Saturday, September 10, 2011

Colorado 'Bows: Day 2

The next day we drove up to the Yampa River with the groom's uncle, who lives and fly fishes in the area.  This time we took the whole bachelor party, several of which had never fly fished before.  I certainly wasn't disappointed with the scenery this time.  The section of the Yampa we visited is a nice looking tailwater stream set in a beautiful, meadow-like valley with rocky outcroppings.  I must admit, I didn't take any pictures.  Fortunately, there's the internet, so you don't have to rely on my poor description.
The Yampa River (I stole this picture off the internets)
Unfortunately, the river and its beauty are quite popular.  On top of that, there is only about a half mile stretch between the dam and a vertical cliff up against one side of the river that prevents most people from heading downstream.  So I think you can figure out the result. Actually, if you look closely at the above picture, you can see several anglers lining the right bank of the river.

The fishing...  The weather had warmed some, and I was dreaming of large rainbows taking dries, but after watching the river for a while and talking to another angler, I picked out an available section of river with a deep hole and reluctantly went back to the chuck and duck method.  After numerous drifts, I managed to bring a rainbow in its lower teens to hand - smaller than the ones from the day before, but more colorful and much more spirited.  The fish jumped several times and tried to take me down a small rapid, which probably would've ended the fight in his favor.

I moved on to where the rest of the bachelor party were landing trout after trout in a gravelly section where multiple large trout were visible.  This was the perfect place for the beginning fly fishermen in our group to get some steady action, and at least one one of them has since taken up fly fishing as a hobby.  After watching them for a while, a friend and I found a large hole behind a boulder.  From high up on the bank, you could see huge trout swimming around that you could not see from where you would need to cast.  So I stood up on the bank and directed my friend as he stood in the river casting into the hole.  On about the third drift I watched a huge fish slowly tip up to grab something out of the current and immediately my buddy's 3 weight was doubled over.  The fish took off into the main current, came up and just wallowed on the surface, too big to jump.  It was all over in about 3 seconds as the fish somehow managed to throw the hook.  It was the one of the biggest trout I've ever seen - it looked more like a salmon.

After numerous unsuccessful drifts through the same hole, I moved on to a rapidy (is that a word?) section strewn with small boulders where I could see some medium sized fish hanging out.  I stood on one of the boulders and drifted a cool looking nymph with a plastic bubble that I got from the groom's uncle past visible fish for several minutes and eventually got a hit.  The fish took off downstream with the fast current, and I had to jump off the boulder and chase after him.  There was no way I was going to pull him back upstream without breaking the tippet.  It was the most exciting fight of my life, dodging and climbing bushes and rocks while trying to keep the line tight.  Eventually I brought to hand a rainbow in its mid-teens with a bright red belly and fins.  It was the most colorful rainbow I have ever seen.  Once again, I wish I had taken a picture.

This is not the fly I used, but it has the same plastic bubble.  Apparently real nymphs sometimes have air bubbles attached to them
Overall, it was a great day of fishing.  A great weekend of fishing.  The fishing was good, but the surroundings left something to be desired.  It definitely made me want to come back to Colorado, but when I do, I think I will try to find more wild places to fish.

The groom with a Yampa River rainbow.  Nice bandana!
Sorry about the long post with only a few pictures.  I'll try to do better the with the picture to word ratio in the future.

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