Editor’s Note: While this entry is by a season member, day guests have always been able to fly fish our private waters with at least a 1/2-day guided trip w/guides available from 12+ shops around NoCo. Support Sylvan Dale in rebuilding, but also local fly shops & professional guides who have also taken a big hit during the Colorado Floods. Email Fishing@SylvanDale.com for details.
“I enjoyed the private waters of Sylvan Dale on Wed, Sept 25 with fly fishing buddies Frank and Dave. It was a gorgeous sunny fall day with high temps in the mid 70s and little wind. While other parts of the ranch were hard hit by the flood, including the lower bass ponds and river, the valley was almost untouched, except for some road issues.
We arrived at Mother Lake about 10am, getting a personal escort from Mango, Cattle Manager, via the eastern ridge road which gives one a gorgeous view of the valley and canyon to the west as seen here.
When we got there we immediately noticed fish were cruising close to shore and aggressively feeding on or near the surface. We immediately geared up and proceeded to throw some dries at the fish – including a couple beetle patterns, then moving to other dries/emergers. We did manage to catch a few of these cruisers on these patterns, but got many more refusals; the fish in Mother sometimes quite choosy.
Upon further observation, it was clear there was a calibaetis hatch in progress. There were a few adults flying around initially, but by noon, large numbers of calibaetis were everywhere. We ended up fly fishing with a number of calibaetis patterns including nymphs, emergers and a variety of dries including comparaduns, hair wing patterns, parachute patterns and spinners. We caught fish on almost all of these patterns. While there were a few skinny fish, the vast majority were healthy, hard fighting rainbows in the 18 – 21″ range, with a sprinkling of browns thrown in. During the heart of the hatch, fish were literally everywhere – in the middle of the lake where Dave got them from a float tube on dry flies, to the inlet, boat launch area and south shore, where Frank and I fished for them from the bank. The hatch slowed down around 2, but fish continued to hit dries near the inlet for awhile.
Having caught enough trout (this is a first in my experience with my fishing buddies), we proceeded to Big Lake, where we fished for bass until near dark. I focused mostly on using poppers and caught a lot of bass and crappie, including a 19″ large-mouth. While top water action wasn’t as good as some days (probably due to the bright sun), I enjoy having bass follow and then slam a bubble head, gurgler or other surface pattern. Dave and Frank focused more on fishing subsurface patterns and had good luck on meat whistles, wooly buggers and clouser minnows. Dave caught a couple of the lunker bass of the lake and a 13″ crappie as well.
All in all, it was a great fishing day. We didn’t try Island Lake, as the water looked a little cloudy and the fishing was so good elsewhere. But I imagine there are some lunker trout and bass lurking in there again.
Good luck to Sylvan Dale in rebuilding from the flood. If you want to help them out or need a big fish fishing fix, give Sylvan Dale a try.”
Glen Colton, Season Member