Friday, March 25, 2011
Running of the Bulls.... NOT
On a hot tip I got from a good buddy of mine, undoubtedly a conversation he overheard at a gas station pump while signing the second mortgage papers required to fill a tank these days, I was told he heard a rumor that the rainbows were coming up out of Chatfield Reservoir and were staging to spawn in the South Platte River below Waterton Canyon. Naturally, I dropped everything and headed to the river.
This spawn run has been notoriously difficult to catch each year, if it ever gets going at all. We have Denver Water to thank for the stingy disposition of this amazing big fish fest. In truth, I've only been able to assemble the right ingredients twice in the last ten years to enjoy a truly great spawn run. It requires the right amount of water release from Strontia reservoir, which hardly ever happens this time of year.
Oblivious to the odds and blinded by the memory of two of the largest trout I've personally caught in Colorado, I raced to the river with depth charge gear and yummy flies fit to satisfy a lunker searching the deep for eggs. Hind sight being 20/20, I should have paid more attention to the suggestion that, "I should go check it out first and figure out if WE should go fishing together this weekend." I'm an idiot.
After a lengthy but enjoyable walk to the river in the early morning light, I arrived streamside to find unbelievably clear conditions and perfect water temperature, but sadly very little flow. Without the right amount of flow, there simply isn't enough water to allow the trout to move up out of the reservoir to spawn in the river.
Rigged with my favorite deep big fish rig, I sat down at my favorite hole in despair, braced for a good helping of lemons. Then, a nose... lemonade? I made a few drifts, watching my indicator as it navigated its way through a landmine of surface rings. After a few attempts to locate some big bottom dwellers, the surface action proved to be too much to resist. I changed my mindset, my leaders, and my flies, and got ready for a change in venue. I spent the majority of the day chasing snits rising to dry flies the remainder of the day.
It was a good day. It wasn't quite what I had hoped for, but at the same time, it was so much more.