Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On the River: Slate River, Crested Butte, CO

July 19, 2009

I was working at one of our jobsites last week and my friend Justin had mentioned he owned property on the Slate River and had access to more than 1/2 mile of private water ... HE HAD ACCESS TO MORE THAN 1/2 MILE OF PRIVATE WATER ... HE HAD ... ok, you get the point.

He said we should hit the river on Sunday afternoon because the caddis were going off. I said yes. We ended up meeting Justing and his girlfriend Sara around 6 PM.

The beauty of private water is that often times you get to see what a river could be like, without the pressure of the general public, and more importantly, without the general public eating half of the trout population.

Mind you, I'm not at all opposed to keeping an occasional fish, but growing up around spin fisherman and fly-fishermen my whole life, I also know how it goes 97% of the time. Frank catches his limit (maybe even more if he thinks he can get away with it) and says to himself, "I'm going to eat all these fish, and what I don't eat I'll give to my friends". As it turns out Frank puts half the fish in his freezer ... and they go bad and get thrown out in a month. The other half he gives to his friends who, in turn, put half in their freezer ... and they go bad and get thrown out in a month. Now, I know, you're saying, "Jeff, that's not how it goes", but the problem is that me, and my Father before me have seen this countless times. It is how it goes. So, the moral of the story is "don't keep fish".

Oh my, I've diverted for too long ... back to the subject. I did get to see what a river could be like, and it was sweet!

Michelle hooked into at least 3 fish that were in the "large" class and as evening descended the caddis started showing up in numbers. Justin hooked this monster brown of the night on a caddis stimulator (see above). For a river that pushes about 20 CFS it was pretty mind blowing to see how many big browns were in there.

Nymphs were doing well, but why bother when they were coming up to the surface. Most of the time Michelle and I shared a rod and had one hooked up with a caddis and the other with an AB hare's ear. After we took out all the risers in a pool, we would play cleanup with the nymphs.

It was a sweet time. Justin said I could come back. I think I will.


  1. That's some nice water right there, Jeff. That first pic says it all (and I would venture to guess there were some nice targets parked along that bank...?).

    I guess I'm in the same camp as you, being that I agree that 'that's how it goes'. Ah, the beauty of unspoiled waters...

  2. don't take fish out of the Slate.

  3. Anonymous: no worries there. I don't think I've kept a trout in about 9 years. If I'm going to eat fish it's usually going to be cod, deep fried with malt vinegar.

    Co Angler: Surprisingly no, and it was a super deep edge. The slate is an interesting beast. I think being so close to the headwaters it has a tendency to be sterile (meaning: there's not as much aquatic insect life as a lower order river). So, my theory is the fish don't hang in the deep slow reflection pools as much as they do near the heads of riffles where the food source is a little more steady. But any of the edges that were not as deep and had some good flow moving through them were pretty epic!