The Ramblings of a Fly Fisherman

Steamboat Springs - 5/26/2013

Upon arriving in Steamboat, I could see that the Yampa was in full runoff making most of the river very challenging to fish.  We investigated several areas including Sarvis Creek and the Elk River and found much of the area running with high, dark water creating a situation where using runoff tactics like dark streamers in eddies or shorelines was nearly impossible.  When this occurs, most fly fisherman would just pack up their gear and head for the nearest bar for a plate of fish and chips and a nice mug of some local brew.  However, all is not lost here!  Just outside of town, Stagecoach Reservoir offers some reprieve this time of year for those out there in search of some nice water and big trout.

At the tail waters of Stagecoach, you will find that flows are managed despite the snow melt. Fish congregate here in large numbers and are often fooled by a number of patterns like the Pat’s Rubber Legs, the RS2, and the Pheasant Tail Nymph.  The key here really is the approach and getting a nice drag-free drift.  Failure to do those two things will land you nothing but a short walk through some of the best looking country in Colorado….  Well, maybe that’s not so bad.

As expected, after all this was Memorial Day weekend, the crowds were a bit large for the area.  Coupled by the fact that much of the available river here wasn’t fishable, anyone needing to get their fly fishing fix had little other choice than this tail water.   The good news is that despite the crowds, it is really hard to find an area on this section of water that doesn’t house a trout worth snapping a few pictures of and bragging to your friends.  With nearly two full days of fishing, Alyssa and I were able to land nearly 40 trout, 5 of which exceeded the 20 inch range.

As an added bonus, there was a small pond near our campsite that appeared to be attracting more attention than a pond of this size should.  After a little investigation and a few casts of the rod, I was able to land a 30 inch pike, a first for me here in Colorado.

Clear Creek Runoff!

Clear Creek conditions have quickly deteriorated into runoff.  I knew that things would probably not be too good when I spotted a kayaker as I was passing through tunnel two.  The water is dark, cold and moving quickly.  There were a few spots available along the edges where I was able to catch four unsuspecting trout attempting to weather the storm, but nymphing was really the only effective technique.  I also  recommend dusting off the streamer box, use your darkest colors, and hug the cut-banks and plunge pools tightly for your best opportunities.

Tenkara Tournament 5/18/2013

Well, the Tenkara tournament was a bit of a bust seeing as how the organizer of the event was not present.  However; a few guys still showed up making the event fun and providing a great opportunity to meet some other Tenkara nuts out there.  Overall, the fishing was very good as nearly 75 fish were caught between the five people that attended the event.  I personally enjoyed meeting Dan as he has become a bigger advocate for the kebari fly than I am currently and it was interesting to see his technique in action.  For me and the rest of my group, we used poppers for the majority of the day with great success.  We all caught bass and sunfish with one outlier being a speckled perch.
This was Matt's biggest bass of the day...  caught on the Iwana 12'

This was Alyssa's Speck

Walden Ponds and the Big Thompson - 5/11-12/2013

I had another fun weekend of fly fishing.  In order to prepare for the Tenkara tournament next week at Walden Ponds, I decided to try that area out this weekend to investigate  what flies and tactics would work best for the fish in that area.  What you will see here mostly are bass and sunfish.  As expected, they all responded well to various poppers and foam spiders.  The more action you could simulate, the more likely a larger fish would take interest and inspect your presentation.  Brighter colors seemed to produce better results than darker and a longer cast often resulted in a larger hookup avoiding some of the smaller guys near the shore’s edge.

Matt, Connor and I also drove up to the Big Thompson to fish the same area that produced so well just a week earlier.  This trip was not nearly as productive.  It was clear that the water was higher, cloudier; and most importantly, was nearly 10 degrees cooler.  Runoff is starting.  I feel that this, in combination with the rain that we witnessed, really did a lot to put the fish off.  There were a few caught, but a lot of work was required to get those fish to respond at all.

 Here are a few of the fish caught at Walden Ponds.


The Big Thompson – 5/6/2013

Fishing on the Big Thompson this weekend was superb.  In nearly every run, riffle or pool, there was a hungry trout waiting for the opportunity to attack your fly.  Most were caught on pheasant tail nymphs (size 16), but around 12:30pm, a nice hatch of BWOs started to appear on the surface. For about 1 hour, trout were surfacing everywhere.  The fly of choice at this time was the Adams (size 16).  Both standard and parachute versions worked equally well as long as you could maintain a perfect drag-free drift in areas where bugs were accumulating.
This was another trip where I only used the Tenkara rod.  Again, it allowed me to accurately place my dry-dropper setup in areas up to 30 feet away while still achieving a great drift.  This trip was also my first “Meetup” where I was the organizer.  I had a great time with Randy and Susan as we worked through some of my favorite water on this river.  I look forward to more trips with this group and fishing with these guys again!
If you would like to join this Meetup group - Colorado Front Range Fly Fishing