Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lights Out

On what seems like my thirtieth trip back to Denver/Boulder since moving away two and a half years ago, things did not go quite according to plan.  But sometimes deviations from the plan end up being better than the plan itself, and beg the question: “to plan or not to plan.” The Plan was to fly to Denver on Tuesday night, fish Wednesday morning on my own, then pick up friend and fishing partner Brady from work and drive up to the Frying Pan Wednesday evening. That would give us all day Th-Sat to fish, as well as most of Sunday.  A full three and a half days of fishing a great river!

But Lady Luck would have none of it. Brady found out he had a mandatory work function Thursday night. Boo. However, when fate ruins your plans it is better to think of it as an opportunity to make even better plans!  A glass half full sort of thing.

So instead of fishing something close by on Wednesday before driving into the mountains, my plans changed to taking a full day in my old haunts, then meeting some friends for dinner in Boulder, then fishing again most of Thursday.  

And so off to Walker Ranch (SBC) I was not too early on Wednesday. Part of the reason I like this place is it’s a nice one mile hike down to the water, then you get to enjoy an even nicer hike down along the river for about half a mile before the trail peters out. I walked down to the river and downstream as far as the path goes to my normal starting point. Then I decided I had all day and went just a bit further down to hit some extra water I don't usually hit.

It's really not that important, but there are a couple setups I have used to fish this river, and so far they have pretty much all been equally successful.  I’ve used P-Adams with a PMD or Baetis emerger, or with a P-Tail or Caddis dropper. I’ve fished hoppers and stimulators as the lead dry.  All attract and catch fish.  The only downside to using hoppers and stimulators is it’s tougher to catch the fish that fall into the “tiny”catergory, but that’s not much of a downside. But as I said it's not that important because I'm fairly well convinced that anything reasonable will work. This time I opted for a stimulator with P-Tail dropper. And my decision was vindicated after a couple catches and after seeing a few very large stoneflies on the water. 

This is the sort of river on which I generally expect to have 20-30 fish days in the summer once the flows drop below 150cfs (which they have), but the 20-30 fish are typically in the 6-8 inch range with a few nicer 10-14 inchers thrown into the mix as a bonus. This trip out was a pleasant surprise, even considering my expectations! I didn’t count, but in the six hours I fished I would bet a substantial sum that the fish total was north of 50. But that honestly wasn’t the pleasant surprise part. Rumor has it that THEY have established a new higher minimum winter flow, and it seems to have been excellent for the fish population. The pleasant surprise was that the majority of the fish I caught were in the 10-12 inch class, which probably increased the average fish size by 2-3 inches.  That is according to my random sampling of the dumbest fish in the river, of course. The fish were also extremely aggressive. It was fun to see the fish attack the fly, swim across a seam to grab it, shoot out of the water to gobble it up, all that stuff. They were HUNGRY and BIG.

The fishing report said this river is fishing at 5 out of 5 stars.  It is wrong.  This river is fishing 6 out of 5 stars.

In summary,










  1. I would say that 6 stars is about right. Oh, I hated mandatory work crap. Definately gets in the way of good stuff like fishing.


  2. Ok Tim, I know you posted this just to rile me up! Sorry I couldn't meet up with you, I could have used the break but work stepped in the way as well. Next time (if you'd like company)let me know and I'll arrange some time off. Glad you had a stellar day.

  3. howard: start thinking of thanksgiving weekend. i'll probably be back then. but seriously if you have ANY free time hit this place up NOW!