Guided Trips

FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 6/19/2017

Fishing is good to excellent across the area. The Caney Fork River continues to shine on both high and low water. In the Smokies, frequent rainfall have kept water in the streams so the fish are healthy and ready to eat!

Terrestrials are really coming on strong now. Ants and inchworms continue to get it done, and beetle fishing should be rapidly improving over the next two weeks. Isonychia mayfly nymphs are providing good fishing subsurface along with Golden and Little Yellow Stonefly nymphs. There is still a good variety of mayflies hatching in the higher elevations. Brook trout fishing is about as good as it gets now for those willing to walk. Even fishing roadside is good for now and will continue that way as long as we keep getting rain.

The Caney Fork River continues to fish anywhere from average to good on high water streamer floats. Anyone who wants to target trout with streamers will find this to be exciting fishing. Low water is becoming more and more likely, and if that trend continues we will see some great low water floats. The fish are hungry and we are going into some of the best fishing months on this fine tailwater. Midge hatches have been incredible on low or falling water and the fish are feeding. We have the right flies to catch the fish so book a guided trip now!

Cumberland Plateau smallmouth streams are rounding into fine shape now. Rain will bump flows up again, but in between the fish are hungry and willing to hammer a fly!


Photo of the Month: Shad Eating Rainbow

Photo of the Month: Shad Eating Rainbow

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Clearly Stumbling Around

My fishing fortunes have improved drastically in the last week.  In fact, I have been on the water 3 out of the past 6 days which is doing well in my book.  The life of an assumedly responsible adult tends to not have time for fun activities like fishing and skiing (yeah I did that also in the past few days).  The warm water trip last Thursday is what kicked off the recent string of fishing opportunities.  Friday afternoon, after getting off work at 1:00, I was off to fish again.  My destination?  Clear Creek of course.

You see, there is something about this stream that keeps pulling me back.  After winter lockdown, I was getting a bit antsy to fish Clear Creek again.  According to the streamflow gauges online, it seemed likely that the entire stream was open through the canyon between Golden and Idaho Springs.  Of course, even without that bit of technology, the recent warm weather had me convinced that it was time to fish Clear Creek again.

I arrived and rigged up my trusty 9' 5 weight Legend Ultra with a streamer.  I was already convinced that I could catch fish on nymphs and wanted something a bit more fast paced.  Soon I was picking my way down a steep boulder covered embankment.

As I stumbled slowly down towards the creek, I grew excited.  That pool looks perfect, just one last step on that rock and I'm down...well, maybe two more rocks.  As it turns out, I'm not Superman, so when that first rock started to roll under my foot and I went airborne, I failed to maintain my flight.  The rock was large, between 200 and 300 pounds.  The whole way down I was hoping it wouldn't land on me while also thinking, this is going to hurt.

After completing a textbook perfect crash landing, I glanced at my fly rod.  Still in one piece.  Next I glanced at my camera bag and dug out the camera.  Also still in one piece.  That's about the time I realized that several previously unnoticed aches and pains were making themselves manifest.  My hand required the most immediate attention.  Blood was welling up from a nasty scrape that had removed a sizable chunk of skin on my palm.  Next I noticed that my elbow hurt, a lot.  And why do my legs hurt?  I need those to get around on the stream.

After a few minutes of sitting by the water and breathing slowly, I remembered that my goal was to fish.  I was clearly just stumbling around up until this point.  I took several additional minutes to put pressure on the bleeding area until I had it under control. No one wants too much blood all over their fishing gear.  Figuring I would just avoid putting that hand in the water and thus avoid infection, I finally rose to my feet and put the past behind me.  I'm here to fish, and fish I shall.  


Soon my streamer was plying the beautiful pool.  After the second cast, I saw a nice fish rise.  Enough BWOs were on the water to get the fish looking up.  Most fish were still sitting on the bottom I noticed.  After several more fish failed to commit to the streamer, I switched over to a nymph rig.  My Ultra Wire Soft Hackle with a RS2 trailing seemed like a good combination, and sure enough, the fish went nuts over the soft hackle fished deep.  I had to play with the amount of weight until I had the flies ticking the bottom but then it was game on!

The first fish was a healthy rainbow, and I soon caught another.  Pain was now a distant memory as I continued upstream.  After another angler jumped in right above me (helllllllllo people, there is a whole CANYON of fishable water...no need to jump in front of someone), I decided to head up to another favorite stretch I have fished before.



