Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On the River: Colorado River, CO

It's sad really ... to think I've lived in Colorado almost 13 years now and never fished the Colorado River until June 4, 2009.

Jay and I rolled up to the Colorado (Pumphouse to Radium) since the local reports were that the Eagle River was too high to float and that means the final fishing round of the Teva Mtn. Games would be on the Colorado River.

The Colorado wasn't exactly ... how do you say ... a sparkling gem flowing through a canyon. No, it was milk chocolate like everything else in the state. Ok, to be fair it was more like coffee with cream. You could see into the river about 6 to 8 inches, which means it could have been worse.

On the plus side, there were plenty of Salmon flies in the bushes, and the trout never neglect a food source like that, no matter how off color the river is. We figured our work was cut out for us and we started fishing heavy weighted stonefly patterns, trailing with ... whatever fly sounded good at the moment, sort of as an "x-factor". Turned out that the fish were slamming the stones pretty heavily. Jay's first fish of the day (the rainbow pictured above) hit the tape at 19" solid, and as you can tell he was well fed.

I will say that it was some pretty odd fishing. With the water so high and the velocity pushing, the only thing you could do was look for deep back eddies. When you got the fly down to the bottom the best technique was to give it some slow strips to make it look like it was a stone crawling for the shore. More often then not, one of those strips would stop dead. It was more like bass fishing than any trout fishing I've done and pretty much exactly the same technique Michelle and I were using on the Gunnison just a few weeks earlier.

There was also the added bonus of the occasional steady Salmon Fly riser. It turned out that by the end of the day you could go either route. Jay stuck to the nymphs mostly and I had my rod rigged with a Salmon Fly most of the day. When it was all said and done Jay probably landed more fish, but I wasn't far behind and with most of mine coming on a size #4 dry fly that is a feather in anyones cap.

The next day was another story ...

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