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.
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.
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).
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.