Everyone loves a fish story, right? Telling sometimes more than hearing. Over the years I have had a few-run ins with fish that I will remember forever and I figured someone out there may enjoy the “Tails” as well.
I start with a slightly above average sized Brown Trout caught in Eleven Mile Canyon on a chilly winter day. I frequent this location and usually do pretty well there. The fish tend to be easier to fool than other parts of the South Platte River. You may even recognize this spot if you are familiar with the area. There is a large, distinctive overhanging rock cliff that spans the water.
Fishing directly under this rock can be pretty solid in the right conditions. The rock wall is hugged tightly by a fairly deep and long run. The fish can be found either in the deep pool at the beginning of the run, typically in the winter months. Or in the riffles and potentially in the deeper slack water that divides my wading spot and the run.
On this particular morning, I wasn’t seeing any fish in the warm water lies so I waded in towards the deep faster-moving water. This is where I expected them to be holding. I fished the tail of the run and was slowly working my way forward when I decided to change my rig slightly to get a little deeper in the water column. While doing so and remaining still, here comes a trout. Sliding out from the riffles and the rock cover appears a beautiful bull brown trout. The water it moved into was about six feet in front of me, crystal clear and fairly slack. It ran parallel to the faster run and was about four feet deep with a sandy bottom making the trout stand out like a sore thumb.
I tried to keep my composure and stealth while I finished tying on my confidence flies for this area. I was fishing a Rainbow Warrior as my lead/dropper fly and then a smaller natural Baetis nymph as the point. I made one cast right over the top of the fish. I had no other option as it was still holding directly upriver from me at this point. If I were to move at all he would be gone. The cast was perfect, landing straight in the feeding current of the fish a few feet in front of it. As my indicator inched closer to the fish I started watching to see if it would move to eat. It seemed to shift slightly one way and then back and then again a little more dramatically the other direction. Without any sort of reaction on my indicator, I set the hook in hopes it moved to take my flies. Sure enough, FISH ON! After playing it quickly into the net, I discovered it actually took both flies. Almost as though it was put there for me to catch that morning no matter what I did.
The moments that I was able to sneak into this trout’s world unnoticed before catching it, as well as the well-placed cast that helped to make this fish decide to eat both of my flies, make it an experience I will never forget. It is not often for me that a sight fishing situation like this goes off without a hitch.
Some of the Rainbows I slayed on the Orange Tinsel Perdigon later in the day
Fly Tying Tinsel Perdigon: