Summer Fly Fishing Notes – 2019
Blue River – June 8-9
Notes: Campsite was full, but the overflow lot had spots and was apparently free. Win. Water was high and a little off-color, but good. Guy who knew what he was talking about made a subtle comment about my indicator rig that I use as the standard start: Bobber, rubber legs, zebra midge. I picked up on the comment so I took off the bobber and stayed more connected with the flies and realized the subtle nature of the takes. Set on everything, don’t use a bobber when nymphing.
Platte River – June 9
Notes: There are some access points near Walden. Hit the same spot twice, once in the high-water runoff time in June and the second time in mid-July. Unfathomable population of mosquitos second time through. A few small, pretty rainbows, no browns but just drive-by fished.
Gunnison – July 16-17
Notes: Wanted to fish the Animas but it was blown out and off color. Fly shop in Durango was really great and helpful. The type of shop you hope to encounter. Recommended a couple lakes but they were too far out of the way. We restocked flies and headed north toward Montrose. Camped in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison at a site on the south side of the canyon (East Portal Campground), with a few spots right on the river. Drive down smelled like the smoking brakes of the car in front of us. No other anglers that evening or the next morning, but a few day trippers were fishing the large pool. Limited hiking down river, but some great looking pools and edges. Caught some great trout up river from the spill where the water is swift but even. Inside edges were great, especially working up toward the Crystal Dam. Apparently, there was a couple good access points on the North Fork but we didn’t have time to make it all the way back there. Fished a small piece of public land near the confluence with the Gunnison. Couple browns, but it was hot and dusty so we left after about an hour.
Frying Pan – July 18-19
Notes: As advertised, some big picky fish. Lots of pull outs, but lots of people too. Go early to get on the water at the spot you want, otherwise you might be settling for your third or fourth choice and who knows how many people have already fished it. Also lots of private land the closer you get to Basalt so pay attention. Didn’t fish above Ruedi Reservoir because we wanted to spend more time on the water. Camped there though after a night at the Frying Pan River Lodge which was awesome and affordable. Fish weren’t really tolerant of large flies. Got snagged up and brought up a 3-fly rig with the bottom midge looking like nothing more than a piece of purple glitter. Olive midge worked fine, but didn’t have any dries small enough to match the size. A few smaller fish fell for it, but the big ones were onto us. Huge trout can be seen from the shore, but figuring out angles can be tough. Saw a couple dead trout too, presumably from too much time out of the water in front of a camera. At least that’s what the cynical side of me thinks. Biggest fish was a brown pushing 16 inches. Tough fishery, but made legendary by the one and only John Gierach, so I was happy to just catch a fish on the river he writes about.
There are a few in Basalt, but was never in town during business hours so I can’t make a recommendation. Also why we were just using what we had, which seemed close, but not exactly what the fish wanted.
Yampa – July 19
Notes: OnXmaps reported a campsite so my girlfriend and I figured that after the long drive from the Fryingpan, we’d have time to catch the evening hatch then fish in the morning. However, after braving a terrible road for Abby’s Honda Accord, we arrived to find that there is no camping. However, it was another beautiful meadow river with lots of bug life and hungry fish. Trout that were certainly over 20 inches were holding under the bridge, but that was next to a deep pool and a piece of shore flattened by a pair of dudes with spinning gear. We walked down river. I used a soft hackle recommended by the local fly shop and caught a sweet fish a little over 16 inches. We had to leave to find another camp, but it was a solid hour. Of all the rivers I fished, this one feels like the one I need to get back to and fish right.
Local shop: https://steamboatflyfisher.com/