When will Walker Ranch re-open?

Access still closed to Walker Ranch. Eldorado State Park is still closed as well.

With the continued nice weather staring in at me through my window yesterday I got antsy and decided to head up to Walker Ranch in the afternoon to see what the current status was. Walker  Ranch is a favorite of many in the fall, and having it closed is like bringing a kid to a candy store and just letting him look at the candy through the glass.

As I arrived at the upper trailhead I was immediately greeted by trail closed signs and ominous yellow tape. A Park Ranger vehicle was also parked there, ensuring I didn’t get any daring ideas. I headed down to the Kayak Run trailhead and was met with the same scenario. With every access point clearly closed I headed back down towards Pinecliffe and had a very productive hour of fishing. More on that in a minute.

This morning I gave Boulder County Open Space a call to try to get the skinny on the closure. They said that much of the park has been restored through numerous volunteer days, but the closure is still in place at the request of the Boulder County Sheriff’s office, to limit traffic into the mountains via Flagstaff road (I came in the back way through Hwy 72). A quick call to the Boulder County Transportation office garnered a little more information. They said Flagstaff was still under construction but that it wasn’t one of their highest priority roads, so it would probably be December 1st at the earliest before access was restored. Even though S. Boulder in Walker Ranch is a tailwater, it’s not looking good for the rest of the season…

Alright, back to Pinecliffe. I hiked into the national forest section near Pinecliffe and picked my way downstream, hitting every deep hole. Even though the water was a little lower than a couple of weeks ago, the fishing was still excellent. A dry dropper rig was perfect for being able to cover the deep part of the hole as well as the tailout.

I was getting more hits on my nymph than my dry fly, but my Chubby and a PMX definitely saw some action. Not bad for late October! Similar to Boulder Creek, a larger than normal mayfly nymph was picking up fish. Give a Tung Surveyor a try (hint hint) or a buggy nymph like a Brush Hog, Tombstone, or Iron Lotus and you should pick up fish.

Dry fly action in late October… Priceless!
A South Boulder Creek Double!

Towards the end of my session I came across what appeared to be an escapee from the Lincoln Hills fishing club, which is located about a mile upstream. It clearly was too big of a fish for the ecosystem it was planted into, and obviously didn’t last long.

This 2′ DEAD beast was clearly an escapee from Lincoln Hills (insert discussion about putting huge fish into ecosystems that can’t support them here)