Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mr. Z goes to Alaska

In many circles I am known as "that guy who fishes a lot" and friends, co-workers and even neighbors will take the time to share photos of their catches with me. One such person is the legendary Mr. Z. Third generation angler; he has fished most of the Colorado high country and beyond. Recently Mr. Z took a trip to the Tsiu River in Alaska in search of silver salmon.

(Above: Hefty fish in the 40lb range and a big smile on Mr. Z. Look at the crooked mug on that fish!!!)

Mr Z got into numbers of smaller fish as well as a few ultra fabulous silver salmon and was kind enough to share a few photos of the trip. He said getting the fish to hit was only part of the test. Landing a big angry fish hell bent on reaching the spawn grounds is something a photo can never describe. You have to taste the experience for yourself.

(Above: This is one angry looking fish. The subtle red hues on the lower body and base of the fins glow like the fire in this fish’s eyes!)

I am very fortunate to know anglers such as Mr. Z and others from the various paths that have been traveled. They are incredibly rich with knowledge and experience. These folks set the bar for my future fishing goals as well as help keep my shameless fish bragging in perspective. Words fail to describe my appreciation but will extend yet another thank you for sharing these photos and some tales from Alaska. “Thank you, Mr. Z!”

Caution! You will encounter bears. In Alaska it is not “if” you see a bear but “when”. This bear came along their fishing party and debated on swimming the river to get a closer look. This bear looks little but if this brownie wants to take a bite or swipe, someone might go home missing a chunk or two…if they make it home at all. People die every year from bears out here. Know before you go.

Silver salmon note: This species is an amazing fish that only exist within a handful of places in the world. Alaska sports some of the best fishing salmon in the world and some of these brutes can reach +50lbs. For more information about this species with some fly-fishing info mixed in, check out the link below. I picked this one because it had a full break down of the life cycle spawn, fry and back to spawn.


Good luck and Good Fishing

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gettin’ dirty at the Projects

(Above: Looking southwest at the tire project with the dock project further in the distance. Everyone is bustling to get as much done before the high temperatures kicked in. It’s more fun than it looks.)

Aside from the lake adoption and favorite fishing hole cleanups, I also like to get down and dirty volunteering for projects (if they are not too far to travel and they somehow fit into my fishing schedule). A private lake membership that controls a lake outside of Longmont had a call for volunteers at their lake that was drained in 2009. Currently the water issues have been settled and the lake is getting filled back up with water and fish. Now is the perfect time to get in there and do a few projects. The projects were few but laborious and very close to muddy edge. There was a structure project and a dock-rebuilding project to go along with their usual cleanup and seasonal maintenance.

Repair the Dock

Weather in Colorado can be a constant barrage of wind, rain, snow and dry heat. These elements combined take a huge toll on everything from picnic benches to outhouses. The dock was showing signs of this weather and in desperate need of repair. The bottom boards were deteriorating quite a bit. These were replaced along with some new Styrofoam pieces as well as switching out a few rusty bolts.

(Above: Close up of the dock project looking northwest. This project was quite a bit of work and the guys kicked butt. Could have got to play with the chainsaw and a few other power tools had I shown up earlier.)

Adding Structure

Originally this lake was little more than a big hole of dirt filled with water for irrigation. When Foothills took over the recreation lease the first thing they started doing was improving structure and water quality. Water quality has been increased by the addition of rock and sand to the mud\dirt base helping control erosion. Elements such as larger rocks, brick and tires are also added for fish structure. This structure gives an area for creatures and smaller fish to congregate. This will also aid and attract larger predator fish as a result.

(Above: Tire project, this is the project I worked on and was the person that grabbed the tire with the hornets’ nest. We actually set that tire up using no bug spray whatsoever and didn’t get stung. How is that even possible? Usually they gang up on me at the first sign of my presence.)

Wired and bolted together, these tires were then anchored down with bricks so they would not end up on shore after a few months of heavy wind. The members say they run their sonar over the already existing structure in the spring and see numbers of fish as opposed to sporadic fish here and there across the incline.

Tire disclaimer: I feel it prudent to state that tires are not my favorite type of structure to use. Even though a lot of great fishing spots have been using tires for nearly a century without any issues, I prefer to use strictly natural elements to avoid any possible chemical contamination regardless of how small. It is my belief that tires can exude toxic chemicals as they degrade or have toxic chemicals sprayed on them such as “fix a flat” or others. These toxic levels are often very minor. We are talking parts per million at best but 100% natural means less possible problems. I am a bit of a purist in this regard, hence the disclaimer.

