Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Winter Fishing - Estes Park - Tail water

Big Thompson River, tailwater out of Lake Estes in Estes Park, CO

Mike Hobbs and I parked off the road on the North Side of the tailwater near the dam. Mike claimed he saved me $6. We walked down to the tailwater and there were 6 cars in the $6 lot on the South Side of the river. Mike just sat on this hole about 200 yards down stream and managed two nice browns and some foul hooked rainbows. Flow was a low 26cfs, water temperature 40 degrees. Air temp probably 50.

The fish in this catch and release stretch ( about 3/4 mile) see a LOT of pressure and are not spooked by shadows of fishermen up on the bank. On the other hand, like all fishing in "popular" tailwaters, they are well fed, well schooled on trout flies, and extremely hard to entice into a hit. It takes stealth and correct fly selection. From Mike it was a size 20 zebra midge.


For me it was a peeking caddis, size 18.  These fish are BIG and healthy. I saw no fatalities from bad releases and no scared or sick fish. The Dream Stream near Eleven Mile Canyon often has damaged fish. 

We saw hundreds of fish. Can you find any in these photos?





Ok, here is one in plain view. Notice his shadow on the bottom.

This is more fun than fishing behind the shops in town but I'll bet it is very crowded here on weekends.