Trip Report Colorado trip 1/2018

cms829

Active Member
#1
Had a business/ski trip planned and couldn't head out without my gear. Stayed in Avon and then Edwards and fished the Eagle and Blue rivers. The first morning I only had an hour and a half while my wife was at a meeting. It was 8 degrees and the river was mostly locked up, but I knew there was a water treatment plant a half mile down so off I went. The river below the plant was open and I fished for over an hour without a touch. Finally running out of time I fished back up and found a really nice brown in a tail-out that took a size 20 copper john. It was a nice fish but I didnt have a net on me so didnt bother taking a pic.

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That afternoon I had another opportunity to get back to the Eagle for a few hours in Edwards. It had warmed up to around 24 by now. I turned one Rainbow first thing but missed him. Gav him a rest and fished down with nothing, so went back to give him another shot. Once again had him on within the first few casts but couldnt keep him buttoned up. Headed up river and found a nice glide, but the shelf ice was scary as hell. It certainly held fish, as I long line released 3 of them and finally landed the 4th. Didnt get a pic of this guy, but it was a nice brown.

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The next day I met a buddy in East Vail and we headed down to the Jurassic Park section of the Blue. When we arrived, it had warmed to a balmy 4 degrees. We made the hike down into the canyon and I was amazed! It was such a picturesque place to fish. I was like a kid in a candy store. The cold wasn't even a thought. We fished down river hard for around 4 hours without a tap. I just couldn't figure this place out. We know there are massive bows in this area, but I guess I just didn't have what it takes to get em to eat. It didn't matter. It was a pleasure just being there. Huge cliffs, blue clear water, Bald eagles flying overhead, looking around for lion tracks, it was pretty damn surreal for an east coaster.

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Humbled and hungry, we headed back up river into Silverthorne to meet up with my wife for dinner after a few more hours of fishing. Within 10 minutes I had spotted a big brown and a MASSIVE 24" or larger rainbow. We fished down with some of my mysis shrimp and I got one nice bow on a little size 22 midge. Then my buddy got a nice brown on one of my epoxy mysis shrimp that I tied for the trip, which was awesome! I got another 2 or 3 big bows, and then it was time to call it a day and go meet my wife. I fished back across the river and my size 20 rainbow warrior got smashed by a massive Cutbow. It took me up river, then shot straight back at me down river. She continued down through a few riffles when I finally got her softly in the net. It was such a crazy looking fish. So red on the cheeks, and the entire belly was pink. Unfortunately my buddy had my phone in his pocket, and he was a few hundred yards up river, so I didnt get a picture of her. Not counting steel, it is the biggest trout I have ever caught. I was amazed, but didnt feel "right" about the place.

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Bottom line: The Blue in town is not my idea of ethical fishing, but there are some huge fish. I feel like a good amount of the fish are just sight fished and foul hooked. Most are beat up pretty badly, and I did not feel good about myself or the fishing afterwards. I felt like I wanted to scoop them all out of there and bring them to a remote part of the river for retirement. They are hatchery fish, and while it was nice to catch a few big rainbows and my first Cutbow, I still dont plan on ever going back there. I would rather catch nothing in the lower Blue, than fish in town again. One of the local fly shop owners told us it was a "joke" in town. Turns out he was certainly right.

Our final day in Edwards I snuck out at sunrise to hit the Eagle again for an hour before heading to Copper. I fished downriver of that same water plant I fished on the first day and had another nice little brown take a size 22 brassie. Good way to end the trip! Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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Freestone

Not to be confused with freestoneangler
#4
Great report and beautiful pictures - thanks for sharing! It is awesome that you were able to get out so much fishing in! I just got back from a business trip to Denver too. I had hoped to try to squeeze in some fishing too but wasn't able to do so. I'll be back later this year and plan to take some vacation after my business is done.
 

cms829

Active Member
#5
Freestone- Yea I was extremely happy to of gotten out as much as I did. I had a whole day fishing with my buddy from Boulder that I rarely see anymore. It was a special day.

I would definitely take some vaca days and fish the area. There are so many possibilities once your a little west of Denver.
 
#6
Thanks for the report. I lived in Colorado in the mid-1970s, and the town reach of the Blue was much different. I have heard there are now private waters along the Blue where landowners have installed automated "pellet feeders" that spray food into the water to fatten up the stockers.

I lived again in Colorado 2005-2008. My most disheartening observation was the high number of rivers and streams that originated within public lands in the higher elevations, but then flowed through privately-held ranches in the mid- to lower reaches. Right where you would want to fish the undercut banks of a meadow reach, I found private "in-holdings" with access excluded by tight barbed wire. Behind those fences, stream flows were diverted into canals and used for hay farming. Thousand-pound beef cattle grazed (pounded) along the meadows. My understanding is this land is private because that's where the early western migrants settled (along the rivers). So, you look at a map and see large areas of public lands, but when you go to fish you find NO TRESPASSING signs along the lower-elevation riparian corridors. Colorado isn't the only place. IMO, Leopold was right about the need for a "land ethic."
 
#7
Awesome report and beautiful fish! Sounds a lot like how the old man takes business trips...except rather than fishing it's upland game bird hunting.
I was amazed, but didnt feel "right" about the place.
I know exactly what you mean by this. In my home waters there's an area that holds fish that seem WAY too large for the water and how some fish for them (and take pictures) gets unethical bordering on cruel (even if there is a "catch-and-release" no bait policy).
Thanks for sharing!
 

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