Author: Trout's Staff
Despite the high flows that have been coming out of Green Mountain Reservoir all year, this was the first time this season I had a chance to get out on the Lower Blue. Conditions for my inaugural float were ideal at just under 500 cfs, so I had good expectations of the day; that was until I was driving up and noticed the beautiful silhouette of the FULL MOON against the backdrop of a blue bird day. At that point I new the day was going to be a struggle, as the fish were undoubtedly pulling an all nighter feeding with the aid of the moonlight. Never one to give up, I forged ahead fully prepared to get my butt kicked; but hey, a day on the water is better than just about anything else.
We arrived at the put-in around 9:30 am, and joined about 3 other groups who were already gearing up. By the time we went to run the shuttle, the number of boats at the put-in had grown to 6, so I was growing a bit eager to get on the water. We were able to push off at around 10:30am, which I figured was perfect as the insects were starting to move from the shore to the river. With the lower water levels, we started out throwing a Hopper/Dropper combo with a size 12 hopper trailed by a tungsten pheasant tail. The first mile and a half was slow to say the least, with little to no lookers. We pulled over in a nice run that I’ve done well in on previous occasion, but after a solid hour of hammering the hole with nymphs and dries, all we had to show for it was a few small strikes. Flustered and a bit pisted off (another group parked their boat directly up stream of us), we continued further downsteam in search of better options.
About 2/3rds the way down the canyon, we pulled over on river right at a spot that looked promising, but one where I have never seen anybody fish. After about 10 minutes of working my way upstream, I hooked into a nice brown in a soft pocket. He ended up taking my size 14 pheasant tail, which has always been a great producer in this section of water.
With the afternoon starting to ware on, we continued on downstream. Slowly our luck turned, as we started getting solid looks and strikes on our big dry fly, in addition to taking a couple nice browns on the dropper fly. About half way through the float, the rivers gradient began to decrease, and lot more deep holding water began popping up. Tired of seeing fish slap at our dry, we re-rigged our rod with a deeper double nymph set-up, and almost immediately started having success. As I suspected, the fish were holding deep during the middle of the day, but were very willing to eat anything that came their way. For the next hour or so, we moved and hooked some nice rainbows and browns on numerous different caddis and general attractor patterns.
About 3:30pm, we reached the “Ranch”, and rigged a 7wt. to handle to large fish we were hoping to catch. As soon as we dropped over the first weir, we hooked and landed a nice 20″ rainbow. Thinking that this was a sign of things to come, we kept our deep nymph set-up on and made our way down river. Whether the fish were holding in shallower water, or they just weren’t interested in eating, I don’t know, but it’s fair to say that the fishing ultimately sucked! We managed to pull in one nice slab out of a secret honey hole, but that was pretty much it. A few other fish were hooked towards the end of the float, but nothing to write home about.
All in all, it was a great day on one of my favorite floats, so I’m not going to be one to complain. Good company, beautiful weather, cold beer, and a few fish to the boat made for a very enjoyable day on the water.