Thursday, November 10, 2011

South Platte, 11 Mile Canyon, Colorado

Date: Sunday October 30, 2011
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Insect/Activity: None in the morning. Baetis hatch started around noon and became moderately heavy by 1:30 PM
Flows: 63

Fantastic day on the river! My buddy Chris and I rolled up at about 8:30 AM, a little too early. There was not much happening in the morning, the air was still about 28 degrees and the light was low.

Chris with a great looking rainbow.
We spent the first hour or so fishing a standard riffle/run that normally produces very well, but there didn't seem to be too much activity. Later on, when the light was higher, along with visibility into the gin-clear water was better, I would discover that there really weren't that many fish in that spot. 

That discovery is one good reason why I like to fish with my eyes as much as with my rod! No doubt, you can become overly dependent on needing to see fish, but I see a lot of fishermen out there hunkered down in one spot because it fished well for them in the past. Fish move bases on so many different factors. It's good to be aware of that and move with them.

I love the fall, late fall and winter fishing so much because trout push up into the shallows for a number of reasons. Once Chris and I got some sun on the water and had a bit better visibility we were seeing fish moving in VERY skinny water! This hefty rainbow came out of a 6" deep wide gravel riffle. He was holding tight to a seam of faster, deeper water and I wouldn't have known he was there but for a keen eye! It's fish like this that instill a deep sense of love for this sport!

A larger rainbow for the 11 Mile Canyon. More importantly, she took a #20 Blacktail Baetis out of 6" of water!
As the day progressed we moved into another riffle/run, this time the fish had moved back in - in force. The baetis hatch was on and there were 6 steady risers within casting distance. Fighting back the jitters from giddiness, Chris and I spent the next two hours casting dry flies at steadily rising trout. It was one of the best hatches I have hit in a while! Most of the fish were slightly smaller, but we picked up the occasional 14" brown or rainbow. I did great with the Poly-wing Baetis and Chris did equally well with an Adams pattern.

We had to leave early, around 2 PM, and that was the only sad moment of the day. Chris and Ben got out the next weekend and had the same experience - needless to say, I'm hoping to make the journey to 11 Mile again soon!

The sun and the clear water made for some cool underwater shots!

One note: the brown trout have moved up into the shallows. It looked to me like they were in pre-spawn mode, fanning out there redds. But keep in mind that if the gravel looks really clean that is there redd (aka - nest/bed). At all costs avoid wading through them! Walking through one trout redds can kill hundreds of eggs - not a good scenario. We want to keep those guys coming back year after year!

Have fun out there ... if you're willing to brave the cold!

-Jeff Allen


  1. Sounds like a good trip,,, Looking forward to the next past reports.

  2. There was a fisherman about every fifty yards up river and down river from our vantage point. So much for beating the crowds to some great fishing!