I had arranged a seminar – guided fly fishing trip to the Big Thompson through Kirk’s Fly Shop in Estes Park for six members of the High Plains Drifters fishing club.
The river had been raised from 35 CFS to 77 CFS the day before the trip. The increased water flow should make fishing good. But the weather forecast was not looking too good for the humans. There was a 50% chance of rain or snow all day. However, I was holding for the 50% chance it would not do either. Riding up to Kirks, it looked like the precipitation would win out. But at Kirks, the weather was overcast and holding.
We met our guides Chris and Will at the shop. Then followed them down the canyon to the gearup point. After gearing up, Chris took three of the members and stayed to start fishing this stretch of river. I had fished this stretch many times and wanted to see some new water.
Will obliged by taking us farther down the canyon several more miles. When we stopped, we were at the top of a steep slope to the river. There was a small feeder stream coming on the road side around an island. The main channel was fast, rocky and deep. Standing on the road, we could see more than six trout holding in the small channel. But trying to cast a nine foot rod on a 12 foot wide stream with brush and willows on the other side was going to be a real challange.
After almost falling down the slope, I reached the stream. I was using my Fish Creek Velocity 9 ft 4 wt rigged with three flies Will had tied on. First cast ok. Second cast in the willows. Got it off ok. Four casts later, I lost the tail fly in the bushes. Tying on one of my own, I worked the stream up to the head of the bypass channel. Occasionally, I would see fish that would slide up under the bushes and hide. Not much chance to get to them there.
After fishing upstream for about an hour, Will asked if we wanted to move. I mentioned an area that I had wanted to fish for about 40 years. After describing it, Will knew where it was and he had permission to access the property. We moved to that spot. Will described the ground rules and we crossed over the stream to the private land to fish back toward the road side. In about three casts, Fred had a fish on. James had one on about a minute later. I was fishing without a strike indicator and had missed several hits.
About half and hour later, I put on a 1/2 inch thingamabobber for my indicator. Several casts later I hooked a small 10 inch brown. Meanwhile Fred and James had been busy hooking up with five or more fish. Most were browns in the 10 or 12 inch class which was normal for the Big T.
Moving upsteam, I hooked a nice 12 inch brown on a Rainbow Sow Bug pattern tied by Will. I had missed several on a soft hackle sow bug tail fly before losing it in the road side grasses. Moving farther upsteam, I started drifting through a 3 foot deep run with two big rocks at the end of the run and one at the top. The water fed in between the two rocks. There had to be a couple of nice fish around or under those rocks. Finally I hooked a nice fat 12 or 13 inch brown from in front of the first of the two tail rocks.
Working for fifteen minutes more, I teased a nice fish out from under the large tail rock. I was a little slow on the hook set but could see a nice flash as the fish rolled off. It felt like one in the 14 inch class. About then, Will showed up and it was time to go.
But the weather had held. No rain, no snow and only a little bit of wind. We had all learned more about the insects, flies to use on the Big Thompson during the year, met two great guides and all caught fish. James and Fred had received some excellent help to improve their fly fishing too. A successful trip for all.
Chris and Will were both knowledgeable and attentive to net fish and keep us supplied with flies. If you do book a trip with Kirks, ask for Chris or Will.
If you want to receive excellent fly fishing instruction on the Big Thompson, contact Kirks Fly Shop, 230 Elk Horn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517 (877) 669-1859 Toll Free. Ask for Gary or Kirk to book a trip. Guides Tight Lines,
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