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Yampa river 7/22-7/23

1347 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  kpetro
Fished the yampa a bit on 7/22, then from 6 am to nearly 10 pm on 7/23 on a float. On 7/22 before we floated we could only fish the spots that get pounded; I caught 2 smallmouth, 1 was 8" the other 16" and about 2.5 lbs (I couldn't believe the guts on the big ones!). I caught them on 3" white twisters on a 1/4 oz jighead. Fishing buddy got about 3 dink smallies around 5" (sadly most of the large smallies were probably sitting under rocks this trip for most of the day and these common catches), and 1 11" on a buzzbait.
Started floating on 7/23 and immediately iceintheveins caught a 17" northern pike on a #6 panther martin. I caught some nice smallies from 10-17" in that area as well as a few dinks. Holographic #6 panther martin was the ticket. The rest of the day it would be and no other color worked near as well for the smallies, although the pike didn't seem to care. This would be some of the last good fishing for decent smallies as it got way too hot too fast and the river was low. Bad combination. Hitting a few non obvious spots we got some smallies around 12" and a pound and then we started getting into the beginnings of juniper canyon. At the first hole I was wading and saw a sunken tire. I knew there would be a fish there. I cast out and landed a 17.5" smallie that was 3 lbs+ on the holographic panther. We pounded this area for a while but now it was too late; it was nearly 100 degrees and only the little ones (4-8") were out to play. Disappointed with this, we floated on catching mostly fish like this, although iceintheveins did catch an obese 15" smallie on a white twister.
We now were in the canyon full blast and it was around 3pm or so. Got to a nice pool and saw some sunken rocks on a transition to a slow sandbar. I threw my first cast with the #6 silver panther martin which so far didn't get anything, and I saw a HUGE FISH follow it in. Right at my feet, I saw it was a northern pike around 3 ft. I jigged it a little bit and he hammered it! I lifted my rod tip and snap he bit me off! After this, I put on a 20 pound floro leader which was a smart choice. I put on a #6 holographic, went back up, cast in the same spot, and saw a flash! Boom the fish hit my lure. I saw he was a nice northern but nowhere near as nice as the one before. I brought him in and he was 24" and 4 lbs. I went back up and threw another cast. Yet another northern followed it in, and I saw it was the same one around 3 ft., and I saw my silver spinner in his mouth. I did a figure 8 at my feet and he hit. I hooked him, he shook his head, and threw the hook. Jokingly, I said it would be funny if he hit again. I guess it was funny then. He followed it in, I jigged the spinner at my feet, and boom he hit! I fought the beast for 10 minutes or so and got him in. He was 36" and probably about 12 pounds, he was the skinniest northern all trip, all the others had beer bellies. When he was thrashing around on the bank he threw the hook and went back in the water. I was now in shock about getting 2 northerns in 4 casts. my dad cast out in the same spot and thought he had a snag. He was pulling it when all the sudden he lowered his rodtip and his drag started screaming! He brought it in and got a 27" northern pike that was about 6 pounds. I threw a few more casts with 1 more follow and no success. I threw it out and noticed a northern follow it in. He was nice. I jigged it and boom he hit! After another nice fight, I got in a northern that was about 8 pounds and 30". During this time my dad was fighting yet another northern. It ended up getting away. After a few more fights without landing a fish we decided to let the spot be, and put it on gps. We floated down and it was so hot; the smallies just weren't biting besides the little ones mostly. My dad caught a 14" pike on a panther martin, and I got a 16" smalie probably 2.5 pounds or so, the only smallie worth mentioning. He slammed a #15 panther martin (I was now targeting pike). Floating down I got hammered on a #6 orange spinner (not enough action with the #15) and hammered a nice northern. I brought him in and he was thrashing at my feet, took out my forceps and let him go. He was nice, 6lbs+ and around 28". I floated down and I met iceintheveins, who was saying he caught a nice northern on a spinnerbait as well as a smallie around 3 pounds. He put on a buzzzbait and first cast boom a pike hammered it. He fought it for a while and it got away. He brought the buzzer to the surface and boom the same pike hit again. It still got away. He threw his next cast and caught a 24" northern. His next cast he got a 1.5 lb smallie. Now I was scrambling to put on a buzzbait. We went to the next few spots and he lost another nice pike. I then threw out in about 6" of water near some standing grass and the surface exploded! I caught a 22" northern. Next cast boom, thought I had another pike because of the hard fight. Brought it in and it was a fiesty 16" smallie probably around 2 and a half pounds. We had several more hits without landing the fish and iceintheveins then landed another 24" northern. This one was mortally hooked. Sadly, we had to keep it. But every other pike we caught was carefully released, which I suggest anyone to do that catches a pike on this river. they are a rare resource now and grow extremely large. It is a superb place for northern pike!
Overall we caught: probably 100 smallies around 4-8", 13 smallies 2 pounds (around 15") or better with the largest around 18" and 3 pounds., We also caught 12 northerns ranging in size from 14" to 36". Definitely a fun time!
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That's a lot of Northern's and Smallies! Glad you had a good time.
were you fishing in the town of craig ? , thats alot of fish ill have to try it out
not in the town of craig. Below that and below little yampa canyon. It is where DOW and USFWS does not do removals and killings for the pike or smallies cuz they can't get their boats in.
is there acess to shoreline were you were fishing ? ill be on the shoreline
no, not where the good fishing is. You would be on the shoreline around where DOW and USFWS killed (like in little yampa canyon) the pike and smallies or in other places like craig and hayden where the good fish were removed.
float on a boat, but be ready to portage the diversion dam. That took over an hour yesterday. If the flows are higher you might not have to portage it though. It is close to unfloatable now, we did it at 590 cfs. like 2 weeks ago it was like 2000. That river drops FAST.
Great report! Now I'm craving some pike fishing.
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