Monday, April 23, 2012

Sometimes you get lucky: Yampa day 1

To finish off the story of my fishing in Colorado last weekend I need to tell you about my experience at one of Colorado's best rivers.  The last time I was there was on a cold and rainy October weekend a year and a half ago.  And when you plan a trip in late October in the mountains you more or less plan on poor weather.  You can get lucky and have sunshine and warmth, but don't count on it.  April can be similar, but the budding spring brings with it an incessant and undeniable optimism that forcefully injects hope into you and makes you expect nice weather.

In the week or so prior to this trip we were all watching the weather forecast closely, and it did not look particularly good.  But by another metric it actually looked the opposite.  We were going to be camping and fishing, so cold and wet weather is an obvious drag.  The other metric at work was the fact that this was the Yampa.  I have only been here one other time and it was also cold and wet that time, but what I hear is that this placed gets absolutely mobbed on nice days.  So the poor weather helps keep the crowds down, which in my book is a massive plus.  I do not enjoy fishing shoulder to shoulder with people.  Despite the common adage it is not better than a good day at work to me.

To be specific the weather was calling for and did end up being something like a high of 35-40, overcast, and some precipitation.  And it did keep the crowds down. Day one was fairly nice but also slightly crowded.  Day two was pretty bad, but we had free reign on the river.  But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

We took off from Denver Friday later than expected, at around 4.  Or was it 5?  I don't recall, but it was later than the planned 3:30.  Then we had to fight I70 traffic and didn't get up to the campsite until well after dark which is always mildly annoying.  Eventually though we made it to camp, had some food, a fire, beers, whiskey, and finally some poor quality sleep (I can never sleep the first night camping).  

The next morning after a leisurely breakfast and two pots of coffee we were off to the river.  We weren't the first ones there, but there were only a couple other cars in the lot so it was looking good.  As it pretty much always goes, I was the first to get ready.  I don't know why it always works out that way, but it does.  

Gearing up

I headed down to the river and decided to walk downstream although most of the best fishing is conventionally assumed to be upriver.  I saw a couple fish on my way down and gave them a few casts but quickly decided they were rainbows preparing for a spawn and not eating anyways so I moved on.  The next nice looking seam was a fairly shallow bit just above a small wood dam and looked like a good next target.  And it became the first successful one.

First fish of the trip

After pulling a couple nice fish out of that spot and successfully not getting hung up in the wood dam just below, I decided to head upstream to see how everyone else was doing.  I was surprised to hear that everyone had already caught at least one!  I had only been fishing for maybe 20-30 minutes, and everyone else less.  Someone catching a fish in the first couple casts always results in nervous looks and a foreboding sense of a painfully slow day, but when everyone catches fish immediately it's quite the opposite. It was going to be a good trip and everyone was all smiles.

For the rest of the day we moved around some but caught fish everywhere.  Brady and I had to go up close to the dam at one point because we had caught some nice 20" toads up there last trip.  It worked pretty much the same this time around.  Drop an RS2 off some other nymph with a little weight, toss it into the 10-20 foot long seams up close to the dam, and in at most five casts have a nice fish on.  The tough part up there is landing the fish though because there are a lot of big boulders, logs, and waterfalls.  But land some fish we did.  And lose some fish we did, but that's less interesting.

I apparently didn't get pictures of the big ones, but one of mine is the decent sized brookie on the right.  And after catching that I had a thought.  I had already caught a number of cutts and rainbows so had managed a trifecta.  But what about the elusive quadupta, which I just made up?  Is it possible to catch a cutt, rainbow, brookie, and brown out of the same river in one day?  Well, the answer is yes and here it is for day one:

I don't think I was the only one to manage it either.  In fact Brady may have actually managed a quintupta by randomly catching a whitefish too, but he paid for it by falling in the river immediately afterward.  Don't worry about him though; it's a daily occurrence and we're all now used to it.

In all it was an excellent start to a two day fishing expedition.  I remain amazed enthralled by this river.  As much as it gets fished, the fish are pretty damn stupid easy to catch.  I usually get killed on extremely technical rivers like cheeseman canyon and the dream stream:  rivers that see significant angling pressure nearly every day of the year and are full of well educated fish, so I can assure you it's not my fishing prowess.  The fish of the Yampa are just dumb despite being very large and plentiful.

Of course the downside is what I already mentioned:  too many people on nice days.  I have yet to experience one of those "nice" days so this river is still one of my favorites.  Everyone and their mother should go visit it and experience fishing heaven for themselves.

Don't worry, Day 2 post will be soon to follow.  I know you're now salivating to hear how much better it got!!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, we roll out the welcome mat for visitors. The weather may not cooperate (not part of the same union)but we do know how to treat our guests. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.