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Checking the Hayman Burn Area

On June 8th the 10th Anniversary of the Hayman Fire, I did a small tour of the burn area of the largest fire in the state.  The goal was to take a 4 wheel drive trail in to the burn area and fish the South Platte River.

The few trails in the area that are open are thanks to volunteer work done by several 4 wheel drive groups here in Colorado.  The amount of devastation from this fire is still very present, even with the patches of green from small vegetation and aspens that are coming in.

The trail I was on definitely needs to be done in a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle. With several small obstacles on the trail none being too bad until I hit the rock slab at the end of the trail.  Driving down the slick rock with sand all over it is not the worse part it?s the hump and turn at the bottom of it.  The climb out was not as challenging but right above the slab is a very steep hill with lots of loose gravel which can be hard to get up as well.

The river is full of decomposed gravel and silt from being washed into the river from the rains and lack of vegetation caused from the fire.  There are also several log jams stacked up in the tight sections.  Causing waterfalls and other natural barriers keeping fish from moving up the river.  Water clarity is extremely clear from being filtered through these rocks.  I have never fished the area before the fire so I cannot compare it to how it was, except from how well it use to fish.  But everywhere use to fish better than it does now, right?  There are still fish to be found, smaller than I was hoping to find but we did catch rainbows and browns in the area.  Seems to be a great dry fly fishing area, it was made even more apparent when I spotted a brown splashing ants off a rock face and then taking them once they hit the water.  Casting an ant pattern off the rock was an immediate hook up to a decent brown trout.

Please be careful out there, with the current fires in the state and lightening season on its way.  We may find more and more areas where the fishing has changed due to fire.  Thoughts and prayers go out to those currently being affect and who have been affected by these fires.

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