Holiday 2011

Over the holidays my family and I got away to Colorado to spend some time with the extended family. My dad and I drove up into 11 mile which is a beutiful tailwater flowing through some of the most gorgeous fishing water you could ask for. No fish were hooked that day, but a bald eagle flying directly overhead 20 feet up and some great beers and conversation rounded it out perfectly.

The ice along the bank was six feet into the river making the river much more personal than the other times I had been there. So many of the holes I fished in the summer along the banks were sorely missed. A few days later I went back up to 11 mile with my two brothers and much of the ice had started to melt. A few hours in my younger brother found a fish in some slow water and I about fell flat on my face as I rushed down the icy banks to help him net it. The fish threw the hook, but we worked that slot for the next  hour just to make sure he didn’t have some hungry friends in there. A little later we all moved to another spot and low and behold the same eagle flew overhead in the same spot as my previous day. My younger brother and I found a large group of fish in a deep hole and casted to them with every nymph and weight combination I could think  of. My older brother hooked I nice fish up higher (see it here). We all went back to the truck and downed jerky, chili-cheese fritos, beers, and port and got back home to the most amazing ossobuco that my mom made. The meat just fell right off the bone (MMMMMMmmmmm).

Another major highlight of the trip is that I got to go flying with my younger brother who has a pilot license. After a few nausea pills (I learned I get REALLY motion sick now that I am older when I went halibut fishing in Alaska a few years back) we got the all clear from the tower and we were sky bound. It was one of the most amazing things to be in such a small plane just my bro and me. We flew down to my parents house and did a few circles until my dad and daughter saw us from the house. I texted my wife that we were flying near the house and she said her and my mom were a few miles away. My brother headed down the road that leads to there house until he spotted the car and than almost made my breakfast come up as he got excited and banked the plane hard to circle back along the car.

On the flight back up to the airport I got to try my hand at flying and lets just say I managed not to crash the plane.

Holiday ’09

Over Christmas we went to Colorado to spend the holidays with my parents and to get a little free childcare for our daughter. The weather in Colorado was chilly, but nice. I spent a day fishing with my younger brother and dad on the South Platte near Deckers (SW of Denver). The name of the game was tiny midges. Both my brother and I got into a few small fish (probably because they had just stocked thousands of them a week or so before), but the larger fish, although visible, were not biting.

After a few days in Colorado we drove eight hours east to NE Kansas to take our one year old to meet her great-grandmothers and to attend a funeral for a close family member. As often happens in that part of the US, some freak weather was bearing down on us, so instead of hanging out until Christmas day we decided to try and high-tail it back west. We left just before the really bad part of the storm hit the east side of Kansas and we made it to my aunts house in Beverly, Kansas. As my brother and I went into “town” to pick up some Cokes for the Rum we had brought, I saw the sign below and found it a little humorous considering it is a town of maybe 150 and this is the only store/bar/gas pump in town.

After a night’s sleep in Beverly, we continued on our way west and ran back into the storm. Blizzard-like snow and fifty mile an hour winds that buffeted us the entire way back since the wind was coming straight south and we were going straight west (if you have never been in the Midwest you can not truly appreciate how straight a road can be). We made it back and took a day to relax and blow the snow off my parents road. Then we hooked up with my dad’s fishing buddy and headed to the Arkansas river in Canon City, figuring that it was lower in elevation then the South Platte, and so might have a bit more activity. Boy was I wrong. The South Platte was free of ice and flowing beautifully when we were there and the Arkansas was—well, it looked like this:

There was ice and slush flowing in the river which made for tricky casting, so I walked along the four-inch thick ice on the side of the river to try and find some holes to fish. The fish would dart out from under the ice that I was walking on and then I would lose site of where they went because of the slush/ice flowing in the river. I found a doll for my daughter frozen in the ice and brought it home, but my wife won’t let me give it to her. Wonder why? It’s not all that freaky,is it? =)

The Fly-fishing Wife – Part 1, Colorado Fly Class

By Guest Blogger Emily

Before flying out to Colorado this past September to visit David’s parents, he casually mentioned a free intro to fly-fishing class offered by Blue Quill Angler, a fly shop in Evergreen, Colorado. David has been trying to get me interested in fly-fishing for years, but I can’t say I ever felt much enthusiasm. Sure, I like to be outside, enjoying fresh air and scenic rivers, but fishing just seemed so… boring. However, I do like to learn things and a free class to appease my husband was a small price to pay.

The class was held on a Saturday morning, so we piled into the truck to drive the 1.5 hours to Evergreen. I would be taking the class with my mother-in-law, Sandy, while David took care of our 9-month old (which truly shows how much he wanted me to take that class). For fun, my father-in-law, who already fly-fishes, also sat in for the first part of the class.

To be honest, I was expecting kind of a hokey set-up, but little did I know about the reputation of Blue Quill, or the depth of knowledge and experience bought by the owner, Jim Cannon, who taught the class himself.

The class lasted about two hours and was broken up into two parts. The first part was learning about the equipment and set-up. We learned how to choose the proper rod weight, and the difference between dry flys, nymphs,  and streamers. We also learned about the types of line (fly, leader and tipit) and how to attach them all with the appropriate knots (blood knot and surgeon knot). Whether intentionally or not, my husband always made the knot-tying out to be a mysterious process, turns out it was easier than I’d thought.

By the end, we all had a very good grasp of what was what, and we were eager to try our hand at casting – part two of the class. We all stood behind the shop in an open field, watching Jim demonstrate proper technique and then trying our best to emulate him. I had some prior experience, so it wasn’t completely new to me, but by the end I was able to cast farther and with more accuracy than when I started. What a confidence builder! Of course, after that, I was looking forward to some real-time on a river, which would be later that same week. Would I have more fun? Or more importantly, would I catch fish? Read part 2 of this blog post to find out!