Crowley Lake/Rock Creek Fishing Trip, Part 2 of 5
But our guided trip wasn’t the end of my fishing (or catching) for the day. During our day on Crowley Tom told me of some folks who had fished a section of Rock Creek called “the ponds.” It’s an area just below Rock Creek Lake where the creek widens and meanders through a marsh just opposite the Rock Creek Lodge store. This portion of the creek is populated small wild trout, typical of high elevations steams and lakes. (By the way, this is at an elevation of about 9,500 feet.) Anyhow, these folks had some fun the night before targeting these little trout with midges under a larger fly that is also used as an indicator. Out of my fly box I pulled a small tiger midge and a larger Elk Hair Caddis.
Donning our waders, Christopher and I headed into the creek an hour or so before sunset. Christopher had hoped to try spinners, but with few results. I stuck with my fly rod, inspired by my Crowley experience to try nymphing in moving water. Soon I brought to my net my first trout, a brook trout, caught on my fly rod, albeit with a suggested fly section.
It wasn’t a trophy fish, maybe six inches, but it stunned me to think that I was able to cast a fly where it needed to go in such a manner as to fool a wild trout into taking it for a natural food source, in this case a midge. Encouraged, I edged down the creek, targeting areas upstream from the rises made by surfacing trout. I brought a few more brook trout to the net. I lost others to LDR (long-distance release).
Shortly after twilight began in the canyon, the feeding of these trout changed subtly. They were no longer slurping (a highly technical fly fishing term). They were jumping and breaking the surface of the water, typically at the edges of the marsh grasses. With mounting confidence, I cast closer and closer to the edges of the marshes. This time a fish struck my indicator on the surface. I was so surprised that I didn’t set the hook. Another cast, then another, within six inches of the grass. A strike and set and I soon had a juvenile brown trout in my net. By the time I left “the pond,” I brought a dozen fish “to the net,” lost about eight others to LDR and missed just about as many strikes. It was great!