Here I sit on a beautiful Colorado Friday morning sipping coffee on the patio taking in the fresh smell of nature. What a great way to start the day, however my mind is still pondering last evening as I was feverishly tying flies for this weekend’s guide trips. As I tie, I always need to have some kind of background noise – it was ESPN Sports Center.
A little background is needed – my fulltime job that I call my career is working in the sports world for USA Hockey. I have been fortunate to work with the Olympic movement for numerous years and within this industry you tend to be a sports nut, which is putting it mildly.
Over the past week the sports world has seen its turmoil:
1. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig contemplating his presence at San Francisco Giants’ games to see Barry Bonds shatter one of the most legendary marks in all of sport.
2. NBA Commissioner David Stern having to work through allegations of a referee gambling.
3. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell having to deal with the Michael Vick dog fighting allegations.
4. Tour de France organizers having to deal with more athletes being disqualified because of doping allegations.
What in the Wide World of Sports is going on? From my perspective I watch and gather the facts and research the “fallout” these stories are going to have in a marketing perspective. My head is full of confusion. I take another sip of my strong coffee and look into the distance of Pike’s Peak, the nation’s most famous mountain.
The answer – GO FISHING!!! Stop thinking about the fallout and start plotting a game plan. The Sports Center’s of the world will continue to update us on… who cares!!!
My TV is off. I may not even grab a paper. Sports radio off. My truck is loaded and ready to venture into the mountains as the Colorado Rivers are exploding with bugs. Through the week, it has been awesome reports.
From what I can tell – where would you rather be than right smack dab in the middle of a river throwing big dry flies, nymphing, and maybe tossing some streamers at great fish? Below is a recap of some of my favorite spots.
South Platte River:
11-Mile Canyon and Dream Stream – 180-190 flow as of Friday morning
On the surface: PMDs, Trico spinners, Yellow Sallies, Hoppers
Below the surface: WD40s, Rojo Midge, Black Beauty, Mercury RS2, BWO, Baetis
Cheesman Canyon – 414 flow as of Friday morning
On the surface: PMDs, Caddis, Hoppers
Below the surface: Baetis, Worms, RS2, BWO Emergers, Caddis (all forms), and more Caddis patterns
Deckers – 414 flow as of Friday morning
Flies: Same as Cheesman
Fish from the bridge up in Deckers. The fish are on the sides and make sure to toss your dries into the bank and it will be crashed. You may get lucky and catch one of the large fish that was pushed down from the Wigwam club.
North Fork of the South Platte River:
Private Ranches line this corridor of 285, however you can find some public water between Bailey and Shawnee. The flows are between 400 and 430 making it hard to land the large trout that populate these waters. If you go to the top for action, make sure you go with large bugs and put a weighted dropper off the back and toss it into the banks as the fish are holding on the sides out of the current. If you go with nymphs, try using a large attractor pattern with a bit of shine and shimmer to attract the fish for hits, and make sure to put on lots of weight. As for shimmer and shine – Wonder Worm, Bead Worm, Princes, Copper Johns (bright colors), Flashback Nymphs, and anything that is bright.
HINT – If you latch into fish, make sure to control the head and keep it close to the bank and out of the mid-stream current or you will be chasing it down stream.
South Boulder Creek:
Lincoln Hills – 172 flow as of Friday morning
On the surface: PMDs, Grey Drakes, Hoppers, Ants
Below the surface: Princes, Pheasant Tails, PMD Emergers, Stoneflies, Copper Johns, Pink Worms
This river is just on fire. Take a little bit more time to drive there, but it is worth the extra gas money. The hatches are thick and the action is feverish for flies on the top.
I will be out the entire weekend and will provide feedback for the week ahead, and come Monday morning I may pick up a newspaper to see just the scores.
— Anthony Bartkowski