Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ice off...

We got a tip off last week that a small portion of Antero Reservoir had iced off, and fish were cruising the shallows. So we had to follow that lead and sure enough fish were cruising alone or in pods, and were taking scuds, small leech patterns or eggs in a variety of colors.

We made the trip two days later and found the fish to be far less cooperative (lots of looks but few takes), and that bait casters had taken up residence and were picking off trout to fill their coolers.

So we moved onto the Dream Stream and being a Friday found an overcrowded, fairly muddy river, full of anglers with no respect or common sense for each we moved to the "Resi," Elevenmile Reservoir that is and found thousands of large carp. Many looked to be spawning, or having spawning like behavior (porpoising like whales, and circling around in pods) but we found many willing carp that were taking scuds under an indicator, or slowly stripped black streamers. The carp would hit hard and were difficult to stay hooked.

28 incher that hit a small black bunny leech
Smiling Angler, Frowning Carp

We came back the following day to chase the carp, and found them to be so involved in the mating activity that we had very few hook ups and decided to spend the afternoon fishing the lower stretches of the dream stream. 

We had some success on meat whistles in the slow deep regions of the lower few bends of the river, and then came upon a riffle with some surrounding redds. YES we stayed away from the redds, but found some rainbows in the faster, deeper run. All the rainbows were hooked on the pink flexifloss worm, or a red chirono-cone midge.

I felt bad for these trout since each one I caught had jewelry, obviously being previously fouled hooked. These migratory trout really go through a gauntlet. Thats why in shallower water it is important to cast short of the fish, use less weight and don't lift to recast until your rig is far past the fish of interest.

Again the key to finding these fish is looking for shades of red.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tailwater Weekend

Taylor River:

We started the weekend with the first trip of the year to the Taylor River C&R. The temperatures were in the mid 30's to 40's but it felt bitter cold. High winds, and high snowbanks made seeing fish in the water especially hard. We didn't see any fish over about 22'', all of the monster fish are still on vacation, at least that day. With that said a few good fish were put to the net. 
                                                    This rainbow took a mysis pattern

The lower section pocket water is always a favorite

We had success, with red thread midges, barr's pure midge larvae, black beauties, mysis shrimp, Pat's rubberlegs, and the BH brassie. The Taylor needs a few more weeks of sun 'til we head back.

Frying Pan River:

We slept on the side of the road near Ruedi and hit the Pan mid morning. We were fishing the flats when we heard a large noise and saw what looked to be a giant boulder rolling down the hillside toward the toilet bowl. Well, soon after a fisherman in the toilet bowl informed us that the boulder was a red pickup truck that went off the road and tumbled down 100 yards and stopped on a retaining fence and a tree above the toilet bowl.

Truck can be seen above the cliffs 

That fisherman was going to drive to Basalt to get cell service and call the police. Wes and decided we were going to drive up, hike down,  and see if anyone needed help. 

View from where the truck drove off the rode. The truck is between the trees, above toilet bowl.

Since we were the first to the scene, we did not know what to expect, and believed we might be dealing with a dead body. Luckily for us and the driver, the driver was alive, conscious, and seemed to have minimal injuries. We waited with the driver until authorities came, which included paramedics, EMT's, local sheriffs, state patrol, fire department, and search and rescue. One lucky driver!
Thank God for the fence and tree!

At around noon we got back to fishing, and boy were the fish active! Fish were rising all over the lower flats
Some of the bigger rainbows were feeding agressively

Once we had some patterns figured out, well presented flies ended up in many hookups. We had varying sizes giving us success: from a size 18 skinny nelson, to a 26 top secret midge. 

This large rainbow in the Cornerstone Creek Net broke off earlier in the morning, but later in the afternoon I was able to get him to the net, and retrieve my initial rig. 

This hefty rainbow took a 26 top secret in fast water on the first drift.

There is a section of water below the toilet bowl and above the flats, that is about 10 yards wide, that I call the linker riffle. It is a deep riffle that some of the toilet bowl fish rotate into. This fast deep run has a  couple seams for some of the larger rainbows to sit and feed. Early in the afternoon, I had stalked a particular fish in the linker section and after hooking two small fish next to it, hooked it with a size 24 little red string thing (a.k.a. the peppermint midge) the battle took me down and across the river, and by the time I released the fish, two fisherman had taken my spot and were fishing the linker. The difference is that when I fish the linker I am on my knees and watching the trout intently (no indicator) for any signs of him taking the fly. The fisherman who took my spot were fishing standing up in the rocks and were blindly nymphing the run with indicators. After 30 minutes they gave up and moved back to the toilet bowl. At that point I moved back to the linker and started looking to see if there were any hogs left in it. As I was moving I saw the slight movement of what looked like a dorsal fin, and later what I saw to be a light pink coloration to that local area of water. After getting in position from my hands and knees, I made one cast and hooked the 6 pound fish, oh to the surprise of the fisherman in the toilet bowl. Again, a 26 top secret was the culprit. Overall it was a fantastic day on the pan.

Top Secret in action