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.


SweetiePea said...

The Georgetown/Silver Plume area is One of my favorite's int the state. The train ride is definitely a treat. The silver mine tour is also excellent and worth checking out. Gorgeous trout too!

BeMistified said...

You are awesome, the trout are very beautiful and the scenery is breathtaking.

Bigerrfish said...

well done!! but wowzers do you need trebble hooks? or want them?

Coloradocasters said...

To treble or not to treble? Was that the question? I agree that at times the treble will do more damage than a single hook. Hurting the fish in any way is terrifying to me personally and less than 10% of my fishing arsenal is armed with the tri-hook scenario. Surprisingly it is rare that I encounter a trout taking all three prongs and even then the hook can be removed calmly and quickly while barely even touching the fish.

The trick is to move the hook in a single sea-saw motion to one side and remove one point before going the other direction and removing the other side. The treble hook is designed to take the strike from any direction while spinning. Even with three hooks I get hits, bumps and flashes that never seem to take hold or come loose in the battle.

However there are a few places that I fish that require single hook methods (Cheeseman Canyon) and certain instances where trimming down the prongs is prudent (say magno-riffic trophy trout on the Taylor River for example). On Clear Creek these fish smile and thank me for not using bait and then letting them go with an extra lip piercing or two. Some trout were possibly upset that I did not take their picture. One fish might have said…”There was a fellow that came through here a week ago with worms and salmon eggs. He tried to clean house! Lost a few friends that day.” I will say that zero trout fatalities came by spin gear on this trip…and oh man did I lose a few fish. There are far worse things to worry about in the fishing world than a few treble hooks in my opinion.

On that note: I try to express my views on my blog with honesty, sometimes humor and the sense of adventure that is intended. My AFLO\C&R views are my personal fishing preference and I think it is wise to be careful when expressing those views to others. It is my opinion that the “catch more flies with honey” approach wins more people over than the “you suck-I know more than you” shouting matches. The ultimate goal is better fish handling and less fish taken out.

troutrageous1 said...

You suck - I know more than you.

Beautiful country, gorgeous fish, great post.

Don said...

Matt, the old rail road bridge caught my eye, thanks for the adventure and another great story!

Oh and yes...those are nice fish by the way.

Have a good one....

Bill Trussell said...

Awesome pics and those cutthroats are special. How I wish my wife and I lived out that way. You are one lucky guy. Great Post!

MKG said...

I thought those sections of Clear Creek had mostly small brookies. Looks like that brown may have eaten them all.

Razzle Dazzle said...

Beautiful fish.

Aileen said...

Man, your photos of Colorado make me wonder why I left after just one year. Most beautiful state with the coolest people EVER.

Dan Spix said...

thanks for the comments on my blog..

Nice place this one, yummy-looking fish, and nice blog too!