post.
It’s a nice little stream, which I’d like to come back and try fishing again, preferably further upstream next time (so either a longer hike, or maybe take my bike and ride further up before giving it a shot).