Trout in Roaring Fork Valley feasting on earthworms
August 14, 2013
The rainbow trout are hungry these days at Ruedi Reservoir. I've been inspired by my new Intex 12-foot fishing raft to hit area waters about once a week, and nowhere have I had more success than at Ruedi.
What's the point of driving over Independence Pass all the way to Twin Lakes, or hiking some steep trail to a small mountain lake with little action, or trekking all the way to Harvey Gap or Rifle Gap outside the valley, when the fish are biting just 15 miles east of Basalt?
The action seems to be best between 7 and 9 a.m. and in the late afternoons between 4 and 6 p.m. But I've been catching trout at all times of the day. Earthworms have been a potent weapon, and even if you cut them in half or use the dead ones, they still work. I haven't had as much luck with Panther Martins or Rooster Tails, although earlier in the year (around May) the orange Rooster Tails were a winner. I stick with what works, and what has been working this month and last month are plain old worms, fished about 3 feet below the surface using a cork.
The fish aren't huge, typically ranging somewhere between 10 and 14 inches. I keep and eat the ones over 12 inches, especially if they're hooked in a strange way and the chance of their survival if returned to the water is poor. On a typical day (of about three hours of actual fishing time), I've been catching seven or eight and keeping two. Fresh trout caught straight out of the lake has a taste that blows store-bought fish away.
The west end of the reservoir near the dam is especially fruitful. On many days, the skiers and the pleasure boaters make it tough on people in a small raft like mine, creating a big wake that knocks me against the boulders on the south side of the lake. But the fact that I'm catching fish and not getting skunked tends to compensate for the trouble.
Here's hoping my success at Ruedi — and yours, as well — will continue through the fall.