Early Morning Madness

The last time I ventured out to the water, it was a comedy of errors - chock-full of insane goodness. This time around, however, I was proactive to insure that my time at the river would be pleasant. Having packed all my gear on Thursday night, the only thing I had to worry about at 3:00 am Saturday morning was how much bacon I wanted to put on my egg and cheese biscuit.

That's right - I cut out the middle-man (middle....clown, perhaps?) and bought a box of Jimmy Dean breakfast biscuits - which I add extra bacon to because, let's be adults here....is there such a thing as too much bacon? Of course there isn't....and these folks seem to agree. Their slogan kicks MAJOR butt: 'Everything should taste like Bacon' Damn straight.

Wait a minute, you say...3 am? That's right...3 am. Here's why:
  1. It's summer - the light at 5 am is perfect for fishing.
  2. Crowds. Saturday up in the high country is crowded...crowds make me cranky.
  3. Monsoon season. Which, here in Colorado, means severe afternoon storms...which has basically been the pattern since...oh, MARCH??!!?!?!
So, I hit the river early to avoid the crowds, have a great time, and then blow town about the time the storms are rolling in. Pretty simple.

Needless to say, I was at the water's edge just a little before 6 am, and the fish were out and about in a big way. So, as is my protocol when fishing the canyon, I started off by throwing some scuds at 'em....and they went nuts. They hit that fly hard...one after another. The first three fish that I set...I lost. But the fourth wasn't so lucky. Or the fifth, sixth and seventh for that matter.

And let me tell you about the seventh one - he worked me over good by dragging my carcass up and down the river, through weeds and bushes...I tripped several times in the process, and even went down on my ass when I accidentally stepped off the bank while watching him. It was a classic fight, and judging by the video, we we're both out of gas...

After that I managed to set two more fish - the first one popped, and the second one snapped my line and, in the process, took the last of my yellow/brown scud patterns. So I tied on an olive variation, but the fish were having nothing to do with it - they loved the brown scuds and I was out.

After that it was hit and miss - I hooked up a nice fish on a hare's ear (my LAST hare's ear) and he snapped my line. Hit one on a chartreuse Zebra...and my line snapped. What are ya going to do? There was some big fish in the river on Saturday...including one that was a monster.

While scoping the water, I noticed a dark shape moving upriver, and my jaw dropped. On the Taylor, a fish this big is pretty common - but in the Canyon? You don't see them very often. The last time I saw one this big, was last December, when Eva and I were fishing the Deckers area, and she helped me hook the darn thing.

This fish was easily in the 30 inch range...probably tipping the scales at the 6-8 lb. mark...and it parked right in front of me, in the middle of the river, on a nice, simple seam. It was like hitting the lottery. I sat there and stared, before changing out my tippet and making sure my knots were all nice and tidy. After filming the beast (as proof), I moved downstream a few paces and started to cast to him - hitting perfect drifts...and then he bolted. Off to the far side of the river...and then back down towards the fence-line. Ah well. Next time.

After that it got a little slow...and hot. By 11 am I had gone through both bottles of water that I had packed in...and there was a nasty storm brewing just to the north, so I opted to head on out. It was an incredible day...I hooked a lot of fish...and netted some really nice trout, so I had no complaints. By the time I got back to my truck and changed, the rain started coming down pretty heavy.

Yeah, that 3 am wake-up call was right on the money.


Unknown said...

Hey! First comment, yay for me!

That looks like a sweet day. I'll comment more later, but for now, I excited to get up there on Sat. Though, I doubt I'll be on the water by 6 AM. Ben and I are planning on meeting in Woodland Park for breakfast at 8 AM.

Rock on!

Dario said...

That's awesome. I'm going to battle crowds on Saturday as well.

Colorado Angler said...

Jeff - breakfast is always a good thing - just don't pin your hopes on a clown like I did.

Dario - good luck - last weekend when I was up in there, the Canyon saw some heavy traffic - fishing was outstanding, though.

Word of warning - deer flies were thick up there. I took some heavy damage from those things.

Wish I was hitting it this weekend - guess I'll just have to re-live it through the two of you.

Anonymous said...

4th : (

Dario said...

Yeah, I expect big crowds this weekend. Oh well, the Canyon is a big long river. Perhaps it's Yellow Sally season (Amy's Ant)?

Colorado Angler said...

Anonymous - sorry bud/gal. Maybe next time? You were off by about 3 days or so...everything ok?

Dario - it is a long river with lots o' fishing goodness along it's stretch. Sally is always a good bet - a fly that few people think to fish the canyon with is a stone (golden) and I've talked to a few folks that clean house with that fly further up in the canyon.

