Upper Cataract Lake, Eagle’s Nest Wilderness

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.

Blue Lakes, Mt. Sneffels Wilderness

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).

Seagull Lake, Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area

On the last night of our Boundary Waters canoe trip, Brandon and I paddled out and used his spinning rig to grab two smallmouth bass in quick succession. It was pretty crazy how quickly/easily we were able to grab them.

From our main little island, we had a spit that we could walk across, to another little island/rock. Once we scrambled up there, we spotted a rock shelf where we could actually see a few fish swimming around, so we decided to come back in a canoe and drop a line in there. Within a few minutes, we’d each caught one, and we had what we needed.

That night we oiled, salt and peppered them, then wrapped them in foil and cooked them over the fire. So delicious. It also crossed 3 things off my bucket list at once:

  1. Going on a multi-night canoe-camping trip
  2. Camping on an island on a lake
  3. Eating fish I’d just caught, cooked over a campfire

Pretty hard to top that.

Jasper Lake, Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe Area

As part of my Boundary Waters canoe trip, I took my Tenkara rig, and had a shot at fishing in the lakes there. Since I didn’t really like my chances dry-fly fishing in these big lakes, I found a little river (between 2 lakes) right near our campsite, and fished up there a bit. I didn’t catch (or see) anything, but it was a pretty beautiful place to wet a line. It was fun paddling over and getting dropped off via canoe as well.

Kriley Pond, CO

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.

Cherry Creek Reservoir/State Park

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.

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Fairplay Fishing

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.