The final class that I took was held on the South Platte river, just near the Carson Nature Center. I went back there on my own on this weekend since it was a place I knew about, it was close and really accessible. It’s about a 30 minute drive from home, and still falls within the greater metro area, so it’s not a remotely “backcountry” experience, but like I said, it’s really easy to get to.
On this day I learned a really valuable lesson: enjoy the experience and process; don’t worry about recording it.
The reason for this lesson can be seen in the header image. That’s the photo that I took while I was supposed to be brining in and attempting to land the first fish I’d hooked properly on my own. Instead, I snapped 2 pictures, and then the little guy fought his way off the hook and got away 🙂
I was mostly fishing with a dry-dropper rig that day; something along the lines of an elk-hair caddis up top, with a zebra-stonefly-midge type thing on the bottom. The water was much lower than it had been when I was there previously, but still maybe a foot or so, and moving pretty nicely.
Next time, focus on landing the fish, then maybe worry about getting a picture of it. Or perhaps even just enjoy the experience and don’t bother with the picture at all.
The Colorado Fishing Atlas is an amazing online resource designed to help you find legal fisheries within Colorado, plan your trip, and make the most of it. It combines a wealth of information in attempt to provide you with everything you need to decide on your next adventure. I’ve been poking around on it to see if I can figure out some new places to try, and combined with some tips and tricks I picked up from Tenkara Magazine (more on that in another post), I think it’s going to be really useful. Some of the features that I find interesting:
- Turn on and off different layers/markers (family friendly, remote fishing, boat ramp, campgrounds etc) to help you pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for
- Information on what’s stocked and what’s not
- Fishing Pressure information (how heavily is an area fished?)
- Elevation; useful for figuring out what’s going on between 2 nearby fishing holes
- Fish type details; tells you what fish you’re likely to come across in an area.
All in all it’s a great resource, especially for a beginner, who’s new to the area, and barely knows where to start. Maybe once I have some regular spots I’ll use it less, but in the meantime it gives me ideas on where to go, and I’m sure will be handy when I get into new areas to explore.
After finally getting a US driver’s license, I was able to head out on my own and go fishing. I consulted the Colorado Fishing Atlas (more about that in another post) and decided that Kriley Pond in Golden Gate Canyon State Park looked like a decent place to check out. I got up early on a Sunday morning and headed up into the mountains on my first solo drive + fishing trip. Once I got there, I picked up an annual pass to all state parks ($70), and then set out to hit the pond and see what I could come up with.
To make a long story short, I caught absolutely nothing again here. It was more practice on my casting (with a few hookings on the back-cast, because they were rehabilitating the banks of the pond and had that mesh stuff holding it together). I didn’t feel too bad because there was (what looked like) a grand-father, father, son trio who were bait fishing, and I only saw them catch one fish the whole time I was there. The fish were taunting me a bit though, and I saw a few rises here and there which kept me going for a while. There was one dying fish floating near the North-East corner of the pond which was a bit weird (I fished along the North shore, to give the family space on the South-East corner near the parking lot).
After a while of no bites, and it not being particularly interesting to fish a dead-calm pond, I gave up and decided to go for a hike. GGCSP has a bunch of trails, and it was a really nice hike up into the forest a bit. There are some undeveloped campgrounds back up in there that might make for a nice weekender as well (no water/facilities, but a pretty short hike to get up in there).
Nearby (just down the road) Slough Pond might be worth a shot if I head back to this location.
With nothing else planned for Labor Day, I decided to go fishing at Cherry Creek State Park (Reservoir). I got Erika to drop me off (she was headed to IKEA or something I think), and I strolled around looking for a spot to fish from. I found a small stone “spit” and decided to give that a shot. Still don’t really know what I’m looking for when it comes to “good places to fish from” though. The reservoir itself was pretty heavily trafficked with folks on paddle boards, boats, etc, so even though this was a relatively quiet spot, I didn’t have very high hopes. The kids stomping around throwing rocks into the water from the spit probably didn’t help, and I didn’t get any bits from there.
After a while, a family left from a nearby small section of beach, so I gave that a shot as well, but had no luck there either. It ended up being a day of just practicing my casting (don’t know if I’m doing it right, but it seems to get out there).
When Erika came to pick me up a few hours later, I hadn’t had a single bite, sign of a fish or anything. I’d tried a few different fly options (don’t remember which), but nothing had helped. I don’t even really know if there were any fish in there (and the water was pretty cloudy), so don’t know if I “should” have caught anything, but it was a nice day out anyway.
By a turn of luck, a friend of a friend has access to private, stocked trout-fishing ponds. They’re out near Fairplay, CO (home of South Park!), which is only about a 1:40 drive from Denver, so pretty accessible from here, unless you follow Google directions blindly and end up at the top of Mt Evans; then you have to detour out and around Breckenridge and it takes more like 3 hours 🙂
We did an overnight camping trip there and I tried my luck in the lakes, but couldn’t catch anything. Erika managed to catch her first fish though, which was a bit of a hit to my pride, since she’s never taken a class or anything. Had a great time regardless, although the wind came in pretty strong and made it really hard to cast.
So we moved to Denver, CO in July of 2014. For some reason, I was obsessed with the idea of getting in Fly Fishing, and Colorado has some of the best fishing in the country. This will site will follow my journey.
At this point, I’ve never fly fished, and I can’t really think of ever having cast a fishing rod either. I’ve fished with a hand reel over the side of a boat, or from the side of a river, but that’s it.