rt_56~beautiful view of North Park leaving Walden for the Delaney’s~

…the Wandering Monk’s”Indian Summer” road trip…  

~first leg~  ~ third leg ~  ~ fourth leg~   ~fifth leg~

~sixth & final leg~

The second leg of the road trip started out with me meeting up with a few friends and doing something different for me, some stillwater fishing…we were heading up North to the Walden area to fish the Delaney Butte Lakes and if time allowed to fish the North Platte, and a few of the rivers & smaller criks nearby…I drove my old rig (Big Whitey)from clear creek county, up the highway to the Eisenhower tunnel(11,200 feet) I fouled a plug and had to change it out in Silverthorne…the extra few thousand feet changed the fuel air ratio a lot…something  the 48 year old 327 engine needs adjustments to…but it did fine overall…

rt_63…my little cabin on wheels…

I always stop in fly shops whenever I see them,or already have visited in the past…Silverthorne has a shop on the right as you’re headed out of town, (Cut Throat Anglers) I have frequented this shop for  years( there is also one in a strip center on the other side of town). I got the low down on some spots local there…also found out about the renovation that was done at the tailwater on the Yampa near Stagecoach…some folks aren’t all that happy… but I bet over a season or two the breeding channels they created will be OK…we have to hope DOW has some clue don’t we? those biologists sit up at night thinking about this stuff…plus, at least the license money is doing something positive…

rt_64~…a room with a view!~

We stopped in at North Park Anglers in Waldenreally nice old school shop…reminds me of  shop’s from 40+ years ago…excellent flies and advice…plus some Orvis stuff was on sale…picked up a new sweater…nice!

 

The rest of the ride was fine when I got back down to below 9000 feet where my carburetor was adjusted for  . I got into  the camp area around 2pm…plenty of time to get set up for the night and get the first session of angling in . We camped right on the shore of the south lake…the surrounding snow capped peaks were absolutely beautiful…Pronghorn were all around us in the sage prairie…as were various ducks nesting on the lakes…coyotes howling at night…

rt_53…during the day time break I would glass the hills for goats…saw a beautiful 14″er with about a dozen does…

                   I stalked within about 300 yards of the herd, then managed to avoid a few cactus’s crawling  to get even a little closer …they were on the bluff to the left…the camera on my phone used here just couldn’t pick up the detail…

…the coyotes would serenade us at night…especially during the Blood Moon early Tuesday morning…

After we got all situated my friends took out their pontoon boats, and I headed around to scout shorelines and see if I could stalk some of the big cruisers these Lakes are famous for…almost like bow hunting & stalking on the ground…I would see a rise and try to drop a double dry rig in the general area and get a take…on the whole lake the trout were having a late afternoon feeding session …but since I was in my waders I focused on the shoreline drop offs out to 25 yards from shore…I was wading about 5 yards off in about three feet of water.

 

rt_51

…first fish of the first afternoon…what a beauty! a 22″ Rainbow!!!

…my luck with first casts is following me everywhere this trip!!!

After a watching a spot near some muskrat holes, I spotted a really large (and explosive) riser… I had an “Amy’s Aunt” tied on as an attractor, with a smaller caddis trailer about 24 inches behind. A friend from Wyoming had recently been having success with some large attractors, so I looked at what I had and gave it a try…

On the  First cast at this spot about 45 seconds after the trouts initial & huge attack… I had an equally large explosion from the attractor…what ensued was about 7 minutes of my reel screaming on three different runs…with me finally netting a beautiful Rainbow… 22 inches…what a way to start this leg of the trip! What a feisty trout…with some of the deepest colors I have ever seen on a rainbow…they weren’t lying about the potential here

 

rt_54…a shop Amy’s Aunt and a caddis I tied up were a good combo…

 

I finished up with the fish and released it back into its home just before sunset…it darted off like a rocket, which always makes me feel good…then I hiked back about 200 yards to where we were set up just in time to cook some supper and tell my story to my friends…They saw me working with that fish for a while and wanted some details too…beginners luck at this spot was for sure on my side…with a few steaks on the grill we celebrated the beginning of our trip…

 

 

rt_57

 …typical rainbows ran 14-16″…

rt_57…blue skys and outrageous scenery coming out of Walden…

…snow line this day was at about 11,500 feet…

The Delaney Butte’s consist of three lakes…all having a different make up of fish…the North more Browns…the South Cuts and Rainbows…also a few cut-bows…the East ‘ Bows and Cuts too…

rt_65

            I tie up my double dry and dry dropper & basic nymphing dropper  rigs nowadays ahead of time if possible, …I like to wrap them on foam insulation or pieces like the one in the pic…they can be stored easily in pill bottles or similar..(hook the smaller or dropper first, then wrap the tippet snug, but not tight, then hook the top fly to the foam…when you want to use it just unhook the top and let the whole deal hook keeper on your rod…)