(Above: Nice shot of the lake through the picnic area looking west. The lake itself is 200 surface acres when at average volume. For more information about these guys and this lake, please contact me at Coloradocasters@yahoo.com)

The lake is in rebuilding mode right now and the fishing won’t be fantastic for a few more years. They have stocked some trout and a few small warmwater species. Hopefully these fish become healthy in time. These members and others volunteer to help out to make things better. They don’t control Mother Nature or ditch companies but do what they can when they can. A little goes a long ways and hopefully all of this effort pays back for these folks in years to come. I got pretty dirty and learned a great deal in the process. Met a lot of really cool people and took one more step forward in regards to making fishing better in Colorado.

Good luck and Good Fishing.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Late Summer Swimbait Update

(Above: I like swimbaits so much that an extra graphic was thrown in on the post. Above is a brook trout swim bait pattern that looks absolutely delicious! Swimbaits are a pattern that I don’t use near enough but one of my late summer\fall favorites. P.S. My graphics department works for beer. lol)

Fishing a local pond that gets quite a bit of pressure I ventured out with a few swimbait patterns (mostly shad and bluegill). Throwing out a few casts I miss two big strikes right off the bat. It was a quick hit-n-get situation where the big bully fish took off without even going for my milk money. They would hit it instantly meaning the color and size was a viable choice but once they got a taste it was all over. I took the bait out of the water and felt it in my hand.

“They eyes…they are hard. Maybe that’s the problem.” I said popping off the eyeballs and tossing back out. The very next fish gave a bite that held on long enough to get the hookset in and then the land. The photo op was a quick one shot and out. “Man, if I would have lost one more fish…Sonofa. Should have looked at that from the start.”

(Above: Swimbait bucket taking part in my recent swimbait survey. 4 out of 5 bass say, “Forage fish and swim baits…it’s what’s for dinner”.)

The rest of the day went much smoother in regards to my swimbait taste test versus three other tactics: spinnerbait (yellow\white), senko (a few colors) and jigcombo. The swimbait outshined the others 3 to 1 at least. A little more experimentation with a few other swimbait types and an even more reliable pattern may develop. One of the great elements about the swimbait is its almost endless versatility in regards to selection.

Eye problems and missed hook sets aside, swimbaits are a great late summer\fall pattern. This is the first time I have had any issues with any of the Storm swimbaits and still use them. However I am always shopping around for new swimbaits in bluegill, shad, sunfish and even trout! Currently my swimbaits are under 10 bucks a package. They have some really awesome swimbaits that are really pricey in the 20 and above. My heart says “yes” but my budget says “no”.

Preferred gear selection is heavier line for larger swimbaits and lighter line for smaller baits. Generally I would suggest 10-15lbs for 6-8” swimbaits and 6-8lbs for 5” and below in regards to mono. Anything heavier than that and I would consider braided lines. Realize that I tend to go very light compared to most bass standards keeping most of my fishing in the 6-8lb range.

I prefer to run the swimbait very similar to a spinnerbait presentation with a medium retrieve for a short distance to lift the lure and then let the lure drop a foot or two depending on conditions. The retrieve speed is something best left to experimentation and the fish. Some days they want a fast swimbait and some days you have to literally bounce it off the bottom to get strikes. (I say this a lot and is an important aspect to any day of fishing with just about any lure). The swimbait accommodates that by being able to be run fast or slow.

Also worth noting: Some of the larger style swimbaits that I use (like the Wildeye version that storm makes) come equipped with a set of large trebles at the bottom. I find this lower set of trebles to cause far more trouble than they are worth by anchoring on to structure, plant material or wind up looking too obvious to a very discriminating fish. Removing this with a small set of pliers or wire cutters saves me trouble and pain without costing me more than one or two hookups at most.

If you have a great super slammin’ swimbait pattern that you would like to share with me, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail at Coloradocasters@yahoo.com

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The story of 3 fishing hooks and a turtle named Murtle

(Above: Picture of painted turtle that I had caught a few years back in the same area. look how amazing the coloring is on the bottom of these creatures. I don’t think this is Murtle but could be one of her relatives.)

