Friday, September 25, 2015

Wyoming/Colorado - Day 4

After fishing in Wyoming we headed back to Loveland. On day four Darrick had to go back to the real world of work for a few hours. We decided to fish locally and catch up after he got off work. I took off up the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park and the area of Rocky Mountain National Park. I found the local fly shop and grabbed my Colorado tag.

Upper Section of the Big Thompson River, near Estes Park, Colorado
I always try to support local fly shops and at the same time try to give an honest review of any shop I go into. I found Kirk’s Fly Shop in Estes Park to be an awesome shop that had everything you could ever need or imagine for both fly fishing and backpacking. The prices are on the higher end, but they are in a tourist town, I guess I can understand that. They have to make their living in about 6 months. You can even rent rods and waders. They have some really neat art work on the walls, but they are mostly priced for tourist. Ultimately, what it boils down to…if you need it they will have it and while their prices may be on the higher end they are still cheaper than the Grey Reef Fly Shop in Alcova, Wyoming.

They did have one downfall. They had some young twit selling license who you could tell didn’t want to be there and was pissed about it. The guy in front of me asked the young man if he had any advice on where to fish. The twit snidely told him “everywhere…if there is water there is fish in it.” I also found it odd that a worker in a local fly shop was wearing a Cabela’s t-shirt and ball cap. I guess it was some great act of defiance or something. My advice is to not waste your time talking to rude twit with the Cabela’s ball cap on.

Typical Brown landed in the Big Thompson River
Finally, I am headed to the Big Thompson. Wasn’t real sure where to go so I found a wide spot on the shoulder and pulled over. It was small mountain stream fishing just like you imagined and have read about so many times. I caught all browns, which kind of surprised me. I hadn’t done any research on the Big Thompson, but I guess I was expecting Cutthroats. None of the fish I landed were giants, mostly in the 12 to 14 inch range. I did have a couple hooked that probably would have run 16 to 18 inches, but like every great fish story they got away. I started at the top and fished my way down to Drake where I was to meet Darrick after work. My usual Elk Hair Caddis with a nymph dropper seemed to work pretty well, but for some of the deeper holes a double nymph with a little more weight work best. 

Darrick fishing near Drake. He is pretty tough. There is no way I could wet wade in that cold water. I guess if you live there you might get used to it. BRRRRR!
Newly repaired section of the Big Thompson river near Drake, Colorado
The road runs right along the river and is a beautiful drive. The river was scoured out from the heavy flooding they had two summers ago. You could see where parts of the road had been rebuilt. Entire houses were washed away and every bridge over the river was new. Below Drake is where the worst of the flooding occurred. The river had been completely rebuilt and engineered. Darrick said fishing had not been too good below Drake, but we checked it out just to see. While we didn’t catch anything we did have a couple hits and I saw some skins where stoneflies had crawled up to molt. So life is coming back into the stream. 

Some life coming back to the lower end of the Big Thompson River near Loveland, Colorado

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