Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WestTrip 2013 - Part 4

Day 4 - October 8th

Today we chose to take it easy around town.  We spent the morning shopping in town, with the intention of doing some fishing in the afternoon.  The morning was rather uneventful as we did some souvenir shopping, and had a quick lunch in town.  That afternoon, I started fishing a section of the Yampa River near the library in downtown.  I noticed quickly that the water clarity was very poor, and there was a surprising amount of junk in the river.  However, I didn't think too much of it and continued on into the river and fishing.  About 30 minutes later, a gentleman walking by stopped to talk with my dad on the bank.  He recommended that we move farther upstream as there was a bank stabilization effort going on just upstream of town, and it had the entire river bottom stirred up and muddy.
My Family Audience

So, we moved upstream to where the man recommended, and I quickly hooked into a stocker brown.

This wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but it was nice to have a tug on the line.  Things slowed down for a while after that, until around 3:00.  About that time, as I was fishing a little undercut bank, I started to notice some subtle rises.  Suddenly, a full on Baetis hatch was underway, and I was in the midst of a pod of large feeding browns.  I threw everything I had at them for over an hour, but had no takers.  It was getting closer to dinner time, and the kids were getting bored so I called it a day.  However, I make my best effort to come back tomorrow for another try.

Day 5 - October 9th

So far we had seen plenty of mule deer and antelope, as well of 2 moose.  Today we chose to get up early and go in search of some elk.  The previous day we met some locals who recommended some county roads over near Steamboat Lake State Park.  By today, the aspens were in full golden color phase.

Before long we were seeing lots of mule deer.

We drove up along the Elk River in Routt National Forest, and this is another destination I would love to return to sometime and fish the wonderful runs along its path.

Eventually we came across a large expanse of forest that had recently burned, and it was quite the sight to see some much charred land.

We stopped in to eat lunch in Clark, CO at a combination deli/grocery/post office/library, and it was one of the best burgers I have eaten in years.  Asbolutely a must stop for anyone passing through the area.  I snapped this pic of our rental after it had been through muddy roads, pasture fields, snow, etc.  Oh well, the AWD came in handy almost everyday of our trip, and I am thankful for upgrading from the minivan.

After lunch while everybody else napped, I ventured out to attempt to get my revenge on those feeding browns from the day before.  Unfortunately, when I arrived at my destination the water was once again muddy and full of debris as the ongoing river project was still underway.  So, my dad and I drove upstream a little more to get above the river work, and found the parking area here full of vehicles.  Apparently this is also where all the locals went as well avoid the floating junk coming downstream.  We walked upstream for a decent distance before finding a spot that we could jump in before reaching the public property limit.  This water was much better looking than anything I had seen downstream, and before long I saw the sign of feeding fish in the run in front of me.  I tried swinging soft hackles with no luck, before putting on a #18 baetis CDC comparadun.  A few drifts later I saw a big mouth open and inhale my dry fly.  I set the hook, and my rod immediately doubled over and my line ripped out of my hand.  I was into one of those pig browns I had been searching for.  Unfortunately, this was one wise old brown as the fight only lasted about 5 seconds as he quickly wrapped my 6X fluoro around something on the bottom and broke me off.  Quite frustrated at losing the fish, but excited at the possibility I reeled in and put on another CDC comparadun.  I swung this guy out in the run, and after a few attempts I saw another white vortex engulf my fly.  I set the hook, and once again my rod bent double as the line took off downstream.  All I can figured is that the state of Colorado must be installing line breakers in the river and teaching the trout how to use them, because this guy too made quick work of my tippet by snapping me off as well.  Unfortunately, that was the last of the CDC comparadun flies I had, and I tried everything else I had on me for another hour or so without even a glance.  Also, just as quickly as the action began, the hatch stopped.  Not just where I was fishing, but all the way downstream to the parking lot.  Where we could previously see dimples all along the surface of fish rising, there was nothing to be seen.  It was quite surreal to see things going from boiler frothy surface to completely mirror smooth with no sign of fish.  I called it a day afterward, and we went back to the room to begin to pack for the trip home the following day.

Thanks for reading these rambling reports, and I hope you have enjoyed.  Stay tuned for the report from the last day of WestTrip 2013.

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19" Clinch River Brown