          This is something I did guiding when there were times I needed to rig a rod for a client quickly…especially if I had two folks with me…being able ahead of time helps me a lot especially dealing with smaller flies in low light conditions too…much easier in my camper with a lantern or better yet at my fly tying bench at home…

rt_66…any trout, no matter the size caught rising to a dry is special in my book!…

       Fishing double drys requires a slightly side arm cast…also super smooth leader  fly line knots, surgeon knots can cause me some nasty wind knots, so blood knots or just new leaders was the rule…the idea is to lay out the rig smoothly and straight…false casts can be necessary sometimes to get the back cast as straight as possible so the pitch from a haul is as smooth and accurate to hit the target…along shorelines like at this spot, I use a side false cast with the shore, then do a spey casting trick and pitch the fly straight out!OK…enough old guy rant!

               I used flouro tippet on the trailers with no problem, did not need to grease them because they are only 24″ long…however if I got lazy with mending my tippet or leaders with rough knots I paid the price in those horrible wind knots!…lots of fun trying to save a rig, especially when there are fish rising!!!! a few times I just started all over!

 

rt_67

…this 14″er spit out the dry right in my net, easy catch and release!!!…

 

 

rt_64…this shop “Humpy” was a good top fly too…

…this fly was the take, also a red barr emerger dropper on one or two as well…

…and yes getting my thumbnail caught in the velcro wader belt did hurt!…

I thought being a stone mason was hard on my hands!!!

 

 

rt_50

This 14″ cut acted at first as if it was twice its size..I caught it on a tan/green scud size 14…it was the dropper 24″ below a caddis dry fly…I fished double dry’s or dry with a dropper the entire trip here…a very exciting method I really love…something stillwater makes very viable…and I should add…dry flys and bamboo rods are a match made in heaven!

rt_65

…the sibling to the cut throat above thought the modified royal wulff might be nutritious too…

 

rt_55

…this 16″ rainbow took a size 14 scud that had some flash on it…

 

I also caught a few cut-bows…in the 14 to 18″ range…again…super healthy fish!using the dry fly lead and either another dry trailer or a scud dropper…the only drawback at this spot is the wind at times…it can really howl…second night I was afraid my bro was going to blow away in his tent…Im not joking!!!

…I told my friends if this spot didn’t have the wind there wouldn’t be any fish here…

 

rt_52

…South Lake view from my camper…I focused on the shorelines with willow edges & bull rushes…

…the muskrats tolerated me…LOL…

I focused on the southern tip of the lake where the willows hung over the waters edge…the sound of grass hoppers clicking was everywhere once the sun warmed up the ground a bit…and the reason I stayed on the surface most of the time withing 25 yards of the edge…I finally figured out what was going on after a few days…when the wind or breeze was coming onshore, the really big fish would be in inches of water to see what came to them…and when there was some shade from the shoreline willows the set up for an ambush was premium…sight fishing with a twist.

 

rt_54…this 18″er took a caddis I tied up with a good sized hackle on it. I stayed up on the water real nice…

…I powdered up all my drys real good before sessions…

 

 

Last Morning I continued my tactics…this time connected on  the best Cut Throat of my stay there…what beautiful fish!…again with a cravens hopper for the lead and a size 14 caddis trailer… I actually had the hopper get pulled down a few times but I missed the strike…the fish were patient with me…

 

rt_48…my best cut throat ever…just under 20″…a size 14 caddis I tied up…dark body, ginger hackle & elk fur …(same fly as in mouth of rainbow above), one of my friends also caught some fish on this same fly I tied up and gave him…

               This Cut Throat came from the South Delaney Butte Lake about a 1/8 mile from where we set up our camp…my nicest of this species ever at just under 20 inches! I caught it on a size 14 caddis…exploding as it made its take…the number of fish caught on this trip to the lakes was not as high as normal on the rivers I fish …but the quality of fish was outstanding.

rt_49…another nice cut…about 14″…

                      This fish took a caddis on the surface mid morning…I was stalking the lakes edge in my boots right at the drop off from the shoreline to the deeper water…my friends I was with were using pontoon boats pretty much…and did fine, I tried it out but kept going to my own tactics doing OK…

blood moon…it was clear and below freezing…but worth the 3:45am wake up…at 8500 feet the sky was crystal clear…

              The last night of the trip we all got up early to watch the “Blood Moon”…a lunar eclipse…and incredible sight!…part of the series  called a “Tetrad”…two blood moons before and after with a solar eclipse in the middle…the next time this will happen is in about 800 years??next event is march…the third lunar eclipse prior to a full solar eclipse later this year.

