Trouts Journal

February Fly Fishing Report: Playing Hooky

Ivan Orsic / Feb 21, 2014

hook·y - [hook-ee] - noun - Unjustifiable absence from school, work, etc. (usually used in the phrase play hooky): "On the first warm spring day, the boys played hooky from school to go fishing." –

It is tough to call it hooky when the boss joins you on the river for a day of fly fishing on a Tuesday in February. But still… it felt a lot like hooky.

The Trouts Crew minus one marketing guy - Cody, Tucker, Kevin and Rick... plus Howser, Bear, Coal and Charlotte (photo Will Rice)

Knowing that we had to make a few renovations here in the shop, Tucker made the call that the entire Trouts team would be going on a field trip. He didn’t have to twist anyone’s arm. Rick, Cody, Kevin, Howser, Bear, and I all concurred that a trip to the main stem of the South Platte River was in order.

Shop dogs Howser and Bear are both in agreement that fly fishing on a Tuesday is a good idea - take their word for it

Stream flows are always important – especially when you are thinking about winter fly fishing. The flows out of Cheesman Reservoir had been holding steady right around 125 CFS for a few days. For winter flows in this section of the river system, we couldn’t ask for much better water conditions. The temperature was predicted to reach into the 60’s. Game On.

Coal double checks the accuracy of our Stream Flows Page

When we arrived in the parking lot, there was only one car. The day was looking good. One aspect about fishing in December, January and February that is fantastic: solitude.

Cody takes it all in

Once we got into the Canyon, we were hit by a bit of wind. Big gust would blow my fly line straight back upstream at times making clean drifts challenging. The dogs… didn’t seem to care.

Bear and Howser charging hard

From a natural insect perspective, we knew from members of our Guide Staff who were recently on the water in this area, that midges and baetis would be the name of the game. We spread out and hopscotched up the river, some of the group having more luck than others. After an hour or so, the winds died down and the sun got hot.

Rick Mikesell dialing it in

Kevin Cooke getting after it

Around 12:30pm baetis started coming off. The hatch was short lived and we saw virtually no surface activity.

Tucker Ladd

About mid-way through the day I made a bug change. I was trying out a new tippet material that I thought was fluorocarbon. After closer inspection, I realized I had been throwing nylon all day (what?!). I resisted changing up for about another hour before I switched up to fluorocarbon. In short order, I began to see results. I was kicking myself for making the mistake in the first place and for not switching up my rig sooner. Sometimes, you have to learn lessons the hard ways.

Cody scoops up the end-of-day game saver

Bug patterns that yielded results included Canon's Worm #16, the Pure Midge (Red) #22, the Rojo Midge (Black/Red) #22, and the JuJu Baetis (Purple #22).

Winter fly fishing in Colorado is not going to be here for long. We’re on the precipice of prime-time early spring fishing season. Get out and enjoy what remains of the winter season while you can – even if it means playing a little old school hooky.

If you have any questions about fishing on the South Platte River here in Colorado, stop by the shop or give us a call at 303.733.1434. We're here to help.

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