Dunking For Trout

June 2019

I had a few hours on a beautiful remote creek last Friday not far from Salida, Colorado, and got my annual full body submersion out of the way early this fishing season. Hooked and lost a large brown trout on a #20 red zebra midge…..

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Trout Haven

Then a few minutes later proceeded to step off the shoreline onto a raft of water cress that was hiding a four-foot deep hole.

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Angler Beware!!

Soon was dog paddling in ice cold water up to my neck wearing chest-high waders and a fully loaded fishing vest. Never in any danger, but thankful no one was videoing this misadventure!  Continued on resolutely dripping wet,  then recovered nicely 10 minutes later to catch this gorgeous 17”+ brown trout on a #20 black foam midge. 

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Homeward Bound

He was one of the most beautifully colored I have ever seen. Red and black rings on a field of gold. Nature’s gift. Ah, persistence! 🥴

 

Running Rings Around The Runoff: Tips To Ferret Out Those Elusive Fishable Waters

Late May/June 2019

There is nothing more disheartening for a Rocky Mountain angler than to drive over a favorite creek or river in late May or early June and discover overnight it’s transformed from a clear rushing stream into a churning chocolate brown runaway torrent.  It’s a sure sign that the snow-fueled runoff is underway and with the high-elevation lakes still iced in, that the fly rods will be mothballed till July.

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HEARTBREAKER!

But wait!!  It does not have to be.  With a little sleuthing there are almost always some waters that are  fishable.  Here are some tips on how to find them and a list of likely candidates in my neck of the woods—south central Colorado.

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Runoff Antidote

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 Beating The Runoff And Hitting The Bonanza On Silver Creek–Near Salida, CO

“… when the lawyer is swallowed up with business and the statesman is preventing or contriving plots, then we sit on cowslip-banks, hearthe birds sing, and posess ourselves in as much quietness as these silent silver streams…”

Izaak Walton
The Compleat Angler  (1653)

 

Late May 2017

I’m hunched down behind a big beaver dam high in the Colorado mountains.  I gingerly step on the twisted mass of branches in front of me so I can peer over the dam, the preferred way to scout out a beaver pond where the trout are often very skittish.  I carefully elevate my head and spot a nice foot-long brown trout finning in the slow current not 30 feet away.  With an extra abundance of caution, I begin my casting motion, making sure not to snag in the overhanging willows behind me…and promptly spook the fish that heads pell mell into the next county.  I can only laugh!  Fortunately, I haven’t scared off all the fish and am able to seduce a couple of brightly colored little brookies that are hiding in deeper water out of the sun.

I’ve just gotten off the road after two weeks, my annual migration from Florida to my cabin in the Colorado mountains near Salida.  It was time to escape the 90 degree heat and pesky, voracious salt water mosquitoes in the Everglades as well as the incessant political chatter about Biggly 45.  So I am in serious need of a wilderness injection and trout remedy. The problem?  The Big Ark, my home water, is running at over 1,000 CFS, which means any real wading is risk of life.  And most of my favorite streams are also blown out with runoff from the peaks.  Fortuitously, one of the local fishing gurus, Fred Rasmussen (founder of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited and conservation raconteur par excellence) has suggested trying Silver Creek as an option.  It’s only a short drive from my cabin…so here I am and let the fun begin.

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