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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fishing Journal: 20110822 Cache la Poudre River

Had a great day fishing the Poudre on Monday. The water was nice, the holes were attractive, weather was spectacular, natch.

Can't say the fishing was easy, however. Probably caught 5-6 fish, a couple of browns and a few wild rainbows. Morning found us down low, not far from the entrance to the canyon, nymphing. I have never really done this much. Three wet flies, basically getting smaller as you get to the end of the line, where there was a caddis nymph that was exactly like the nymphs clinging to the bottom of the rocks. Tense-line casting was new to me as a concept. I was casting OK. Caught one brown in this area while buddy caught three fish in a nice little channel opposite bank from the access. (The wading was do-able, but it wasn't trivial to get across.) My first guided trip. Guide said the fish were hammering these same flies the day before (don't they always go crazy the day before you're out there?) So patience was a virtue. I would have switched flies a lot more frequently, and I also would have tried some dries, but the guide had the flies and the putative knowledge and who am I to raise questions?

We drove up maybe 10-15 miles to a nice stretch by some picnic tables. We switched to hopper-dropper with some ugly-ass hopper up top and the same caddis nymph down low. I think I caught one or two up top and one or two below here. First one was a nice 10" brown, just beautiful.

Third spot was really, really promising water, but boy the fishing was a lot like work. This was maybe another 20 miles up the canyon, ca. 36-40 miles from Fort Collins. Caught a little 'bow on my first cast, the kiss of death for future catching. Went to a nice fat 90-degree bend in the river which should have bringing lots of food into some nice deep pools. I missed a strike on my dry fly, though it looked like fishy changed his/her mind at the last minute. That's consistent with the refusals that I proceeded to get. Fish in a nice deep pool, right in the edge where they should be, lazily inspecting my junk and deciding they didn't like what I was offering (less likely: how I was offering it). So we switched the bottom fly to a little PMD emerger, I think it was. Worked hard a hundred yards or so, tried to reach a nice looking pool opposite bank that I just couldn't hit. Working hard, working hard. Caught my last fish of the day, another brown, just before 3 pm, which was my pre-designated finishing time. As ever, I was tempted by another few casts on another few pools that were better than the 5,000 I had just fished, surely with hungrier and fatter fish just waiting for a nice bug to float by. Temptation. But I packed up and got on the road.

The entire ca. 40-mile stretch of the Poudre to where I got, probably around 9,000 foot elevation, looks like fisherman's paradise. It's a beautiful river and I hope to spend more time there, though I'd ask for just a bit more enthusiasm from my piscine friends!

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