Friday, July 8, 2011

Tough day at Spinney

Had the day off so I was able to sneak out to Spinney Reservoir this morning! Hit the parking lot about 5:45am and started the hike to the islands. I was told the area was fishing well a week and a half ago. It should be prime Callibaetis and Damsel hatch time with some Chiro's and Giant Caddis around, too. The various forks of the South Platte were still extremely flooded as I passed them on the way in. I figured Spinney would be about capacity!

Well, that was not the case. The lake is something like 3 feet below capacity. I had never seen the islands so bare of water. These pics are usually all water...To make matters worse, the weeds have grown to the surface and that makes it very difficult to fish without snagging. I tried various nymph patterns both with and without the indicator without any luck. I finally put on a sz 10 Lime Stimulator with a Chiro underneath. I didn't see any Caddis yet but needed something bouyant to keep out of the weeds. Well first cast I was able to land this guy:

A 20" aerialist Bow with a huge chin. Fat fish and off the schnide!

Fishing was slow so I hopped in the float tube trying to get away from the weeds to deeper water like my man Brandon recommended. On the way I trolled various nymphs and enjoyed a Casa Magna Colorado :)

The weather started to get ugly with winds coming in at all directions which made float tubing very difficult. I could hear the guys in boats with anchors doing better than I was but I couldn't fish they way they were. I landed a couple more like this one who jumped so much he got the camera wet...

In between the gusts of wind I would see Callibeatis, Caddis, and Damsels come through the channels though there wasn't a prolifi hatch of any of them. There was a midge hatch that was insane right when I got there but the fish were not keyed in on them at all. Millions of grey and olive midges. I had never seen that at Spinney before.

I made a few friends with the Damsels. I named this one Fred.

About 11 the gale force winds picked up and never disappated. It was extremely difficult to paddle back to the islands in the face of the wind. I was exhausted. I wondered for a while if I could even do it but I made it after bypassing the open water for more cover of the islands and up one of the more protected channels.

It's tough to say fishing was poor when the smallest fish landed was 20" but they were few and far between. Lost a couple on LDR's and had my leader snap after what I beleive was a decent sized Pike - almost ripped the rod out of my hand and shredded the 7.5' 3X leader about half way through. I did see a number of Pike as the water was so shallow. I didn't try to fish for them at least on purpose because I wasn't properly equipped.

All in all a nice day, but tough fishing. After the hike back to the car in the face of the winds I was exhausted and very deserving of a cellared Jubilation Ale :)

The water level must have dropped because the guys that recommended the islands didn't say anything about how low the water was. If the resevoir was full it might have been an eipc day. Perhaps next time ;)

Black Mesa, Uncompahgre River, Crystal Lake

The family spent a week up in Black Mesa (North Rim of the Black Canyon) a couple weeks ago, and I am just now getting to updating the blog. Whoops. Anyhow, it's beautiful up there. Lindsay rode her horse every day and the kids and I enjoyed the Colorado scenery and campsite. It was very relaxing, no cell phone reception, completely off the grid. :) I was able to sneak away for a day. I stopped in Gunnison to check on the levels of the Gunnison River in the canyon. The flows were still really high and the Fly Shop recommended avoiding it, bummer. I decided to head out to the Uncompahgre River, tailwater of Ridgeway Reservoir. Loren joined me as we went to Pa-Co-Chu-Pak after recommendations from my buddy Dave.

You can see the river is swollen here too, that time of year :( It was also very silty in color. I ran into a ranger who said they were anticipating further flooding upstream and had no choice but to flood the tailwater. Here's Loren working a seam.

Ultimately we didn't land any fish. I had a number of hits on various flies but they seemed to be nipping at them and not really taking them. I put on a stinger and that didn't help. It is clear that they have spent some time and effort making this a great fishery when it's not so high. I'd love to come back some time and try again.

We headed South to and through Ouray, which is my new favorite place. Surrounded on all sides by mountains. So pretty. Wermers suggested hitting Crystal Lake which is just south of Ouray up the pass (very vertical).

Crystal Lake is gorgeous! Crystal clear with fantastic scenery. Right off the road, too.

The fish were killing these (gray drake?). If you could cast away from the brush and rocks further into the lake you could hammer them. I quickly landed two little guys and foolishly didn't take photos. The strikes were so quick I was sure I could catch the larger fish feeding. However, after the initial two I got nothing. I'd like to lug a float tube in there and try again sometime. On the way back to the Mesa, about 3 hours, we stopped at Ouray Brewery in town. Cool little Brewery right in town. Opened in 2010. The people there were great and the beer was solid (we bought 2 growlers). They talked fishing with us before we had to take off. I'd happily go back and would recommend it if you're in the area!