Thursday, July 1, 2010

What the Shuck? Three days without a thread midge!

Any front range Colorado angler is no stranger to the size 24 thread midge dead drifted under a bobber below your favorite local tailwater reservoir. It's a jail sentence that, while technically is still called fly fishing, dulls the senses to absolute monotony giving way to an absent mind of what defines the essence of fly fishing, the dry fly.

I had the unique opportunity this week to spend some time with some amazing anglers who came from all over Colorado, Utah, Montana, and Oregon to witness a truly amazing biological bug factory, the Rio Grand River. I was joined by a number of other fly shop owners, guides and factory representatives from Simms and Idylwilde flies to enjoy what can only be described as ... well, an awesome dry fly hatch.

Located just three and a half hours from South Metro Denver, the month of June and July hosts one of the most remarkable dry fly hatches that exists in our state. In fact, I have witnessed very few hatches of this magnitude on almost any river, with exception to perhaps the Missouri in October. In the three short days I was given to explore the river, I saw virtually every bug I've ever known to exist in Colorado, Salmon Flies, Stone Flies, Caddis of multiple varieties, PMD's, BWO's, Green Drakes, Grey Drakes, you name it.

We spent our days floating different sections of the river primarily from Deep Creek in Creede all the way down stream to Del Norte with nothing to do but tie on our favorite size 10-12 dry flies feeding literally hundreds of fish anxiously awaiting the next juicy morsel to come floating overhead. As the provider of all things feather and furr, the challenge for Patrick Kilby, director of operations for Idylwilde flies, was formidable. He succeeded though beyond my wildest expectations. When it comes to preparation for this trip, the only pieces of advice I can offer are:
  1. Bring the kitchen sink
  2. Make sure your flies are huge
If you can't or don't want to float the river, fear not. There are ample spots to wade fish. Like many Colorado rivers there is an abundance of private property that supports the high quality fish you will catch, but there is also a large amount of publicly accessible water that is easily marked. If you're feeling adventurous, there are dozens of small tributary streams such as Rat Creek just South of Creede that are literally choked with 12-14" fish. Depending on your perspective, the beauty of this river is its relative low pressure. I'm shocked at how many people race for the Roaring Fork or Frying Pan rivers for a day of fishing from Denver without giving the Rio Grand a second thought at less distance (and quite frankly a far more beautiful drive).

Should you go, I can't recommend Mike McCormick of Wolf Creek Fly Shop or John Flick of Duranglers more highly as two outfitters that are exceptionally familiar with the river and the surrounding activities that make Creede such a great place to get away for a weekend. While there are an abundance of fly patterns that will work on this river, there are three you really shouldn't go without, size 12 Grey Parachute Adams, size 14 Kingrey's Black Foam Caddis, and size 10 Quigley's Film Critic. Tie some on and get busy!


parkerjamesii said...

You make it sound way too good for this easterner.
Reading these stories makes me a bit schizophrenc.
I both love and hate it.
I've got to get back out west, or I think the fly fishing section of my cerebral cortex is going to pop and a white fly hatch will come out the top of my head.

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