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A friend and I went to fish the North Fork of the South Platte, "somewhere west of Bailey". Another friend told me where to go and I promised not to divulge where it is. That being said, I think that there is enough useful info in this report to justify it being placed in the Fishing Reports section...

I'll cut to the chase: Fishing was bad. Really bad. Either I don't understand something, or there is something amazingly bad about this river.

We got there at 6:45 am. Water was 27 deg F and fairly clear. The Aspens were all golden, as were some of the bushes. I don't know what the water level is supposed to be here, but it seemed reasonable for something that is supposed to have large trout in it. The water was mostly ankle to knee deep. But spots were much too fast to wade in.

The wind had some strong gusts which blew golden leaves into the water. At times it looked quite stunning. But at times the floating leaves were a problem.

Looking over it from a bridge we saw the first problem: No fish! Normally if you spend enough time staring at the water from above you can spot at least something. Nada. Zip. We did see a 21 inch rainbow, dead on the bank with no obvious cause. From 6:45 to 10:00 we saw absolutely no fish. No bites either. This spot in the river is prime habitat for large trout but we saw nothing.

For the first hour or so ice was forming on the rod guides.

At 10:00 we did spot what appeard to be a large (18+ inch) rainbow from a bridge. We watched it for about a minute, but in a blink it was gone.

We decided to try our luck upstream about 4.5 miles. Here the water was more "concentrated", in that it was narrower, deeper, and faster. We fished it for about 2 hours. My friend got some bites, and landed a two small browns. All the bites and these browns were concentrated in a 10 yard stretch of river. We got nothing for the rest of this section of river.

Back at the original spot we fished for another 2 hours. My friend caught three browns (6", 6", and 10"). At one point he thinks he hooked a large brown (it quickly took a lot of line from his reel), but then it was gone.

The entire day I got nothin. The big skunk. My friend got some small browns. I don't understand why. With so much prime habitat on hand there should have been some fish. It's not that the fish weren't biting, they weren't there to bite! The entire day I saw only two fish (and one was dead). My friend saw more (since he caught some), but he to was puzzled by the lack of fish.

I think it was a bead head pheasant tail flashback nymph that produced the most fish. But we tried almost everything. Streamers, drys, nymphs, hoppers, etc.

Be sure to read my post in the general fishing section about no barb hooks!
 

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DavidK said:
Water was 27 deg F
wow the first ice fishing report...lol

sorry couldnt resist
 

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I have days like that all the time on the Ark, you'll get them next time.
 

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Sorry to hear about your bad luck. I was just out there the week before and fished it from Pine down to the confluence at South Platte. I had a blast and realli hammered 'em. Caught mostly browns, like you said, though I did manage a few bows. The largest was about 14" and they readily took a humpback scud or a black beauty (midges were heavy) for nymphs or a griffiths gnat or parachute adams for dry.

What was the flow when you were there? I was there on Tuesday last week (9/21) and it was about 170-180cfs which was about perfect. Did they up the flow from the tunnel?

Don't give up on that section of the Platte. As you say it is gorgeous and, in my opinion, still undiscovered by a lot of people.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have no idea what the flow was in cfm. I didn't look it up before going out, and can't estimate it from looking at it. The best I can say is that the flow was, um, downstream. :)

I'm not giving up on it, it's just a bummer. I'm still puzzled as to where the fish went. According to my "exceptionally qualified sources" there should have been so many fish in the water that you could have used them as stepping stones to walk across. Ok, well, maybe not that many. But you get the idea.
 

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DavidK said:
I have no idea what the flow was in cfm. I didn't look it up before going out, and can't estimate it from looking at it. The best I can say is that the flow was, um, downstream. :)
that is the best stream flow report ive ever read!
 

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Maybe try the section from the confluence down to Strontia Springs?It's one of my favorite spots in that area,there are some big browns in there too.Besides you can throw bait if you want to.I lost a huge brown there one time throwing a thomas bouyant.My dad caught a 10 lb bo there a long time ago.
 
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