Shaking Off The Runoff Blues On Silver Creek: Act II

Early June 2017

A week after my foray up Silver Creek above Poncha Springs, Colorado, in search of fishable waters (See my blog from late May 2017.), the sun has been shining brightly and everything has busted loose.  The Big Ark stands at 2,500 CFS near Salida and even the South Fork, normally a quiet little gem near my cabin, has jumped its banks.

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South Fork Jumping Its Banks

To make matters worse, the high country lakes are still locked up with ice thanks to a cold May in this neck of the woods.  What to do to remedy this angling fever?  I check the water level on Poncha Creek (which Silver Creek drains into) and am surprised to find it still stands at about 100 cfs, just a tad more than last week.  That might mean Silver Creek is still fishable, and I only fished the middle section below Sheep Mountain and the Gates.  So I go prospecting with my GPS and just above the guardian Gates palisades, beyond the short canyon stretch, I see lots of beaver ponds and a winding creek in what looks to be a series of wide meadows.  Now sometimes what shows on the satellite view is much different when you put boots on the ground, but there really aren’t any options.  So I load my daypack up for a little hike, stuffing it to the gills with fly fishing paraphernalia, waders, etc. and set the alarm at 5:30 a.m., images of icthylogical pleasures dancing in my head.

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 Beating The Runoff And Hitting The Bonanza On Silver Creek–Near Salida, CO

“… when the lawyer is swallowed up with business and the statesman is preventing or contriving plots, then we sit on cowslip-banks, hearthe birds sing, and posess ourselves in as much quietness as these silent silver streams…”

Izaak Walton
The Compleat Angler  (1653)

 

Late May 2017

I’m hunched down behind a big beaver dam high in the Colorado mountains.  I gingerly step on the twisted mass of branches in front of me so I can peer over the dam, the preferred way to scout out a beaver pond where the trout are often very skittish.  I carefully elevate my head and spot a nice foot-long brown trout finning in the slow current not 30 feet away.  With an extra abundance of caution, I begin my casting motion, making sure not to snag in the overhanging willows behind me…and promptly spook the fish that heads pell mell into the next county.  I can only laugh!  Fortunately, I haven’t scared off all the fish and am able to seduce a couple of brightly colored little brookies that are hiding in deeper water out of the sun.

I’ve just gotten off the road after two weeks, my annual migration from Florida to my cabin in the Colorado mountains near Salida.  It was time to escape the 90 degree heat and pesky, voracious salt water mosquitoes in the Everglades as well as the incessant political chatter about Biggly 45.  So I am in serious need of a wilderness injection and trout remedy. The problem?  The Big Ark, my home water, is running at over 1,000 CFS, which means any real wading is risk of life.  And most of my favorite streams are also blown out with runoff from the peaks.  Fortuitously, one of the local fishing gurus, Fred Rasmussen (founder of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited and conservation raconteur par excellence) has suggested trying Silver Creek as an option.  It’s only a short drive from my cabin…so here I am and let the fun begin.

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