Sunday, October 20, 2013

Maroon Bells Wilderness Area

      Another month is slipping by as we head into those dreaded cold months of the year. The lakes freeze over and the rivers turn to a sludge. I personally dont mind the cold months of fishing. I love the solitude and the silence of the river with trees draped in a dusting of snow. The mountains and the shadows hiding the abundance of snow that just adds to the spectacle of fishing here in Colorado. With the weather taking a turn for the worse we decided to head to the backcountry to see what was left of the fall colors of this year. Of course with fly rod in hand.
     We set off Saturday morning headed west as usual. We usually dont have anyplace in mind just knowing we want altitude and scenic drives. That usually leads us to off the beaten path county roads and passes that are seasonally open. We were happy and lucky to get to see Independence Pass that takes you into Aspen from the east side of town. The pass sits at 12,000 feet so as you would assume theres a decent amount of snow laying atop the pass. The little lakes that are up there have been frozen over for quite some time and we got to watch some back country skiers leaving their mark on the fresh snow.

     There wasnt much left for colors on the trees as we summited the pass but on the backside descending into Aspen was a much different story. The trees were on fire with yellows and oranges with tints of greens. 82 coming into Aspen at this time of year is a nice site to see. Since thats what we took the drive for in the first place.
We ended up driving through Aspen and headed up to Maroon Lake. Never had been to this lake before. Had worked in the area the previous summer and explored up around Snowmass Village. This was the first drive up high mountain lake I've even been too. I personally still like the hike into the lakes the best but not knowing the temperature didnt want to risk freezing the little one for a couple fish. Besides you have to see the Bells if youre ever in the area. As usual the pictures of that area on google just doesnt do it justice. 

 Fished for a couple of hours and had brought 12 to the net. Had cutthroat, rainbows and brookies all come to a blue wing olive about 22. There were still caddis coming off. It was fun to watch one fish go after a bug in stuck in the surface film and miss him the first time to return the second and make sure he didnt miss that fly. The fish were on yesterday rising steadily for well over an hour. 

      My favorite part of fishing in fall definitely has to be the colors of all the fish getting ready to procreate. The brook trout are colored up like rodeo clowns and the spots of purples oranges reds and yellows offset with the black head and prehistoric jaws make them easily my favorite fish. Even though they weigh in at next to nothing they have a good fight in them and will take a net full of these over one good steelhead all winter.
All in all perfect weekend. A bit of hiking with the family, fish to the net, and a wonderful hallmark holiday sweetest day dinner at The Pullman in Glenwood Springs. With dinner being about an hour out of being able to be seated what other choice did I have than to grab my rod and go and play on the Colorado River. Adding another river to the list of fished rivers here. Wished i could of spent more time there. Nothing like being setup with 6x and trying to swing streamers in the dark. Lost one and broke off another. With the dinner bell ringing it was time to finish off the night with some food and make the dreaded drive back home for yet another work week.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Not So Secret Canyon (if you enjoy reading maps)

During the days of frustration on the water where you just want to be left alone. You get annoyed with seeing people on one side of the river slowly creeping there way into "your" pools and section of water. Another on the nearside walking back in frustration stomping there feet as they are annoyed from not catching fish spooking your pool. It really takes all you have as a gentleman to not speak out to them in harsh tones. It starts with wanting to get to somewhere that takes a little work. Public access is a very needed thing for our sport obviously. It just draws a lot of the lazy fisherman to say the least. I've noticed more trash and wind knots laying on the banks in these areas. We all would like to think that by being privileged enough to have these access's that people would be shepherds of the trash. 
The best part about fly fishing or fishing in general is that fish don't live in ugly places. They pick the best water, the most scenic canyons, and tumbling rivers to call home. Us as anglers we cant stay away. Through all seasons were drawn from our beds even in the coldest of mornings in winter to go stand waist deep in an almost frozen sludge of a river. Slipping and sliding even having to sit down and slide on our butts like kids to get into casting range of a pool that might not even hold a fingerling. To me thats part of the draw to the sport. Working and meandering to get to a spot that could give you the fish of a lifetime. In that order you have to be willing to do some work in order to get a chance at that fish. A lot of people like to fish for recreation to get away from "work". For me though I prefer to put in the work to be rewarded with solitude and lesser known and fished waters. Plus who doesnt enjoy wild fish in a remote location?
Your best bet to finding places that are lesser known and fished is invest in a nice atlas & gazetteer. These come in very handy when your in the area where cell phones make a nice paper weight or camera because service cant be reached. Which is one of the reasons why we like to go to areas like these. I like to start with basic research on google earth and get a feel for which section of the river youre trying to access. Then its all about finding fire roads or county roads that will get you close. Also be sure to check and keep an eye out for no trespassing signage. I by no means advise trespass. Thats there property and as a sportsman hope you abide by the laws and respect another families property.
It takes very little skill to do this. Basic map reading skills and orienteering skills. Its quite the thing to see it all come together. From a random spot on Google maps to driving to get there to finding a trail head. Thats all part of the adventure for the true backcountry angler. The adventure can even be closer to home than you think. As long as you do your homework. Youll be rewarded. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It has been a couple weeks...

              Well first off my computer took quite the shit a year and some months ago. It had completely stopped trying to load finder. I thought that it had bitten the ultimate bullet and the hard drive and or motherboard was crapping out on me. This had me like most people reeling in sadness and i thought for sure it was the end of my laptop. I kept putting it off like many things in life the idea of not being able to afford the repairs/ replacement. So finally the old lady talked me into just taking it in and see if they could work their magic and help me with our laptop. We have since had a child and family has been relentless on us getting our pictures of the little fisherman in training up for the world to view. Needless to say now that it has since been fixed(for free) perks of having a macbook. Well i am very happy and proud to say that there will be many more and frequent updates of raising a child by the tying bench and riverside.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Browns lake

What a trip this weekend. I got to break in the new Osprey poco baby pack and my new clearwater rod after my dog decided to turn it into scrap. We Hiked up to browns lake near Buena Vista Colorado. It was my 2 month old first back country trip. The lake was at about 11000 feet and the scenery was something out of a Bob Ross painting. The lake was full of wild cutthroat trout. They're way prettier than pictures as usual for wild fish. Caught plenty of fingerlings and a few over 12". The trail was definitely way gnarlier than expected feeling at times like it would never end. You get to hike past mount Antero and past some awesome trickle waterfalls that are about 150 feet above browns creek. Along the trail there's a nice stop along a 20" wide maybe 50" high waterfall that makes a nice lunch area about halfway up the trail. The signs say about 8 miles but I feel like it was way more than that. You get to get on a quick section of the Colorado trail which is a really cool feeling if you're into super long hikes. Overall if you like waterfalls and wild fish this is a great place.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Arkansas River

Had a wonderful day on the water a few Thursdays ago. Small and black were the go to flies. Had a blue wing hatch come off in the early afternoon. Took fish on dries. What's cooler than dry flies in February. Anyways 20 to 26s worked best. Good luck on the water and tight lines.