north-fork-south-platte-river

North Fork of the South Platte

Fun Summer Day in the Mountains

Today was a good Colorado day!  One of the many things I love about living here is that there are so many things to do outdoors.  I started my day with a nice drive into the mountains to shoot my bow in the Buffalo Creek area, only about 45 minutes away.  I went to Buffalo Creek to shoot because I knew I could find some open space, and The North Fork of the South Platte was on my way home, where I intended to fish in the afternoon.

I pulled off the two-lane highway onto Forest Road 550 and found a place to shoot my bow after about a quarter of a mile.  It was a beautiful morning with the sun peeking through some cloud cover, and the temperature was in the mid 70’s.  I set up my target and began shooting at 20 yards.  I was doing very well, getting all of the arrows into a tight group consistently.  I moved back to 30 yards, and while my first grouping was off to the right a little bit, they were all still within the 8 inch target, which was very encouraging to me.  I made some adjustments with my sight, and within three sets of shooting I was getting my 30 yard shots within a 4 inch group.

I then moved out to 40 yards, and I used my 30 yard sight pin to see how accurate I could be at 40 yards by aiming high.  While I still got all of the arrows on the target, I didn’t do so well with that, and decided that I need to sight in a 40 yard pin, but not today.  I went back to shooting at 30 yards, and then finished my session with a few rounds of 20 yard shots, and I felt quite confident at the end of my shooting session.

First Grouping at 30 Yards

First Grouping at 30 Yards

I left there and went about 15 minutes to the northeast to fish the North Fork of the South Platte below the town of Pine.  That is such a gorgeous river, with good habitat for fish, and beautiful scenery along the way.  But the flows of the North Fork fluctuate so much depending on the need of farmers out on the Colorado plains.  While the North Fork is fed by streams from mountain drainages up stream, the majority of water comes from Roberts Tunnel which feeds water to the North Fork from Dillon Reservoir, 75 miles away.  Some days the river is really high, some days the flow is rather low.

I have fished this river lightly for many years, always thinking that it has got to hold some good trout, but the fishing has always been inconsistent.  I used to take my son Kyle to fish there a lot when he was younger, and we always did OK, but I never caught a monster trout out of that area like I think should be there.  I did catch a really big rainbow further up on some private land, but the public land was always hit or miss.

Today the fishing was pretty good; I caught four rainbows in about two hours before incoming thunderstorms chased me off the river.  I didn’t catch anything real big, but they were all between 12 and 16 inches, and they all fought very hard.  I wish I had taken some pictures, but I was out in some strong water and didn’t want to risk pulling out my camera and dropping it in the river.  I did get some good pictures of the river when I was standing on stable ground, it is so beautiful there, and I didn’t see another person the entire time.

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North Fork of the South Platte River

When a storm blew in with rain and lightning, I decided to call it a day for fishing, and I headed home.  By the time I got home, the skies had cleared a bit, the dark thunderstorms had passed, and I decided to end my day with a bike ride on the trails around Chatfield Reservoir by my house.  It was a pleasant ride; the clouds kept the temperature cool, and I was having a good time.  I was about 7 miles from home when more ominous clouds blew in over the foothills, and I decided to head home.  After a few miles I noticed that it was becoming a little bit harder to pedal, and that’s when I realized that something had punctured my rear tire, and it was starting to rain.  I had a spare inner tube in my saddle bags, but I decided to just get off my bike and walk the three miles home pushing my bike, and I was thoroughly soaked by the time I got home.

It was a great day though; I had so much fun doing all of the things I did today, even the three mile walk home with my bike.  And the best part of it all, Kyle got home safely from Lake McConaughy tonight after his first road trip on his own, it was so good to see him.