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River: Blue River (Below Green Mtn Res)

Bucket List Item: Blue River Float ...CHECK!

Post By: HeavyC      Posted: 7/18/2018 9:55:33 PM     Points: 4843    
Another bucket list item checked off!

On Monday I was fortunate enough to have a friend of a friend, row us the 14 mile stretch of river, that for many years i had only heard fairy tales about!

It most certainly held up to the hype!

Thanks Brian and Forrest, there are not enough words to express my gratitude!

Obviously being on a raft limits the phone and camera time. Though most importantly, the urgency needed to get these beasts back in the water as soon as possible limits even the CPR opportunities.

We managed a few thew through!

Smallest fish of the day was only about 15inches long, but was still a 2.5-3# football!

There was also the "one that got away" story for me, she may have pushed 20lbs! ...I fought her for near two minutes before she'd had enough and left me frowning and humbled!

My apologies in advance for the carnage in the one pic, but rest assured, she did swim away for better days! She was right at 30 inches, but over 13lbs! The other guys guessed 15, but i believe she was a bit shy of that.

Remember, I am 330 lbs, so that is no small arm holding her down, trying to extract a 6in countdown Rap she completely swallowed. I was really worried for a minute, but she actually revived much better than several others.

Average fish were right around 5-6#....several 7-8#s, landed, a a few more pushing the 9-10# range! All the fish above 8lbs were rainbows, but we landed many more brownies!

The river was running at 377 and dropping, any lower and it would have been tough trying not to portage and trespass.

I am still stoked, two days later!!


HC Out!
 Reply by: HeavyC      Posted: Jul. 18, 9:56:14 PM     Points: 4843    
 Reply by: HeavyC      Posted: Jul. 18, 9:57:01 PM     Points: 4843    
 Reply by: HeavyC      Posted: Jul. 18, 9:57:24 PM     Points: 4843    
 Reply by: Golfprogreg      Posted: Jul. 18, 10:24:36 PM     Points: 9    
Congrats. It sounds like an epic trip!
 Reply by: HeavyC      Posted: Jul. 19, 1:02:25 AM     Points: 4843    
I will HIGHLY stress, that if anyone, ever, has this opportunity, DO NOT pass it up! Just incredible how much money those ranchers have put into improvement of that stretch of river! Truly incredible!

The numbers of monster fish is just unfathomable really. Constant hits, you see them everywhere, just everywhere!

HC Out!
 Reply by: MOJO      Posted: Jul. 19, 8:49:30 AM     Points: 215    
Heavy,
Where do you launch and exit and do you think it is canoeable?
Thanks, mike
 Reply by: panfishin      Posted: Jul. 19, 9:11:32 AM     Points: 7460    
Way to go HeavyC! those are some serious toads you got there!
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Jul. 19, 11:37:48 AM     Points: 1433    
Mojo, no it is not canoe-able. Rafts are your best bet. BTW one Rancher owns all of it. He is a billionaire His name is Tudor Jones. Also the fish on the cooler certaintly died later. Latent mortality.... That's exactly why I only use flies now. Treble hooks kill fish. I'm guilty too.... so I changed how I fish.
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Jul. 19, 11:38:53 AM     Points: 1433    
Mojo, no it is not canoe-able. Rafts are your best bet. BTW one Rancher owns all of it. He is a billionaire. His name is Tudor Jones. Also the fish on the cooler certaintly died later. Latent mortality.... That's exactly why I only use flies now. Treble hooks kill fish. I'm guilty too.... so I changed how I fish.
 Reply by: bharper      Posted: Jul. 19, 12:07:15 PM     Points: 148    
Congrats on a good trip filled with some nice Bows! 🎣👍
 Reply by: gsn1574      Posted: Jul. 19, 1:02:38 PM     Points: 473    
Epic story...Thanks for sharing.
 Reply by: Fishful Thinker      Posted: Jul. 19, 1:47:46 PM     Points: 9797    
The dumbest fish in the entire state. Tomky's fish are smarter than those pellets heads. I'm a little surprised they didn't hassle you about having spinning tackle or even floating it at only 377cfs. The last time I floated it (which will be my last...) the Grand County sheriff wanted to chat at the take-out point. He wanted to know if we kept fish "because you have spinning tackle" (never mind that we were fly fishing and the spinning rod was laying in the raft just in case I felt the desire to catch a big one) and let us know that they had us on video hitting rocks on the river bottom at one of those diversions..and it was flowing 550cfs. Of course we had no fish, but he gave us a written warning for trespass. No thanks...CL
 Reply by: skiman      Posted: Jul. 19, 3:17:01 PM     Points: 1529    
With flows at 377cfm, and the high ambient temperatures, I imagine the water temps are up, the O2 levels are lowered, and the fish are stressed. Why would any guide book a trip like this?
 Reply by: skiman      Posted: Jul. 19, 4:29:18 PM     Points: 1529    
HC,
I stand corrected on the guide part of my response. Mea Culpa!
My assertion of high temperatures and low flows add to the mortality rate of ANY fish. Please fish and release wisely!
 Reply by: HeavyC      Posted: Jul. 19, 4:33:40 PM     Points: 4843    
Fish on the cooler, had long since stopped bleeding before released! And was fighting furiously in the net before released. I will admit, we struggled with a couple, but ALL swam away strong.