AURORA - A turtle who nearly died from swallowing fish hooks is doing well thanks to some good Samaritans and a generous local vet. She's been named "Murtle the Turtle" and will be returned to the pond on Wednesday.

The turtle got into big trouble at a pond near Interstate 70 and Ward Road last Wednesday. She had a fishing hook caught in her mouth, and was tangled in a net two feet under water. She could barely come up for air.

Murtle would have died had it not been for the curiosity of Ronald Groves and Robin Haney. The couple was walking around the pond, when they noticed a fishing line that led from a tree into the water. They decided to follow the line to see what might be at the other end. That's when they found Murtle struggling to stay alive.

They immediately untangled her, and tried to remove the hook on her mouth. They couldn't get it out, so they brought the turtle to Seven Hills Veterinary Center located at 18511 East Hampden Avenue in Aurora.
Dr. Michael Ley immediately had the turtle X-rayed, which revealed even bigger problems. In addition to the hook in her mouth, Murtle had two more fishing hooks lodged inside of her. The hooks had torn her esophagus, preventing her from eating.

Ley also discovered Murtle had pneumonia .
Ley performed two surgical procedures, lasting two hours each, to remove the two hooks she swallowed. The hook on her mouth was the easiest to remove.

Ley also gave Murtle injectable antibiotics , and put her on a feeding tube.

Staff blended nutritional supplements with water, and put it in the feeding tube. It's not ideal turtle food, but Ley says he had to do something to give her nutrition and strength, since her esophagus was damaged and she didn't want to eat.

Now she is back to herself and was discharged from the clinic on Tuesday. Groves and Haney plan to return her to the pond Wednesday morning.
Link to full article and pictures of Murtle (proper spelling is Myrtle by the way).


Matt’s Rant: I came across this story in my pile of fishing related news links and felt obligated to pass this along. Not only do I fish here but do an annual cleanup every year. It never fails that I find plenty of fishing hooks and spent fishing line all over the place. This not only damages wildlife but severely damages the positive outlook on fishing by others. If you read through the entire article, the veterinarian is quoted as saying, “…this is why fishing hooks shouldn’t be used.”

Realize if the non-fishing community turns against the fishing community…anglers could lose a lot of privilege in regards to public water. Ill behavior by a few anglers hurts us all in the long run. This is why my constant cleanup projects and conservation mantra is a cornerstone of my blogilicious. Next time you see some spent fishing line or hooks laying on the ground at your fishing waters, pick it up and say…”This one is for you, Murtle.”

Good Luck and Good Fishing

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Afternoon “T”

(Above: The Big Thompson River just below the dam of Estes Lake with mixed cloud cover.)

Another weekend with not a lot of time to fish. Looking to make the most of another afternoon mountain canyon run, I threw some gear in the truck and headed back up Hwy 36 towards Estes Park. This time my plan was to tackle “The Big T” for some late day trout.

(Above: A quick map of the area from Olympus Dam to the town of Drake. Most of the river is private property but a few public sections dot the highway downstream. An additional map of the fee area by Estes Lake is shown below.)

The Big Thompson River flows out of The Rocky Mountain National Forest through Estes Park and runs downstream along Hwy 34. The river from Olympus Dam (Estes Lake) to Waltonia Bridge near the town of Drake is regulated as artificial fly and lure only fishing as well as catch and release. The extra regulations make a huge difference towards better quality in my opinion as it allows these fish to get healthy and wise.

Sporting a mix of brown and rainbow trout in the 12 to 14-inch class, some of the larger fish can reach a stocky 18’er size slot. Sure you hear of a few brutes in the 5lb range that get washed down from the lake every decade or so but let’s set expectations realistically for the Big Thompson, 16 = quality, 18 = great…anything over that is OMG for The Big T.

than others. This little guy seemed to pose for one or two shots without too much trouble.)

The late afternoon towards nightfall is generally a good bite anywhere. The problem is that folks can get a lot of work on the water before you get there and the Big Thompson is a bit of a hot spot for anglers. Competition was far more thick than I like but better than it could have been for a Saturday afternoon. Fishing the un-crowded spots I was able to plink out a few fish here and there.

(Above: Here’s another river shot with a bit more light. Some sections were very crowded and “spectator only” by noon.)

