"The Poudre River is now right at 400cfs and is fishing outstanding. With this flow you can now access most all the river and cross in lower water areas. The water clarity and temperatures are perfect and there are lots of different hatches taking place. More importantly fish are out to feed and surface activity has been good. Hoppers are out in full force and fish have been looking up for a protein packed meal. Fish are still hanging on the edges of the fast water and along the edges making a hopper dropper rig very effective throughout the whole canyon. Other hatches consist of; PMD’s, Caddis, Yellow Sallies, Red Quills, and Green Drakes. There have still been good numbers of Drakes coming off in the Upper Poudre Canyon, so make sure you have a good supply of large Mayflies."-Cache La Poudre River Report. St Peter's Fly Shop. Fort Collins, dated 8/14/2011
8/14/2011: Cache La Poudre River
As my right foot unintentionally crossed over my left, the last thought that went through my head was, "Just keep the camera dry...Bridget is going to kill me". I should have known, the water looked thick, but there were fish on the other side. Our hands were tied. And as the thought of losing another piece of technology played itself over in my mind, my foot gained a footing and I was able to right myself. It was 7:30 in the morning, I had water in my waders, and our day had just begun.
I met Dave an hour earlier in the parking lot of Ted's Place, a common spot to gather when heading up the Poudre. Some might even say that Ted's is a landmark, however, I am in the camp that Ted's is simply just a gas station with a larger than normal parking lot. But either way you look at it, Ted's Place sits at the canyon mouth, and is the last place to get cheap gas before venturing west.
It was the first time Dave and I had met. In fact, the only interaction we have had, was through our blogs, emails, and texts. But as a wise man once wrote, "I wasn't concerned. You see, I had been reading his blog...hopefully he had been reading mine".
Dave, like me, is a non-native Coloradoan. He is a transplant from New Mexico, who has claimed Colorado his home since March of this year. A move made for reasons I didn't need to ask, the reason made clear as he watched the water tumble down the steep canyon walls. Trout. A perfectly good reason to move anywhere.
Gaining my balance, I checked the case to make sure no water had gotten through to the camera. Two steps later, I rechecked. Bridget would never need to find out about this, and I have no intention of telling her. It had been a quick three weeks since my last camera sank to its untimely demise, and I wasn't quite ready to part ways with the new camera so soon. However, if push came to shove, a camera would be a small price to pay for one of these trout.
We made our way to the top of the hill, quietly watching the hungry trout porpoise as they fed greedily on a bug we’ve yet to see. Finding our way down to the water, I re-rigged, tying on a size 14 Twenty Incher as my lead fly, trailed half-heartedly with a size 20 nondescript midge emerger. A standard searching pattern, one that has gotten me off the skunk more than a few times. Wading into position, I laid out my first cast. Then my second, third, fourth, fifth, and so on. Nothing. The fish were feeding, but not on anything we were offering. Trying a different approach, I switched gears, tying on a size 18 PMD emerger, with a size 20 zebra midge trailing behind. Working my way back upstream, I saw a fish rise confidently from behind a rock. Again the fish rose, unaware that I was ready for him. The cast hit its mark, and I was on the board. It was the only fish we took from this spot.
Dave found his fish higher up the canyon, a fish that I could tell took the pressure off. Neither one of us wanted to go home empty handed. First impressions are a funny thing. The weight had been lifted off our shoulders, both as guide and fisherman. We were content. It wasn’t a banner day by any stretch of the imagination, but a day that humbles you into respecting something that is both easy, and hard all at the same time.
When it was all said and done, we had caught only a handful of fish. Based on the river report, we had failed. The hopper action was not fast and furious, the drake hatch didn’t pan out, and I didn’t see any red quills, yellow sallies, or much of anything else. But like most things in life, you trade something to get something in return. And today, I was happy to trade a few fish for a new friend.