I'm jealous. Let me know how it goes tomorrow.

Unknown said...

Mmmmm... bacon.

That is the funniest slogan ever. Though the website is a little creepy.

Sorry about the tank : (
I hate it when they spook like that. Especially when you spent 20 minutes sneaking up on them. Then again, that is why they are big.

Out of hare's ear eh? It's time you tried the AB Hare's Ear (http://www.theallenbrothers.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=25&products_id=32). I'm fairly confident you won't ever go back to another hare's ear pattern. We have a client out east that started using them and now he buys like 3 dozen at the beginning of each season. Tungsten bead, soft hackle collar ... oh, it's a sexy pattern to be sure.

Not psyched about the crowds, but what can you do. I'll be looking for that tank!

Colorado Angler said...

Jeff - yeah, that website is bit out there. Not sure if I want my corn on the cob tasting like bacon.

Find that Tank, Jeff and hook him. Hook him good and make him pose for an embarrassing picture so that his fish friends give him grief - he deserves nothing less, and neither do you.

Yeah - I tied up a bunch o' Hare's Ears this past Spring...and that was the last of 'em. There's fish in both the Platte and the Taylor running around with my flies in their mouth. And a few bushes, too.

Before I tie some up, I'll take a peek at the AB Hare's Ear....I am easily swayed (plus, I hate tying them up 'cause I end up sneezing my head off).

Good luck tomorrow - looking forward to your pics and report. Hopefully, I come back with one of my own for the Provo (if the stars align in my favor)....

Anonymous said...

every things fine just busy. fished the blue last week but it was slow

Colorado Angler said...

The Blue? Great water - I need to hit that stretch - it's been about a year since I last fished that river.

Glad to hear that everything is a-okay - ya had me worried there...

Zach said...

Awesome. That is some sweet water.

Dario said...

Last Sat was a really good day for me. Got on the water about 6:45. Started off sporadic with a couple of fish caught on scuds. At 10:30 or so I caught a really big rainbow on a Churchill sparklewing RS2. Most fish I caught were at the head of runs, fish you could see in the tailouts and calmer water were hunkered down like it was winter and weren't moving much. The flows dropped the day before from over 500 cfs to just over 300 and then while I was fishing they droppped them another 150 cfs. Water that held fish in the morning was only ankle deep by the end of the day. I think that put a lot of fish down. There were at least 7 or 8 people up in the icebox and they looked frustrated. I saw no fish being landed up there. Later in the day when lots of people gave up I went up and all the fish at the end of the pool weren't feeding. I fished the head of that pool in the faster water and lost one fish up there. I think sometimes in that water there you can get mezmorized with those big fish you can see but they just aren't feeding.

Anyway, on this day I landed the biggest fish I've ever caught in the canyon since the fire. She was a 24 inch tank that ran like a bone fish. If I wasn't site fishing to her I never would have set the hook as she barely shifted so I lifted the rod and it was off to the races.

The lower river are full of what looks like a micro caddis case that are only 1/4 inch long. I don't know if these are juvenile cased caddis or true micro caddis cases but they look like a dead ringer for a size 20 chamois.

Colorado Angler said...

Zack - Amen to that!

Dario - sounds like you had yourself a great time! Scuds you say? HA! Love that fly - it's deadly in the morning hours before the sun lights the water.

And what is up with the flows? This has been a goofy year - the flows are out of whack in 09.

I know exactly which pool you're talking about at the head of the ice box - there's some really sweet holes in that section. As for the lower stretch, where the subs are usually parked low between the rocks and in the seams? Yeah, I'm guilty of fixating on them. Sometimes I get luck (this past January I think it was) and sometimes I strike out bad. I just can't resist going for them.

That 24 incher was worth the price of admission, wasn't it? WOW. Nice haul...and that's why I love sight fishing and why folks from the WW come through their gate and fish the public waters. Sweet catch, Dario.

Next time I'm up there, I'll look for the cases (provided their even there when I do make it).

Thanks for relaying your day - I love reading about someone's day on the water - it gets me fired up!

SM said...

hit the sound and do some real fishing.

Colorado Angler said...

Dude - we did hit the sound and the fishing was lousy, remember? Not unlike the surf fishing we did at Seaside. I'd take the Columbia or Willamette over the Sound any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Nah, I'll stick with the 'not real' fishing....you stick with your cult-like loyalty to Starbucks and all things 'trendy'. ZING! Ouch!

I know, I know....I've got one coming for that...