Catching a few smaller brown trout right away I thought the day was going to be all sweet and easy. But this quickly changed when I moved into the even more crowded areas. The fish were hunkered down and just plain jittery. They would relax a little bit in the shallow water after a few raindrops but would vanish back into the swift when the sun came out. Eventually I did land a few of the 16’ers and got in some quality fish photo time.

(Above: Not too shabby in the hand shot with one of the few fish willing to hang on long enough to get some light photo work in.)

Estes Lake and the Olympus Dam keep the flows stable throughout most of the year and the water is ultra clear. In some of the areas you can literally see trout holding in the water close by and nearly count the dots while it picks tasty tidbits from the trough. Mixed with the rugged Rocky Mountain landscape it can make for a tasty afternoon.

(Above: Another map with a more detailed view of the fee section below the dam.)

The largest public access section of the Big Thompson is just below the dam and is a fee area with a 5-dollar charge for the day permit. No overnight camping allowed but there are picnic and bathroom facilities fairly close to the dam\parking area.

Some of the public sections downriver from the fee area vary in size (most are only a few hundred feet) and tricky to find. I have added a map above of the fee area and a few links below that will help locate these areas as well as fill in a few blanks that could not be squeezed in my blogilicious post.



My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

NZ Mud Snails and Zebra mussels…”Why do you have to be so invasive?”

Who would ever think that something so tiny could cause so much trouble? We are talking about a few tiny snails, right? Nothing has done more to change the way water entry is managed in the last five years more in Colorado than New Zealand mud snails and zebra mussels.

These invasive aquatic species take a bite out of the ecosystem by removing plankton and other organic material that is crucial for native species to thrive. These invasive aquatic species will have no natural predators in most cases and breed like crazy. Once they get into the system it is almost impossible to get them out. As the numbers multiply and the impact sinks in, the system reacts as if a bite has been taken out. How large this bite is will depend on a lot of factors but aquatic biologists, water management officials and even most anglers agree…invasive species like the New Zealand Mud Snail and Zebra mussel are not good for North American waters.

Now one little bite doesn’t seem like a lot and if that was all that fish had to contend with it might not be such a damaging and invasive problem. But when you add all of the other things that can happen in the fishing world there isn’t much left for the fish.

The graphics are not meant to show a specific percentage for any particular place. These factors vary greatly depending on the body of water. The extra graphics are meant to spruce up my poindexter yada yada.

What is a NZ Mudsnail?

The New Zealand Mudsnail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) was first discovered in North America in 1987 in Idaho’s Snake River. The snail has since then spread to other wateries all over the west. Concentrations of snails can reach over 500,000 per square meter literally choking the lower end of the food chain for many species. If fish consume the snail they merely pass them through with virtually zero nutritional value. The snail generally survives this process to continue to reproduce.

A trematode parasite that exists in New Zealand keeps this invasive snail in check by sterilizing a major portion of the population. The total affects of this parasite are not known so introducing these tremotodes into Colorado waters would not be prudent at this time and my cause even more irrepable damage.

What is a Zebra mussel?

Originally native to the lakes of southeast Russia this invasive species has spread to many different countries to become a complete nusiance. The zebra mussel gets its name from a striped pattern on the shell somewhat similar to a-yep you guessed it-zebra. Size can vary from smaller than a dime to nearly two inches.

The life span of a zebra mussel is about five years and the females may produce at a staggering rate after merely two years. One female may generate anywhere from 30,000 to one million eggs in a single year. These eggs do provide a nutritional value and some species have seen some benefit in regards to this invasive species.

The zebra mussel filters its food from the water and adheres itself to any structure possible. It only takes a few years of solid reproduction before the hard shelled creatures cover just about anything that touches the water literally clogging waterways. Filters, valves, pumps and others systems are just as prone to difficulty in regards to the zebra mussel as boats, docks and other water facilities.

The front line is your gear. Everyone needs to check their gear and be conscious of anything that touches or could carry water. The New Zealand mudsnail is very small but zebra mussel eggs are very difficult to see by the human eye. Ducks and other waterfoul may transmit invasive species as well but anglers own the responsibility not to aid in the spread through their activity. My boots, belly boat, pontoon boat and even fishing poles get a visual inspection and then a spray wipe with 409 before taking to a new water which equates to once a week or more.

