Energized from my Friday afternoon streamside, I urged Dustin to join me on the same stream Saturday. Laughing at the empty Fort Collins streets of the early morning, Dustin and I enjoyed a relatively traffic free drive. We gasped at the enormous whitewater storming through the canyon, and noticed that 3 gates were open at the dam. As of today, the Big T below the Lake is flowing at over 900 cfs. Holy smokes!
Anyhow, after scarfing down a quick breakfast, we hit the river and searched for holding water. The river was higher than it was just the day before, and new spots were created, while just fished yesterday spots had all new currents. Due to the nature of the river, it was a take turns fishing day. Not wanting to get too separated in case one of us went in, we fished together, trading off at each spot. I hooked into a decent little brownie, where I failed to do so the day before. This little hole had “fishy” wrote all over it, and I was disappointed in my lack of success the day prior, but it sure felt good to get a tug where I knew the fish would be. This place not only looked fishy to me, it must have looked fishy to someone, or something else, as a decent size brown laid half ate on the bank.
Saturday was tough fishing. Most of the time we were on our knees trying to get our line out under trees, and various other obstacles in the water. Not to mention, the water was swift and very cold. Patience was definitely the name of the game.
Fishing in a particularly hairy place, I hooked into a beautiful cutthroat of hybrid genetics. I got him close to shore, and turned to yell at Dustin. Unfortunately, it appears I cannot do two things at once, because as soon as I turned my head, I gave the fish slack, and off he flipped. He was definitely the prettiest trout I have hooked into, and disappointment blanketed me. What can you do but not make the same mistake again. As we climbed, we found fewer pockets, and steeper gradients. We decided to head back to fish lower gradient water, making note that this will be a fantastic pocket water fishery later in the season.
Lunch was a late affair, and was enjoyed streamside. With full bellies, we went back to targeting trout. Again working in a tiny spot, with many overhanging branches and wild currents, I hooked into a fair amount of browns. Unfortunately, my rhythm was interrupted by a log, which grabbed my flies. Unable to break it off, I called for Dustin’s muscles. He gets into the water to gain a bit of leverage, and next thing I know he is in over his waders (we just had on our pants) and the current is raging all around him. The color drained from his face as he reached out to me. He made it safely out of the water, but not without a scare, and not without a water logged camera. I said to Dustin, I really don’t care about the camera, I am overjoyed that we averted disaster!
Once calm again, I fished the same little spot, and hooked into a few more browns. At this point, Dustin was carrying the stench of skunk along with his wet clothes. He moved a bit upstream of me hoping for a nibble. A quiet pool cleansed him of his stink, and a brown came to hand. His spirits were slightly uplifted. With another fish on my line, we tried the camera, but all we got was a white screen. About this time, the sun was starting to sink in the sky. We called it a day, and headed home.
I’m happy to report, that after a bit of drying out, the camera seems to be working just fine. Yay!
For the journal:
- Flies:# 16 & #20 Pink San Juan, #18 Pheasant Tail and #12 Beetle (the beetle was unsuccessful)
- Water Temp: 42º
- Water Color: Tea-stained
- Flows: Unknown – no gauging station
- Weather: Sunny, mid 70’s
- Species: Salmo trutta
- Sizes: 6” – 11”