March 9, 2016 at 3:32 pm #4964
When I first got into fly fishing, there was a stream that was stocked by the DNR with browns that was 5 minutes away from my office. I fished it at least twice a week for the two summers that it held trout. I kind of assumed that trout streams were everywhere, altho that was were I fished almost all the time due to the convenience. Then, DNR cutbacks (which always seem to hit inland trout guys first) meant no trout stocking. And almost immediately the fish were gone.
These days I’m in a somewhat unique situation in Wisconsin in that I’m about as far from inland trout streams as I possibly can be. I’m just a few miles from the Lake Michigan tributaries that are well known for steelhead and salmon runs, but I don’t enjoy that sort of ‘chuck and duck’ fishing that includes 200 of my closest friends at any moment. Not to mention that you rarely actually get a fish to take your fly. 99 times out of 100, when you get a ‘fish on’, it’s a foul hook.
Likewise, I’m not into stillwater fishing at all. Which is equally unfortunate, since I live within 10 minutes of several very popular fishing lakes. But then, everybody else in Wisconsin does, too. Minnesota is known as the ‘land of 10,000 lakes’, but Wisconsin actually has more fishing lakes. The nice thing about that is that it keeps most of the worm-dunkers and spinner patrol off the trout streams.
But for me to get on some nice trout water, I have to drive a minimum of 90 minutes. To get on the really good stuff is more like 3-5 hours. So that only happens a few times a season. I think I spend more time planning fishing trips than I actually spend fishing.
I’m curious, at the risk of being very envious, how your situations compare to mine.
BrettMarch 9, 2016 at 7:34 pm #4965
Brett, our situations are very similar. My “usual” trout spots are 1.5 hours away. The others, 2-3 hours and usually involve an overnight so I camp. I do some warmwater stuff too but not as much the past few years. Im looking to do more of that this year but not less trout fishing.March 9, 2016 at 7:47 pm #4966
Much better. I’m 5 min from the Arkansas River. It’s 100 miles of gold medal water. Basically a brown trout river, but there’s rainbows too. Browns are wild and not stocked. I’m also from 5 min to 15 min of 100’s of miles of creeks. Full of browns at lower altitude and cutthroats and brookies as I go to higher altitudes.
High mountain lakes are mostly all cutthroats. They call them lakes. More like ponds to me.
Within an hours drive I can get to the South Platte River, Taylor River, Roaring Fork River and Frying Pan. Along with more creeks than I could fish in a lifetime.
Here’s a short list, and there’s way more not on this list.March 9, 2016 at 10:16 pm #4967
Creek, I’ve heard that a lot of the streams in CO are private now and the public can’t get to them without paying a rod fee. Is that not true?
BrettMarch 10, 2016 at 9:54 am #4968
Not in my area Brett. You could fish all your life here and never cover all the waters on public land. We do have a few creeks that have been leased and you need to be in a club to fish them. All you need to do is fish above and below those areas and the fishing is just as good. I only know of one of them near me. They even have a few spots on the Arkansas River, but I have 100 miles of the river I can fish. A private area is no better than the rest of the river. Maybe worse, because it get pounded more than the public areas due to them being smaller areas.March 10, 2016 at 10:52 am #4969
Take heart, Brett – it could be worse. There’s exactly one stream holding trout year-round within reasonable day-trip range from me (80+ miles) And the public water’s overrun most days, not with other anglers but idiot tourists splashing around and letting their dogs and kids run wild, sending even the dopey stocker rainbows fleeing in terror. Anywhere decent requires an overnight stay. Coming from a place (upstate NY) where I could get out nearly every evening after work thanks to about a dozen and a half trout creeks within an hour’s drive the fishing withdrawal symptoms get downright painful.March 10, 2016 at 6:48 pm #4970
I’m pretty surrounded, by Western standards. Home water is the Green. Flaming Gorge tailwater 45 minutes away. The whole WY section from 90 min. To 4 hours. All of the secret gems of SW WY within 1-3 hours. 4.5 hours to Jackson area with the Snake, Hoback, Greys, Salt, and tons of tribs. Another 45 minutes to Teton Valley, ID, or Swan Valley and the South Fork. 6 hours to the Henry’s Fork and Yellowstone regions. 7 hours to the Beaverhead/Dillon, MT area. 6 hours to Silver Creek. A whole shitload of rivers and creeks I pass going to the classics. Sometimes I fish a few.
I’m an hour from NE Colorado, but never go there any more. Dont fish anywhere in Utah except the Green tailwater either, but some good ones are within a couple hours.
