Just in case…

After a long day of work, I’m gazing at my laptop screen again; my mind eases back to my last adventure. It started in Denver. I was there on business for a few days and I couldn’t wait to wrap things up and escape into the Rocky mountains; trading the city lights for those of the Milky Way. Many of the river reports I had read reported high flows due to run-off on most of the rivers. I’ll have to fish the Gunnison on my next trip. Trouts Fly Shop in Denver gave me some pretty solid advice, in addition to the advice I got from all of my lovely Coloradoan followers. The day after meetings were wrapped up, I was on the road to the South Platte River.

Wine and camping....pure bliss.

Wine, fishing and camping….pure bliss.

An hours drive out of Denver, Deckers, CO was much smaller than I had expected it to be when I’d looked at it on a map. I absolutely loved it. A place where cell phone reception doesn’t exist and there are 4 shops in town, one of them being a fly shop. After buying my Colorado fishing license and sharing fishing tales at Flies and Lies, I headed to find a campsite and fish. Whipping together my tent with the efficiency of an expert and haphazardly tossing together my bedding, camp was set and I was ready to fish within the hour. The flows were about 250% above optimal fishing levels, but word on the river was the nymphing was still productive. Typically, I like to drive and hike a bit to find fish that haven’t had every fly and the kitchen sink thrown at them, but the water by my campsite looked too good to pass up. I waded out in a few hundred feet from my tent and made a few casts. The river bed was a very yellow color, with lots of fine gravel. Despite keeping an eye out, I didn’t see any fish. Until I looked directly below my feet. I had two big rainbows following my wake just a few feet downstream. My pet fish. Avoiding the temptation to thrown on a San Juan Worm and fish by my feet, I continued to fish upstream, sans indicator. Frank and Ethel (Yup, I named my pet fish) kept me company until I caught my first fish by dead drifting a salmon fly nymph. They scattered as I landed the first rainbow of the trip; a fat well-fed 16 incher.     The rest of the afternoon went by with only one more fish caught, another similar sized rainbow in a riffle upstream from camp. As twilight crept over the canyon, I looked across a the river to a promising bend in the river. The water was too fast to wade out very far, and fishing from the other side wouldn’t give as good of a presentation; a conundrum to be sure. Unless you happen to have packed your spey rod, just in case. I jogged back to camp and set up my graceful 13 foot Anderson Custom spey rod. Second cast out, a few feet into the swing, I felt the familiar jolt lightening through my rod, waited a few beats to make sure the fish has eaten the fly, and then set the hook. Immediately I could tell this fish was bigger than the ones I had caught earlier in the day. My reel screamed like only a Hardy can as the line zipped off the spool. And a few minutes later I was netting a beautiful 21″ rainbow I caught on the swing. Not bad. I knew there was a reason to lug the Spey set up halfway across the country, despite a shortage of space in the car.     It just goes to show that when the fishing is a bit slow and the flows aren’t cooperating as much as you would like, there is always a way to productively fish a river. Fishing is a combination of knowledge, observation, skill and creativity. A bit of imagination and thinking outside the box can truly elevate your fishing experience to the next level.

The old boy’s club

It’s been a fantastic week; I visited one of my favorite places in the world, Truckee, CA. Born and raised there, it never fails to impress and astound me how much that place still feels like home, no matter how long I’ve been kept away. Familiar faces and sights take me on a walk down memory lane. Running the same stretch of river that I ran for so many years growing up; FISHING places I have since I was old enough to cast a rod; trout bummin’ with my dad and walking past that spot where I fell wading and snapped the tip of his rod. So many special memories! It just made me think, fishing isn’t just about the act of fishing, it’s also about the people you fish with.

I made a trip out to Pyramid Lake, NV while I was there with my pops and his long time fishing buddy Bob Djako. Another long time friend and former neighbor Mike Posten also met us out there. I love going fishing with my dad and his friends. Not only do I get awesome tips on casting and fishing techniques, but I also get to be an honorary member of the “old boy’s club” or as I like to call it, “the old farts’ club.”  Trust me, I use this phrase as a term of endearment. My sides were sore from laughing so much the next day. Crap, these guys love to make fun of each other; but the jokes and heckling are like the hooks we fish with, barbless. You can tell that these guys have been fishing together for a very long time, since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, as I like to say. The group fishing next to us thanked us for the entertainment as they packed up, mentioning that fishing next to us all day was better than seeing a live comedy show. ( The fishing wasn’t to shabby either, check out the photos!!)

All joking aside, it is a marvelous thing to witness such a great group of friends. I have a hypothesis that the people who fly fish are generally, pretty dang spectacular. Haven’t met a bad apple yet to disprove this hypothesis. Personally when I’m fly fishing, I feel that in those perfect moments, I am exactly the person I want to be. I’m convinced fishing makes me a better person, cliche as it may sound. The fly fishing community is exceptional; filled with unique and extraordinary characters. The individuals I’ve met personally are terrific and tremendously enjoyable to spend time with, on and off the water. So cheers to all you fly fishers’ out there! Thanks for being so magnificent!