This may be one of my more poindexter posts but every facet of the water creature world fascinates me. Each layer of the ecosystem gets more amazing once you start digging in. Some of these layers are not so good and it is just as important that we learn about these elements along with the sport fish that dwell in our water systems. Our water systems and fisheries will be better off as a result.

Good luck and good fishing.

Sources and more information on these invasive species threatening Colorado waters:





Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Late evening dash on the St. Vrain

(Above: Upstream shot with light fading fast. This is as much water as I have seen in the St. Vrain. The locals might be a bit optimistic when they call this a “river”.)

The morning chores seemed to take on lives of their own this Saturday. Getting out of the house and up into the hills was looking more and more like a “no-go” as precious time ticked away. With each red light and endless long line my travel time and daylight slipped through my grasp like too much sand held in my fingers.

“I better start re-thinking plans right now.” the words of realization started sinking in. “Maybe a quick trip over to St. Vrain before dark?”

(Above: Borrowed the map from the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District that shows the full 214 square miles of drainage that produces roughly 114,000 acre feet of water annually. This is almost entirely from runoff from snowmelt as where most rivers typically have a few springs feeding them.)

St. Vrain is a very small slip of water that runs from the Rocky Mountains through Longmont and into the Platte. Called the St. Vrain River, this really looks and fishes more like a creek or small stream. In water strained years the St. Vrain has boiled down to a mere trickle. His has caused a few anglers to mark it off their list entirely. This year the water volume is on the high side and flows are great for the river’s usual size. There are a handful of pullouts on public accessible sections along Hwy 36. With gear in tow, I tried to make a few casts pay off with only an or hour of daylight to fish.

At first bites were tough to come by. Flashes and follows were nil as well. With so much water I expected the fish to be far more active and well…at least there. Off to another pull out and bushwack my way in, sunlight was vanishing quickly. Casting into a small but deep pool I see the line streak upstream. Battle the fish through a few small riffles and then land. Quality small water brown trout in the 12’er size range.

(Above: Nice “In the hand” shot with the fish mostly in the water. From here it is a quick “plink” and release using needle nose pliers.)

The minnow pattern in the final gasps of dusk produced the fish above and got a few more swipes in the small pool just below this small flat section. Not the easiest water to fish and covered with heavy brush and rocks. Challenging is not the word. Some people refer to this section as “Lost Wallet Bend” or Sprained Ankle Gulch”. After three trips over the last few years I have decided to go with “something just bit me”.

St. Vrain is not a prime fishing destination by any means. If you fish this water please make sure you do so in the public access sections and be aware of fences and posted signs. I fish here more or less to soak up some of the mountain scenery between above Lyons Colorado.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Photos from the Field

August for me is always the last breath of summer. The deep green lush is starting to fade into brown hues and seeding grasses. Things feel a lot like summer but it won’t be long before the leaves start turning yellow, red and gold. Throughout my outdoor travels I take photos that don’t seem to fit into various fish posts or get left behind for some reason. “Photos from the Field” is an excerpt meant to capture these pictures and add a little more flavor on the blogilicious.

Organ Donor Ave.

There is a not so famous road without any shoulder whatsoever that the local bicyclists absolutely love. The number of crosses marking each fatality is only outnumbered by the number of signs posting caution on this two-mile stretch of road. It has gotten so bad that someone has added yet another sign dubbing the section “Organ Donor Ave”. Ironically this has doubled the popularity of this section amongst bicyclists.

(Above: The sign has been repainted and even removed a few times. I still don’t see the attraction but hey, “At least they are not fishing my spots. Ha ha”)

Columbine Flower

So many of the bloggers that I follow do an exceptional job with their photos. Due to the fact I chew through at least one camera per year as a result of cliff falls and water dunks my shots are so less pristine. (Sigh) I submit this shot of a glorious columbine flower wishing one you folks would have been there backing me up with a real camera.

(Above: Words fail me sometimes when it comes to describing nature. Often I wish that my camera equipment could capture at least a fraction of beauty compared to the real thing.)

All rivers have to start somewhere.

(Above: Green Lush-Eventually this little sip of water runs into a small creek that pours into a larger river. All rivers have to start somewhere and may serve as a life metaphor for dreams or conquests. Start somewhere and gain momentum as you go.)

