Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring: Pre-spawn Rainbow Trout

Line Control
Spring is here.  Crystal clear water, steady flows and hatches!  The tease has arrived, a brief period in time of euphoric fly fishing before run off swells.  No tourists, skiing's still grabbing most of the attention, the rivers are reasonably unpressured, and most importantly the fish are hungry.

Weather is always a consideration this time of year.  One thing about Colorado, if you don't like the current weather, just wait five minutes or so.  Just last Wednesday we set a record high temperature of 79 degrees that was followed by snow that evening.  There's something to be said for variety I guess.

In any case, yesterday Mercury must have been in retrograde.  All the pieces of the puzzle came together.  The weather was gorgeous, the streamflow on the Big Thompson was perfect, the water clarity was awesome, and the sight fishing was incredible.  Some afternoon clouds even rolled in, setting in motion a terrific BWO and midge hatch that closed out my day.

It's been a while since I visited the Big T, although it's one of my favorite rivers.  I like it because it affords me the opportunity to break out my small gear.  Plus, I can make it as easy or as difficult as I want.  It fishes pretty much like a freestone even though it's a tailwater river below Estes Lake.  There are plenty of big boulders and pockets as well as highly oxygenated plunge pools to collect fish.  It's a very healthy river filled with tons of 12-18 rainbows and browns in every suspicious looking lie.  Of all the variety that comes with this stretch of water, the dry fly hatches throughout the winter are simply extraordinary.

The grip of nymphing continues to tighten its hold on the fly fishing community, at least in Colorado.  I suspect it's the instant reward resulting from higher catch rates when fishing sub-surface.  Still, with so many excellent dry fly opportunities, I struggle to understand why people wouldn't want to strap on a dry and enjoy the visual high that comes from getting a few surface takes.

I caught a pleasant number of fish.  They were taken on some nymphs in the morning in colder water temperatures, a couple on a midge cluster before lunch, and a combination of dries and emergers in the afternoon.  A tiny (#24) cobalt blue thread midge tied beneath a black Tung bead and UV black ice dubbing with blue Lagartun fine wire proved very effective as a dropper.  This fly is a variation on Charlie's Deep Blue Poison Tung.   All of my fish ranged between 9-16".  It was a very good day.
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Brk Trt said...

Wow, those colors on that rainbow are stunning.

carlp said...

Great looking rainbow

Bigerrfish said...

Right on!

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