Monday, October 10, 2011


... the stars align and we are blessed with a day of fishing that compares to nothing else. I experienced a day like this last week. Armed with a new piece of jewelry that was sure to bring good fish ju-ju (my friend picked the fish up in Steamboat, I made the necklace by braiding nylon backing), I set out.

The weather was perfect. Overcast with no wind. Surefire weather to get the fish biting. I hit a stretch of water that isn't fished very much and contains very large fish. I started with a grey RS2 which had been producing in the past few weeks. To my surprise there were no bugs hatching except for some microscopic midges. I fished a few spots I knew held fish, but couldn't get anything but a large bow that came up and sniffed my indicator. I was getting rather worried after fishing an hour with no action. I moved upstream and tied on a large midge that has produced in the past. It didn't take too long to get into the fish.

I nailed a few nice browns as I made my way upstream. I was getting into the groove. I still couldn't see any discernible hatch going on, but they were biting and that's all that matters.

This was a nice brown, but take a look at his coloration. I have no idea what makes some fish look like this. I've caught browns that were completely black on part of their body. Anybody know? He put up kind of a lethargic fight too, weird.

I am in love with this picture. Sometimes, pretty much daily, I look around and can't believe I live and work in such a beautiful place!

I worked my way on upstream, picking off fish after fish as I went. I came to a run which was just upstream of a fence which could be the boundary of the property. Maybe I was trespassing, but this one final run was just too tempting to pass up. I took a look around to see if anybody was watching and proceeded to nail this chunky brown. I was manhandled by a couple large fish that made me feel foolish.

I made four drifts and got four bites, the fourth bite yielding this massive bow. To date the largest rainbow I've caught on the CO. He put up a whale of a fight and I snapped this pic of him before I released him.

I had passed a few rising fish in a tail-out as I was fishing up. I didn't want to re-rig with a dry because the action was so fast. But on the way back to the car I decided to tie on a dry and give these rising fish a go. As I was lengthening my leader with some 6x, I spied this little guy fluttering on the water. Bingo, I found what the fish were eating and the midge I had been throwing was a spitting image. Sometimes it's pretty nice to be lucky.

Having found this little mayfly, I tied on this fly. Look similar? I think so....

...and so did this guy! It's the only fish I caught the rest of the day. But I'm pretty sure it was a cutt-bow. The yellowish gill plates and the spots oriented more to the tail of the fish make me think this. I was pretty stoked when I landed this dude.

The orange gill slits are another reason I believe this to be a cutt-bow. This is the first one I've ever caught. Pretty sweet!

Aww yeah. I dig it...

And sometimes the stars are in disarray and the weather is crap. Bright bluebird skies and gusty winds make for terrible fishing! The fishing may be bad, but these days make for some amazing vistas.

This is taken just down the road from the ranch looking over the divide back towards Denver.

This is the Vail Range. Spectacular.

I had big plans of hitting the Blue and throwing meat for hungry browns. I got to the parking spot and looked down upon the river. I thought it looked pretty high. I made the trek down a very steep grade and ran across these three mule deer. They just stopped and looked at me as I snapped a few pics. These were the only form of wildlife I'd see on the Blue that day.

The Blue is a tailwater. I have never checked the release schedule here, and the other day was the first time it's ever bitten me in the ass. I made it down to the water and was the only soul around; for a reason. The water was raging. There was no way in hell I was wading this river alone. Dejected, I trudged back up the hill to the car.

I made my way back to the CO and hopped on the water in a place I'd only been to once. There were others on the water and nobody was catching a damn thing. I fished for a few hours and caught what I believe to be a retarded fish. This guy ate an RS2 in a very unsuspecting piece of water while there was NOTHING hatching. Not even midges...

Everyone fishing around me called it a day. I moved back upstream and finally fulfilled my hopes of throwing meat. As the sun was starting to set the fish started to eat a streamer. I had many strikes but only connected with two. This being the best of the day. I fished until after dark with the aid of a full moon. I packed it in and headed for some chicken fingers with my tail between my legs. They call it fishing, not catching. And I'm cool with that. Every great day has a not so great day to go with it.

Life is good right now. In fact, life is great! Today, I locked in my plans of heading to Poland in January to meet up with my good friend Maciej. After meeting up with Maciej, we're heading to the French Alps for a week of skiing. What could make this better? My 25th birthday is the Saturday we'll start skiing. HELL YEAH!!!

Keep it reel folks!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

As Bob Dylan Once Said...

... these times they are a' changin'. Summer's been long gone, and fall is quickly winding down. We won't have to wait too long to ski now, Winter Park opens November 16th.

I haven't been fishing too much lately, but the last trip I took was stellar!

This pic is actually taken on the Blue. I caught one nice fish, but he wiggled out of my hands before I could snap a pic. These deer scared the hell out of me though. They came crashing through the brush right behind me and scurried on across the river. I thought I had heard something behind me, but dismissed it as an auditory illusion. Obviously it wasn't...

On to the fish. I headed to the CO in Parshall a couple of weeks ago, and to my surprise I was the only one on the water. This spot gets hammered, the fish are smart, and I have never caught anything of size. This was to change...

The caddis have quit hatching and have been replaced by small grey-bodied mayflies. PMD's or BWO's would be my guess. I can't be sure which one, but a grey RS2 paid off in spades.

The bugs were coming off in swarms and there were twenty-plus inch fish heaving themselves clear out of the water to pick them off. I caught a small brown dead drifting an unweighted RS2 in the surface film, then switched over to nymphing on the bottom. It wasn't too long that I nailed this guy. To date, the best fish I've caught at the Parshall hole. There was one person around to see it, and I made sure he heard my whoop as I landed him.

This is a pic of one of the bugs that were coming off. Anybody know what it is?

I feel like an idiot for not taking more pictures of the fall foliage, it's all but gone now. Anyways, this is a pic of the Parshall hole. I've taken this same pic in every season I've been out here and it's cool to see how it's changed!

I didn't have any more luck where I was fishing and moved upstream. I came upon a guy trying to teach his girlfriend how to fly-fish. They were standing just downstream of the run I was wanting to fish. I asked if I could scoot in just upstream of them, and they obliged. I felt kind of bad watching them flog water while I nailed this nice brown on my second drift. The first drift resulted in a bite where the fish came unglued as he streaked across the swift current.

I got a few more strikes from what I'm sure were big fish, based on how they manhandled me. Then I got a bite and the hook set firmly in this fish's jaw. A beautiful rainbow. Again, right in front of this guy and his lady. I could tell the guy was getting a little perturbed. He slogged upstream and with a dejected look asked me what I was using. I told him and they packed up and left. I didn't have anymore action for the afternoon. I couldn't complain though, I had my best day yet at the Parshall hole.

Another view of the fall foliage.

The ranch is changing over seasons also. Pretty much all the summer staff has departed, and we're getting into lonely season. There's one person in particular that I miss, but time heals all wounds I guess. I only have to make it another month and a half... Come on snow!

Life's pretty good, just in a state of limbo right now. Stay tuned!