View Full Version : Elk 2/8/2008

02-11-2008, 11:24 AM
Fished the Elk River Friday morning from about 7 to noon. Fish were active feeding on midges, but I didn't have anything small enough. I got a look or 2 at a size 22 griffith's gnat, but nothing caught. Tried almost everything in the box, inclunding zebra midges and size 20 hotwire prince nymphs, but only caught fish on an olive bunny leech: 2 bows and 2 browns, nine inches each. My friend caught two bows on an olive wooly bugger. All fish were caught at the bend below the dam.


02-11-2008, 12:39 PM
Man have I been there! Picked up some midges in Colorado for just this situation. I don't dare say how small they are but I picked up some tippet that I didn't already have just for them. I swear it feels like spider web.

Spent last year beating my head against rocks looking for a small-enough fly.

How were yall working the buggers/leeches?

02-11-2008, 01:51 PM
We were tossing the buggers into the current in the middle of the bend. The two bows came when I stripped back through the current. The two browns came when I let the fly drift all the way down and stripped it back. The water was pretty clear and I saw the fly get chased a bunch. There's a ton of fish in there, but they got picky quick.

As we were walking out, I saw a decent looking fish between the riverbank and the sand bar that goes into the middle of the bend. There's a real slow current that goes through there, and he was holding looking for food. I'd guess he was about 14 to 16"

I've caught fish in the bend on a size 22 or 24 before before, but I get frustrated just trying to thread the eye of the hook. I had a few flies smaller than a 22, but couldn't get the eyes cleaned out enough to thread the hook.

Also tied on a san juan worm with 1 bb shot and got a hit on the first cast. I either broke off on the hit or snapped it off on the next cast, because I was still using my 7X from casting midges. I probably fished for another 5-10 minutes seeing the shot splash the water and thinking the fly was on. This was at the end, so I reeled up and went home.


02-12-2008, 11:21 AM
When fishing in the bend area, do you fish from the right side of the river? If so, where do you wade across to get to the right side? I have only been to the bend by walking the left bank. The right side looks like a much better area from which to get a good backcast.
Thanks for your report.

02-12-2008, 12:49 PM
Thanks for the report, I am going to try and squeeze in a day here soon and wanted to see how they're acting. Got a new San Juan worm idea from a long-time guide in Colorado. He swears it will outfish the normal worm 2 to 1. WE'll see!

I have lived here for ten years and never fished the bend! ;-) I fish down river, less people, same fish!

02-13-2008, 03:56 PM

When I fish the bend, I take the trail along the left bank until it ends at the bend. Then, you can keep walking straight onto the sand bar, which in my humble opinion is the best spot because you can heave it to a few spots that are tougher to reach than the right side.

Getting to the right side takes a little feel. Instead of walking out to the sand bar, you sort of make a diagonal right turn. Basically, from the point where the trail ends, you are trying to get to the place where the rock "beach" starts on the right side of the bend. If the water is clear, which it was last Friday, you can see the shallower parts as you walk in that direction. In my opinion, the right side is not as good if you are trying to make long casts into the middle of the bend, because it drops off pretty quickly. As a result, you are pretty close to the bank and the trees and have to watch your back cast. On the plus side, you have access to the bottom part of the bend, and around the bend for a little ways down river.

With all that said, all four of my fish were caught from the right side on Friday.

Good Luck.


02-13-2008, 04:03 PM

You've got to tell the San Juan worm idea. I saw a picture of how to tie a "san juan worm ball" in one of the magazines recently, but I don't tie my own flies.

Do you get any better size fishing downriver? I've fished some of the down river public access points without measurably better success.



02-13-2008, 04:07 PM
I second the need to know the worm pattern. I'm always interested in updating my fly box. I, too, saw the San Juan Worm Ball pattern in Fly Rod & Reel. I tied 2 this past week, but didn't use it when I went to the Elk this past Sunday.

02-13-2008, 08:38 PM
Well, the worm is easy to describe because it's not so much a change in tying technique as it is a change in materials.

I have to be honest and say that I don't know where he got this stuff but it is a type of rubber-leg material unlike i've ever seen. It's very tough and yet not really "springy" like a rubber band is. It's more the consistency of a rubber bass worm but it's thin (.125") and tough as ****. He gave me some red and orange, both of which have some black speckles mixed in them.

To tie: I used a 16 Nymph hook that I tie my Brassies with. I put about 3/8" of worm out in front of the eye, tie the material in with red thread right behind the eye and then dress the shank of the hook with the thread all the way to the bend. I then push the worm toward the eye of the hook and create a "hump" about 1/8" high and then tie the worm in again right at the start of the bend but with the worm on the "side" of the hook now. I leave about 1" of worm dangling.

In the water the worm never stops moving. Either the rubbery material is undulating in the slightest current or the "corkscrew-like hump" is causing the worm to roll and change position constantly.

The guy I got the pattern and material from fishes 100+ days a year all over the world and guides Colorado and New Mexico yearly. He says he uses the worm everywhere he goes. Ususually with a very small dropper like a Zebra or T-niney Prince. He told me that it would produce when other stuff has failed!

02-14-2008, 02:02 PM
Thanks for the info on accessing the sand bar and wading to the right side.
Looking forward to giving it a try soon.