This was the second guided trip Joanie and I had made to Colorado’s famous Dream Stream. For a stream only 2 1/2 miles long between Spinney Mtn. Reservoir and Eleven Mile Reservoir to be called a Dream Stream is a bit unusual until you see the size of the trout that come out of it. Especially the big brown trout of 5 to 10 pounds.
Except for leaving Denver at 5 AM to meet our guide Pat Dorsey, head guide at BlueQuillAnger, the morning was perfect. Blue skies with sunshine predicted for the morning and maybe a shower in the afternoon on the stream. The river had been running at 275 CFS and stable for 3 days so fishing should be good.
We arrived at the middle parking lot right on time at 8 AM. Pat was already geared up and waiting for us. After a brief run to the rest stop a half mile down the road, we returned and geared up while Pat rigged our rods with a 3 fly rig and his famous Dorsey yarn indicator.
The flies were a size 10 or 12 San Juan Worm on top, a size 12 or 14 buckskin in the middle and a size 16 mercury bead pheasant tail on the bottom. The Dorsey indicator is a simple affair consisting of 5 or 6 strands of polypropylene yarn through a loop in the leader and held in place with 5 to 6 twists of an orthodontist rubber band. Then Pat fluffs the yarn vigorously with the Dorsey Fluffer. (A 1/2 inch piece of velcro hooky part glued onto a 1/4 inch wooden dowel.) This tool made with a smaller piece of velcro and a popsicle stick makes a great dubbing fluffer in fly tying. Since the yarn is polypropylene it floats really well. But they don’t cast worth a darn in a high wind.
All ready to go, we set off across the meadows to the river about a half mile away. Because Colorado has had so much rain this year, the grass is long and thick as are the mosquitoes. Getting to the river was a relief because being on the water cuts down on the mosquito exposure.
Pat set me up at the head of a run/slick/seams produced by a large rock midstream. The seams on both sides of the rock were about 4 feet deep and fast. While I was working this area, Pat set Joanie downstream where the slick tailed out. Joanie caught several fish while I got nothing.
Then Pat moved us upstream to a similar setup with a few more rocks to produce the seams and slick behind them. Current flow was right to left in my position which called for an off shoulder roll – lob cast. With three flies and split shot covered in tungsten putty to get down to the correct depth in the water column, I knew that a big open lob cast was the way to avoid hitting the rod or me with the rig or weight.
On my third drift I hooked a large fish which immediately ran down stream. I followed reeling excess line like crazy to get the fish on the reel. Right after I got him stopped, I hollered “Fish On” to Pat. He came on the run to help with the fish. By the time Pat arrived, I had worked the fish over toward slower water along the shore. Pat got downstream of the fish and pulled out his big long handled boat net. As soon as the fish saw the net, he took off upstream like a rocket with me in tow. Shortly after, the fish with three flies trailing went on upstream and I was left with little miss disappointment. Pat and I both saw this fish which was in the 20+ range and about 8 to 10 inches in the belly. A big hump back brown.
After this Pat moved us farther upstream to an island area where the river split and reformed. Joanie was upstream from me where she hooked and lost a nice brown. She caught some smaller fish from that position but the bigger one was not playing her game any more.
Meanwhile I was making drift after drift working the close seam into the slick to the far seam without any luck. After maybe 30 casts, I was into a good fish. Getting him on the reel quickly was key to stopping a downstream run. Pat was right there with his net. This brown was not as big as my first but still large. I estimated it at 19 to 20 inches and about 3 pounds weight. He was stubborn too and PO’d at being hooked. When he saw the net upstream he went but I was ready this time and was moving before he was. After a short but powerful struggle, Pat was able to reach out and net him. After examining the fish, Pat thought it might have been the one Joanie lost upstream.
Another couple hours of fishing resulted in several dinks both rainbows and browns and one nice 15 inch cutbow. Then it was time for lunch. So back across the meadows to the parking lot, where Pat fed us an excellent lunch of turkey on kaiser rolls, a great dill pickle, chips, cookies, apple and a snack sized candy bar. At the end of lunch Joanie and I decided we had had enough for the day and cut our trip to a half day which worked well with Pat.
A more leisurely drive back to Denver through the mountains completed a great day on stream.
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