Greetings and my best to all my friends and readers for a great 2019!! It’s been a very fulfilling and fun year writing my blog. As well as providing an admitted excuse to go fishing and explore remote places, my main goal is to help reinforce and build the constituency to preserve and protect these wild and wonderful places. Given the current state of politics in the country and multiple threats to our environment and natural resources, it’s more important than ever to take a stand and do whatever we can to protect Mother Nature.
An added and very satisfying benefit has been connecting with people and making new friends around the USA and the world—readers from over 60 countries. As of Dec. 31, the blog has had over 40,000 views and 16,000 visitors, a 50% increase over 2017.
Now it’s easy to figure out why most of my readers are from English-speaking countries, but who am I to ask why someone from the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Brazil, or Turkey would take a look.
As the year comes to a close, I found it enlightening and gratifying to look back on the best, the bummers, and the blood-curdling moments of 2018 from a piscatorial perspective. Here you go….
The rugged North Fork of the South Arkansas River Valley is loaded with a bevy of beautiful lakes and streams. I’ve explored its remote high mountain lakes—Arthur, Island, and Hunky Dory—and was rewarded with some gorgeous cutthroats, but ignored the large North Fork Reservoir at the upper end of the valley. I’m not a big fan of waters where you can drive up to the shoreline, walk a few feet, and settle in a lawn chair to fish. But in this case, boy, I didn’t know what I was missing! I discovered a proverbial movable feast replete with a smorgasbord of big fish and stunning carpets of wildflowers all in the shadow of breathtaking scenery. It’s particularly well-suited for family outings. But the reservoir is a body of water that takes a while to figure out. Here are some tips to connect with its finny denizens
The North Fork of the South Arkansas River springs from three high-mountain lakes–Arthur,Island,and Billings– about 20 miles west of Salida,Colorado. Arthur Lake is one of my favorite early summer destinations, ensconced in a gorgeous setting just below the Continental Divide, loaded with hefty cutthroat trout, and requiring some substantial effort to reach its shores. Which means I usually have the place to myself, particularly during the week. It’s late June, and the report from ArkAnglers fly shop is that Arthur is ice-free, so I’m on the road early for the hour-long drive west from Salida to the trailhead at North Fork Reservoir. The turn off of US 50 is at Maysville, then about a ten-mile trek up County Road 240 that starts out as a smooth, scenic paved road but which turns gnarly about four miles up just past the public Shavano Campground. From there it is a very rough road suitable only for high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles. You’ll be lucky to average 10 mph. Buckle up! Some big cutthroat are just up the road!