Monday, April 28, 2014

Hanging homes and lotsa browns.

Fishing Tommy


His 9/2013 Flood 

 Mike Hobbs and I fished the Big Thompson last tuesday April 22, 2014. The inlet to Estes Park lake was off color and high, and the stretch below the dam was a nice color, low, but wall-to-wall fly anglers. We headed down RT 34 toward Drake. The water was clear at what Mike calls the "Sign Hole", but both the Department of Parks and Wildlife as well as the Hole had been washed away or moved out of sight. There were however lots of fish of a nice size which I spooked and which Mike caught on a parachute Adams and a Barrs Emerger. 

 The river valley is quite surreal looking with the lack of vegetation along the banks, polished boulders and gravel along the water line, and houses with inspection and condemnation stickers scattered along the stream. Many are hanging by a thread to a small ledge of bank.

     We traveled downstream past a stream and road bank stabilization site where a huge tracked backhoe was in the river working the bank. We pulled off a couple of miles downstream and fished to some more nice browns before the muddy water stirred up by the backhoe reached us. It is ironic that Denver Trout Unlimited's home stream aquatic improvement project has been reduced because of sky rocketing construction costs due to competition with reconstruction work on the Big Thompson.
What makes it ironic is that according to Brian Peterson, of ECI Construction, the firm doing the River Vision Implementation Plan on the Denver South Platte, is that the cost on the South Platte is enormously high because them have to build a sheet wall the length of the project to divert the river, so that their construction equipment will NOT stir up this muddy water. There must be something I don't understand.

     About 12:30 PM and then again at 2:30 PM there was a very nice baetis hatch and the browns and rainbows just gobbled up our parachute adams and caddis emerges. A fine time was had by all.The fish looked really healthy both before and after their encounter with our dry flies. Here's a release lapse series to prove my point.