The next couple days were spent kind of wandering around. After fishing the Big Thompson near Loveland I headed to the western side of the state to hang out with my dad and several fiends in elk camp. We fished one afternoon at a small stocked Forest Service lake up in the mountains and had a blast, mostly catching dozens of 6 to 12 inch rainbows.
|Nice Brown trout from the South Fork of the Platte River|
After Elk Camp I headed to the Lake George through Buena Vista. I really wanted to fish the South Platte so I wasn’t going to spend much time in Buena Vista.
What a difference a few years and a new sales person can make
I do have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the Ark Anglers fly shop in Buena Vista. In 2009, my dad and I stopped in there with the intent of fishing in the area and was greeted with one of the biggest assholes I have ever met working in a fly shop. It was the first time I was ever told that unless I wanted to buy their guiding service there was no reason to fish the Arkansas River. Needless to say I walked out and didn’t buy a ting from him. Fast-forward 6 years to 2015 and I found myself in Buena Vista again. As I said I was headed to the South Platte, but I needed a bottle of fly floatant so I gritted my teeth and walked back into the ArkAnglers flyshop. This time was completely different. The young man working in the fly shop was incredibly personable and fun to talk with. By the time it was all over he had sold me on the Arkansas River, described to me several places to fish and had talked me into spending some time checking out the area. I didn’t stay and fish, but he talked into spending enough time there that I have decided that it is truly worthy of heading back there in the future. And while you are there give ArkAnglers a chance. They seem to be a completely different fly shop now than they were during my first experience with them back in 2009.
There is a problem with Colorado. There are so many great places to fish and I typically have very little time to fish them. I just need to figure out how to make a living spending my time on the stream. However, if it was that easy everyone would be doing it.
I rolled into Eleven Mile Canyon on the South Fork of the Platte River around noon. After paying my $6 to the Forest Service I headed up the canyon on what had to be the absolutely worst roads of the trip. It was eleven miles of washboard gravel roads. They were the kind of roads you actually have to speed up to drive on because slow speeds actually make it worse. I drove about half way up the canyon and pulled over to fish. As I hit the stream the fish were rising for Tricos. I hop scotched up the stream hitting each of the fishing holes that looked good and didn’t have other fishermen in them. I managed to land a couple browns on dry flies during the hatch then switched to a nymphing rig with a #14 prince, #18 harvester and a #20 RS2 under and indicator. That seemed to do well the rest of the day as I landed several browns. About ½ hour before dark the BWO hatch began and the water boiled with rising trout. Of course, in the half-dark I could not find any BWO’s in my box, but I did entice a few browns with a Trico.
The next morning proved to be a repeat of the night before. As long as the water was in the shade the BWO’s were hatching. Fish were rising everywhere, but with the extra light they were a bit smarter to my Trico substitute. I finally found a couple BWO’s in my fly box. Of course they were about twice the size of what was hatching, but it was all I had. I finally started to hit a few fish and eventually landed a decent 12-inch cutthroat. As the sun hit the water the fish went back sub-surface. This coincided with the time I need to go and break camp to head back to Missouri. I learned it was 15 hours from the head of Eleven Mile Canyon to the doorstep of my house and that included a 45-minute side excursion when I missed the turnoff at Kit Carson, Colorado.
|Nice Cutthroat from the South Platte|
Oddly enoughWhile it is flat and seems featureless. There is some pretty cool things to be seen in eastern Colorado and Western Kansas, especially around sunset.
|Something about the vastness of Eastern Colorado|