Friday, April 15, 2016

Rocky Ford Creek Report: July in April

Life is busy, but you get a chance to make that trip to Rocky Ford. On the way, balsam root covers the hillsides, weeks early.

The day is hot and bright. The 80 degree barrier goes by the boards. It's like July in April.

The trout are busy sipping mays on top and just under. There are callibaetis...and others. You have those new ties, and a handful of old flies, but when it comes right down to it nothing you have seems to match the hatch. At least the hatch those fish are working.

It takes a long time to find the right combination of fly and presentation. When you do, a fish slams the fly instantly. Or it could have been blind luck.

It works on one more fish. It slashes at the fly but ends up foul-hooked. Live and learn, little fish.

There's another long stretch where nothing works. It's hot. You wish you'd brought more water. You're well-prepared for an April day, but for July, not so much.

You go to some of the old standby flies. The Lady McConnell is consistently spurned. A good fish grabs the new black Humpy and runs away with it, tippet and all. You have some more of what worked before, so you go back to it. It works again.

It slows again, though the fish are still active. You take the opportunity to notice new life all around you.

There is a city of pelicans here now, and you watch them while away the afternoon. A fisherman upstream suddenly shouts like a fool. You realize he's trying to scare the pelicans away from "his" water. There follow accounts of pelicans eradicating trout from entire river systems. One would think that he believes humans were here first, and pelicans were the ignorant and destructive interlopers.

A scattering of sandhill cranes passes overhead. They must be outliers of the great flocks taking refuge in the open fields farther south.

The sun settles down, and clouds of mosquitoes rise up.

You fish through it all, but your flies seem to be invisible. The pelicans call it a day, and you decide it's time you did the same.

You hike out while the sunset flares and fades.

You pack up as quickly as possible and rush straight to the first convenience store and a tall, cold drink. Ahhhhh. That feels good.

 In fact, it all felt good.

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