Went spent a week in Rocky Mountain National Park
on vacation. We love to go to the mountains for
vacation and got to see the start of the elk rut.
We also saw the aspens turning colors.
One afternoon my wife suggested that I fish the
Fall River for a ways and she would meet me at
the Alluvial Fan. This was an opportunity not
to be missed. She dropped me off where the highway
goes over the Fall River. Actually this is a small
stream, from about 10 to 20 feet wide. I did see
another car parked in the small parking lot but did
not pay it much attention.
As I started fishing after crossing the road I could
see numerous fish but was not able to get any of them
to hit the flies I was using. I tried a Paraloop Adams,
a CDC Elk Hair caddis, a Mosquito, and several midges.
When things on the surface are not working it is time
to go subsurface.
I had tied up some small size 16 - 18 fullback and halfback
nymphs. I tied half of them conventionally and half with
the tail of the nymph at the hook eye. About half of each
of these had a small beadhead on it also. My thought was
that as the fly came down stream, from an upstream cast,
that it might look more natural. I tied one of the reverse
nymphs on. Takes a little more time with the tail in front
of the eye of the hook not to catch it in the knot.
I cast this fly forward into a riffle that had a few
little pockets of still water by the bank edge. When
the fly came by the second little pocket the line twitched.
I set the hook and had a 7" brown trout. This is the
size fish that I was told that I would catch in this
river. I then cast to the opposite side of the river
and did the same thing. I picked up a 6" brookie on
that side. I thought I might be onto something.
I moved up a little ways moving very slowly and quietly.
The fish are hit so much in this river that they are very
skittish, from the ones I had spooked at the start. I was
a little smarter this time and made a shorter cast. I
caught another brown in the first pocket of water. There
was a small cutthroat in the next patch of calm water in
front of that. I was catching a fish in almost every little
calm pocket that I was casting to.
I am sure that this was very much more luck than skill.
I have never caught fish like that in the park. I did
not even know that the river had that many fish in it.
I continued to move up the stream slowly repeating this
in the little pockets beside the riffles. I did cast
into the deep pools, relatively, at the bends of the
river but had no luck.
At this point I noticed another fly fisher about 60 yards
away from me. I caught a few more fish and then I noticed
that he was about 40 feet behind me. When I turned he
asked me what I was using as he had not caught a fish
yet. When I told him, he said that he did not have any
of that fly. I told him to come up and gave him one. He
was wearing waders so I told him to cross the river and
fish from the other side. I would fish his side of the
river and he would fish mine. It was easier to cast that
As we slowly worked up the river we continue to catch
fish. It was one of those marvelous days when you have
the right fly and every fish in the river wants to
We came to a spot where I was going to cast. I was going
to bring it by a fairly big, for this river, pocket of
calm water. There were bushes hanging out over the water
with grass growing under them that trailed in the stream.
A couple of the branches from the shrubs had been broken
and were trailing down in the water. The place seemed to
have a neon sign above it that said, "fish reside here."
I cast to this spot and in my typical ability put the
fly about three feet out from the bank. As the fly came
by I caught my second cutthroat of the day.
I did decided to cast again to see if there might be
another fish in this place. This cast turned out much
better. The fly dropped very lightly, as compared to
parting the Red Sea, and I started retrieving the line.
Just as the fly came between two of the branches hanging
in the water I saw a flash. I sat the hook and had a
rainbow come out of the water. This fish jumped six
times before I could get it landed. Bill, the other
fisherman, came over to my side as he had a tape with
him. We measured this fish at 11.75 inches. Huge for
this river. I did release her, calling myself names
for not bringing the camera with me.
We started to go around a corner in the stream and
jumped two huge bull elk. We decided that the better
part of valor was to go back and not argue with bull
elk at the start of the rut. As we headed back toward
the road, Bill started to take the fly off his line.
I told him to keep it and catch another fish sometime.
He said he was going to fish back down the stream to
where he was parked. I walked out to the road and hiked
up to where my wife was enjoying herself.
I caught 35 trout along that part of the stream in an
hour and a half. I will freely admit that this was a
glorious day. One that I may never repeat, but it sure
was fun. I was able to release all the fish.
I did see Bill the next day and he said he caught another
dozen fish as he worked his way down stream. He said that
made his total 25 fish. He also said that he was so glad
that I gave him a fly to use. He stated it was the best
day he had ever had in the Park. I am not sure if I am
happier for the day I had or that I was able to help
someone else have a great day.
Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick