A Hardy Fishermen & Fisherwomen contest report

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A Hardy Fishermen & Fisherwomen contest report

Post by reelland44 »

I am going to try to do this in chunks so I thought I would start with the fishing contest Thursday morning. I will be adding pictures later today as I get signed up for a host site and relearn how to add some images. Hopefully, Jim might be able to add a few to this string after he makes it back to NY, or anyone else that took some photos.

What a day we had. We left Colorado Springs at 6:00 A.M. with only about half that signed up as it was a cloudy drizzly morning in the Springs. We had about an hour and 15 minute drive, 48 miles or so, to Elevenmile Canyon and since it has been my experience that the canyon can have the opposite weather as CS at any given minute, I talked a few into giving it a try at least for the beauty of the drive through the canyon. Stu Lawson drove himself up and left an hour earlier, Henry Caldwell, Don Buchbinder and Sue , John Ganung, Jim Schottenham, Larry Peterson, Robin Sayler & Heather Menter, Russ Janes from Canada, George Stuever all participated, and Nate Dunham and myself to shuttle people around. A couple vehicles coming up an hour later got part way and turned back due to (will remain nameless, but I don't blame them) explanation to follow.

As we climbed up into the mountains on US 24, as promised the weather improved slightly as we passed through Woodland Park. But, it quickly begain to get worse as we approached Divide, Co, the approximate halfway point. Just a little further ahead as we crested a hill, very dark, low ominous looking clouds, lighting and weather appeared on the horizon. Being hardy fishermen, we continued on into more and more rain. Then, the rain began to include a little soft sleet and snow flakes, then a little soft hail. The hardy pushed on.

We spotted a lot of white on the ground ahead as we neared a gradual downhill turn into a narrow pass, and noticed that the road ahead was completly covered in ever thickening slick, greasey combination of sleet and hail. We noticed a car or to pulled off the road on the uphill coming traffic and as we rounded the next bend, all traffic up the hill in the opposite lane had come to a wheel spinning halt behind a partially jack-knived pickup pulling a trailer. The white icey goo was now nearly 6 inches deep, but the hardy fishermen pushed on. I knew with the way Colorado weather is, that this was probably a narrow strip of goo, and it was, but this is were we lost a couple vehicles who thought it better to turn around while they could.

Of course, I had no idea if the rain would be any better once we reached the canyon, but the hardy pushed on. Less than a quarter of a mile or so past the traffic jam, the weather immediately changed back to just rain, but somewhat steady rain and we still had lightning dancing around in the clouds. Shortly after we came to the very small 4-5 building town named after the small lake near it, Lake George, and turned left next to the little old weathered antique/bait shop. As we approached the canyon opening, one very loud and extremely close lightning bolt struck the ridge right beside us, causing all in my vehicle and Jim and John right behind us ducking and jumping in our seats. I was really wondering at this point if this was such a good idea, but the HARDY pushed on.

We drove on up the 7-8 miles left to the head waters of the Elevenmile Res. dam of the South Platte river and as we neared the final 2 miles of the beautiful canyon, fortunately the lighter rain became just a slight drizzle, the lightning seemed no more, and it looked like the hardy were going to be able to fish. Some stopped immediately eager to wet a line, a few went to the end to fish the slower water just below the dam and the contest was begun a little late but before 8:00 A.M.

As I came back from the top, George and I first came upon Don Buchfinder, proudly waving and holding up his second fish, a fat 13 Brown trout. Pictures to follow. As I continued down, I found that nearly everyone had had fish on, lost, or following all ready. The hardy were rewarded and I was releived!

I dropped George off down a near the lower part of the 2 miles of designated golden fishing (artificial only& catch and release only) miles near a couple short tunnel in case the rain picked up so he could stay dry until I could come back if the rain picked up. George Steuver was fishing his own automatic fly reel and metal telescoping rod, the first rod and reel he bought himself as a twelve year old boy.

As I shuttled and checked on all, it was a blast to here how all were doing.
Near the top end and near a large colvert going under the road, Russ hooked into a lunker, probabally the largest fish of the day, in the 3-4+ lb range. In his excitement he said, he got a little anxious and over muscled the lunker which broke his line. But what a rush for the first hit of the day for Russ. He caught 2 trout later on a Wright & McGill 9' Granger Aristocrat bamboo fly rod and I think probably one of his Hardy fly reels.

Larry Peterson caught 3 nice trout and lost several fly fishing as well with a split bamboo rod. Henry Caldwell was beaming they said with his one landed trout caught on a spin cast set up with an 100 year old worn out black metal spinner bait, probably of New York heritage. Nearly everone else had fish on fish or hits, except maybe young guy Robin. He was trying fly fishing for the first time and nobody there made as meaning strong whipping, water splashing casts in the 10-15' range (well maybe a bit longer), game though Robin was as he was the most hardiest fisherman to give it up and head back to the hotel. Sorry Robin, but I thnk Heather on her first attempt too at fly fishing, out fished you this time as Nate told me she did have some hits but was unable to set the fly before they spit it out.

The spin cast guys seemed to take honors for thr day, though it might have been closer if Russ could have landed his plus 22-25" lunker. there was no need to compare total inches in trout landed as Don Buchbinder caught 7 trout from 10 to 15 ", all fat, and all wild tbrowns & rainbow trout. So congrats and all bragging rights go to Don.

The trip down was uneventful, except for the stories and lies of fish caught and fish missed. What a blast. Bill Land

PS. Took me all day to get this finished with other stuff to do but pictures will follow.

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Robin Sayler
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Post by Robin Sayler »

I'll tell you straight out, I may not have caught a fish but this was one of the most fun days I've ever had on the stream. I definetly learned more about fly fishing than I ever imagined.

You can be that I will be doing alot more fly fishing in the near future.

And thanks again Bill for helping us out and thanks Nate for driving us. Heather and I had a great day.

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