10/05/2011 - Indian Meadows
Arriving at Augie's house at 6:53:26 AM, (as close to the 7AM meeting time that I am legally allowed by law) I found it to be a beautiful morning. Shortly thereafter we loaded up our gear and headed out. After a quick discussion, the proposed milepost 101.5 expedition was quickly converted to the Indian Meadows expedition based on the temperature, humidity, moon phase and general arrogance of the expedition members. After all, we are fly fishermen. We didn't want to fish any part of just any stream! NO! We wanted to fish "Wild and Scenic" on one of the prettiest rivers in all of North America. We felt 100% up to the task at hand.
As we headed up the canyon, there was a very disturbing lack of wild animal sightings. There were even a vastly reduced number of cows sighted and we concluded that they were being served up at Good Times burgers since we last drove the route. We knew we were desperate and we were pushing our luck when we counted the black alpaca we saw as ½ of a wild animal.
As we arrived several tenths of a mile after milepost 95, we pulled off the road to park and rig our rods, and found the local weather was a bit cool, some scattered clouds and some troubling winds. Being wildly optimistic, we thought that once we hiked down to the river, the trees would block some of the wind and sure enough as we got close to the river and cautiously traversed through the trees and the incline to water level the wind just about disappeared. We scouted the river and settled on a spot near a curve in the river where there were a number of fishing options. There were some riffles, some smooth water, a few deep pools, and a rock face across the river with a little cutout about two feet above the water surface, and some very fast water rolling over some very large stones just up the bend. There were fast currents, slow currents, nice seams and about every type of water you would ever want to cast in. Everything looked good. Everywhere we looked we convinced ourselves that there were a number of 16 to 20 inch rainbows and browns just waiting to throw themselves at whatever we casted their direction.
The river bottom was a mixture of very tiny stretches (about 4 inches by 4 inches) of sand , larger cobble stone sized rocks, larger still small boulders and flat rocks and some huge submerged rocks about the size of a Volkswagen bus. We had to be very careful wading and good foot placement was paramount.
Augie started out with a blue winged olive dry and I started nymphing with a BWO emerger. We could just feel the fish in wait. After no luck we switched our flies and moved up and down the stretch of wadable water trying different flies and casting positions.
One of us, who shall remain nameless but whose initials are Chester actually fell down in the river and thrashed around so that Augie could refresh his memory about what a flopping trout looked like. Good thing I had the wader belt on or I would have been totally soaked. I ended up with a sopping wet shirt and fly vest, and got about the top 5th of my Levis wet. Which of course meant the top of my long johns and all of my underwear were wet. It wasn't super cold, so being the good expedition member I was, I got up, shook myself off and started casting again. Neither Augie nor apparently the fish thought much of my trout impression so we continued to get skunked.
Casting every square inch of about a 5 acre watershed throughout the morning produced not a single bite. We both "thought" we might have had one bite each but I'm sure we were delirious with anticipation. Throughout the morning we tried just about everything in our fly boxes. Grasshoppers, Muddler Minnows, Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, BWOs, Adams, Royal Coachmen, Elk Hair Cadis, Royal Wulffs, Woolly Buggers, Midges, etc. We tried dries. We tried streamers. We tried nymphs. We worked our way up and down the hook sizes from 22 to 8 and back again. We casted up stream. We casted downstream. We casted across stream. We overhead casted. We roll casted. We horizontally casted. We Belgian casted. We tuck casted. We pile casted. I casted into the trees 3 times in a complete mental lapse! No dice. The fish were having none of it.
You would think that as we stopped in Ft. Collins for the traditional post fishing lunch we would have been totally depressed. But we talked about what a beautiful day it was on the river and how quickly we want to go out and try it again.
Even though we had a zero on our side of the man vs. fish scoreboard, we both thoroughly enjoyed the morning and hope that in the next week or so the 4 of us will be united again on another river outing.