Today Is The Day!

Today was the day! Today was the last day for me to catch a March fish. I tried so hard yesterday and was skunked. To be fair, there were only a few hours to fish, not to mention it was a Saturday. For those of you that fish the Decker’s area, you know what a Saturday can look like as far as the sheer number of anglers in any given stretch of water.  It was also the day of our much anticipated, season kickoff, pancake breakfast at the famed “Cabin” in Decker’s; a tradition of the High Plains Drifters fishing club I belong to here in Denver. While there I was handed a bunch of flies to add to the Tied for a Purpose collection. Thanks Gene.  Fishing yesterday was  also amazing. It was amazing not because I caught fish, it was amazing because I witnessed a friend catch one of the most colorful brown trout’s I have ever seen. The picture hardly does it justice. Not only that but while we were making our way to the water, we saw four mule deer eating across the river.  As we got closer Sean mentioned that they were headed our way. I looked up and sure enough, the four of them were carefully crossing the river as if we were not even there. They proceeded to exit the river about fifteen feet from where we were standing. They probably were laughing at us as they came our way. We must have looked silly just standing there with our jaws on the ground. I have never seen anything like it. After taking a brief look at us, they began to mosey on their way. We talked about what we had just seen for a bit then headed straight to the water. Sean was "sleighing them". He was getting bites with every other cast it seemed. What was I doing wrong? (That question never comes up when fishing. LOL) After what seemed like forever, Sean asked if I wanted to fish the spot that he had been having so much luck with. I think he felt kind of bad for me since I had not yet caught a March fish.  He felt so bad, he even let me fish the same hole he had been catching fish in. What a friend. 

 

After casting for what seemed to be about half an hour, (probably 10 minutes), I finally hooked up. It was a beauty, right up to the point that it flipped me a fin and took off. Crickey!! (Only that is not what I said). It was almost 1pm and Sean had to leave early. I also had dinner plans, I only had about another half an hour to embarrass myself with my gilled friends. It was an unbelievably gorgeous day on the south Platte. 

OK, back to the 27th. The last day I had to catch a March fish. Not to mention the last day I would be able to fish on a 2021 License. Time to renew folks! It is almost March 31st. 

I woke up at 5 this morning. It was hard to get out of bed. Everything was prepared the night before so I would not wake Irena. I was out the door by 6:30. Fishing the Eagle today was the choice and the Walcott exit by 8:30 was my first stop. According to a local fishing report that I regularly read, the Eagle River was fishing well and most of the ice was off. When I got to Walcott, the water was gin clear with hardly any ice shelf.  There were a couple guys above me there already catching fish. I just knew it was going to be a good fishing day. 

No clock was going to get in my way today. It was recommended by the fishing report to use something like a Guides Choice Hair’s Ear, Zebra Midges, and a San Juan Worm along with many others. I like to fish the Guides Choice and really enjoy adding the partridge color when I tie them. Behind the guides choice I added a small chocolate foam winged emerger. For added opportunity I threw a Top-Secret Midge off the back of the mayfly. I fished the rig for a while without much to show for it. Then after about an hour of slinging the three-hook setup I finally got lucky. Oh boy! Could this be it!? March fish on the hook! It felt heavy. I think it was a brown. As I attempted to make my way back toward shore, WhoooooPPPs, SLippppp, SPlashhh, oh crap!! Right then the green algae of the Eagle River slammed me down like a sack of extremely heavy potatoes, I was on my As..pen leaf... Then, as soon as my sore left cheek muscle really starting to scream, I realized the fish was still attached. Oh, wait the fish was still on…?? I quickly stood up and took control of the reel. A couple more tugs and just like that, the fish sprung loose. $*&$*,%#@*&, etc... (Again, not exactly what I said). Now my left glute was on fire, my March fish had escaped, and my pride was floating down the river. Not to worry though, as a couple other fisher-people were kind enough to gather it up as they asked if I was ok. Wow, I was so hoping the day would get better. 

I thought I would make my way to a fishing spot that has always produced. (In fact, it produced a Colorado State Master Angler White Fish for me last year). That is another story for another time. The first thing I noticed was the water in Eagle where I had gone next was as muddy as muddy could be. The spring runoff has begun. I almost decided to try elsewhere but the spot in the past had been so good. With a new fly menu rigged and ready, I began my attack. This time the menu included a San Juan Worm, a Rainbow Warrior, (another favorite to both fish and tie), and for dessert, a smaller Top-Secret Midge. 

This is no ordinary hole mind you. It requires a trip across the river to get in just the right location. Only not today, today would be all about trying to figure out how the fish are able to see anything in front of their little fisheye. I whipped the bugs back and forth for about an hr. Without so much as a rock interested in my fine presentation, I decided to move on. As I pulled my dysfunctional rig from the water to spool up and head out, I noticed a small squirmy thing on the end of the Top-Secret Midge. I had caught a real worm on one of my flies. SO, what did I do? I did what any self-respecting (non-fly fisherman), would do. I returned the worm to the water. of course, it was still on the end of my fly. That counts right? Well, that didn't work either. I loaded up my frustration and made it back across the river to the pickup. No tears yet but I was starting to get nervous. I have caught a fish every month since October 2021.  I just had to keep the streak alive. Yah, I know, there are way- way more important things going on in the world. Just not for me. Not today. 

 

The club started a fishing contest that requires a catch each month to win. I had only a few hours left. It was time to regroup and find some different water. As I made my way to the bridge in Walcott, I noticed the water had changed. It was also starting to cloud up, although not nearly as bad as it was in Eagle. There was one other car pulled off the side of the road. I decided to look. As I peered over the side of the road to look at the river, I noticed a couple guys fishing. One had a fish in the net and another one had one on his line. This had to be the spot. It was almost 1:00. I had only about three or four more hours to fish at most. This time I decided to observe what was going on in and around the water. What a concept. We talk about it all the time. Aside from the guys above me landing fish left and right, there were also several black midges flying around. I also notice tiny little baetis flittering about.  Also present, the tell tail signs (pun intended) of fish rolling over grazing bugs at the surface of the water. The fish weren’t attacking adults, they were gulping emerges. This was it! 

I decided this presentation called for a Micro Leech, a black RS 2, ( When you cut the tails off an RS2 it makes a fantastic midge). Just an FYI. As for the third selection, a tungsten bead headed black Zebra Midge. The first cast produced an exciting take I was cautious though. I didn't want her to get off. After a few nervous seconds, a beauty of a rainbow was sitting in my net. The weight of the fishing world was lifted from my shoulders. At last, I had my March fish. It was crucial to be very careful with the camera as proof is required but I quickly snapped the photo and tucked my "stupid" phone back in my pocket. ( I prefer the term stupid phone to smart phone). Anyway, to say the very least I was excited and happy to have the fish. After a few smooches I let her go. I gathered myself and my fly line and began to cast. Boom! Another gorgeous fish only this time it was a beautiful brown. And so, the afternoon went. I think I landed about fifteen fish in all. None but one was small. The rest were large enough I could not get my hand around them. They were all happy to swim off to be played with another day.

 

And now a little pandering. As many of you know I have been working with a charity that helps kids catch fish. All the flies I used to catch fish today, and even the ones that didn’t catch fish, are available at www.tiedforapupose.com. The Eagle River is a freestone river. Check out the freestone box available at TFP.  You may also like the bead boxes. You will find the Bead Head Zebra Midge and the Guides Choice Hair’s Ear as well as others there.  100% of the proceeds are used to help kid’s fish.  Because every kid should catch a fish!