Fly Fishing The Dream Stream

The Dream Stream offers the opportunity to land a brown trout of a lifetime

The small stretch of South Platte connecting Spinney and 11 Mile reservoirs can be the place where your dreams come true. Cutties and ‘bows push the tape measure to 25 inches and above during February through April. Brown trout weighing in at 8 pounds and above make the rounds on social media from September through November. The river has an abundance of scuds, midges, baetis, and caddis. The trout here are as big and strong as ox. Yes, this really is a dream of a stream.

But with all that said, each parking lot can look like a Costco on a Saturday morning. Friendliness and civility can be replaced by combat fishing. High-holing and low-holing your fellow angler can be more the norm rather than the exception. Yes, this really can be a nightmare of a stream.

There are those that love the Dream Stream and those that loathe it.

Regardless of your personal feelings on fishing the Dream Stream, the only thing that matters is that it’s fished in an ethical manner. Large cutthroat and rainbow trout from 11 Mile Reservoir move into the river for their annual spawning process anywhere from February through April. Brown trout from 11 Mile do the same during late September and lasting until early November.

As responsible anglers, we must respect the spawning process of our trout. This will ensure a naturally reproducing eco-system and help maintain the overall health of the river. To do so, we should follow these four simple rules during the spawning months:

  1. Never fish to trout on Redds
  2. Never fish to trout that are in pairs anywhere near a Redd
  3. Limit your wading across the river
  4. Stay away from the river at nighttime

A Redd is a clean patch of river bottom where the female trout lays her eggs to be fertilized by the male trout. Fishing to trout on or near them, especially if they’re paired up, should be avoided like the plague. Walking across a Redd will destroy the eggs on it so it’s something for us to avoid at all costs. And as much pressure as these trout get it’s a good thing to stay away from night time fishing as well. Avoiding nighttime fishing will help because if trout are over-pressured it will negatively affect their body’s spawning behavior so giving them that nighttime break.

Love it or leave it. Fish it or don’t. The only thing that matters during these spawning months is that we anglers fish the Dream Stream in an ethical manner.

 

 

Avoid Spawning Fish!

The colors are starting to change and the air is cooling off. This means Fall is here and brown trout are starting to spawn. As anglers we all get temped to target big fish in shallow water but please resist the urge to target these fish. Here is little video from Redington explaining this topic.

National Public Lands Day

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, is as the kids say, amazeballs

Tomorrow, Saturday 22nd, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Public Lands Day! Every national park in America will be fee-free tomorrow. That includes the 13 national parks we have here in Colorado.

Get out and enjoy the national parks that our beautiful state has to offer. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison has some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see, in any state. The Florissant Fossil Beds are a hidden gem in our backyard that most people have never heard of. The Great Sand Dunes are a gosh darn geological wonder! Seriously, how’d they get like that?

Dan McKenzie, of Follow Your Detour, helping rebuild trails in Acadia National Park

National Public Lands Day is also a great opportunity to volunteer at any of our amazing national parks. Dan and Lindsay McKenzie (these are two of the best people you’ll ever meet and I highly encourage that you start following their blog), of Follow Your Detour, wrote a great article about their experience of volunteering at Acadia National Park at the last NPLD. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in volunteering yourself.

But volunteering or not, National Public Lands Day is a chance for all of us to get out and enjoy our land. The ability to visit these beautiful creations is one small, but important reason, why we’re the greatest country on earth.

 

 

Public Land Leasing in the American West

The fact of the matter is that we as American’s are a divided people right now. Left vs Right, Snowflake vs Fascist, Clintonista vs Trumpette. Labels too loosely thrown around from one side to another, but which underscore the fissure in our society. And now Western states, Colorado included, face another divisive issue; the leasing of public land for the development of oil and gas drilling.

Do current economic gains outweigh future loss of lands and environmental degradation?

The Department of the Interior will begin a 2.4 million acre auction of public lands in the American West over the next couple of months to oil and gas companies.

At the heart of the matter, we have to ask ourselves this very important question: do the economic gains of drilling, fracking, and refinement outweigh the loss of public land usage and the environmental consequences that come with it?

Proponents of leasing public land will point to American energy independence, job creation, and economic surpluses that will go to each individual state that leases their land. In Colorado alone, oil and gas revenue from publicly leased land produced $2.3 billion in 2017.

Opponents will argue that the loss of land that Theodore Roosevelt promised future generations is irreplaceable. They will also argue that many of the parcels of land up for auction are directly adjacent to precious national parks like *the Great Sand Dunes here in Colorado or the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. There were 619 reported oil and gas spills in 2017, up 17% from the previous year, in Colorado alone. That combined to spill 93,000 gallons of oil into our state’s environment.

This is where it becomes sticky. Where do your priorities lay? The economic gains Colorado could see will help develop our infrastructure, add a much needed boost to our schools, and of course, create many more jobs. But an important question us Coloradans need to ask ourselves, government agencies, and elected officials is this; is there evidence of our enormously important outdoor tourism/recreational economy taking a hit from land lost that used to be used for hiking, hunting, fishing, mountain biking and so on?

