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.

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