Thursday, April 12, 2012

Colorado Quickie

S. Platte at Dusk

After research, tying flies, and nearly drunk with anticipation, I stepped on a plane in North Carolina Monday morning with a rod tube and a couple of friends.  We left the Denver airport with the rental car at 11:30 mountain time, and we were standing in the Dream Stream by 3:30pm.

In the middle of a massive valley, the S. Platte winds through an endless grassland of wandering cows offering 4 miles of tailwater between two reservoirs, and holding giant lake run rainbows and cutthroat beneath its rolling waters. Two fellas packing up their truck to leave shared they'd only found one fish over 18", which was a great contrast to the previous week where big fish on spawning runs where easy to spot and cast to. It seemed the early Spring meant an early end to the run.

Ward and I walking to the water

My fourth cast on the water had me hooked into a meaty fish that seemed to fight different than any other trout I had ever caught.  The Dream Stream was living up to its name, and I was stoked. Soon into the fight however, I noticed I hadn't hooked a rainbow, or a cutty, or a cutbow. I hooked a carp.  Four carp outings in NC have left me empty handed, but 1,500 miles away, on a famous trout stream in Colorado, my first fish of the trip is my first carp on the fly. I didn't anticipate being totally bummed about my first carp to hand on the long rod, but I was.
stinkin' carp
Four hours on the water yielded about 12 trout to hand, mostly landed on a size 20 rojo midge, but never did I see nor hook into a lake run giant. Compared to fishing the Davidson River here in NC, the fish weren't nearly as finicky and the pressure was light.  The water was dingy, and the silt heavy at times. It was a tailwater, and not a crystalline stream of the rockies. But the setting was amazing and the fishing was pretty good. I landed my first cutthroat, about a 16 incher, and I caught rainbows, browns, cutthroat, and that dang carp. We hit the the car at dark and made our way to stay at Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado for the night before we ventured onto the Arkansas river for final outing on the water the next day.

Oh yeah, we heard the following morning that a fifteen minute walk further downstream would have have lead us to stacks of the fatty lake runners. Guys had caught 20 fish over 18 inches the same evening we were on the water...just at the mouth of the stream.  What if we had walked a little further...

Here are some pics of the S. Platte, with a report on the Arkansas to follow in the next day or so.

Ward on the water

My first cutthroat

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