Big Fish, Small Creek

Peri and I had a great camping and fishing trip over on the Arkansas River for the past few days for my birthday weekend. We fished the Lake Fork of the Arkansas, which is a small stream/tailwater that runs out of the lake up near Leadville (all around 10,000 feet above sea level). We have fished here several times and love it. It’s mostly about 15 to 20 feet wide but holds some beautiful wild browns that can get up to around 18 inches. They typically average around 12 to 15 inches, and anything beyond that is a trophy for that water. There wasn’t much going on so I was running a small streamer off the banks looking for the larger fish. I caught some nice 15 and 16 inch browns, but they were few and far between. Then the water exploded and I landed this beast of a rainbow. It was big and fat and measured 24 inches. I had my 4-weight rod and was fishing 5x tippet, so it was tricky to land. Very cool  experience though. It may have run down from the lake and found a nice deep pocket. It was a very nice birthday present from the fish gods! (Click on the image to enlarge.)

Peri with a very nice brown trout. We didn’t catch a lot of fish but they were all quality trout and a bit above the average size for the Lake Fork. Just a beautiful place and a fun river to fish.

Taylor River C&R

I had my best day ever at the C&R this afternoon. Clouds, pouring rain, and fish eating with reckless abandon. I caught a lot of nice browns like the one below and my best fish was this 23-inch rainbow. I fished small mayfly emergers and ant patterns the whole time. (Click on images to enlarge.)

BWOs

We’re seeing some BWOs hatching on the Taylor now and fish are looking up. The river is rising as they increase flows out of Taylor Reservoir this week, and a lot of fish are feeding near the banks now. I saw this nice brown sipping on the bank and caught him on a size 22 mayfly emerger. Stalking big fish on the banks is super fun. Click on the photo to see a large version. Just a beautiful fish.