Sunday, August 19, 2012

No Walleye at Vallecito

I fished all around the islands with some awesome crankbaits, awesome jigs, and some neat crayfish patterns. Nada. I had a few small smallmouth slap my lures but that's about it. I ended up switching over to the Kokanee rig to put a few silver slimers in the cooler as to not come home empty handed.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Vallecito is low! I got there around 1pm so was in no rush at all today, just wanted a few Kokes for dinner and then the search for the elusive Walleye and maybe some smallmouth. I got my Kokes and decided to park off the islands but was immediately chased off by a storm. Some guys, on 2 different boats at the dock said they were fishing for Kokes and didn't get any, I wonder how. I used the standard flashers and hot pink Kokanee killer with some Anise soaked corn on the end. I had quite a bit of weight on there, without a downrigger you kinda need to get it down there.

Hermosa Creek

We had a wedding to attend on saturday near Purgatory so we camped on Hermosa Creek below Sig Creek at that sweet spot with the waterfall. If you've been there you know where I mean. There were Cuts and Brookies. They're all so small in there, it's very odd. I've fished many (remaining nameless) cutthroat streams and never seen such stunted fish. Usually I see fewer fish of larger size. Are the catch and release only regulations forcing larger populations of fish here, creating more competition for the food and keeping the size down? I am all for native fish, and I feel that they should protect the remaining untouched native streams ferociously, but I think this Hermosa Creek project is a Frankenstein-like perversion of nature. Something in my gut tells me that applying Rotenone to an entire creek system is sick and twisted and still won't get rid of 100% of the Brookies. I've seen Brookies scale a 6 foot waterfall with no problems whatsoever. I think the barrier on Hermosa creek is laughable and the Brookies are going to find their way back. On the bright side, at least Brookies can't ruin the genepool like the Rainbows that are stocked in every damn river in the state. Call me crazy but I just don't get it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Electric at Electra

I decided to see if the Fly Fish The San Juans magic would carry over to Electra, since I'd done fairly badly there the last few times. Ben at the gatehouse told us the fishing had been sort of dismal lately. We tried a few spots I like with deep run jigs. We tried trolling with a few flashy spinners, I even broke out my ultimate secret weapon the Dynamic Lures TroutHD, which is normally a fish slappin' goldmine. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

It was time, we headed for the shallows and broke out our fly rods. Travis brought some excellent blue damsel flies that looked so good that other damsel flies were trying to ask them on dates. The fish were also asking them on dates. We went from skunked to FISH ON! in no time flat. We pulled out some great fish, and the great lessons from Fly Fish the San Juans keep paying off. We saw hardly another soul on the lake. Sure, the entry fee can be a hassle, but if you take home relatively large fish your price per pound for the best trout you've ever tasted is still far lower than what you'd pay for hatchery trash at your local market.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dry Flies On Still Water

I'd told Travis from Fly Fish The San Juans that I had never used dry flies on still water before to catch trout, and he agreed to take me out and show me how it is done. Fascinating stuff here, however just before the critical moment when a rising fish would slurp my fly from the surface, I'd get distracted but a butterfly and completely miss the fish. Travis caught some rainbows at Andrews lake, I hooked several and caught my spinning rod which was leaning behind me, breaking the tip (shoulda bought an ugly stick)

We then headed over the Cascade Creek and fished just below the diversion for the cut. Great little stream there, mostly Brookies, 1 Rainbow. If you're looking for a nice semi-high stream to smack Brookies, look no further.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Henderson Lake

We stopped briefly at Henderson Lake on our way Mushroom hunting on Missionary Ridge. My CPW friend says that the lake is sometimes stocked with Brookies but often winter kills. I just threw a few casts with small spinners and a black jig to see if I could coax a Brookie to it. I did see a few very small fish and some large schools of some sort of minnow, but didn't get any bites. We did, however, find some awesome Boletes!

We passed some tiny creeks up high that looked like they *should* hold small fish but I didn't see anything in them. Are there fish in said tiny creeks? Anyone?

Friday, August 3, 2012

2 days in the high country...

We spent the last 2 nights camping. With every intention of eating some fish, we brought tinfoil with which to wrap the fish. We caught a plethora of cutbows in the west Dolores with which to make dinner, and then realized we had no oil, no butter, nothing to put in the tinfoil with the fish to prevent them sticking to the foil. Problem solved with.... yep. BACON! A few little pieces of bacon on both sides of the fish will give you the oil you need and let's face it... who doesn't like a lil bacon? Granted, with fish as pristine and tasty as these, it's almost sacrilege to spoil their flavor with anything, but I think in this case the culinary fish gods will forgive us. I mention the West Dolores because that's where my tale ends as far as revealing geography.

There are several reasons why I don't like to reveal which spots I fish in the high country, and I've already said too much. As you can guess from my posts about the San Juan, I really, really, really, really hate crowds when I'm fishing. When I'm playing music at a bar, I love crowds, when I'm looking to meet new friends, crowds are great, but when I'm fishing, crowds can go suck it. So there we have the first reason I don't mention spots. What's the sense of hiking in 4 miles, struggling through thick willows only to pop out to some Captain Cabela, fresh out of his Hummer, GPS in hand, puffin on a stogie. No thanks! The second reason is that a lot of these places feature such small water that many a snobby angler wouldn't think there were fish there worth of their attention. I want them to continue to think this. Third, but not last, is that the joy of such spots is discovering them yourself. I hope this will encourage you to go seek out pristine uncrowded spots, and then once you find them, keep your damn mouth shut.

The fishing in my favorite unmentioned spots featured all native Colorado River Cutthroat. These are remnant fish who have never been stocked and haven't yet been bred away by Rainbows. While Brookies take a lot of flack for running out the natives, it's the Rainbows that do the most damage by simply breeding with them. I've fished several streams with Brookies and Cutthroats co-existing. In these streams I eat every Brookie I catch while returning the cuts to the water. In streams with Rainbows, you just catch a variety of cutbows, some looking more like cuts, others more like bows. These CutBows are extremely tasty. Enjoy in good health! Remember that with low, clear water you need to be STEALTH, as in, not capital letters. Walk slowly, keep low, no sudden movements, wear muted colors, and cast from as far from the water as you can, and you'll catch more and bigger fish in these situations.