Rocky Ford Report

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
To my surprise, I had the entire water to myself yesterday from 2 - 9 pm.

Tried dead drifting a scud under a corkie, but no luck, so switched out to a white steamer and immediately had a nice fish on. Hooked a total of 6 nice trout (approx 14 to 20 inches) on various sizes and colors of streamers. Long distance released 4, landed 2.

Here is the surprise - Fish started rising constantly approx 2 hours before sunset. Hoping for trout, I put the steamers away and tied on size 16 dry flies to imitate the approx size of caddis and mayflies flying all around me. I hooked at least 20 northern pike minnows of about 6 inches. I had to double haul to get my flies over a weed bed to the rising fish, so casting was fun. I used 4x fluorocarbon and striped or swung the flies to get violent strikes from the little fish. All were hooked in the long, slow, shallow pools below the 2nd fish hatchery before the stream narrows.

I hope pike minnows have not replaced the feisty trout that I hooked down there earlier in the year on the same dry flies. Pike minnows fight for 5 seconds max, then nothing, kind of like the whitefish I hook while targeting rainbows on that Yakima.

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
Lower bridge is still closed.
There is a sign saying it is closed due to "safety" reasons.
You can still hike to it from the upper bridge.
It seems the chains blocking access to the bridge from hell are a little lower now than they were earlier in the season.
The trails are almost completely coverd with vegitation and stickers below the lower bridge.


Indi "Ira" Jones
I hoped you killed the squawfish. what was the water temp? mike w
The Ford is Catch and Release only, although do they specify in the regs where you need to release the fish?
I can't imagine that the NPM will cause any harm to that fishery in anyway shape or form. The trout do not spawn successfully, they are stocked in big enough that the NPM couldn't eat them and there is enough food in the system to support many more fish. If anything they could provide a nice extra fishery. In the end, they have much more right to be in that lower system than the trout do.

Chad Lewis

NEVER wonder what to do with your free time
In the end, they have much more right to be in that lower system than the trout do.
Agreed. Every trout in there is stocked. Pike minnow is a native species. The only reason there's a bounty on pike minnow is because we've fucked up the ecosystem so badly that we think we have to kill them to preserve salmon runs.

David Dalan

69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E
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Fun pikeminnow trivia. There is anecdotal evidence that the colorado pikeminnow (endangered fish in most of its range) once reached 6' and 80#. Could be BS, and an is old timer tale for sure. I caught a local PM once below ice harbor (on a crawfish plug, chasing bass) that was well over 25". Thought I hooked a carp/moldy king. Barrel shaped, and had a HUGE sore on it's back.

<end thread hijack>

Nice day, I'm going to take some folks up there when the temps are more gentle (for them, not for me) and see about getting them into some footballs.

Greg Price

Love da little fishies

Unfortunately, did not see any rattle snakes. Maybe it was because I stomped my feet and swung my 9 ft rod in front of me when crashing through the overgrown trail and rocky sections where I have seen rattle snakes in the past.

I have only had the pleasure of seeing rattlesnakes 2 times since I started fishing RF in he mid 90's.

Did however hear and bark at coyotes near sunset. Heard bids. Saw trout, carp and the pesky little pikeminnows.

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
I hoped you killed the squawfish. what was the water temp? mike w

This is a moral dilemma for me.

I love trout, and hate anything that might out compete trout for habitat.

I did not check the regs, but my belief is that RF is catch and release for all fish, not just rainbows.

I gently released the little squawfish that rose to my dry fly.

As for the big squawfish that took my subsurface fly, well, he went back in the pool, but I believe he was eaten by some other animal after the release. He did not act like a healthy fish.

It appears to me that these trash fish - pike minnows (squawfish) and carp do not have access to the upper creek. I wonder if the trash fish swim up from Moses Lake. It appears that the man made falls at the lower hatchery separate the fish. I have seen only rainbows in the section between the hatcheries.

Last spring the lower section was full of 6 inch trout that were crazy about rising to small dries. I wonder what happened to them?

Greg Price

Love da little fishies
How ?
I don't go to Rocky Ford to catch NPM.
I've seen small suckers in the upper creek, never NPM.
Not to worry, I did not see any trash fish in the upper section. Only rainbows. I do not believe the trash fish have access to the section between the hatcheries due to the man made falls.