Colorado Fly Fishing Conditions – Arkansas River 11/7/09

On Sat 11/7/09, seven members of the High Plains Drifters fishing club set out for the Arkansas River in Canon City for a day of fishing. The weather was a beautiful fall day in Colorado with blue skies, temperatures in the high 60’s to low 70’s. The river was running at 445 CFS due to two feet of snow in Buena Vista that was sending water down stream. Water temperature was about 38 to 42 degrees most of the day.

After a stop at Royal Gorge Anglers to get local information and flies, we hit the water in the stretch that TU had improved. We spread out upstream from the Reynolds Street bridge for about 1/2 mile.  Michael L. was fishing a series of pools along the bank. He had caught a couple of small 12 inch browns. Michael M. started fishing the first of the pools which Michael L. had vacated.

Taking my time rigging up my Z-Axis 6wt, I went to the first upstream pool to try my luck. The water upstream feeding this pool was a fast riffle and the bottom was covered in caddis cases.  So I was using the big #10 beadhead, gold ribbed hares ear on top and a #16 on the bottom. Casting into the fast water above the pool and drifing along the fast outer seam resulted in a nice 12 inch brown. Casting above the pool and drifting between 2 rocks channeling water into the pool closer to shore eventually reusulted in another brown about 11 or 12 inches. Then the pool went dead.

Michael M was still working the pool below me with a dry dropper rig and having no luck. I moved on downstream to a large pool fed by a rapids. At the current flow this pool was about 8 to 12 feed deep in the center. I was dropping my rig into the rapids and letting it drift down in the the 3 foot shallows along the edge of this pool. On the third drift, the line stopped dead like I was hung up. Right after a sharp tug on the line, it started moving downstream. I could feel what felt like a very large fish on the end. The kind of feel where the fish doesn’t know it is hooked or is big enough it doesn’t care. There was about a 5 foot downstream run where I could feel moderate head shaking. Then the line stopped again. This time I was hung up. After a few sharp tugs, the line came free but without any thing on the end. All I got back was line, leader and 6 inches of tippet cut sharply off. But it was fun while it lasted.

Michael L and I worked upstream for about another 1/4 mile from the pools where we had started with no luck. After lunch, both Michaels and I headed downstream some 1/2 mile. We fished for a couple of hours without any luck.

Meeting everyone back at the cars, we took tally. Larry L. had again outfished us. Larry has a unique fishing method but it really works for him. While the day was hard fishing, being outdoors in what was a fine day was worth the trip.

Tight Lines and Good Fishing,
Marshall, Editor
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