Note: For additional information about Beaver Creek fishing, see my articles from November and December 2017
I am just back from my winter fishing haven in Everglades City, Florida. The dust has settled from my settling back in my cabin near Salida, Colorado, and I am hankering for some trout action. This time of year that usually means smaller creeks, because the big rivers like the Arkansas are blown out by spring runoff and too high to wade. The choices are good this year compared to last when even the smaller creeks were running high well into July (See my 2017 blog on Silver Creek.). Because of low snow pack and lack of rain, many nearby streams are low and clear.
I decide that Beaver Creek near Canon City, Colorado, where I had some great fishing last fall may be the ticket. It’s only about 1 ½ hours from the cabin, and I can also catch it on the way back from Denver after visiting my son Matthew and little granddaughter Aly. When I check the Colorado Water Talk website, I figure now rather than in July or August—Beaver Creek is already running very low at about 5 CFS—late summer conditions. I also want to scout out the creek as a possible trip with my Matthew and Aly in a couple of weeks. She’s about 2 ½ years old and ready to catch her first fish!!
Note: Please read this article in tandem with my earlier blog on late fall fishing (December 6) that contains more detailed information on essential gear, flies, and technique.
I ease into the crystal clear pool where Beaver Creek cascades up against a big cliff. True to the inside scoop from a Colorado Springs fly shop, I have already caught a couple of beautiful small browns. The skinny is that lots of 4-to-11 inch trout inhabit this pristine little stream near Canon City. Nothing much bigger. But then I catch sight of a silver blue form undulating deep in the hole.
Then it’s gone. Maybe a rainbow trout? I gently loft my two-fly rig—a Royal Trude dry on top trailed by my old reliable green hotwire caddis nymph—into the cascade and watch it drift down gracefully, enticingly up against the cliff then bounce downstream. How could any fish resist? I try again…and again. Nobody home? I am just about ready to move on, when a small swirling back eddy above the craggy rocks catches my eye. I reach out with my rod, using my 36-inch long arms to maximum advantage, and flip the dry/dropper against the rock wall into the foam of the eddy, which is swirling slowly upstream in reverse. The dry twists and turns, then disappears. I reflexively set the hook and feel the bottom. Grrrr! But then it begins to move, and I see the light-colored back of a big rainbow. He knows his home territory and dives under the rocks, but my stout 5-weight rod is up to the task and slowly he comes my way. Then he jets downstream into shallower water, a fatal mistake—I can more easily play him out in the open. In a minute he is sliding into my net for a quick measure and photo. I am astonished to find he is a tad over 15-inches!! So much for Lilliputian trout!! And just a couple of days before December! Another legend of the late fall.