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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We finally got a little warm spell. The air temperature has gotten up into the 40's for most of this week here in Fort Collins; with yesterday hitting almost 60 in Denver and it got to 46 up in Estes Park. I just qualified for an instate license last week, so first stop yesterday was to pick up an '07 license and then head up to Estes Park for a couple hours of afternoon fishing on the Big Thompson.

I assumed I would not be the only person out, even being the middle of the week. But the parking lot just below the dam in Estes Park had a dozen cars there with even more people scattered out fishing in the 1/3 mile of water available in the park. So I went back down stream about a mile (there is a private stretch of almost ¾ mile below the park at the dam) to where there was about ½ mile of water open enough to fish. About ¼ mile below the second picture, the river was mostly frozen over with only occasional slivers of open water from there the rest of the way down through the canyon.





There were a number of people in that ½ mile fishing but I was lucky to find that the particular pool I wanted to fish was vacant. There was someone fishing the pool above me and also the next two pools below me and when one of them would leave another person would generally move in within a few minutes.



With the low clear water it was easy to see the fish in the pool. The big rock in the picture splits the flow of the river with about 75% going to the right of the rock and the rest to the left. There were about a dozen fish in about 10" of water along the edge of the ice to the left of the rock that immediately spooked when I walked up. They ran up under the big rock for the rest of the time I was there leaving about another dozen fish in the deepest part of the pool. They were the ones I fished too for the next two hours.

The first hour was pretty active. I was fishing 6X tippet and a two fly rig with a #22 beadhead black midge nymph on the bottom and a #24 red midge nymph dropper a few inches above. I had five fish hit my drifting midge larvae with four getting hooked and three landed. All of the landed fish hit the black midge. The landed fish included an 8" brown, an 7" rainbow and an 11" rainbow. I didn't get a shot of the bigger rainbow as it managed to flip off the ice back into the water while I was trying to get a better sun angle on the fish. The hooked fish that got off was another nicer rainbow of about 10"/11".



I'm not sure what changed in the last hour of fishing but that was it. Changes of fly pattern and going to 7X did not help. I even tried a dry as there were occasional rises to midges that were hatching. But nothing seemed to work after 3:00 p.m. In any event, it was nice just being able to get out and exercise the casting arm.

Guy
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The angle of the sun made a bit tough even getting the picture of that little brown. By that time of the afternoon (@3:00) the sun is pretty low - basically just above mountain tops. You can almost tell by the angle of the shadows shadows in the picture of the pool and the shadow cast by the head of the small brown. The brown was small enough to prop up just a bit on the snow so the color shows a little. I couldn't angle the rainbow or position myself such that the fish would show up as anything but a dark shape against the white snow. I thought I finally had a good angle when he flipped back into the water which is just out of the picture of the brown.

Guy
 

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Beautiful photos Guy. Thanks for sharing them.

Was the water shallow enough and clear enough to see the fish take the midge larvae?

I love it when that happens.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dave,

Right now the flows are at the lowest they will be during the year. On Thursday the flow where I was fishing was 27 cfs. which made for some gin clear water. Because of where I was standing I could only see the takes that occurred towards the tail of the pool. The glare was so bad because of the sun angle that even with polarizers it was difficult to seeinto the water. But, you are right, it is fun being able to see the take!

Guy
 
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