On The Road To Riches: Finding Fish And Solitude In South Park

For other articles on finding fish and solitude in South Park see my blogs from October 2019: https://hooknfly.com/2019/10/07/mission-impossible-searching-for-fish-and-solitude-in-south-park/amp/ and June 2020: https://hooknfly.com/2020/06/25/searching-for-fish-and-solitude-in-south-park-the-likeable-lilliputians-of-lost-creek/

May 2020

With the Arkansas and Gunnison Rivers and other waters in my neck of the woods like Tomichi Creek blown out with runoff, I decided to resume my quixotic quest for solitude and fish in South Park.  The big broad valley that is Colorado’s South Park, home to the old mining town of Fairplay, is known mainly for two things—its eponymous TV cartoon show and great fishing on the South Platte River and its tributaries.  Problem is, just over an hour away looms the booming Denver metro area with its millions of residents, not to mention Colorado’s second largest city Colorado Springs.  That means the famous stretches of the South Platte in South Park like the Dream Stream and Eleven Mile Canyon are often wall-to-wall with anglers. 

Now my friends and readers know that crowds on the water are not my cup of tea, consequently I have been keeping my eyes and ears open for streams in South Park that the madding crowds have overlooked or forsaken in search of lunker fish in the aforementioned popular stretches of the South Platte.  The South Fork of the South Platte has become my haven with productive fishing with lots of elbow room, just off US Highway 285 south of Fairplay. 

Public Access Areas On South Fork Of The South Platte

Last fall I had a wonderful day on a stretch of public water a few miles above Antero Reservoir.  The weather man says it’s going to be a balmy 70 degrees this week—very warm for this time of year in the perennially frigid valley—and equally important, the winds won’t be howling across the wide-open prairie.  Let’s go!!

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Beaver Pond Perspicacity: Solving The Puzzle

For another article on beaver pond fishing see my article from late May 2020: https://hooknfly.com/2020/06/07/on-the-road-to-riches-finding-fish-and-solitude-in-south-park/

July 2019

Per-spi-ca-ci-ty:  The quality of having a ready insight into things; keenness of mental perception; shrewdness

With the epic runoff this year and most rivers and streams blown out till mid-July or later, smart anglers are turning their attention to beaver ponds, many of which remain fishable.  But truth is, beaver ponds can be honey holes any time of the fly fishing season and loads of fun.

They are usually lightly fished and often hold scads of eager fish plus occasional lunkers.  Did I mention the wildlife that abounds around them??

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Close Encounter Of The Moose Kind In Beaver Pond Country

But they can be challenging, often calling for a distinctly different approach than the waters that feed them.

I still remember clearly that first beaver pond I met in Colorado as a novice teenage fly fisherman.  I saw trout rising everywhere in a picture-perfect pond featuring a big beaver lodge in the middle, and promptly spooked them to the next county as I confidently walked up to the shoreline and started casting.  Bass and bluegill never did that in the Kansas farm ponds where I had practiced learning this new art.  Like most small mountain trout waters, stealth is critical, and even more so on the often clear, shallow, and still waters of beaver ponds.  But as experience taught me over time, there is much more to successful beaver pond angling than stealth.  They are not all alike, sometimes differing dramatically on the same creek.  They can also vary radically from year-to-year, sometimes disappearing completely as high flows bust them up or silt fills in the best holding water.

Blown Out Beaver Dam

Here Today…Gone TomorrowHere Today, Gone Tomorrow

Never fear!  Here are some tips on solving the riddle of these unique and intriguing waters that I have gleaned over the years in the school of hard knocks.

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