Sunday, July 16, 2006

Downstream of Deckers on the South Platte

On July 10th , after a week of heavy rains in the area, flooding has washed away portions of Highway 67 between West Creek and Deckers. This may have created major setbacks for the fishery on the South Platte River downstream of Deckers. High sediment loads have likely produce fish kills and covered some of the invertebrate life in the streambed, which is a major food source for the trout. Upstream of the Deckers area have not been affected by the recent floods. We will monitor the situation and update with any current information obtained.

Friday, July 14, 2006

South Park 'Steelheading'

Looking through the steady pace of windshield wipers at the grim sky and low lying clouds, it felt as if we were headed out to chase fall steelhead somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. The early portion of July has brought unusual amounts of rain to the South Park area giving the landscape the appearance of springtime. Many of the streams not regulated by a dam reverted to run-off conditions with high flows and low visibility making the fishing more difficult. Two sections of the South Platte River, Elevenmile Canyon and Spinney Mountain Ranch continued to fish well through the foul weather. Some of the heavy hatches were dampened but despite the falling rain the trout were still willing to surface for ‘dry’ flies. The disturbance from raindrops helped to hide any micro or macro drag in the presentation. Although presentation seemed easier fly selection was still important. A couple of good searching patterns: the Griffith’s Gnat (Elevenmile Canyon) and an Elk Hair Caddis (Spinney Mountain Ranch) would still bring the occasional fish to the surface between hatches.

Of course, nymphing through all this weather would have probably produced more fish but would not be nearly as interesting. If the fish are willing to brave the surface then you have little choice but to follow their lead. The recent rains have helped to keep the water temperatures down through the middle of the day providing an extended feeding period for this time of year. Many of the trout are fat, healthy and have the fight of mini ‘Chromers’. For more specific information on current conditions around the Rockies please visit

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fat American Trout

I realize I am not the first person to write about the use of stomach pumps. I have expressed my opinion in the past and have been asked to explain why I prefer not to use stomach pumps. I do not claim to have all the answers on this topic or pretend to hold a moral high ground; I am just throwing out some things that have crossed my mind.

Obviously, step one in using a stomach pump is to first have a fish in the net. If you are having a hard time figuring out how to hook the fish, the pump will not be of much value unless you have a turkey cooking nearby. It definitely takes the guess work out of choosing a fly pattern once the contents of the pump are examined. Many like to call it a throat pump because the content taken is from the back of the throat as opposed to the stomach. This is one of its significant values since it is the food most recently ingested and organisms are often alive and discernible.

I have a few good friends that use stomach pumps and God bless them, they catch more than their share of fish, but after using this system a few times I began to think of the energy balance taught in biology. Its basic premise is that there is a certain amount of calories (energy) that must be taken in to maintain normal functions and that excess calories are used for reproduction and growth.
As I think of the sequence of events when using a pump I envision a fish that is hooked and immediately put on a ‘treadmill’ to try and escape. This fish is then landed and denied its most recent meal. Afterwards the fish is safely released, and depending on conditions, can take hours before returning to a regular feeding rhythm. It sounds like some crazy Hollywood diet. Trust me; I am not becoming a PETA advocate. It just seems if we want more of the ‘one that got away’ or that show up proudly in photo albums, we should let the trout ‘Super Size’ like the rest of us. (My two pennies)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Trico Fly Fishing On The South Platte River

LAKE GEORGE, Colorado - On a recent trip to the Elevenmile Canyon stretch of the South Platte River, I witnessed an incredible spinner fall (mating) of Tricorythodes (Trico's). The trout are definitely keyed in on this event in the morning as if waiting in the omelet line at a breakfast buffet. Depending on location, hatches of this tiny mayfly (3mm) generally occur from late June through October. Although many anglers have been known to whisper profanities in frustration, hitting this spectacular event early in the season can produce more 'hookups' than later in the year when the number of insects taper and the trout become more selective. Observation can be the key to success. Watch the trout and the insects and be prepared to make adjustments. Consider this time of year the 'lab' and late summer and fall to be the 'final exam'. You can read more specifics about current fly fishing conditions in the members area of Enjoy!