If there is one statement I can make with certainty it is this; we as humans are flawed. There will be errors and mistakes in the drilling/fracking process. It is not an if but rather a when. Can we live with ourselves knowing we were the generation that didn’t give this beautiful land of ours to our grandchildren?

This is an issue that needs dialogue and input. Engage your fellow Coloradan about this very important issue. But in doing so, try and be open-minded and open to other’s opinions. For make no mistake about it this issue of leasing public lands, one way or another, will affect our state and country for years to come. And remind yourself, we live in the greatest country on earth. We, The People, shape the direction of our future. Get involved. Please.

Colorado State Land Board

Colorado Bureau of Land Management 

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner

*Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management originally planned to auction the right’s on September 6th, 2018. The BLM decided to consult with the Navajo Nation, which owns land in the area, before deciding whether to sell drilling rights on 29 square miles of public land just east of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. 

 

 

Colorado Voluntary Fishing Closures

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has issued two new voluntary fishing closures around the state. They are asking anglers to stop fishing from noon through 6:00 am for the Conejos River and the Arkansas tail water below Pueblo Reservoir.

Extremely low flows combined with overly warm temperatures has raised the water temperatures in each river to dangerously high levels for trout survival.

Any time a river’s water temperature reaches 68 degrees and above that is the threshold to where all anglers should cease trout fishing. It is at that point that there has been too much oxygen dissolved in the river for a trout to be successfully released. Carp, bass, walleye and other warm water species are still good to be targeted but catching a trout at that water temperature will likely end in their death.

Voluntary closures remain in place in the following rivers: The Eagle, Roaring Fork, White River, Colorado from State Bridge to Rifle, Fraser River, Crystal River, Tomichi Creek, and Rio Grande River.

Please stay tuned for the latest updates on all rivers.

Colorado Elk Hunting

In the heat of the moment bull elk can be tough to distinguish from a bull moose

It’s time to head to the high country and fill the freezers because Colorado elk hunting season has begun!

The Archery Season began on August, 25th and will run until September, 23rd. Muzzleloader Season will run September, 8th through September, 16th. Riffle Season has four separate seasons to draw tags in:

  • First Season: October, 13th through October, 17th
  • Second Season: October, 20th through October, 28th
  • Third Season: November, 3rd through November, 11th
  • Fourth Season: November, 14th through November, 18th

Elk hunting not only fills our freezers but it provides an incredible boost to the Colorado economy. But, when we head up the to hills searching for that perfect 6 by 6 bull, we want to make sure that that is what we’re actually targeting. There have been a few reports of hunters accidentally taking down moose– archery and muzzleloader season for moose does not start until Sept. 8th– instead of the intended elk.

Please watch this video, produced by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in helping make the sometimes subtle distinctions between bull elk and moose.

How Many Species of Fish have you Caught on the Fly?

Anglers across the wold achieve to catch as many species of fish on the fly as they can. This video about Jeff Currier is something special. Imagine catching over 400 species of fish on the fly? How many have you caught? Whats on the top of your list?

Fly Fishing takes us to some amazing places. I know we get caught up in the fish we are chasing but sometimes its the journey not the destination.

 

High Mountain Lakes Fly Fishing

Summer is a fantastic time to fish rivers and creeks but it also is the perfect time to strap on a backpack and explore some high mountain lakes. Colorado has a vast number of high alpine lakes loaded with trout.

I was lucky enough to have a few days off last week so fellow guide Reid Eakins and myself hit the road in search of high mountain cutthroats. What we have found is that the more remote you get, the better the fishing will be;  with this in mind, we ventured South down to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The plan was to spend 3 days in the backcountry fishing. With our packs loaded with fishing gear and the backpacking essentials (whiskey, of course), we hit the trails.

The first day we hiked 4.5 miles to our first destination. We set up camp in the early evening and fished well into the evening hours. Fish were rising but it was a challenge to figure out what they were eating. Finally, after switching several flies, Reid started picking fish up on a thin mint fly; they took the fly on a very slow retrieve. The next day, we hiked up to another lake looking for bigger cutthroats. We found fish to be eating scuds just below the surface on a very fast retrieve. After a long day of fishing and hiking we relaxed at our campsite sipping whiskey and sharing fish stories.

Backpacking and fishing go great together; it is a great opportunity to get away from the hustle of city life and explore what the Colorado mountains have to offer.

Give your local creeks or rivers a break and explore some high mountain lakes!

 

 

 

Fishing The Big Thompson River

Anglers please beware, as of this writing, the water temperature measured on the Big Thompson river is peaking at 71 degrees. We want to give notice to the entire Colorado fishing community that the river is reaching critically hot water temperatures. Please do not fish this river, or any river, once the temperature reaches 68 degrees and above.

As we reported earlier in the month, monitoring the water temperature of your river is very important in these types of conditions. The fact is, Colorado is in a severe drought so there isn’t a lot of water flowing through our rivers and the current heat wave we find ourselves in is exacerbating the situation.

When the river does reach the breaking point, 68 degrees and above, it does not mean that you have to hang up the rod. High alpine lakes and small creeks are still great options, with half of the angling pressure to boot.

For the sake of our river’s entire eco-system, thank you for your consideration.