A. Bartkowski: Grey Drakes & PMDs invade South Boulder Creek (Lincoln Hills)

RIVER CONDITIONS:
South Boulder Creek at Lincoln Hills above Gross Reservoir
Flow - 200 and dropping in the afternoon
Bugs - Grey Drakes and PMDs hatching all day
Hooks ups / Netted - 80 / 60-plus
What to use (size) - Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail (16); Un-named Fly (10 read below); Matuka Streamer (8); Black Stonefly (12); Prince (12-14)

This is my favorite time of year to fish as it is big bugs and crashing fish. What more can you ask for? There is nothing like seeing an aggressive trout rise to the surface and crash that big floating bug.

You got that right – it is hoppers, drakes, stimulators, ants, beetles, and other terrestrials you may tie at the bench while sipping on a Jimmy Buffet Boat Drink late in the evening on the back picnic table getting ready for the morning drive to the fishing hole. What else do you need? I won’t go there but life is pretty perfect now!!!

I am excited to report that the Grey Drakes are starting to pop with abundance in Colorado. I was fortunate enough to be at Lincoln HIlls Fly Fishing Club on South Boulder Creek over the weekend with clients and what a natural high I encountered. I just completed putting my gear together for the trip, and took a few minutes to walk the creek to see what was happening – scouting the waters for starting position.

It was already fairly warm out and the PMDs were popping with consistency. They were a bright canary yellow that just shines. I decided to walk a little further downstream to scout another section and there were some Grey Drakes cracking the surface. OUTSTANDING!!! It is 8:30 and the bugs are thick.

We start the day off with a fly change before they were even wet. That is not typical, but I could not resist having a dry-dropper day. PMDs and Grey Drakes are popping off and the fish are smattering the surface consistently but not after the smallish PMDs. They were going after the Grey Drakes and the emergers.

I decided to trick them with a modified John Barr Tent Caddis I whipped up a couple weeks back and sure enough it was stellar. The dropper was the ever resilient Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail. Before an hour was completed it was about 8 fish in the net and the outlook was only to get better. Both of us were whooping and hollering like kids splashing in a wading pool. By the end of the day it was 80 fish hooked and 60 in the net.

You are thinking how can one mess with a John Barr creation – I found myself asking the same question, but the original fly's floatability with river current and droppers does not perform to optimal circumstances. It was about 1:00 a.m. a couple weeks back when I rise from a dead sleep and bang around to find note paper and a pen without stirring my bride.

If you are just fishing the Tent Caddis by itself – great fly, but when adding a dropper or two it sinks. I decided to change the colors as well. I am still in the research and development stages of this fly but so far everything is looking bright for the future. The best way to explain this mid-morning realization is a MUTT FLY. It is a mutation melding of Caddis/Hopper/Stimulator/Drake.

After I experiment a little more behind the vise and fish it this weekend, I may be able to come out with a pattern description. The new rendering is going to add some foam for picking it up better at further distances. THROW FOAM OR GO HOME.

My trial run with the un-named fly was in Deckers as I tied it just for the Caddis Hatch that has been so prevalent. The first cast resulted in a trout crash that just leaves you smiling from ear to ear. So with my second cast I tossed the line out into the middle of Deckers and counted to three and launched another vicious attack of a 16” rainbow to my net. The rest of the day of hitting the banks with this dry-dropper was outstanding.

Usually I will not test a newly created fly pattern on a guide trip if I have not tried it out in that specific section of river, but this last weekend I could not refuse as it was the right color.

Now is time to make the alterations, test it, and report next week with the findings and a strong pattern description for you to test at home. The moral of the story - try different colors on flies at the vice and don't be afraid to toss them.