View Full Version : Colorado Bluelining - 7-26-09 to 8-2-09

08-08-2009, 11:22 PM
After working out several of the logistical kinks last year, My oldest son (Drew) and I decided to kick it up a notch this year on our Colorado trip. Namely, we decided that while backpacking for 8 days sounds great in theory, its also a lot harder than car camping. So we decided to setup a good base camp and hike each day to the fishing with minimal gear. This approach also allowed us to be more flexible and fish in several different locations, which we did.

This year we also included my youngest son (Zach) and their friend (and band mate) Chad. Zach and Chad had never caught a fish with a flyrod, and Drew had only caught a handful of fish with one himself, so this was going to be an instructional trip as well.

We setup base camp at the edge of the Flattops Wilderness above Glenwood Canyon in Colorado. From there we fished Grizzly Creek, Buck Creek, Deep Creek and several ponds and lakes in the area. We had planned to fish the South Fork of the White River, but the only time we made it down into that canyon (over a very rough road) was in the middle of a thunderstorm. Someday I would like to give that stream a shot. It just wasn't meant to be this year.

Last year in the South San Juan Wilderness area we ran into herds of cattle grazing throughout the Conejos River valley. This year we were pestered by herds of sheep. They were everywhere. They were on the plateaus and down along the streams. Early one morning they even woke up the boys as they were herded past our campsite. They are clearly less messy than cows, but still a pain. http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk100/PeteCz21/Colorado09/Sheep.jpg

It rained quite a bit while were there. Every night there was some sort of storm and most nights several storms came through. It rained off and on during a couple of the days, but at 10,600' you really need to expect that kind of weather. We wound up fishing on 5 of the days we were there, with three of the trips lasting half if not most of the day (including hiking, as well).http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk100/PeteCz21/Colorado09/Rainbow1.jpg

Early on the boys had decided that they wanted us to catch at least 100 fish. After the first two days of fishing they revised their goal upward and we ended up catching over 200 fish in the 5 trips. Its amazing how quickly they picked it up (except for sneaking up on the fish...I think they would have caught 500 more if they would have learned a bit of stealth...next time...). They were mostly self sufficient after the first day and could tie strong Pitzen knots with the best of anglers. It was a lot of fun watching the three of them. http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk100/PeteCz21/Colorado09/Anglers1.jpg

Most of the stream fish we caught were Cutthroat Trout around 10 inches with many pushing 12 inches and few above that. We also fished in quite a few ponds along Buck Creek and caught a ton of small brookies as the sun was setting each day. For the most part they would hunker down during the day, but as nightfall approached (for about 30 minutes until your hands froze as the temps dropped to 40 degrees, and below) you could cast a sz18 BHGRHE, let it sink for a second or two, twitch it and then strip in a few inches at a time. It seemed to drive them nuts. At one point we caught 11 fish on 13 cast in the same 6x6 pool. There wasn't even a hatch of any kind. Its like the fish weren't paying any attention to what was going on around them and that they were lining up like lemmings and attacking the next fly...pretty strange behavior, even for brookies...

While the trip went pretty smooth we did manage to have one mishap. On the last day, after hiking 1500' down into a canyon, one of the boys stepped on the tip section of Drew's flyrod and snapped the top 8" off. Since I had already caught 10 fish, I decided to let him use my flyrod and I would see if I could cast well enough to pickup a few more fish. I wound up catching 17 more fish with the broken rod in the last 90 minutes we fished... http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk100/PeteCz21/Colorado09/cutt7.jpg



The most productive flies on the streams seemed to be #14 xCaddis in Husky and Olive, as well as Stimis and Trudes in Royal and Lime. Drew has decided that we need to increase the size of our party by at least one each year. So we'll have to figure out who to bring along next year....

08-08-2009, 11:33 PM
The Flattops area receives quite a bit of precipitation and therefore has some great vegetation this time of year. There were wildflowers everywhere, including these around our campsite:

From near our camp you could see Mt Sopris about 30 miles away

Buck Creek was only about 2' wide as you descended into the South Fork Canyon. Along its length were several areas that emptied into beaver ponds and the like that held countless brookies

We did manage to see some wildlife. Check out these Elk hanging out where they shouldn't be...look at the sign inset...

Here's a nice one in the trees

08-08-2009, 11:38 PM
More from the Flattops:
Blue Sky

Aspens Groves

A few shots from Rocky Mtn National Park

Scott H.
08-09-2009, 12:44 AM

I'm sure that is a trip neither the boys nor you will ever forget.

Thanks for sharing with us.


08-09-2009, 10:54 AM
LOVE COLORADO.....Great report! I also love chasing the blue lines in Colorado.

In August, on the west side of the divide, you can just bout set your watch to the afternoon storms.


08-09-2009, 03:21 PM
Pete, great pictures. I'm sure you guys had a fantastic time. i fished the South Fork of White River in 2005. We were staying in the Marvine Creek area outside of Meeker Co. and we fished the lower end of the South Fork. We hiked in about 2 miles after parking at the campground. One fantastic day caught tons of fish That is a stream you definitely want to fish...........Thanks for the report

Gerry Romer
08-09-2009, 03:56 PM
Pete --

As usual (at least it's becoming usual for you) great report and fantastic pics!!

I still find it hard to believe that at one time I used to make 3 or 4 trips a year to the Estes Park area...

Thanks again!!!