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).
Trouts is my local fishing shop; it’s about a 20 minute walk or a 10 minute ride from home, so it’s super convenient. They have a bunch of flies, waders, bags, hats, accessories, rods/reels etc. The whole deal. They seem to be a pretty busy little place, and the guys there all seem to be polite and friendly. They also stock Tenkara USA rods, flies and lines (more on tenkara in another post).
I’ve already stopped in there a few times and picked up a bunch of flies, tippet, leader, foreceps and a retractor. They’ll probably become my go-to store for picking up whatever I need since they’re close, have a great range, and I like to keep it local.
Header image taken from Trouts’ website.
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.
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.
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.