I can be just about anywhere in WY, ID, MT, CO, or UT in a day’s drive! That’s why I stay where I am, at the desolate intersection of WY, UT, and CO. A short drive in any direction can put me in paradise.March 10, 2016 at 6:52 pm #4971
Brett, is this what you were asking about when you mentioned having to pay a rod fee?March 10, 2016 at 7:41 pm #4972
Yeah, Scotty. I had gotten the impression somehow that CO was full of properties like that and public access to streams was very limited. But since Creek says otherwise, maybe I’ll plan my next fishing trip out there. I’m sure he won’t mind guiding for me. 😉
BrettMarch 10, 2016 at 8:57 pm #4973
There are some big historic working ranches in this state that will allow you to fish on their property for a fee. Kind of like the same thing you find in Great Britain fishing on private stretches of river. Not to worry though, there are not many ranches who do this. Some are just plain private property and they post it very well that there will be no trespassing. But I don’t know of many.
Creek is correct in saying that we have more public water here to fish you could never fish it all in a lifetime. And where Creek lives, he’s almost in the middle of it all….almost. There is so much public waters, that private waters are never an issue to worry about.
I once drove through Baily Co. and saw private stretches all over the river and fly fishers with guides on those spots. So much though that it turned me off to ever want to fish in that area and couldn’t wait to reach the Arkansas. I see it as well on the Big Thompson between Loveland and Estes Park. Guide services will pay land owners to guide on their property so the clients can fish less pressured areas. It’s a joke as far as I’m concerned because just as mentioned before, you can catch just as much fish above or below these areas.
Colorado is a fly fishers dream. I don’t think I could ever leave it, or at least the Rocky Mtns. I don’t fish the popular areas like the Dream Stream or Cheeseman Canyon because these are heavily pressured areas, and pressured for good reasons. I don’t need to catch large fish to be happy. I like the solitude fishing smaller waters nestled in thick woods where you never see another person, and if you do, it’s a fluke. I do fish the Cache La Poudre for a change in scenery from time to time, and it can get crowded on the weekends, but there are spots I can find.
No Brett, it’s completely opposite from what you thought. Come to CO. and see for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.March 11, 2016 at 8:56 am #4974
Brett………..The Arkansas River has many faces. It starts above Leadville at it’s headwaters a creek. Below Leadville you have Hayden Ranch. It used to be private, but is now open to the public. It’s about 6 miles long and it’s C&R only. It winds it’s way through the meadows and is easy fishing. At my old age it’s one of my favorite areas. Flows are mild due to being above the lakes that feed the river a lot of water. It’s mostly runoff. Due to the milder flows the fish grow bigger. Being at a higher altitude it has a shorter season, but fishing hoppers in the summer gets you good action.
Downstream it gets faster and faster and the boulder get bigger and bigger. It’s also one of the most popular rafting rivers in the US. If all you ever knew was Hayden Meadows and you were blindfolded and brought downstream. When they took off the blindfold you’d never dream it was the same river.
Hayden can get a bit crowded on weekends, but I just fish it during the week. I always find solitude. Here’s a picture of it.
[img]http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site21/2014/0718/20140718__21dcgcenw~2.jpg[/img]March 11, 2016 at 8:59 am #4975
Ok, it didn’t work showing the picture. Try this link. The picture I was trying to show it at the top and the middle picture. Not all the pictures shown as Hayden.March 11, 2016 at 9:03 am #4976
Here’s the Arkansas where I live. Which is 30 miles downstream of Hayden.March 11, 2016 at 3:07 pm #4977
That’s quite a change! We have a couple rivers in northern WI that are like that. The Bois Brule and Namekagon. Upstream a ways it’s intimate and mixed with browns and brookies. Downstream they are used mostly by rafters and steelheaders.
One of these days I’ll have to pester you guys with info about fishing there. The upper Arkansas looks exactly like what I enjoy. But what’s the altitude up there? I’m kinda used to being at 600ft above sea level. I remember skiing at Snowbird (SLC) many years ago and getting winded just walking through the parking lot with skis. And I was young and in good shape then!
BrettMarch 11, 2016 at 3:53 pm #4978
Don’t get me wrong. I love Hayden Meadows, but the whole river fishes good.
Leadville is 10,000ft. Hayden is downstream a few miles. Maybe 9500ft. Where I live is 8000ft in Buena Vista.
Nothing is what you’d call low altitude in Colorado. I think the lowest altitude is the eastern plains near Kansas. It’s around 3500ft. You’d die at some of my mountain creeks. They’re at 12,000ft.
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