August 23, 2016
Earlier this week I had a delightful day on the lower section of little Archuleta Creek just above where it joins with Cochetopa Creek 20 miles or so southeast of Gunnison. (See my article titled Day 1 on Archuleta Creek.). Yesterday I drove over the Continental Divide to beautiful Saguache Park and fished the headwaters of Saguache Creek. The brown trout and brookies were ravenous. So after a long day of fishing and driving over rough backcountry roads, I
am lollygagging about and staying close to camp on Upper Dome Lake. Around 10 a.m. I decide to take a stroll out on the rock-faced earthen dam to see if any fish are rising in the lake….and they are! But even more intriguing, I see dimples on the surface of the water below the spillway, a very short section of Archuleta Creek that flows into Lower Dome Lake. In all my times fishing and camping up here, I have never seen anyone fish this stretch below the lake, hidden in plain sight! I retreat post haste to the mobile fish camp and rig up my fly rod with a tiny #20 black midge dry fly that has done well for me in the lake and the creek. I double-time it back to the dam and creep down the rocky slope towards the lake, not wanting to spook the rainbow trout that are rising all along the shoreline. A good-sized one cruises insouciantly in front of me, picking off small bugs on the surface, apparently oblivious to my presence above. I carefully loft a cast so that the microscopic fly alights gently five feet in front of him. He spots it, jets forward, and WHAM, he’s on!!