Sunday, July 5, 2015

Finally...

It was a picture perfect day when I woke up this morning.  Like so many recent picture perfect days, the first thing on my mind was going fishing.  Unlike those other times, I actually loaded up and drove away from my house.  Clear Creek was my destination.  Recent reports said the the water was dropping from 1600 cfs of a few weeks ago to something less?  Whatever, I was on my way.

The trip up the canyon was mysteriously void of much traffic.  Maybe the idiots had partied themselves out yesterday.  Upon gazing at the water in the lower canyon I saw high rough water. No problem because the higher up you go the better the water.  I was a little shocked at the changes I saw on the way up.  Changes that I don't remember from my last trip in March.  Jefferson County is building a nice looking path on the "other" side of the creek. Good on one hand; it will give fishermen an opportunity to fish the other side where some nice runs and undercut banks live. Of course the bad is that the path will draw people looking for a hike though the wilderness without getting your feet dirty.

I was really surprised at the lack of fishermen on the water at 9:30 in the morning. Surprised but not disappointed.  I found "my" favorite place to start out and I only drove by it once.  A good sign that I was close to normal again.  I found the water a little high, but clear with some good runs and lots of biting bugs in the air.

Because I didn't see any rising fish, I started off with a beadhead nymph in about a size 12 thinking that so early in the morning with high water, the fish might not want to play unless they could clearly see breakfast. Within 10 minutes I lost my first two flies to the fish gods.  After tying on my third fly, a small colorful fish impaled himself. Obviously, the dropout from a school of fish.

I moved around, up and down and back and forth, but this was the only sucker I could find willing to come out and play.  After an hour or so, clouds were starting to move in and a nice breeze was cooling me off so I decided to do a little exploring.

I've talked many times about Clear Creek with out describing it much.  Further up the canyon, Clear Creek is little more than a trickle as it runs through Blackhawk.  Blackhawk used to be a small mining town and tourist attraction.  Now it's casino city and a tourist trap.  Mine pollutants stain the streambed.  Further down, the creek widens and becomes fishable if you don't mind scrabbling down (and up) steep boulders on your way.

Further down still is the section that I fish.  You can walk down to the water from the road without breaking anything valuable. For that reason it's also the most crowded with fishermen, prospectors, rock stackers and other assorted folks out to do who knows what.

Further down the canyon the water is a little more rocky and difficult but not impossible to get to.  I've only fished the lower canyon a time or two over the years.  I've got my eye on a few places that I want to explore further as soon as I'm sure I've got cell phone service and there is an ambulance close by.

I was really surprised that a couple of miles downstream from this sign, I saw 3 kayakers.  Apparently they can't read, especially the news today that a young rafter had drowned yesterday on the creek.



Selfie

I'm tired of picking up other people's fishing line.

Yes, one flower




By the time I got through touring the canyon I was tired, hungry and people were starting to show up in droves.  Don't you just hate that?  As I started the 45 minute drive home the rain started and I breathed a sigh of relief. I had a short but enjoyable day in Clear Creek Canyon.



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