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Vacation Fishing in RMNP

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

We went to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) for vacation this year. We love to go to the mountains and see the fall foliage. Going in mid to late September also means that the crowds are not as large. There are not as many programs at night, but the elk are in rut and that just might be better entertainment.

Before we got to the Park we saw sheep, in the Big Thompson Canyon. We saw a bunch of antelope just out of Cheyenne Wyoming. We also saw many deer on the trip out and while we were in the Park.

We had rented a cabin this time to stay in. We usually tent camp in the Park, but my wife had trouble with altitude sickness last time we were out there. We wanted to be at a place where there were not as many variables to deal with as staying in a tent. The other things was it was just outside of the Park and only about 100 feet from the Roaring River. What more could a fly fisher ask for?

Having a chance to fly fish for trout took me back to my early days of fishing. I grew up fishing for trout, usually with eggs or spinners. This was before my fly fishing days. I am hooked on fly fishing, and most of it is for warm-water species now.

But when you are in Rome, you do as the Romans do. I had a chance to fish for those cold water finny creatures and I took advantage of it. I got to fish in several places in the Park and had some success at each of the places I fished.

The first place I fished was the area around the Alluvial Fan in the Park. There are two nice streams that meet near here and there are fish in both of them. I fished this area on Monday. I went up the stream toward Lawn Lake to see what might be happening. I found a plunge pool that had some still water beside it between two rocks. I thought there might be a fish or two in there.

My first try was with a PTN I had tied up. This is one of these that I use eight colors of pheasant tail fibers for. I just really like the way these things looks with the multiple colors. I cast it out and let the water carry it down into the pool.

I did not see or feel the strike but when I started to retrieve the line I had a fish on. It was a nice brook trout with it's spawning colors on. They sure are a pretty fish. I returned this one to the water and tried the same thing again. I thought there would be more fish in this pool. It worked several more times for me, before the fish figured out that something weird was going on.

I did not have any more pools like this to fish, but there were little pockets of quiet water along the edge of the stream that I thought might have fish. I used a midge pattern made of red wooly nylon and one wrap of peacock herl for the head. There was no room to cast to many of these places so I just dabbled the fly on the surface. There seemed to be a fish in everyone of these places. I did not hook all of them, but the ones I got were sure fun to catch.

As I moved down the stream I did get to another place where I saw some large brook trout. The were about four feet deep behind a few rocks in some very swift water. I had nothing that would let me get down to them. I will have it next time. I will tie some PTN with a large bead for the thorax. I saw some of these a few years ago at Sow Bug and they were used for this purpose, successfully according to the tier.

As I got farther out into the meadow the wind started having more effect on my casting. It got to where I could not control where the fly was going. Twice it almost hooked me. I decided that it was time to stop and see what else we could find in the Park.

More to come. ~ Rick

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