Featured Photo: Native Colors

Featured Photo: Native Colors
Showing posts with label Boulder Creek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boulder Creek. Show all posts

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Colorado Outing

Even though I've moved back to Tennessee, I still love fishing in Colorado.  Yesterday I made it out to the stream to battle the wind and hopefully find a few fish.  Initially I was thinking of hitting Boulder Creek, but at the last second I decided to make a run over the mountain so to speak and fish South Boulder Creek instead.  I'm glad I did.

When I arrived at the trailhead, I could see glimpses of the stream below and the most obvious feature was a distinct lack of snow and ice on the pools.  Looking good so far!  When I got down to the water after a short walk, I tied on a streamer to bounce around a couple of pools.  When absolutely nothing seemed interested, I quickly changed over to a two fly rig consisting of a mysis shrimp pattern and a small midge.  A little stick on indicator a couple of feet up completed the rig, and I got back to casting again.  It only took 3-4 casts before the indicator hesitated.  When I set, I saw a flash but missed the connection.  Thankful that the fish were at least interested, I worked the pool a bit more before heading on downstream to some new water.  

I came to a favorite pool that reminds me a LOT of a pool in the Smokies on Lynn Camp Prong.  The water flows through both holes in an almost identical fashion and it just so happens that it makes for some very tough drifts.  I was fishing in hiking boots so repositioning across the creek wasn't an option.  Thankfully, since it is winter, several fish were stacked in a slow back eddy on my side of the pool.  Several drifts around that eddy and 3 fish later, I was pretty happy about how things were going.

The wind was becoming increasingly annoying however.  It was blowing straight down the canyon in fits and bursts that made casting frustrating from time to time.  After another pool and another trout, I decided that it wasn't worth fighting any longer and headed back towards town.  

Stopping by Boulder Creek, I made a few half hearted casts with a streamer for old time's sake but there was very little open water.  That should be changing in the next few days thankfully with highs forecast to be in the 50s and even 60s for the next week or so.  I'm hoping to get another chance to wet a line while I'm here in Colorado, but the big news is that all my paperwork is back to the NPS for my Commercial Use permit to guide in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I'm predicting that late next week into next weekend will see some fantastic fishing in the Park.  More on that over at the fishing report on Trout Zone Anglers.  

Monday, November 04, 2013

Evening on the River

My favorite time of day to be on the water is evening.  That may have more than a little to do with the fact that I don't like getting up early.  When fishing is on the schedule, I have been known to get up early to find the big ones, but I would much rather stay out late instead if given the option.  Evening on the river is a magical time.  The crowds have usually left although in terms of quality fishing that's always a mystery to me.  In fact, I've noticed that most fishermen seem to leave the river around supper time.  Perhaps there is a correlation there.  Regardless, it is those magical moments in the last light of the day that keep me coming back.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Staying Dry

We are staying as dry as can be although unfortunately that cannot be said for everyone nearby.  The last few days have seen unbelievable destruction due to flooding here in the northern Front Range.  On Friday, I got out to photograph some of the effects.  Boulder Creek was still HIGH and rolling.  You could hear big boulders being rolled along the stream bottom.  I found this one spot in particular that was interesting to me, mostly because I had photographed it before and would have a good reference point for how high the water was.  Note that this photo was after the water had dropped a lot.  At the peak of the flood event the water was up on this bridge based on the debris we saw...

And at normal low flows...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Two Days

Two days make quite a difference in Colorado.  Just this past Monday I was fishing during a heavy snowstorm.  Aside from the stream not being frozen over, it could have been the middle of winter even though in reality it is now late April.  On Wednesday, the last of the snow was melting along Boulder Creek.  I took a picture of the same pool I fished and photographed on Monday.

It looks just a little bit different.  Maybe its just wishful thinking, but I'm guessing that we have seen the last of the snow.  Every time I think spring has arrived, winter laughs in my face so time will only tell if we have finally turned the corner.  

There is a lot (finally!) of snow in the high country ready to melt and head down the hill so my fishing my start trending towards warm water options in the near future.  I'm starting to consider an early summer trip to chase the salmon fly hatch on the other side of the state as well.  School will soon be out so things will be getting more enjoyable for me!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Snowy Solitude

One of the rare pleasures of fly fishing, at least for me, is fishing in the snow.  Yes, it can be ridiculously cold, but the quiet and solitude of being outside during a snowstorm is well worth the price of admission.  When the snow started to pile up yesterday, my first thought was to go home and relax.  My evening opened up a bit however and with time to spare, I headed for Boulder Creek.

After finding the lower creek muddy on Sunday, I figured with the cold weather it had to have dropped and cleared.  Wrong.  Entering Boulder Canyon instead of fishing in mud, I was impressed with how quickly the road conditions deteriorated as I left town.

The Trout Mobile has seen better days and the balding front tires suggested an extended adventure deep into the canyon would be foolhardy at best.  So it was that I found myself stopping just above Four Mile.

The stream was a black ribbon through an otherwise white landscape.  Again I wondered if it was wise to fish, but, curious on how the fish would respond to the snowstorm, I quickly rigged up.  In retrospect I should have used gloves, but I didn't plan to fish long so just through on my lucky fishing cap, a fleece, and a rain coat and scrambled down to a nice pool just below a stretch of pocket water.

Not really wanting to move, I started changing patterns, looking for that one that might do the trick.  A Bellyache Minnow produced several soft hits including some from nicer fish.  The cold water had the fish a bit lethargic though, and I failed to connect.  Several other patterns were tried and I even dropped a soft hackle behind a little streamer to no avail.  Miraculously, I could still tie knots, sorta at least.  This is my usual "test" for getting "too" cold.  Opening up the streamer box, I stared for a while.  Finally, I reached for a Girdle Bug but at the last second my fingers veered to a sculpin pattern.  I was now in the zone, making the right choice without even knowing why.

It took only a couple of casts before I had a solid hit and quickly pulled in a beautiful but sluggish brown from the chilly water.  I took a couple of pictures, then started to consider the warmth I had left at home.  Hunger reminded me that it was past supper time and probably time to get out of the canyon before dark.  Pausing, I took another picture of the stream, thankful for the opportunity for an hour of solitude in the snow.

Monday, March 25, 2013

More Water

We had more open water last week on Boulder Creek than I have seen since last fall.  Alas, ironically, more water over the weekend shut things back down at least a bit.  The frozen precipitation that fell this weekend locked some of the better pools down again temporarily.  I fished last Wednesday evening for an hour and a half or so.  The water was low and clear making the fish spooky.

The weekend lockdown, while frustrating in the short term, is a real blessing as we need as much moisture as possible looking towards the summer months.  Before the big snowstorm, the creek was waking up with good midge hatches.  I even noticed some BWOs in the air at one point although not many.  The fish were all sitting out in the open, obviously hungry after months of ice on the creek.  The fish were on the feed for sure!

While the stream was obviously begging me to fish a tiny dry/dropper rig, I willfully ignored that in favor of a small streamer.  These days I often find myself preferring the streamer over anything else.  Maybe on my next trip I'll bust out the 3 weight along with some small dry flies and midge droppers.

Several fish gave chase to the streamer, but overall things were slow.  Finally, one little brown rewarded my persistence.  Not a bad mid-week outing on the stream!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fishing Local

The local creeks are fishable!!!!  That's the big news, at least for me.  The fishing is challenging but on warm days it can improve drastically as low elevation snow and ice melt fill the creek and the water takes on a slight stain.  I managed a couple of hours fishing on both Friday and Sunday afternoons.  The difference?  Friday was in the 50s and the water was slightly stained while on Sunday I was fighting ice on my line and in my guides the whole time.

Amazingly, there were more fish sitting out on Sunday but they were also way more spooky than the fish on Friday.  Of course, with the slight stain on Friday it is a distinct possibility that I wasn't seeing fish that were actually there.  The fish were a bit more willing to chase on Friday in the slightly warmer water temperatures.  The larger fish did not seem to want to expend energy for the most part.  I had some nicer browns come out and casually stare at my slowly bounced streamer but looking and eating were two different things.

One of the amusing aspects of Friday's trip was being photographed for the Daily Camera, Boulder's newspaper.  More to come on that later.

I fished slowly and enjoyed my time on the water while adding to my knowledge of Boulder Creek.  Each stream has its own set of quirks, and I'm slowly learning what is now my local creek.  As with other Colorado waters, etiquette seems to be lacking on Boulder Creek (expect a rant in the near future).  I had one guy stop and fish the other side of the pool I was working and even casting in the same spot I was fishing on Friday, and I'm talking about a fly fisherman who should have known better.   Anyone who has ever fished Boulder Creek knows the pools can be a bit tight to say the least.  The best part, I could have hit him with probably 5 feet of line out plus my 9' leader.  Yeah, that's close!

Despite the cramped fishing conditions in one pool, everything else was wide open for me to fish!  I worked the pools with various small streamers and started to find willing fish.  The larger fish were tight to structure and would ease out from under ice shelves or back eddies to stare at my streamer before vanishing again.  On Friday I finished the day with 4 little browns to hand and all came on the streamer.

Yesterday, despite the cold temperatures, the ice along the creek was continuing to loosen and melt although at a much reduced rate.  I expect this current cold snap to keep the fish sluggish for at least a few days.  Early on, I had some shelf ice that looked like the bank (covered in sand) break under me.  Since I was in hiking boots and jeans, the result was a bit chilly.  Thankfully I stayed warm enough to fish for a good hour or so before calling it quits.  The ice on the stream created some beautiful pictures just waiting for my camera to come out.

The only fish I managed yesterday was a persistent brook trout that hit and/or followed again and again before finally impaling itself on the small streamer.  Gotta love brookies!!!!

In the same pool that I caught the brook trout in I finally found a better than average brown.  It came out to follow my streamer once and that was it.  However, I do know where it lives and will be back to catch it!!!  Streamers will be my weapon of choice unless I stumble across a good hatch...

This winter I really fished streamers almost exclusively in the freestone streams nearby when they were fishable.  On tailwaters I have stuck with the tried and true double nymph rig with mostly small stuff.  Streamers are nice in that they require a more active approach and also the results are so visual.  There's nothing like seeing a charging brown, even if its just a little 8 incher.

I've been tying more and more lately and will probably fish again this next weekend.  The long weekend could turn out to be epic so stay tuned for more!!!