Saturday, May 1, 2010


Wow, what a week.  Returned from a fabulous long fishing weekend only to spend this past week sucked into veritable sh*tstorms RE: extended family and professional nature.  Not of my making, still not happy about either.

Arkansas River treated me well though, so thx for that ole friend!  Wet my first fly right at noon on Sat, having lollygagged my way up the San Luis valley.  Spent a good amount of time eyeballing the Sangre de Cristos as they spring out of the valle floor, much like the Tetons: jumping 6000 vertical feet (to over 14K) in just a few miles.  Luv that drive!

So I stopped in Arkanglers in Salida, got the skinny on the caddis hatch: stalled just above the Gorge, hmmm that's starting to sound familiar.  Not like I've never done that before: arriving ahead of the hatch only to have Mother Nature shut things down for my stay.  Weather front had just blown thru on Th-Fri, leaving the San Luis valley spitting snow, but the Ark drainage was dry as a bone, go figure.

Anyhoo, I figured to try my hand on the upper river around Salida, as the water was still coming down, and still clearing.  Found the Wellsville access to my liking, tying on tandem golden stone with BHFBPT dropper.  Fourth cast, kid you not, I was tied to the business end of nice cuttbow, 17", schweet.  5th cast yielded nice 13-14" bow, whoa gonna be my day!  Sure enough, I worked that small run over like a strip mine:  adding one smallish brown, a matching bow @ 17", and another big fish LDR'd after a downstream run.  The rest of the day proved similar: the fish were simply abusing that poor golden stone in the turbid water.  

Looking back, I lost 4 other good fish that day, the kind that nearly spool you, down and across the river in a  surging run.  All told, my best single day on the Ark in memory.  Golden stone outfished the BHFBPT 5:1; landing bows to browns @ nearly same ratio, maybe 15 fish landed for the day.  I finally broke away from the upper river around 4pm to complete the drive down to Cotopaxi, camp and to see if I could track any adult caddis in streamside environs.  Found only a smattering of Caddis at Pinacle Rock, a few loners back in camp, huh.

Sunday I attempted to repeat Saturday's glory, but you knew that couldn't happen again, huh?  Spent my morning fishing turbid water first above Cotopaxi, then just below Coaldale, mostly smallish browns kept it interesting.  Hopped back up to below Salida, found a better mix of browns, bows, but not in numbers nor  size like Saturday's silliness.

The morning's fun complete, I headed back down to Texas Creek where I found a good number of adult caddis streamside.  Round 3pm, in break of cloudy weather, adults took to the water, while a few more began hatching in the momentary sun.  I managed four quick fish on  the pupa in about 30 minutes before the clouds hid the sun, hatch was done.  But man, that was fun, if a bit of a tease.  Left me with a taste for Monday's potential allright.

My high hopes for Monday were dashed before the day even got started.  5am, and I'm listening to sugar snow splattering the tent, sheesh.  Lay awake til around 7am just listening to my day's plans of hammering fish on the swing going down the tubes.  Made my coffee & breakfast in sleet now adding insult to injury.  Attempting to make lemonade from lemons, I set up an emergency fly-tying field station in the tent, tying pheasant tail bead heads and softhackles for the day's bonanza BWO hatch sure to come with the crappy weather.  Crack the tent about 8.30 under clearing skies, by 9.30 I'm in the water wondering where all those clouds have gone, that's Rocky Mountain springtime weather for ya.

So at what was to be the apex of my trip, I'm instead faced with weather conditions of the worst sort: clear weather damping the BWO hatch, cold temp's keeping the caddis snug in their underwater cocoons. Gonna have to really work for it today, sigh.  Which I did, managing maybe 8 fish for the day, on a mixed-bag of patterns: black copper johns, BHFBPT, golden stones, caddis larva.  I wound my day down at 4pm down at Texas Creek on a bit of moral victory, however:  a slinky 14" brown on caddis larva.  Broke down the rod then and there- better savor the high note, than leave the river after more fruitless pounding.

Overall, a decent enough trip allright, if not quite up to expectations.  Still, I had my best day on the Ark on Friday, seems the weather doth provideth and taketh away, huh?  Just read the BWO's are still breaking out while the caddis remain stalled down river, looks like the best fishing is still yet to come.  I now find I'm already toying with the idea of bringing the boy with me back up there mid May, if snowmelt and bugs allow.  Naw, that's just crazy talk, right?  Then again, in this crazy spring, why the hell not?


  1. Sounds like it was better than my fishing last week (snowed out--yeah, big pansy, I know).

    The Sangre de Cristos look simply stunning! I'd say there's nothing to even think about if the BWO's and caddis are still to come off--back you must go! (Just the kind of cold, running water the doctor would order up for a pulled hamstring, I'm sure.)

    Besides the beauty mountain shots, there are some nice looking fishies there too--way to go!

    Shoot me an email if you've got a chance, I want to pick your brain.

  2. wonder if I can self-diagnose with same RX by staying in a Holiday Inn next time I'm traveling for work? Don't think the mrs would buy it. But honey, it's for the boy's sake.....? ;-)