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 > Grand Mesa CO - Trip Report

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DWeikert

York, PA

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Posted: 09/01/14 09:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Until now my fly fishing destinations have been to streams but I've always wanted to try stillwater fishing in alpine lakes, so this time I set my GPS to Grand Mesa in Colorado. My first stop was visiting an old friend who moved to the Denver area several years ago. At first, he kept insisting I stay in their spare bedroom but they have both a cat and a dog and after a few hours visiting the eyes were feeling the allergies. A brief tour convinced him I wasn't exactly roughing it by sleeping in my own bed in the camper.

Next morning I headed up to the Mesa. After a brief stop for some local fly patterns and advice at ANG's Fly Shop located at the Grand Mesa visitor center I headed for my first lake (Cottonwood #5). The roads were actually pretty good, for the most part.
[image]

Unfortunately the road back to this lake wasn't in quite as good condition.
[image]

Need I say that I didn't even attempt to cross this section but I did find a place to camp further back the road close enough to the lake.
[image]

I spent the next day fishing here and am embarrassed to say I didn't have much luck. In my defense, this was the first time I'd tried stillwater fishing for trout and I'm willing to admit odds are the problem was me, not the fish. But with this scenery, I wasn't too upset.
[image]

[image]

[image]

Part of my problem may have been the abundance of zooplankton in the water. (Daphnia?) While small, they was no shortage and a fish swimming around with its mouth open was all that was needed for it to get a meal.
[image]

Next day I thought I'd get back to more familiar conditions and check out some of the streams connecting the lakes. But a short hike to the outlet of this particular lake showed the futility of that idea.
[image]

Weather forecast was for rain that night and most of the following day and the road to where I was camped was just on the edge of my comfort zone as it was, so I made the move to a more improved section of road and found a place with a view to ride out the weather the next day. The view overlooking Neversweat Reservoir.
[image]

The next day was a washout, but at least I wasn't huddled up inside tent. The following day broke rain free so I moved on to Kitson Reservoir.
[image]

[image]

I inflated my yacht-
[image]

and got back out on the water. The day started out as another disappointment and I was beginning to wonder what fish tales I could make up rather than admit to my friends I'd spent 4 days fishing on Grand Mesa and didn't catch a thing. The fourth fly I tried that day changed my luck. It was one I'd picked up at ANG's but I don't remember what it was called. I no longer needed to make up a fish tale. Brought 8 or so to hand and lost maybe half as many on their first jump after being hooked. I should mention that I only fish barbless since I'm primarily a catch and release fisherman. But here, I had to keep one for dinner. And a delicious meal it was...
[image]

The fly that changed my luck was a little chewed up by the end of the day. I had bought 2 of each so if I lost one that was successful I'd still have one to copy. The top fly is the unfished fly from ANG's. The middle is what that pattern looked like after the first day's fishing. I didn't have any red chenille that makes up the bulge at the rear but I figured red yarn would be close enough, and I was right. The bottom fly is the one I tied after being fished most of the following day.
[image]

There was a time when I would try to be very meticulous in my fly tying. But when you see a fly get that chewed up and it's still catching fish like it was fresh from the vise...

I ate well the following day also fishing in beautiful weather.
[image]

It reached the point where I would fish catch and release until my stomach started growling then decide the next one would be for the grill.

The following day had thunderstorms in the forecast and I got a weather alert for the next day calling for heavy rains with snow possible above 12,000'. I was at roughly 10,500' so I did a little sightseeing before heading back for another brief visit to my friend in Denver and the drive home before the weather turned too sour.
[image]

[image]

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All in all, a good trip. Fishing started out embarrassing but once I got the right pattern and technique there was no need for made up fish tales. For any interested, I caught one 8-9" brookie while the remainder were rainbows in the 11-16" range. I'd read Kitson had some graying but I didn't hook any. Maybe next time...

* This post was last edited 11/07/17 09:01am by DWeikert *   View edit history


Dan
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lookatdirt

Southern Cal

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Posted: 09/01/14 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, that looked like a great trip! Thanks for sharing.

67avion

Carbondale, Illinois

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Posted: 09/01/14 09:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Doesn't get much better! Fish and solitude in the mountains of Colorado in your comfy TC.





Two Hands

California's Central Coast

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Posted: 09/01/14 09:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

exhaustipated

Topeka, Kansas

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Posted: 09/01/14 10:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice trip report and good looking photos of Grand Mesa. Looks like you had a great time out there. Glad that you started catching fish with a fly that finally worked for you. That's a nice area where you were at when the weather cooperates.


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realter

NW

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Posted: 09/01/14 01:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Long trip, but when you get to CO, it's all worth it. Very interesting, thanks.

ISBRAM

Denver, Colorado

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Posted: 09/01/14 01:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report and photos. I haven't camped by Grand Mesa for a few years, I'll have to add it to my list again!


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Buzzcut1

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Posted: 09/01/14 01:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

awesome. those are places where i take both a float tube and my kayak to fish. nice report


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Buzzcut1

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Posted: 09/01/14 01:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

awesome. those are places where i take both a float tube and my kayak to fish. nice report

Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 09/01/14 11:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice.
Thank you,


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