"The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad."
Melissa and I took a long weekend away from the Aspen area last weekend. We headed down to our favorite resort for a nice relaxing weekend. The weather was perfect and our time away was a nice change of pace. We decided to bring our fishing gear and get some fishing in down in the Eagle River. The Eagle River is another prime trout river here in Colorado. I have fished it many times on vacations and things, but this was the first time I had fished it since moving here. The Eagle River is a free stone river which means that it is not dammed anywhere along its flow, it is known for some decent bug hatches and some big aggressive trout.
I wish I could say that I have gotten into some of those fish mentioned above but alias I cannot. I have fished the Eagle maybe 20 times and I have caught a grand total of exactly one fish, while it was a very nice female 20” Brown it stands to this day as my only fish out of the Eagle. And I have lost another, so two hook ups and one fish in the net in about 20 attempts. Not too good. The Eagle is a tricky river to fish, it is 60 miles long and dotted with tons of private land with no access to the river, that is unless you are floating it. I am a wading fisherman so that leaves a lot of spots out for me. The key I think to the Eagle is you have to know the river, and I do not know it very well at all. I know maybe a handful of spots and while they are good spots, I am guessing they are not the good secret spots the local fishermen in the area know about. So knowing a little back history and I know it is very little, the Eagle and I have a serious love/hate relationship…
I know that I have said numerous times that just being out on the water is the reward for me, but sadly that does not hold true for me when it comes to the Eagle River. I really get mad when I don’t catch anything when fishing the Eagle. And knowing now my record, I am mad more than I am happy when it comes to fishing that river. This time was no exception. I checked the fishing report before heading out and looked carefully at the recommended flies for the area that we were going to fish and they were size 12-16 Orange Stimulators – size 16-20 Elk Hair Caddis and an array of nymphs in the neighborhood of size 18-22, all of which I had in my box, so I figured that this might be the time when I actually caught some fish on the Eagle.
We arrived at our spot at about 11am. It was a nice day, patchy clouds and fairly cool. We got our gear on and headed down to the river. We both staked out locations and started casting. I started with an Orange Stimulator I think if I remember right it was a size 16. Maybe about 20 or so casts moving up and down a section of about 200’ of river. Nothing. No looks, no rises, no refusals... Melissa appeared to be having about the same luck, which was also a big nothing. I switched to nymphs and ran that same stretch of water with the same outcome. Nothing. I started to really look into the river and spy for fish to cast too and I did not see one. I have gotten pretty good at spotting fish in the river so I don’t think I missed them, but of course I could have. It is weird for me to look into a trout river now and not see a fish. Being that the Frying Pan is my home water, at any one time I can look into the river and see at least three or four fish if not more than that. So it is official, I am a trout river snob. The whole time I was fishing the Eagle I kept thinking, “where the hell are all the fish?!?!” I know I have been out fishing on the Pan and not caught anything, but I always at least see fish and usually if I don’t catch anything I have some good refusals, which are also a ton of fun so the trip is never wasted.
Melissa and I fished for about two hours and we left both frustrated and bummed out. We both commented how the Eagle was no Pan. And while we both know it isn’t supposed to be, we both kind of wished it was.
I wonder if deep down the Eagle knows that I am not a fan of it and punishes me because of that. I know fishermen that love the Eagle and catch a lot of fish out of it. But sadly I am not one of those fishermen, well at least not yet. I will continue to fish the Eagle when I get the chance, but it is definitely not my river. The Pan is my river and for now always will be.