I arrived right in the middle of the day. Sleeping in is always attractive on my days off so I had a leisurely morning. By the time I arrived, I considered myself fortunate to grab the last open parking space. Armed with my favorite 5 weight and ready to do combat with the anticipated crowds, I started walking downstream.
Whenever I fish tailwaters, be it here in the west or back east, I always notice people standing right in the middle of the better runs. This day was no different. Some of the best holes had people right on top of where they should be fishing. So much for stealth. Meandering down the river, I found some nice spots, but each time I was nearly ready to jump in, I would notice another angler already working the water.
A rough canyon stretch that was better left to the wild critters was finally free of any other fisher folk. Carefully working my way down a boulder field, I pushed through the tangle of willows lining the stream only to discover that I wouldn't be wading far. The water was deep and swift.
Very carefully I worked the edges. Then I waded as far out as I dared and worked the far current seam. Sure enough, tight to the boulder providing a break in the current, my first fish rose energetically.
After a few more casts, I noticed the water just upstream had been vacated. Hating to fish used water but preferring it over swimming, I somehow slithered and stumbled my way upstream over rocks, through willows....and found a paradise.
The section I was now gazing over was a bit wider meaning I could wade all the way across if I was careful. By this time, drakes, PMDs, rusty spinners, caddis, and a few stoneflies were all making an appearance. I love fishing big dries and dug out a big Parachute Adams that was close in size to the drakes I was seeing. Fish started to hammer the big dry as soon as I tossed it out.
Working the closer water first, I slowly started fanning out with my casting to cover the water meticulously. On just the other side of the main current, I noticed a couple of rises. Casting over, a better fish took the fly and promptly headed for fast water. For a couple of minutes it was touch and go. Then the fish went over the rapids below, and I just knew I had lost it. Incredibly, the 5x tippet held, and slowly I regained control. It wasn't until I slipped the net under the fish that I looked up and noticed several spectators giving me the thumps up. Glad I landed that fish!
By now the hatch was getting heavier and fish were rising everywhere. Proceeding slowly upstream, I caught fish after fish, missing as many or more than I was landing. Most were small to medium sized rainbows and browns although every once in a while a better fish would eat.
Taking time to look at the scenery, I noticed signs of fall on the far bank and took time to take pictures. The heat is still holding on here on the plains, but it will be no time at all before the nights are cool and crisp and the browns and brookies are spawning. The elk are already bugling up in Rocky Mountain National Park. The best time of year has arrived!!!