Salmonfly Hatch: Colorado River

I made the turn onto Trough Road and there he was. A man that looked like Forest Gump after running across the country. He had his thumb out so I pulled over to ask where he was going. ” I am looking for a place called Rancho” I told him to get in and up the road we went. “I am Steve but people call me Otter, I am hiking the Continental Divide Trail.” “The snow on Wolf Creek Pass was too deep so I am working my way around up to the Wind River Range.”   I was fascinated as he told me about his journey North to Canada.  When we reached Rancho I told him where the store was and to try KK’s if she was open. I wished him luck and we both moved on.


The Upper Colorado River recently dropped nearly 3000CFS and although it is far from “in shape” the clarity is about 2 feet and the Salmonflies are hatching sporadically. I could still smell my new hitch hiker friend as I pulled in to Pumphouse and got geared up to hike into Gore Canyon. I could see a few bugs flying around but the water was very high and I was not optimistic that fishing was going to be any good. It don’t take me very long to run into a tree full of Salmonflies so I thought it might be a good place to start. I was able to wade out in a small log jam and make some shots back towards the bank. I spent more time tangled than casting. The wind was blowing my line into the trees and as soon as I yanked my fly free it ended up in another tree. After a bit of cursing I was able to get my program under control and work my fly under the tree lined bank.


I missed more fish than I hooked but was able to stick a pretty good Brown Trout before hiking out. It was difficult fishing but very rewarding to find a few willing to come to the surface.


Traveling back I saw Otter walking north. His solar panels and water bottles hung from his pack and he was moving at a solid pace. I stuck my hand out the window and he gave a nod. I wonder where he is now?