The nymphs continued to work very well.  In fact, I soon had caught so many fish that I started wondering again about the streamer.  Instead of tying on the same white streamer, I decided to try something darker.  A #8 Crawbugger tied in the style that Iain Emmons over at the Oak Creek Angler uses proved to be just the right choice.


I was surprised at some of the spots producing fish.  This new stretch of Clear Creek had more pocket water than pools.  In general, fish will pod up in the deep pools for winter, but it soon become apparent that the fish had spread out as spring approached.  I was either catching or spooking fish out of almost every pocket along the bank I was traversing.  My casts across the stream to the far bank produced fish as well.  The fish were hungry and willing to play.





Finishing up this next stretch of water, I decided to venture further upstream and explore a bit.  Not far above one of the tunnels I found some more good water.  Again the streamer worked its magic.  Lots of fish were following now as the light grew dimmer as the sun sank towards the horizon.  A few tiny fish managed to find the hook but mostly the streamer produced nicer fish.



As the shadows grew longer, I started bringing out the camera more and more.  A glow from the setting sun was reflecting off the water.  Trying to capture the moment was fun but also reminded me of my new aches and pains.  Laying down across the rocks to get the right angle was painful but worth the pictures...


Large snow banks were still present on the shady side of the stream.  Despite the recent warm temperatures and the fact that I had been comfortable wet wading, there is still a bit of ice to melt in the canyon.  I'm sure the recent snowstorm briefly added to that total as well.  In general though, spring fishing is here.





Clear Creek is now firmly entrenched as one of my favorite highly accessible nearby streams.  However, each stream has its own benefits, and I'm excited to explore the Big Thompson soon as well.  Maybe this weekend...



17 comments:

  1. Looks like a beautiful stream. Well done.

    Ben

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    1. Thanks Ben! It is definitely a beautiful stream...

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  2. Nice post. Glad you and your gear survived. Be careful out there.

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    1. I sure try to be careful, but it seems I take one or two really good falls a year. So far they aren't catching up with me but I'm not getting any younger either... Thanks for reading!

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  3. As a fellow Coloradan in close proximity to Clear Creek I am glad you are liking it. Its fairly overlooked compared to many places but its a really good fishery with lots of wild fish. Add the fact that its less than 30 minutes from my front door to the first tunnel...I have grown to enjoy it. You can always find empty and productive water, the fish arent huge but every now and then you will find a good one...try the bridge abutments near Kermitt's as runoff subsides...I have at least one tussle a year with a large resident up there...white or yellow streamer

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    1. BobT, it is a great little stream! I'm still waiting for one of those nice surprises. I'll keep trying and thanks for the tips on where to focus those efforts!

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  4. David
    I really enjoyed this read, were all the trout landed using the dead drift technique? Have you ever thought about guiding in that area? I feel one would benefit greatly by fishing with you. Thanks for sharing

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  5. Bill, all the nymphs were fished dead drift and that's how I was catching fish. The streamers I fished both dead drift and stripped and I had success both ways. I have considered guiding many times but so far have not bothered. The red tape is a bit of a hassle although if a shop was willing to pick me up on their permits I would consider some part time guiding, especially in the summer.

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  6. Beautiful David. When I was in northern michigan fishing the rocks weren't my issue but the ice from the river that was pushed up onto the banks. A few of us took many spills and had the same "I'm here to fish" mentality that you did. This week it was the mud plus the ice! Great read. Love the pics and I'm glad you are okay and came out with some landed fish!

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    1. Thanks! I haven't had to fish around ice much until moving out here to Colorado. This year I had some close calls with shelf ice locally on Boulder Creek and see how it could be a major problem even when one is being careful...

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  7. Just awesome, David! Can't wait to fish with you in July if you are still willing to help me out in/around Estes Park

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    1. Scott, I still hope to be able to meet up! Things are filling up for the summer so we'll have to see how things are when the time gets closer...

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  11. David,

    Nice post, and good to see you finding some willing wild trout in your backyard. And nice Crawbugger too, that streamer looks familiar! That pattern has been really effective for me time and again, particularly with browns, in the canyon streams of Arizona and beyond, and it looks like it was effective for you as well.

    I can definitely relate with taking a fall here and there throughout the season, it can give me pause when I take a spill, particularly in the backcountry, but fortunately I haven't incurred any major injuries, at least so far...

    Iain

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Iain. That fly has been great for me.

      I think the falls come as part of the dues that are paid for this type of rewarding activity. Glad you haven't had any bad ones yet either...

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