Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Classics

The Red Sox are in the World Series, the air is crisp and cool, I have already had to scrape ice off the windows of the cars in the morning, the leaves are almost all off the trees and the fishing is starting to slow down.  Having your team in the Fall Classic definitely makes the end of the season a bit more palatable.  I was here in Denver in the stands of Coors Field for Game 4 of the series when they swept the Rockies for the championship, hopefully they can do it again.

I have gotten out the last few weekends, and like I had predicted, my target species has switched from high country cutthroats to brown trout in the lower elevation front range creeks.  Flows are still high, but manageable.  The difficult part has been the spookiness of the fish in relatively high water, so it is tough to see them and when you do it's typically as they blast out of their holding position for cover.

I know streamers would be a good choice for this time of year, but I have never had a lot of success with them on smaller streams.  I have seen reports that they are working for others.  Beadhead hares ears on a dead drift have been working for me with enough weight to get them down in the higher than average flows.  I like to use a split shot with a soft weight on top to provide some depth flexibility.

This past weekend, I barely avoided the skunk, with too reaches that had been good to me this summer yielding nothing in the context of fish in the hand.  Air and water temperatures were both much lower than previously.  I thought the grey skies would result in a nice afternoon hatch, but I did not see any bug activity and not much feeding activity.

With rain moving in and starting to fall, I hopped out of the car at one last location to see what I could see and spooked one more fish.  Things were not looking good.  It's been a while since I have been skunked, so I was not prepared for it and was feeling a little down.  Almost accepting the impending end of the season.  As I peeked over a diversion dam, I spied a handful of fish holding in the pool just below.  I didn't have a lot of faith, but went back to the car to grab my rod nonetheless.

As I got into position, I realized these fish were not spooked and were actually feeding, taking something just under the surface.  Fish came on every few casts on the same beadhead hares ear from the previous week that I head been casting all day.  I had started to doubt my fly choice after throwing multiple casts to the few fish I had seen earlier in the day with no hook ups.  

I haven't gotten into any big fish these past few weekends, although a few felt bigger than they were with the flows up.  It has been nice to get out and a good surprise to pick up a few fish to extend the season.  I can usually catch fish at least into November here and on a neighboring stream fairly reliably, so I wasn't ready for the fishing to be over.  With the rain picking up and the temperature dropping, I called it a day after reaching double digits from my skunk salvation hole.

With my success, I figured a snack from the wing place across the street was a good reward.  It made the cold, wet, grey drive home all the better.

Fall classics for me are cool weather, football, raking leaves, peace and quiet on the streams, brown trout, good beer and baseball which is made all the better when the Red Sox are in contention for the championship.  If you can't tell, I am a Red Sox fan, so Go America and Go Red Sox!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My First Bonefish

We went to the Turks and Caicos Islands during the summer of 2012 for our honeymoon.  I wanted to go bonefishing, so we included a guided day out on the water.  After 6 hours of casting and watching shark and barracuda swimming in the waters around the boat, the guide turned to me and simply said, "No Catch Man".  And he was right, no bonefish for me.  So, when we had the chance to return this year for our 1-year anniversary, I  took another shot at getting my first bonefish.  Apparently, the end of July is one of the worst times to fish for bonefish in these waters.  But I got one.  I put together this short video of our day out on the water.  Hope you enjoy.

The rest of the trip consisted of some good beach and swimming time. 

And plenty of Turks Head.

Oh, I wish I could be back there now instead of here in Colorado staring winter's approach in the face.  Alas, that is what makes it so special.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fall Days

I was finally able to catch a small brown trout out of the eddy behind Powderbuzz this past Sunday morning and I thought it was a sign of a great fall day of fishing to follow.  The breakfast crowd must have found it a bit odd for me to place an order, go to my car, grab the fly rod and walk around to the side of the building for a few minutes.  I don't care.  I'm a fisherman.  And I am guessing you are too, that you do odd things at odd times and get odd looks for it as well.  Good.  That's why you are here.

I made a point of getting a least one more day on one of my favorite stretches of water before the end of the season.  Rain from Friday night had increased stream flow to a bit of an unmanageable level for this time of year, more reminiscent of the end of runoff in late June or mid July than the middle of Fall.  Somehow, the fish were both hard to see and extremely spooky at the same time while also being pretty picky about what fly they would take and what flies they would ignore.

Fishing wasn't as hot as it has been over the last month.  The day started with nymphing using a small bead head pheasant tail.  When I was able to see fish holding, my casts had to be very accurate as a cast a foot to one side or the other would not result in a strike.  Dry flies were totally ignored as they sailed past.  Based on some minimal early day success, only few fish were enough to justify a mid-day celebration / relaxation beer enjoyed while resting on the bank.

Later in the afternoon, the fishing got a little better and I even found a run where fish were rising to take emergers and / or small flies on the surface.  I was able to catch a few of those fish on an adams dry and a couple other nice, healthy cutty's that made me feel like it was a day well spent on the river.

Fall is definitely here.  Although the fishing is starting to slow down higher up, that just means we will all have to take advantage of lower elevation opportunities.  Maybe this weekend will be the beginning of targeting some brown trout with streamers.  We will have to see.  If this does end up being the last cutty of the year from this stream for me, I will be happy as it was one more nice, colorful, healthy fish added to the list of others caught there this year.  I love this creek and will be dreaming of it until next year.  Enjoy the season everyone.