Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rocky Ford Creek Report: Food for Thought

It was sunny and mild. I wore only two layers and was comfortable. I gravitated back to my favorite spot and settled in.

I cast one of the nymphs I tied the night before and began a slow retrieve. Almost immediately I had a hard grab just ten feet from the bank. I set, the fly came undone, and the momentum of the fish brought its head and shoulders out of the water. It sank out of sight. That was a good beginning.

I went back in. A few casts later there was another hard grab, and this time a hookup. I would show you a picture of it except that it was a smaller fish and I attempted to land it without the net. I had it in my hand for a couple of seconds, and then it flipped out of my grip, off the hook, and into the water.

It left me the fly and a scud it had recently consumed. Looking at them side by side, and remembering that hard take, I thought I had discovered the secret formula and the combination to the safe all in one. I went back to work with great expectations.

That, however, was that. I fished the nymphs rigorously for awhile with no further action. So I began to try the other flies I had tied the night before--unsuccessfully. As is so often the case, the slower the fishing the more absorbing it is. Before I knew it the afternoon light was slipping away.

I now put my hope on the evening feed. In past trips, once the sun is off the water and the light is waning, feeding activity has increased, and I have found fish willing to throw caution to the wind and slash at big stimulators or muddlers.

The feeding activity did increase. Fish were moving and waking and rising, and I got bumps and follows on a couple of different stimulators. But that one jacked up fish that slams the big fly never showed up.

So I went small. There had been a good hatch of midges all afternoon, and come evening I saw for the first time this year small pods of fish moving and rising together. But they were calm and methodical; no sign of a frenzy. And they ignored my flies. Even when I went even smaller on a lighter tippet.

Dusk settled over the water. I finally tied on that green-bodied nymph again, thinking that maybe I could end the day the way it began. I thought it was a good concept, but the fish didn't go for it.

So I started for the truck with Venus setting in the west and Jupiter rising in the east. I was remembering the one fish I caught, and feeling grateful.

But as I packed up I was also wondering why I caught it. Why then? Why that one and no others?

All the way home I was processing those questions, and more. It's what a slow day gives you: food for thought.

It will always be like that: when the fish won't eat we end up with plenty to chew on.


  1. These days come to us all. And it's true there's plenty to chew on.
    That Battenkill looks like its seen many days on the water. Reliable friends.

  2. Hi, Jim. As I have commented before, I really love your posts about fishing on Rocky Ford Creek. Never been there, but, perhaps one day I will have my chance. Till then.................................................