Thursday, December 16, 2010

TU Trip - Update to Jan. 1st Arkansas Trip

Update December 31st:  Well.... we haven't had any significant weather events this entire fall or early winter.  Sure enough, I plan an event, and we get dumped on with snow, cold weather and bitter wind chill.  I've checked the weather and it seems that Canon City is going to face some pretty brutal conditions tomorrow, making fishing and traveling pretty uncomfortable, not to mention unsafe.  I  also talked to the boys at the Shack and it seems the room I was hoping to use for a fly tying session has been reserved for another party.  Long story short.... Our January trip is turning out to be a bust! 

I should have a scouting report available as soon as the weather breaks for our February trip.  I'm really excited about this stretch of water as I've not fished it before and I feel reasonably confident it will be a beautiful stretch of tail water access with limited pressure.  Check back here or on the TU calendar for an update shortly.  I'm sorry we weren't able to put January in the books.

What better way to ring in the new year than to spend its first day fishing the Arkansas River in Colorado's own banana belt?

I spent some time this week planning and scouting the Arkansas in preparation for the upcoming Cutthroat Chapter Trout Unlimited Fishapalooza.  It was quite cloudy but pleasantly warm with temperatures that reached 62 degrees.  The flow was a little over 400 cfs and the water conditions were quite clear.  Water temperatures ranged from 38-43 degrees.  I only had a couple of hours to fish during the middle of the day but managed to catch a good sampling of garden variety Arkansas river brown trout.  So.... they're in there.  I took a few photographs and generally just enjoyed being outside and spending a little time with the idiot.

Most of my fish were caught on either a #10 tungsten hotwire prince or a #16 green caddis larva.  That pattern combination is pretty reliable during the winter months on the Arkansas, but feel free to bring your own concoction when we go together.  Generally speaking, something big and heavy as a lead fly and something of the caddis persuasion or small midge behind will keep you in fish most of the day.  I did swing up a fish on a olive and wire tungsten soft hackle during the heat of the day, which is always a thrill. 

Our monthly fishing excursions are typically held the first Saturday after the monthly membership meeting.  This month, that would make it on Christmas day - probably a little tough to get participation.  New Year's day though, now that's got some spice!  Plus it will keep you from overindulging New Year's Eve.

Weather permitting here's what I have in mind:

Plan A.  We'll be fishing the lower stretches of the Arkansas, starting at Texas Creek and moving down river toward Canon City.

Plan B.  If there's ice flowing in the river, we'll head down to the SWA just below Pueblo Reservoir. These are stocked fish, but it's a tailwater so flow should be pretty reliable.

Cold winter fishing has never kept me off the water.  Assuming we have normal seasonal winter conditions, I'll be bundled up and ready to wet a line.  If the weather is unsafe however, or the winds are expected to really blow,  Plan C will be to meet at The Shack later in the morning for a fly tying round table and some football.  Check back here, on this post, the evening before or morning of Fishapalooza for any game time Plan C changes in venue brought on by unsafe weather.

Rally Point:    TU Chapter parking lot at 7899 S Lincoln Ct. Littleton CO   Car Pool arrangements will be made in the parking lot.

Call to Action:     Saturday, January 1, 2011

Departure Time:     8:00 a.m.

Destination:     Allow just a little over two hours drive time

Clothing:     Dress appropriately for winter conditions.  Bring a change of dry clothes (in case you float your hat).  Don't forget pocket hand warmers.  You'll thank me!  Stocking hat, and of course gloves.

Other Gear:     Streamside lunch, Thermos with warm drinks, folding chair, wading staffs are a great idea when winter fishing, WADER MAT (lot of cactus around the changing area).  I like a 10' four weight rod for nymphing but I always bring a stiff five weight as a backup to the Arkansas for WHEN the canyon gets windy.  Leaders should be 9' tapered to 5x.  We'll be nymphing most of the day so bring lots of sizes of split shot, your favorite kind of indicator, a good selection of Copper John's, Caddis pupa and larva, Pheasant Tails in a variety of sizes 10-22, some Buckskins, and or course Flashback RS2's in size18-22 (I like olive for the Arkansas).

I hope you're as excited as I am!  Please contact me ahead of time if you're planning on attending or sign up at the TU Christmas party December 21st.
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