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? =)

It’s been awhile… Part 2

So the next day after catching the resting—yet hungry—fish (see It’s been awhile… part 1) our little group made up of my mom, dad, wife, child, and me all headed over to the Eagle River. We stopped by a fly shop in Minturn and picked up some more red WD-50’s in some ridiculously small size (typical small CO flies) as that is all I could get the fish on Gore Creek to take. We headed just down river from the town a few miles and picked a spot that was good for my wife and mom to fish since they don’t have waders (yet). The four of us worked the nice little stretch but it was my wife who was getting in the flow that day. She caught two beautiful brown trout! This just a day after taking her Blue Quill lesson. Rock on! My wife, Yeah!

The next day we headed back down to my parents house. We had one more day on my wife’s fishing permit so we randomly stopped at Clear Creek near the town of Idaho Springs. Just off the Interstate we found a nice little stretch and got fishing. With just an hour or so before we wanted to be back in the car I decided to cast a few times into each nice spot and move on hoping to find a hungry fish. With the time ticking down and everyone heading back to the car I found this guy in a nice little pool behind a boulder

The day before we left to come back home I thought it would be fun to take my wife and mom up into Cheesman Canyon since neither of them had ever seen it. They both made it through the long hike in and out with flying colors! We caught no fish that day but it was great to spend time with my ladies (wife, mom, and daughter).

It’s been awhile… Part 1

So I have not been posting because I am a bad traveler. I went to Colorado and remembered every possible fly fishing related item but forgot my cameras photo download cord. While actually I forgot the battery charger, toothpaste, and warm enough clothes for a winter blizzard in September.

The day after my wife, child and I arrived in Colorado my dad and I headed up to 11 Mile Canyon on the South Platte which is west of Colorado Springs. It’s a beautiful small river that tumbles through a narrow rocky canyon. Some of the huge rocks that have come loose from the surrounding rocks have found there way into the river and make for amazing pocket water fishing. In front of a fifty foot boulder that was blocking the entire width of the river I found this beauty on a #16 Red Copper John.

The next day my parents and the wife and kid headed up to Blue Quill Angler in Evergreen, CO because the owner Jim, a really great guy, does a free basics of fly fishing class on Saturday through the summer months. My wife and mom had a one hour guide to knots and fly selection and an hour on casting with practice in the field on the side of the building. A two hour lesson for free! While, not really free as two hours in a fly shop is a dangerous place for a dad and son who both fly fish. My dad ended up leaving with a new Sage 3 weight Launch rod and a Ross reel. Mostly, I think, because I never shut up about how much I love my Sage VT2 3 weight 7’6″ rod and my Bauer Mackenzie Superlight size 2 reel (btw – Blue Quill will put a free fly line on most of the nicer reels they sell. That’s where I got my reel).

The next day my dad and I headed out with his fishing buddy to 11 Mile again. I only had one really nice fish on early in the morning but I learned quickly why 7lb tippet sucks. Also the fish was on a size 26 Parachute Adams and I didn’t feel like putting something that small on again which was probably my mistake. Of course I find it a little amusing that a few days after I was back in OR the only fly the fish on the McKenzie would take was a size 8 or 10 Parachute Adams—bit of a difference in size there. The Trico fall in the morning was amazing and the fact that no one else around seemed to be getting into the dozens of fish slurping the drowned Tricos made me feel a little better. (that’s me in the Photo, thanks CJ)

Then the snow kicked in. It’s really hard to get motivated to go fly fishing in snow that is coming down in September. Especially when all the clothes I brought along were for 50ish degree weather.

A few days later I got out of my slump when we headed up to Vail, CO. My dad was going to a business conference and we got to stay in a fancy condo that just happened to look right out on this:

Gore Creek flows right through the middle of Vail and is really beautiful and full of fish. I went down from the seventh floor condo and peered in the water directly behind the building and saw several ten to twelve inch fish rising. I couldn’t wait for the elevator back up so I ran back up the stairs and tried to be helpful getting all the bags in the right rooms so I could bust out of there. I headed back down and got two hours of fishing in and caught three fish. I feel like that is pretty good considering that there is a path running along the creek and it is right through the main part of Vail and these fish are cast to constantly.

The next morning I went out on the creek before the wife and baby woke up and was surprised when my mom came along also. She would point out fish to me and I would try my hardest to show her what a great fly fisherman her son was but of course I got nothing. On the way back to the condo I told her we had to stop and see these large twelve to fourteen inch fish that were resting in a deep hole. We were standing on a rock edge about five feet high and looking down at these five beautiful fish in five feet or so of water just resting on the bottom. “Catch one” my mom said. I told her that resting fish are not eating fish but after much coaxing I dropped a line down in front of the fish. And wouldn’t you know it, I see a head flash to the side and the fish is off. Now I am trying to figure out what to do as there is a five foot ledge between me and the water. So I bring the fish thirty feet down river and I hop down the boulders and let him go. The whole time my mom is whooping and hollering and running along after me and the fish. OK, I was wrong. This sleeping fish does like to eat. Hey fish, Thanks for making a son look good!