“Road” Island Red

For a couple of days on the way to and from work I would see this rooster on the side of the road. One day I stopped, took some pictures and made a feeble attempt to call the chicken over by clucking and dropping sand from my hand as if it was feed. Of course this didn’t work and the chicken quickly scuttled off to the underbrush.

(Above: This is an actual shot of the runaway rooster at the edge of the road before he fled to the branch cover at the base of the trees. My pursuit ended here, as I didn’t wish to scare the chicken into traffic or panic the bird into fleeing its turf.)

Once I turned the truck around and headed back towards home, the rooster was back on the road picking at bugs and bits of gravel.

“This is not the best place for a chicken.” I thought to myself looking at the rolling grass hills of open space and the road full of cars. “Gonna get whacked by a car or coyote food. I coulda’ found him a nice spread to cluck around at. Maybe meet a few nice hens and finally settle. Guess that is not the life Good luck, buddy…don’t have time to chase you through the brush. Probably just make things worse anyway.”

The next day I saw the rooster. The day after that…nothing. I looked for the bird further away from the road as I drove by or at the very least feathers but saw nothing. More than likely some lucky coyote made this “road” island red into a quick bucket of KFC. Chickens are not known to be the best birds at adapting to the wild. But for some silly reason I hope this plucker is still out there living life as a drumstick outlaw. Dodging coyotes and foxes while causing a little trouble with the local geese.

May your boots always stay dry

It seems that I can’t look at water these days without getting my shoes and or feet absolutely soaked. Even with waders and waterproof boots, chances are my feet will be drenched when I walk in the door. This is a fact I have come to terms with. Through your travels and life’s river crossings…may your boots always stay dry.

(Above: There are a lot of bronze sculptures spread across the Front Range and beyond. A number of these sculptures come from a bronze foundry in Loveland Colorado.)

Please allow me to express my sincere thanks to all of my followers for their views and awesome comments. I follow and comment on a variety of subjects spanning from writing, photography, primitive arts and more. My follow list is a diverse spectrum of the blogisphere and want you all to know that I am very honored to have you reading my outdoor adventures whether you fish or not. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you want more of my comments or wish me to follow your blog if I am not already.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Megabuckets…the video montage

Buckle your seat belts folks. There might be a big fish or two in this one. A compilation of several fish over several months and several locations. Mega-buckets...when the word "hawg" just won't do.

Sometimes it takes me a while to put these full montages together and this one was especially difficult on many levels. I ran into a glitch or two with a few clips and the spoof sponsor was tossed in at the last minute. This all would be so much easier with a film and edit crew at my disposal.

Hopefully we get more footage in the works for future episodes and come up with some even better spoof sponsors (as it is highly unlikely we will ever see real sponsors on this stuff).

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

9K sections of the Creek

Overview: Clear Creek is a near 50-mile slip of water that feeds into the South Platte River in the eastern plains. This area offers some decent trout fishing for those who are willing to fish smaller water with varying conditions. These 9K sections are broken into three parts; Georgetown-In town, Silver Plume and The Chute. Altitudes vary from 8600 to 95000 feet above sea level hence the nickname “9K”.

Georgetown-In town Section

Georgetown is located about 40 miles west of Denver and a popular destination for mountaineers, casual backpackers and tourists that seek quaint mountain towns. This town has a lot of character and Clear Creek run right through the middle of it before entering Georgetown Lake.

(Above: Shot of the creek by Railroad Loop. Up ahead you can buy tickets to ride the train through a small section of mountains. Technically this area is 8615 feet above see level.)

Most of the water in the Railroad Loop section is swift and thin focusing anglers on other areas. There are still a few small slack water spots for the very determined. Working through the tackle bag I started off with small spinners and tiny minnow patterns.

(Above: Gorgeous little cutbow with orange\pink fins. This is a hybrid of the rainbow and cutthroat trout. Very technical area to fish with only a few spots worth plunking.)

Other sections of the In-Town stretch are less formidable and offer some decent slow or slack water spots. A few of these spots look very tasty before Clear Creek empties into Georgetown Lake. The access is fairly easy which opens this up to some heavy angling pressure. Seasonally this part of the section can get pretty crowded. Early start or a weekday run is recommended especially in the summer months.

(Above: Some stretches of the creek can lay down all pretty just like this and a dream come true for small water anglers.)

