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.
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.
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.
Over the weekend, I attended a wilderness skills workshop up past Ward, near Camp Tahosa. On the way back (via Nederland), I came through Boulder Canyon. Luckily I’d planned ahead, and have whittled down my kit a little, so I’d thrown in my tenkara rod + flys etc. I stopped off within the 2 miles that has been adopted by Tenkara USA, and dropped a line in for about 30-45 minutes.
I was wearing some new sandals I’d picked up, so I just wet-waded directly in them, and it worked pretty nicely. I would have had very little access without getting in the water, and being able to wet-wade was infinitely more convenient than suiting up in waders, boots, etc. The sandals are definitely not particularly stylish, but they’re functional, and give me something pretty sturdy to wear during summer:
Here are a few more snaps from where I was fishing. As usual, I was skunked. I don’t feel like I have much of a technique right now, and haven’t gotten back into it this season enough to establish a good feel for it, so I definitely need to spend some more time on the water to get that back.
Today was the first time I’ve been out in a few months; I got sick of how cold it was, and didn’t really know how to deal with the ice shelves that I was finding everywhere. Erika was back from her road trip to CA, so I had access to our car again, and decided to head to Boulder Creek and drop a line in on (Easter!) Sunday morning. I didn’t get to sleep until about 1am, so I was a bit slow to get started in the morning, but managed to get on the water by about 10am. Fished for a few hours but really didn’t see much of anything, nor get even a nibble. I also underestimated how cold the water would still be, so my toes got a bit cold because I wasn’t wearing particularly warm socks.
I just took the tenkara rod, and didn’t change flies at all, figuring I’d give it a shot to see if I had any luck with the single kebari. I didn’t 🙂 On the way to the water, I did see a young snake, so that was a bit of a surprise
Today was a surprisingly warm day (up around 60!), so I got down to Waterton Canyon for a bit of tenkara. I actually saw more people fishing here today than I have before — probably 6 or 8 people in total I think? I’ve decided that unless I take a bike, it’s probably not worth going to Waterton any more. I’d like to try taking my bike and ride up to Strontia Springs Reservoir (or just below it), because I hear that’s where fishing is best. Without a bike though, it’s just a long trudge along the road to get to some good spots, and it’s not much fun in waders + boots.
Anyway — this was a pretty unfruitful trip. I was fishing straight tenkara, no nymphs or anything, and didn’t catch a thing. I saw 2 dead fish (one pictured below), which is always a shame, and I did see a few live ones here and there, but couldn’t hook anything up. I had trouble finding spots to get into the water as well, between steep banks and ice shelves it just wasn’t that accessible.
I’m a little disillusioned with winter fishing thus far, and might end up giving it a bit of a break until some of the ice melts off. Maybe I’ll make another trip to Deckers, we’ll see.
As I mentioned, Erika got me a tenkara rod recently. Between waiting for some tackle to arrive, some travel, and cold weather, today was the first chance I got to actually try it out. It’s Christmas Eve, and here in Colorado that apparently means 50 degree weather. I’m definitely not complaining. I was expecting it to be colder as I gained some elevation, but it was right around 50 up on Clear Creek, and it was actually a pretty nice temp to be fishing in. Definitely a lot more bearable than a few weeks ago when it was closer to 40.
I honestly wasn’t too concerned with catching anything today, which was lucky because I didn’t even see a single fish. I was more interested in getting a feel for the rod, which is really quite different from a “western fly rod”. Because it’s so long, and so light/flexible, the tenkara rod needs barely any effort to cast, and you can place the fly quite precisely (even me, a rank beginner). It took me a few minutes to get a bit of a hang of it, but I think I can handle it reasonably well now. I fished an Amano Kebari, although as I mentioned I didn’t even see anything there. While dropping a nymph (or 2) off of that may have increased my chances of a strike, I wanted to get a decent feel for the “pure form” of tenkara before experimenting a bit more.
Probably my favorite thing about the experience was just how simple the rod is. I was set up (tied on a hook, rigged up the line to the rod) in a few minutes, and was off and running. When I moved from place to place, it was really easy to either wind up the line and collapse the rod, or just keep it as-is if I had a clear path.
As far as the winter side of things goes, I was a bit nervous about the ice shelfs that were everywhere, so that made getting into the water a bit tricky. Once I was in there it was pretty comfortable though, and my waders worked wonderfully. I had thermals and thin track-pants on underneath them, plus some woolen winter socks. I could feel the temp difference, but wasn’t particularly cold. It was definitely a weird experience fishing and having “ice bergs” banging against my legs as they came sliding down the river. I also managed to catch a few ice-cubes to keep things interesting (see below).
With my phone in its new QuadLock case (the second one I’ve owned), I put it on my running band and had it on my upper arm. A bit of a risk, since if I went for a swim it’d definitely be toast, but it did allow me to snap a few pics one-handed, without having to actually juggle my phone and risk dropping it.
Decided to take the “middle” of the day out today, and headed down to Carson. Got completely skunked, fishing a thingamabobber with an Adams-ish looking fly up top and a zebra midge down the bottom. Not a single bite, didn’t see any fish, and the river is running really low. I didn’t bother with waders, so was just limited to the banks, but that’s pretty doable along that section of the Platte. I guess failure all around, but it was still nice to spend some time on a river.