I’m headed to Colorado again to finish up a job I started there back in 2016. In 2015, my first year traveling in my Funmover RV, I stopped at Lamoille Canyon in June and enjoyed a few great days flyfishing up and down the creek. I visited again in 2018 on my way to Montana, and the fishing wasn’t as great; it seemed as though the beaver ponds had been wiped out somehow, with only a few small fish here and there. The portion below Hanging Canyon was still good though, as it was in 2015.
This year I was passing by a month earlier than previous visits, with the complication of Covid-19 shutting down campgrounds across the country. My usual stay at the Elko Walmart was not OK this time; they said no overnighting during the Pandemic. I knew that the paid campground at Thomas Canyon (halfway up Lamoille Canyon) wasn’t open yet, and I could not get anyone to tell me if the dispersed area was open or not. So I drove out there to find out, and it turns out it was open. Also, there had been a fire that swept through the lower canyon since I was last there, and the area that had some RVs camped in 2018 was now marked as a parking area (no camping). The 3 spots that could fit my RV were taken, so I edged up to the farthest corner of the parking area and went to scout the creek.
Though the mountain peaks were mostly free of snow, there was still enough runoff to make most of the creek un-fishable, or at least not enjoyably so.
No rangers complained about my parking job, and in the morning I drove up to the beaver pond meadow near the top of the canyon. The meadow is flat and the ponds regulate the speed of the water, so it was looking promising. I started with a simple dry-dropper rig and put it into the seams that had produced fish the last two visits, but got not so much as a look. I reluctantly changed to an indicator rig with a heavy worm pattern and a tiny zebra midge, and that got some attention. A couple of small and pretty brookies liked the midge, though only in that one deep run.
The water was extremely cold and the meadow offered little defense from the stiff wind blowing down the canyon. But there was solitude and no sign of the Pandemic.
I decided to go back down canyon to a section accessed from the Hanging Valley trail. There is a particular bend where I’ve caught several fish in each of my last visits, but it is a bit of a hike with some bushwhacking to get to. None of the water was really fishable on the walk up the creek, but the bend pool was still there, created by an old beaver dam and lodge.
I had broken off several flies getting snagged trying to cast to small pockets next the the bank, and when I reached the deep pool I went with a heavy pink worm and a small nymph. The worm was good for two decent sized tiger trout and the nymph for one little one. On both previous visits, I had only found brook trout in this stretch, while I had only seen tigers in the beaver ponds in 2015.
The spot is marked by a distinctive vertical rock totem, about a half mile upstream from the trail.
A light drizzle started up as I made my way back down to the RV, and I decided that I’d had enough. Time to get back on track.
Now I’m close to Colorado but getting punished by crosswinds across Wyoming, gusting up to 45 mph. I decided to take a break see if the wind dies down at all. It has not.