Although we hear things here at the shop on a daily basis regarding good or bad fishing, river conditions, etc, etc--it just doesn't feel legitimate unless we witness it for ourselves.
Enter me on South Boulder Creek on Monday. Word around the campfire was that flows were low and fishing was tough. "We'll see about that." I scoffed.
I pulled up to an empty parking lot below Gross Reservoir about 10:30am. Not sure if this was a good or bad sign. Midway through sliding into my waders, a Trustafarian driving a brand new Dodge pick-up pulled up blaring Led Zeppelin IV. He commenced to sitting there in his truck head-banging while I rigged up. I kept an eye on him--didn't feel like having anyone mess with me this particular morning. I was already not in the best of moods due to the sharp, howling wind gusts shooting through me. As I started piecing my rod together, "Stairway To Heaven" came on and was promptly turned to a volume louder than anything else in Boulder County. Windows started rattling. The bass--surely provided by a check from his daddy, along with the truck--made my chest hurt. I'm not that old (yet), and I can appreciate cranking the stereo when a good tune comes on. But this pissed me off for three reasons. 1) I'm in the middle of freaking nowhere--where people and cars are fairly scarce. The last thing I want is someone sharing my chosen spot with me in an obnoxious manner. 2) His timing was terrible. If someone is at the same trailhead as you, rigging up to go fishing, chances are that person is going fishing in order to escape people, noise, and other daily irritations. No birds chirping, no water trickling, just "Stairway To Heaven". 3) "Stairway To Heaven"?? I dig Zeppelin, but "Stairway" sucks.
He turned his truck off halfway through the hippie-ballad and got out. He started walking towards me and I quickly made up my mind that I would not greet, nor treat him in a polite manner. Shop etiquette and tolerating idiots was not in my job description today. He was already the bad guy for breaking the rules of consideration. He came closer--I continued to ignore.
"Hey" he said, as he headed for the trail.
"Hey" I replied. Guess I showed him.
As I descended the steep hill and approached the water, I noticed that one of the river rumors was true: that flows were low. Incredibly low. Like, 6 cfs. Another fact about this particular stretch of creek that "they" failed to mention was the amount of ice. Tons of ice--still. Sooo, two strikes and I haven't even made a cast yet.
I choose one of maybe three "deep" runs. "Deep" is in quotations because it was not deep--just deep in relation to the tiny trickle that was the remainder of the non-frozen creek. Nothing. So I move upstream, past the "No Trespassing" signs to try and spot a few. I came across a nice hole with two visible trout moving around in it. One was about 8 inches, the other around 15--and bright red. So I decided to break the law. I targeted these two fish for about 40 minutes, being sure to incorporate stealth and a variety of patterns. Neither seemed to work. Finally they disappeared in a flash, as to say, "God, quit throwing that fake bug at me!"
My conscious started weighing on me, so I walked back down to the legal water. Getting my hands slapped would just add insult to injury at this point.
I hit the only other runs of open water, while a couple weirdos glared at me. One, being my Zep buddy from the parking lot. After snapping off both flies on a sharp sheet of shelf ice, I proclaimed, "This sucks" and walked back to my car, content with being skunked.
Until further notice, avoid South Boulder Creek up high unless you feel like acid-tripping to Zep's worst song in your 2011 Dodge Ram that your dad bought you. Stick with Boulder Creek through town. Reports have been decent and in retrospect I should have gone there. But now I know for myself.
Just a sidebar of advice: After experiencing a lack-luster day on a close-by creek, I suggest hitting the Rocky Flats Lounge on 93. After a few PBRs on pull, you'll forget about trout giving you the finger, stupid rich kids who apparently don't have jobs, your own prejudging towards college-aged folk driving new cars, and the fact that February on the Front Range generally sucks.
See you on Boulder Creek.