                …some interesting events in history have occurred on the dates of  past “Tetrad’s”, 1492, 1948 & 1967 in modern times…some might consider this worthy of some research??…the dates prior to 1492 are equally curious…interesting how such events have correlated with such significant historical dates…

rt_62~you know what they say about blind squirrels and acorns don’t you?~

…even wandering monks get a break sometimes…

My friend had to get back to work…and I could use a break and a shower myself after a four days …so after leaving camp I made a point to do some scouting for another time in the neighborhood…the Illinois, The North Platte and Grizzly Creek were all checked out for access (which there is a good amount of)…there are state leases open to anglers around…

The Campgrounds along The Blue are closed on October 1st, so we also looked for a place to park the camper if we headed back around there too. Saw some wildlife viewing areas that looked great to park for some day trips.

rt_56…areas leased by the state are on my list for a few days maybe later this month…

rt_57

not the easiest spots to fish…but really beautiful…smaller water has always been my favorite!

…a perfect spot for my 6 & 1/2 foot 3/4 weight and a few special dry’s…

rt_58…they love to lay under those branches …brown trout heaven it would appear…

…lots of cut banks too…

…next stop Cheesman Canyon for a day trip…

first a drive by of my old ranch in Pine and Sphinx Park…my buddy was blown away by the geology…then check out some really nice spots on the way to Cheesman on the North Fork…which eventually dumps into the South Platte below Deckers…

rt_59

…on the road south of Pine…the North Fork of the South Platte River…

…my old ranch is about ten miles up the road from here…

rt_58

…some beautiful stretches lacing through hay and cattle country…

Cheesman Canyon…what a special place!

…a day trip with a little curve ball thrown in…

Over a decade ago this blue ribbon spot was hurt pretty badly by the notorious “Hayman Fire”…leaving 45 thousand acres of Colorado forest burned…the ranch I lived on was evacuated back then…the fire came withing one ridge(about half a mile)of it …rt_62…the area of the canyon I start fishing, about half way up Gill Trail to the Dam…

Since then it has bounced back to again be one of Colorado’s most famous and productive trout fishing spots. Catch and release rules apply …and anglers here encounter some extremely wary and big Browns and Rainbows…probably for me at least the most difficult to catch anywhere…

This place is very special for me since I caught my largest wild brown trout of my whole angling life there 5 years ago June…a 23 inch beauty with a golden stone and green caddis dropper…not something I have not improved on , or done since…rt_61

A good friend of mine from a bitup  North had never been there and we decided to do a day trip there…when we topped over the hill on the Gill Trail we saw the beautiful color water way down…I hadn’t been there in a while and remembered just how much I love that place…we hiked in past “cow crossing” to where I like to start fishing…we got set up and noticed the water level rising…to the point where the color of the water was brown and full of debris…

I had only been to the canyon once in the past when this occurred…and then it was only slight…turned out that divers were coming later in the week to work on the dams valves on the Cheesman Reservoir…so the water level needed to be lowered…Good Grief!! what a way for my bud to experience this place…to top it off there was an epic blue wing olive hatch going on…maybe size 16…and no way to fish it!!!

 

rt_60

 

There is always next time…I hope they fixed everything safely…without the dam and reservoir there is no tailwater  no awesome fishing! …still had a great hike …always a recharge of my batteries being there!

 

rt_66

 ~great fishing is one thing…but this view is why I really hike in!~

next week…the roaring fork & frying pan the trout fishing is going to be good!…then maybe into Wyoming?

rt_74…another view of my best fish of this leg of the trip…what a thrill!…

~all pictures on the road trip pages were taken by my Samsung Galaxy 4 phone!!!~

 

 …click here to see more about my philosophy on “Catch & Release”…

 

 

all photos and text are property of Wandering Monk Fly Rod Co.tm
and can be only used with permission
DreamCatcher series,Talisman series
 Shaman , Native Angler & Indian Summer series
Golden Eagle,Chinook & Silvertip
GoodMedicine ,RainMaker,Crazy Horse & WindWalker special edition & collector series
“Let the Circle be Unbroken”  Gallery
“A Voice in the Wilderness” Productions
“Silvertip Trading Company”
are all trademarks of “Wandering Monk Fly Rod Company”
wmflyrodco.com 2014
my site views well with the firefox browser