Working the water and picking spots here and there I am picking up small brown trout in the 6 to 8inch range. Nothing huge but the light spastic tug makes me smile. Then I cast out and let the current drift the spinner under the overhanging tree section similar to the method I used on the Platte. Slow retrieve upstream and WHAM! A meaty tug develops on the rod tip and I am battling to bring the fish up current and out from under the trees. If the fish tucks itself under a rock or pulls too hard in the swift current it will be lost for sure. Luckily the fish turns into the slack water and was easily guided to my hand after only a few seconds of fighting.

(Above: Quick pic, hook removal and back into the drink with this one. Beauty browns like this one deserve a long life. Check out the yellow coloring on this one. Fantastic!)

The locals have a fishing philosophy that is meant to serve both anglers and fish in regards to this area. That philosophy is: “If you wish to take-hit the lake. But what is caught in the creek stays in the creek”.

Silver Plume Section

Tucked off of I-70 on a handful of very thin roads is the remnants of a reclaimed silver mine town called Silver Plume. Clear Creek runs through this area and offers a nice stretch of frontage road access along I-70.

(Above: Quaint town sign with a bit more effort and craftsmanship compared to most these days. How many towns advertise their Post Office along with a tea room and saloon?)

Rock structure has been moved to shape rollover dams, large riffles and small pools. This area requires a bit more technique, as the pressure is “serious”. By serious I mean the anglers are more methodical, proficient and educate the fish to their standard. Luckily I was able to convince a few fish to take a swipe.

(Above: Another fabulous cutbow with a plump stomach. You can barely see the cutthroat hash marks on the jaw by my fingers.)

For this section it is prudent to “ask before you cast” especially in the in town areas where you might be slinging gear on someone’s backyard. The locals are agreeable for the most part and willing to oblige. However, they do not tolerate trespassers and the non-respectful. With so many places to hide a body I suggest anglers tread lightly and ask permission in the Silver Plume section.

"The Chute"

Once you cut back under I-70 on the frontage road you enter the area dubbed “The Chute”. The water is very swift and only breaks or slows down in a few spots. The spots that are fishable have been worked a few times by the afternoon. To do well in this section I prefer to be first in line and then work my way down.

(Above: Arguably one of the more gorgeous fishing spots along the creek and a rarity for “The Chute”. Pressure is severe making this spot far more difficult than it looks.)

Reaching the last stretch of the 9K sections I find myself dodging the afternoon rain showers. Most of the storms are fishable with some mild sprinkles but at times there were a few serious deluges that had me waiting in the truck. With one eye looking for flash floods, I start picking at the few decent spots of “The Chute”.

(Above: Another little cutbow with some slight whitewash. It is almost as if my cameras go completely bi-polar after a few months of use giving me both fantastic and completely terrible shots in the same day.)

Throughout the day I could see a few patterns emerging. The cutbows were attacking the minnow patterns as where the brown trout were digging the small spinners. Numbers of fish were good but most lacked the size worthy of the shameless photo op. If you fish the 9K sections of Clear Creek go with respect for both the high country and the locals that dwell here.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trout Scout- Part Two: Tarryall Reservoir and backtrack to the Platte

Finding good fishing waters away from angling pressure requires a bit of scouting. Some of my trips are meant to simply drive out, scout the area to mark it off of my list. Looking to cover a handful of areas in one trek the truck was loaded with gear and a few maps.

Part Two: Tarryall Reservoir and backtrack to the Platte

The road that takes you through Lost Creek along Tarryall Creek also runs by Tarryall Reservoir. This lake has some decent stocked trout fishing but also offers the occasional rumor of pike even after the recent draining and repairs. A lot of my research was inconclusive so a visit was in order before expectations could be set.

(Above: Quick overhead map with the campgrounds and boat ramps marked. Google shows a winter version of this reservoir, which hides some of the rock points, roads and other details.)

Apparently this is a very popular destination for in and out of state vacationers. The angling pressure is fairly substantial which takes it down a notch or two on my “hot spot” list. To reach Tarryall Reservoir from Colorado Springs head west on Hwy 24 approx. 30 miles to CR. 77 and then about 25 miles to reach the lake. From Denver head west on Hwy 285 about 50 miles from C470 and then make a left on CR 77 near the town of Jefferson. From here it is about 20 miles to Tarryall Reservoir. Note: These distances are rough estimates only.

