Feeling the urge to go camping this past weekend, along with the need to knock a destination off my summer to-fish list, I found myself in Eleven Mile Canyon with my buddy Leo and his husky Milli.
We went down Friday afternoon with no camping reservations, which I was nervous about. But Leo seemed confident that we would find a spot so I went along with it. After driving around the campgrounds, we found that all the sites were either taken or reserved. Classic. Eventually, we had to just choose one of the reserved sites and cross our fingers that the Steshyn family, whose name was on the site, wouldn’t show up. Luckily they didn’t and we stayed there both Friday and Saturday night! I was Steve Steshyn for the weekend and Leo was Gary Steshyn. It was great.
Anyway, on to the part where we catch a bunch of big fish!
The South Platte certainly has a reputation in Colorado and the crowds on the river and in the campgrounds is indicative of that. On Saturday, we fished from sunup to sundown with only about an hour or so break for lunch. It was crazy. The morning provided a really good dry fly bite with fish being caught on caddis and PMDs. We saw a few yellow sallies flying around during the day as well. The bite slowed mid-day as we switched to nymphing but picked up a little as evening came along.
I’ve noticed that sometimes when it’s a little cloudy out and suddenly there’s a break that lets the sun through, fish will suddenly rise and hit a dry. This has happened to Leo and I a few times in the past. Maybe a half hour before sunset, there was a break and Leo yelled out to me “Get ready, here it comes!” And just like that a big rainbow smacked my dry fly. I had cast over that spot maybe 20 times and it wasn’t until the sun popped out that he decided to hit. We called it a successful day after that.
On Sunday, we packed up camp early and drove to Deckers (my fav spot) for another full day of fishing. We got breakfast along the way in Woodland Park at Grandma’s Kitchen. I drank a lot of coffee and got super pumped to catch some fish.
As usual, Deckers was great. Mostly nymphing with some random bites on dries throughout the day. The trusty two-bit hooker (my fav fly) did the trick as did a double beadheaded caddis pupa. Fish seemed to be sitting in deeper pockets and runs. Leo caught a nice cutthroat on a drake and I’m convinced it was the same one I caught a week ago. Same spot, same fly, and looked about the same size.
It was a great weekend of fishing and I probably haven’t fish that hard since I moved to Colorado. The best part though- I didn’t lose a single fly all weekend! No idea how, but very grateful to the fishing gods.