Trouts Journal

PHOTO ESSAY // Brookies & Beaver Ponds

Ivan Orsic / Aug 23, 2021

The brook trout that call high country beaver ponds home are some of the more opportunistic (READ: dumbest trout of all-time) feeders you'll encounter on a fly rod, especially when they measure between 6" and 12". With a short feeding season and plenty of competition to go around, there's no doubt a day spent chasing brook trout with a small rod in hand will be a day well spent.

As it turns out, the new guy around the blog - Brandon Rodriguez - likes getting after it on the small water. It didn't take much to convince him that we needed to make the haul to a little high country gem filled with countless Brook Trout who just so happened to call that water home.

Brandon and I met in Morrison. I tossed my gear in his Toyota Van (more on that later). We pulled out of the parking lot and started our way up 285...

Brandon and I set out in his 1980-whatever Toyota (conversion) Van with plenty of reading material and the latest and greatest playlist - The Tape Deck (Volume 6). The van doesn't have what you'd call A/C, but with those cooler August nights, our drive was pretty damn comfortable.

We cruised along the dirt road with the knowledge that there were brook trout to be had. You might notice those one-of-a-kind trout paintings that adorn the sides of the Van. Add that to the list of the good fishing juju this van has accrued.

First ones at the trailhead. That's always a good sign. Brandon rigged up the IMX PRO C fly rod and paired it with Ross Colorado fly reel.

The August morning was chilly and we had plenty of bushwhacking ahead of us, so we slid into our waders and hit the trail.

Endless options to plop a foam dry fly.

Beavers reshape this creek every year and it was my first time back here in a couple of years. We barged through some willows and found some drained beaver ponds. That's never the best sign, but we had a peek at the creek from the trail and knew we'd find the good stuff eventually. We weren't wrong.

Brandon: "Pretty good."

It was still early and the light hadn't hit the water yet. There were some midges around, but we opted for foam. The Foam Caddis was first up and it wasn't long before Brandon was putting a bend in his IMX PRO C.


Brandon high-stepped across a beaver dam and found some more brookies. Surprise. Surprise.

There's nothing too complicated to a day on a creek like this. Whether you're in moving water or casting over a beaver dam, you're liable to find one willing to rise.

The foam caddis caught its fair share. At one point, Brandon started daydreaming...taking in the surroundings. I saw a brookie slurp his fly. I looked over and Brandon was looking for birds...or something. I mentioned to Brandon that his fly was eaten. He looked at me..."No, it wasn't." And looked back where his fly was supposed to be...

Good times.

Would you say no to a bunch of these? There's no way.

We kept picking our way up. Plopping hoppers and caddis near the bank. A single dry for the whole day.

Couple red wings.

From Amy's Ants to Sweetgrass Hoppers, Brandon kept it simple. Big, medium, and small foam flies all did the trick.

It was raining. Clouds were moving through and those brookies kept eating.

After a couple more brookies for good measure, that afternoon thunderstorm finally rolled through and nudged us back to the van. We bushwhacked back to the van and made the haul back to Denver. A day well spent chasing some of the dumbest fish in Colorado. Bye now.


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