By now my trout scout mission is going like a lot of my scout missions; a lot of driving, some casting and less than spectacular results. This adventure was winding down to be one of those “woulda-coulda-shoulda” stories.

My last chance to fish would be on sections of the Platte on my way back along Hwy 285. The water is moving high and fast which seemed to keep others away. At first I thought finding an open spot would be tough but surprisingly even the best pools were vacant. Within a few casts I was plinking fish here and there. Then I cast out and let the lure drift under a row of tree branches. Retrieving slowly a big thump hits the end of my line with a fish finally outside of the dink class. Between the heavy cover and swift current I was sure this fish was going to spit the hook.

(Above: Hopefully I don’t give away too much by coughing up the actual fish spot here but wanted to show how slack water was developing under the tree structure as well as the heavy current.)

(Above: Quality rainbow with a bit too much forward hold. Getting these solo shots with trout in heavy brush is something I still need to work on.)

Holding my breath the entire time it seemed I managed to land the fish and get a quick photo. Luckily the fish cooperated once out of the water and went back as pretty as you please. Had I known that everyone would have left The Platte alone today I simply would have fished here instead of doing all that trekking. But I did manage to scout some new water and mark it off my scout list. Having The Platte as a backup plan made it all work out in the end.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Trout Scout- Part One: Lost Creek Wilderness

Finding good fishing waters away from angling pressure requires a bit of scouting. Some of my trips are meant to simply drive out, scout the area to mark it off of my list. Looking to cover a handful of areas in one trek the truck was loaded with gear and a few maps.

Part One: Lost Creek Wilderness

(Above: Quick sign\trailhead shot with a map and a few interesting tidbits. This area has far more history and rustic western atmosphere than can be described on my fishing blog.)

The Lost Creek Wilderness area is 119,790 acres within the Pike National Forest created under the Colorado Wilderness act of 1980. The landscape is a mix of rounded granite features such as domes and arches that are dispersed among small valley sections. Lost Creek gets its name for the fact the creek seems to vanish through underground passages and rock piles in several locations. When it last emerges the name changes to Goose Creek.

(Above: This is a shot of Tarryall Creek with some of the wilderness area in the background. There were quite a few breathtaking shots I passed on simply due to my fish focus.)

There are several small creeks that may be seasonal at times where as Tarryall Creek maintains a steady flow year round. My plan was to focus on this stretch of water and hit the small public sections nestled between the many private strips of water maintained by fishing clubs. It seemed like a perfect plan. My hopes were that this area would get passed over by most considering so many other venues. Unfortunately this was not the case. Weekend warriors were abound and dotted the available campsites along the creek making it tough to have any water to cast into.

(Above: Here’s a small brown pulled from Tarryall Creek. Not the easiest water that I have ever fished. Just finding a spot to cast was difficult. Very few flashes and follows.)

In hindsight I wish that I had explored this area on a weekday and taken more photos. The number of people dejected me quite a bit and made this section more of a “cast and bail”. Lost Creek Wilderness is a fantastic area for hiking and offers some rich history in regards to Native Americans, old mining outfits as well as the breathtaking landscape. (Sigh) In an earlier life I might have thrown on the pack and tried to get myself lost in this expansive wilderness area leaving the poles in the truck.

For more information on Lost Creek Wilderness Area, feel free to check out the link below.


To gain access to most of the private sections on Tarryall Creek and a few others, contact Rocky Mountain Angling Club.


Coming up in Part Two I cover Tarryall Reservoir with a last ditch effort on The Platte River. Sometimes I think it is easier to absorb these multiple location scout missions when they are broken into sections.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Supa Pans…the video montage

My obsession for panfish knows no limits and manages to blur my big fish focus at times. I have often thought about seeking therapy but usually I just hammer a few hundred of these “gills or sunnies” and the addiction subsides.

This year I did great on the crappie and “ok” on the sunfish, which is the opposite of last year. I was only able to land a few 9’s and 10’s in sunfish class (not the ultra-fabulous specimens in 2009.) but somehow managed to land some slabilicious crappie.

Let this montage stand as homage to my admiration of panfish or a desperate cry for help depending on your point of view. Awesome comments, fantastic rates and just stopping by means a lot to me.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.