The only casualties we saw were from the fly guys! We use heavy spinning gear as to ensure they are in, and out asap.

Watched two float away from fly guys. And drifted by a couple more that were really struggling to revive, so be careful what you ASSume.

They were not all that dumb Chad, they snubbed their noses at everything else but countdown Rapalas! ...only one caught on anything else, I caught one on my trusty red & white Mepps! )

HC Out!
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Jul. 19, 5:36:44 PM     Points: 1433    
HC,we used heavy gear too 1x tippet 13.5 lbs. We landed our fish quickly. We did not need hero photos of the MASH unit improvised on a cooler. We also spent extra time to revive our fish. We made double sure our fish survived. Your fish bleed profusely. No way IT survived....
If fly guys had fish float away belly up then shame on them.
I ASSume they didn't know better. However There is no way a 330 pound man can lean on a fish to keep it flat. While digging treble hooks out of it's gill rakers and expect it to live. I don't care how strong it swam away. As far as the fish thumbing their nose at your flies.... Maybe it's technique.
I'm glad you had an epic trip.... As I said I'm guilty too. I haven't thrown anything but flies since that day in the Gunnison canyon 32 years ago.
 Reply by: Fordo      Posted: Jul. 20, 7:01:35 AM     Points: 61    
I know the place well from doing lots of volunteer guiding on the ranch over the last 8 years. Ive even had the chance to help out on Elk hunts on the property. I've met Paul Jones a couple times and he has a neat outlook. He believes you truly cant own land, you just buy the right for a temporary and minuscule time in the grand scheme. He had a book made that goes through the history of the ranch since the Ice age. He shows in that book that his time here is a basically a nano second of the life of the ranch. He is committed to do everything he can for the land that wiil have a positive impact on it long after he is gone. He owns atleast 2 other properties around the world that he hes done the same thing. He strategically plants vegetation and works the land to make the wildlife habitat the best it can be. And when it comes to the disabled and vets, he is very generous with the use of his land.
Ive had the opposite experience as CL. The staff at the ranch are not a bunch of Nazi's, they get people stopping, getting out of their boat and even taking dumps on the river bank and just leaving the steamer and TP out in the open, Its happened hundreds of times. I can understand any frustration they have with the rafters. And given that they deal with so many ding dongs floating through,They are actually pretty tolerant.
It would be so easy for them to make it impossible to float, but they opted not to do that and allow the public a way to enjoy that part of the blue river.
My hats off to the Paul Jones and his staff at the Blue Valley Ranch and I'm thankfull to have an opportunity tboth guide on the ranch, and float a river and hook multiple double digit trout.
And CL, Im sorry but this in no way should be compared to Tomky's Fish Farm. Getting a raft down that hill and navigating it through 14 miles one of the most beautiful places in the country is much different than stock ponds where a purchased trout wont make it longer than 3 months. The fish at BVR hold over for multiple years and are very strong from living in the river. Floating through, hitting all the different features, runs, seams and pools takes some skill, boating a 10 pound plus fish on the float is not easy at all and is an accomplishment and angler can be proud of.

Landing a 10 pounder in a small pond that was just purchased and stocked days or weeks prior isn't to hard......just about anybody could pull that off that has a lawn chair and some basic gear and skill.
Im not saying Tomky's is bad, but it cant be compared with the experience of floating the Blue Valley Ranch.

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