Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Taste of Tailwater in February

No matter how cold Colorado gets there are sections of water that never freeze. The term “tailwater” refers to water flowing beneath a dam, spillway, etc. This section of water has enough volume and commotion that it will stay open most of the year. This time of year angling is less than comfortable and fishing pressure has been turned down to a mere trickle. These are the times that I enjoy trout fishing in Colorado the most.

(Above: Across the river shot with coyote tracks leading the way.)

The air was crisp at about 13 degrees during the early dawn gear up. This may be cold by some standards but still fishable in my book. Heck, as far as I was concerned this was downright pleasant for this time of year. Crossed the river with some mist rolling up and blue skies overhead. Wind was nil allowing the smell of winter grass to mingle with that of the river algae. A set of coyote tracks was followed in and then even those tracks faded off the snow-covered trail after a hundred yards.

The first few casts came up empty. The next casts after that were met with ice-up, a common problem this time of year. The fish were sluggish and not as territorial as they are in the fall. I could manage a few follows, a few bumps but no committed strikes. One fish chased the lure through a shallow section of water. I could see the ripple on the water surface rushing towards me. Fins emerged as the fish struggled through the rocks and then vanished.

Working my way up to a large pool I cast at the front boil and work my back with a steady retrieve. Thump, thump, the line twitches from what could the bottom of the river or a nipping trout. THUMP! My arm feels the bite and sets the hook instinctively on what felt like a solid fish. Being behind the current flow the finned brute was unable to use the river against me. The fish had no choice but to come towards me and submit to a shameless photo op.

(Above: Crazy two finger hold with the right hand on a glorious male brown trout. Tailwater browns in February like this help me forget my January woes and struggles.)

The day’s action was not as explosive as it could be but I was glad to get some quality fish catches on the blog for 2010. The fish seemed to be less in number but better in size. The bite was very timid as well. I made several adjustments but olive colors seemed to bring more love to the door.

As the fishing continued the cloud cover accumulated overhead. Blue sky changed to cloud cover and then was met with falling snowflakes. Not enough to stop the fishing at first but the flurries grew into a downpour of larger flakes. A few more casts and then back across the river to head out. Better to get out while the road is still good.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Anonymous said...

Good job, Matt. That is a beautiful winter season Brownie! What type lures were you using? Just curious.

Coloradocasters said...

Thank you for the kind words, Mel. The type of lure is a spinner, 1/8 and 1/4oz in weight. Dialing in the color of the day is usually the trick. Blue Fox, Panther Martin and Mepps make a few styles that I use along with rapalas and even bassin' plastics for trout. These methods are greatly frowned upon by the fly fishing brethren in Colorado by the way and with good reason. The trebles can cause more damage and scented plastics are outlawed in some spots. Crimp the barbs, check the signs and release the fish as best you can while expecting a few jeers on the trail is kind of my motto.

Truth be told I love spin fishing and find that at certain times it is very successful for trout. I do fly fish and actually started out with the fly rod in my Montana\Idaho youth. There are certain aspects of fly-fishing that can be very tedious and my lack of patience along with lack of skill get the better of me. How some guys fly fish 24/7 is beyond my mental grasp. Give me my spin rod or give me death! And in a state like Colorado it just may come to that. Ha ha.

Hope this helps. Good luck and good fishing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your lure selection and can't say that I disagree with your assessment of spin fishing for trout. I love it! I kind of share your position as fly fishing seems to be what is expected of most anglers in my area. It is not for me anymore. Been there and done that so to speak.

Happy hook ups!