On the fly: The Crystal shines
August 25, 2011
REDSTONE – Fearing the usual crowds/picky trout on the Fryingpan River last weekend, a friend and I set out for the Crystal River on something of a whim.
Another angler indicated she planned to give the Crystal a shot in Carbondale, planting the idea in our heads, so we headed up the valley, picking a spot beyond Redstone for no better reason than there was a pullout for our truck right next to what looked like a nice stretch of water.
I’ve never had much luck on the Crystal and wasn’t expecting any this time around, either. My best day on the Crystal occurred a couple of years ago, when I serendipitously arrived at Bogan Flats Campground, bordering the river near Marble, the day after a hatchery truck dumped a bunch of rainbows there. It was a blast, but a year later, I couldn’t catch squat in that stretch.
Anyway, the Crystal – which often clouds up, as though someone dumped milk in the water – was delightfully clear. Deep blue-green pools in the canyon-like stretch above Redstone beckoned.
There were plenty of flies swarming above the water and I tried variations of all of them without success, though I finally got a couple of strikes on a yellow humpy. Better fishing on my part would have put those trout in the net.
Thunder rolled behind me when I spied a single green drake lumbering skyward amid the smaller insects swirling above the current. I changed flies again, and moments later, a fat rainbow lunged upward from the far bank to take it.
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The threat of rain passed, the sun baked our shoulders and a yellow sally (a stonefly pattern) produced enough strikes to keep us engaged, though we missed more than we caught and watched a few hooked fish dance their way off our lines.
The fish weren’t nearly as large as we might have caught on the Fryingpan, but on the other hand, we didn’t encounter another angler all day.