It was an Un-Black Friday. After a relaxing Thanksgiving Day with family I was eager to get outside and fish.
On Thanksgiving Day the river was flowing free. On Friday morning it was iced over. Time to hit the road.
There were three people fishing near the parking area when I arrived at Rocky Ford Creek. I would see three more the rest of the day, all from a distance.
It was cold, but the sun was bright and the wind was mostly calm. I didn't feel the cold until the sun went down.
It was more of a Blue Friday: blue sky, blue water. The creek was up a little, limiting the shoreline access. I found a narrow spot to stand on. It felt a little like fishing from a diving board.
The fish were there, lined up and looking for something to strike their fancy.
I stripped a bead-head nymph, and drifted a few nymphs under an indicator. I got some bumps, but I also had a couple of fish come up and nose the indicator.
So I went dry, starting with a small muddler. The fish nosed it, and swirled under it, but they didn't grab it.
I went to an old, sparse Adams, maybe a #14. More swirls, and a brief hookup before the fly was soaked through.
I found a beautiful little #12 Callibaetis that I had tied up for the Henry's Fork. I tied it on. I gave it a drift, and after five feet a fish came up and ate it, no mistake. I missed it, feeling the grate of the hook against its jaw. I cast again, and after another five foot drift got another lunging take. This time I hooked up.
It felt good to have a fish on again. It fought hard, churning the shallows. I finally worked it in to the shoreline. I got down on my knees with the net, but I couldn't reach the fish. The tip top guide was frozen and I couldn't bring any more line in. So I grabbed the leader to slide the fish into the net--and it gave one more thrash and broke off. It was gone in the blink of an eye--and it took the fly with it.
The sun was down now and it was getting cold, dropping toward a forecast low of 15.
I tied on a #18 BWO, thinking I should probably have used it first. But the fish didn't like it as much as they had liked that Callibaetis. But after some patient casting to rises and wakes I managed another hookup. This time I got it in the net. Not the biggest that Rocky Ford Creek has to offer, but just what I was looking for, nonetheless.
I was feeling the bite of the cold, but I stayed longer than I thought I would, tempting the fish with a muddler again. They seemed to enjoy playing with the fly as much as I did, bumping it, chasing it, swirling under and around it, but never taking it.
I finally reeled in and walked back to the truck through the early dusk. Two cars pulled out before I got to the parking area. Another fisherman was putting things in his pickup when I got there. He wished me safe travels, I wished him the same, and he pulled out and was gone. I was the only one there.
I packed up and began the liesurely drive home under the un-black moon.