Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rushing or Running and Fishing


Changing hobbies

I see two main avenues to catching more fish. The best way, in the long term, is to become a better fisherman – learn to cast better, chose flies more wisely, etc. Another way is to find dumber fish. The first is a lifelong pursuit which can never be fully realized. The second is often a way to keep things fun in the pursuit of mastery.

The funnest way to find dumber fish is to go farther than most people are willing to go. The idea of running to fishing spots has been with me for a while since I went fishing along Big Creek in the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho. This beautiful stream has, in addition to a load of Bull trout, a dirt path that runs along its entire 35 mile course. My father and friends mainly fished the first five miles and had pretty decent success, but I have not been able to shake the suspicion that if I could incorporate a run into the day, that I could have had a chance at some big and less-fished-for bull trout.

The other day I decided to do a proof of concept experiment. While I had hoped to do this on some high alpine lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, I settled on running down to Boulder Creek early one morning.

Packing List

I settled on the following packing list. It is not perfect, but it is a workable start:

·         Day pack
·         7-piece rod
·         Reel
·         Chest pack
·         Handkerchief
·         GPS
·         Water bottle
·         Filter
·         Rain jacket
·         Sandals

Gear laid out

Gear packed up

Fishing Set-up

For the rod I settled on my 7-piece March Brown and reel. It seemed from my research that Tankara fishing would probably win in terms on weight or set-up, but I am not yet ready to give up my reel. For inexpensive but good travel rods, I have seen friends use the travel rods from Bass Pro Shop with good results.

The biggest area where I would like to improve my set-up in terms of weight is the chest pack. I am intrigued by the lanyards that I have seen. The biggest challenge to my current set-up is that I feel this would mean consolidating my flies into just one or two boxes (that I take with me). I feel this would be very doable since I have a short list of go-to flies that seem to work in most situations for me. Something along the lines of:

·         3-4 ea. Parachute adams (sizes 14, 16 and 18)
·         Hoppers
·         Stimulators
·         Elk Hair Caddis

·         Stoneflies
·         Pheasant tails
·         Copper Johns
·         Prince nymphs

·         Wooly buggers

Rest of the Set-up

I envision the hankerchief being a substitute for a net. The idea is from Fly Fishing the Rock Mountain Backcountry. The idea is that it allows you to grip fish when needed.

The GPS is fairly straight-forward. As a runner I love looking at the distances and vertical that I have done as well as plotting my routes on Google Earth. On a practical side, it’s always a good idea to get a grid of the trailhead when going exploring.

The water bottle and filter set-up may change. Trail running friends like the purification straws. If you have time, iodine with viatamin C also makes a nice option.

The rain jacket could potential be lightened, but I think I will also stick with it for now.

While I could probably just wade and fish in my running shoes, the sandals are nice to keeping the shoes dry for the return run.


With the limits of our digital bathroom scale I decided to look at how things shook out. While 10.6 pounds is not light but any stretch, I think it can still make running an option. There are numerous ways that I could tackle this – and probably will as things go on.

Weight (lbs)
Chest Pack
Day Pack
Rain jacket
Water purifier

I took this set-up down to Boulder Creek. I found the chest strap kept things pretty secure and while not as free as running unencumbered, it was not too annoying. This should be a fun experiment.

Some fun urban fishing

Monday, August 18, 2014

Colorado: Pumphouse to Rancho Del Rio

Fishing just above a canyon section
My friend and I recently did a float trip from the Pump House to Racho Del Rio. These put-in and take-out locations were names that I had heard bantered about from other fishing friends for years but had never seen myself. Finally the opportunity came up to fish this stretch. It was good fishing, particularly for good Browns, and I would love to go back. The one drawback to this stretch is that it can get a little crowded with rafters.

A few of the many rafts that we saw
Total Float: 11.15 miles
Start Time: 1:30 PM
Take Out: 8:15 PM
Total Time (including breaks): 6h 45m
Approximate fishing speed: 1.65 mph
Approximate drift fishing speed: 2 mph

Shuttle: $30
Parking at Pump House: $5 (free for America the Beautiful pass holders / military)

The day we went the flows were around 1175 cfs and the temps around 57 °F.

Pumphouse to Radium
Pumphouse: 39° 59.360'N 106° 30.536'W
Radium: 39° 56.944'N 106° 33.394'W
Distance 4.9 miles
Loss: 89 ft (0.34%)

The first section has a couple of decent rapids, but nothing that the Super Puma could not handle at 1175 cfs. We started with nymphs but eventually switched to a double hopper pattern. This produced a couple of nice browns. The fishing was solid but not spectacular. We did not stop in Radium but this would have made a good short float.

Nice brown landed on a hopper pattern
Radium to Rancho Del Rio
Radium: 39° 56.944'N 106° 33.394'W
Rancho Del Rio: 39° 53.695'N 106° 36.509'W
Distance: 6.25 miles
Loss: 67 ft (0.20%)

The 2nd half of the float was a bit mellower. There was a set of rapids that we were told about, but at 1175 cfs they not that bad. The hoppers continued to produce but the light was starting to wane. Right at evening we started to get a nice spinner fall and the browns started rising. Unfortunately, daylight was waning and we had to get on back.

The hound overwatches Justin releasing a brown
If we had to do it over again I would have gotten closer to Rancho Del Rio so that we could have spent more time in the evening fishing for the risers. The stretch right about the canyon below Radium was also a good spot to slow down on.

Fading light as we headed towards Rancho