Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Poudre River Browns

After our 7:00 am stop for the traditional breakfast burrito and coffee, JT and I were off to the Poudre River. The plan was to head to the park; however, we only had a short amount of time to fish before we had to get back into town.

The morning drive was a typical Colorado morning. Clear blue skies, no wind, and a crispness in the air that made the skin feel alive.  The  tourists  were plentiful and the number of license  plates from  states from  afar made us appreciate the fact that the Poudre is  in  our backyard and a short distance from home.

Driving up the canyon, the water was running high from recent thunderstorms and the water definitely had chocolate milk clarity. As we drove up the canyon I could not help but admire Mother Natures resiliency after the fire. The tall dark skeletons of trees that lined and dotted the hill side were the only eerie remnants of the fire! The vegetation was lush and green. It was a welcome sight.

We did not see anyone pursuing the residents of the Poudre! We hit a pull out and fished sections of the lower river. The weather was clear, sunny and held the freshness of a new rainstorm. 

We geared up our Tenkara rods and we were off. If you have not tried fishing with a Tenkara rod, you should give it a try! We still fish our standard Western fly rods every chance we get; however, we are trying to catch fish using our Tenkara rods on every body of water we fish. 

We are not "traditional" Tenkara anglers. We use Western gear and multiple flies. JT runs a Cutthroat furled leader with 5X tippet and I use a 9' tapered fluorocarbon leader with four feet of 5X tippet. We fished with our traditional flies...zebra midge, ABU, hare's ear, copper johns in sizes 14 ,16 and 18.

As we approached the river, it was refreshing to see how all of the paths that once were tell tale signs of fishing addicts had grown over with vegetation. The water was 65 degrees and moving quick. The water was high; however, it was obvious that it had receded approximately a 1-2 feet recently. There was fire sediment in the water. The silt and muck still had not left the banks. It was not uncommon to get stuck as we were wading in the muck that had settled on the bottom.

Whether we were dead drifting or actively presenting the nymphs we minimized the amount of line on the water. We focused on structure close to the banks, and any break in the main current. Depth was extremely important. 

In the water close to the bank, fish held close the front, side and behind the structure. On the main current, if a location looked "fishy", it was a matter of finding the correct depth. 

With the Tenkara, adjusting for depth can be done by lowering or raising the rod obviously. Another effective approach is to stop the rod high on the forward cast which will allow your flies to hit the water first. Hold the rod high, and allow the current to pull the flies down to different depths that you are prospecting. 

Casting above the "fishy" spot ensures the current has time to take the flies down before you pass the area you believe fish are holding in.

We were able to share some time with a few of the Poudre River  residents. We caught fish in the riffles, runs and pools.

It was relaxing time spent on the Poudre!

Tips of the Trip...
When the water conditions change, change your approach and try something different. In this case, we spent more time along the banks than we normally do.

Feel the bottom with your feet as you wade.

If an area looks "fishy", yet you have not hooked a fish, work different depths until you get the hook up.

Slow down...Systematically work fishy areas in high, fast, or discolored water. Plan you approach and always look for breaks in the main current.

Happy Nymphing!


  1. Noco
    Outstanding browns using the Tenkara; I am still on the fence as to weather I should purchase one of these rods. I know I would land trout with it, but I don't know if I would fish it enough, as oppose to my traditional fly rods. That is one beautiful area you guys were fishing there, I am envious. thanks for sharing

    1. Bill, I completely understand! I did not start fishing a Tenkara 2-3 years after being introduced to Tenkara by Cameron Mortenson of fame! I will tell ya that it will enhance your western fly fishing skills, it is a lightweight set up, and you would have a blast catching your 'gils on it. All I can tell ya is it is a kick in the pants and you should give it a try. Thanks for stopping by buddy and I will catch up on your 'gil count this week.

  2. Sage advise on varying depth of the flies, NoCo. I'm not diligent enough about that, which is likely the primary reason I don't catch as many fish as you do. Thanks for the post.

    1. Thank you buddy for stopping by. I look forward to watching you catch fish on the Tenkara in Gunnison! You will have to do a guest post once you get hooked on it.

  3. Good reminder about adjusting depth, a point I also often overlook. It's nice to see some water in the Poudre. May have to swing up there before the snow falls.

    1. Howard, You have a standing invitation to come up anytime ya want! The Poudre is fishing well and would love to get ya out there. Always a pleasure!

  4. Damn... I sure do miss fishing the Poudre River.

    As a side note...I sure wish BDF would post as many fish photos in his blog posts. I guess you must be that much better at catching than he is. HA...

    1. Morty! The Poudre always has a spot for ya! The fish actually appreciate that you are not here catching them tho! BDF gets his hook ups as you well know! I am sure he will have some more pics to share with ya after Gunnison. Tight lines buddy and thanks for inspiring!

  5. Nice post! Nice to see that the lower river is still doing well even after the fire. Good tips and technique as usual!

    Morty, Al is the king of landing fish, there is no doubt about it. I'm thinking of renaming my blog "scenic after ways next to a "World Class" City"

    1. Scenic water ways is what I meant

    2. Thanks for the positive thoughts buddy! BDF goes to Gunnison sounds like the next post for ya....maybe....BDF SDlays Salmon with Tenkara?
      Thanks for visiting and keep throwing those Big Dry Flies!


Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully you found something that interested you. Leave a comment and I'll get back to ya. Happy Nymphing!