Photo of the Month: Backcountry Brook Trout

Photo of the Month: Backcountry Brook Trout
Showing posts with label Fall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fall. Show all posts

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fall Has Arrived

Okay, now that I have your attention, I'll go ahead and clear things up right now because fall isn't here of course.  That said, you wouldn't know it based on the beautiful leaves I found on a mid-stream rock on Thursday.  Guiding a father/son team, I noticed the leaves and stopped for a quick picture.  Thoughts of beautiful fall days with hungry trout were soon dancing in my head.  Drifting down the Caney catching those fired up browns on streamers, or maybe fishing the big caddis over in the Smokies to try and get a rise out of some of the best fish of the year, whatever your preference fall has something for everyone.  I know it seems premature to think about, but it will be here before we know it and I can't wait!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not Much Color

I'm looking out my window and noticing that it looks suspiciously like winter outside.  The leaves are pretty much gone and the grass is dead.  There's just not much color left other than the crisp blue sky.  Yesterday, in an hour or so on Boulder Creek, I noticed that the fish have moved into winter mode for the most part.  That doesn't mean that aren't eating, just that the water is super clear and low and the fish are accordingly spooky.  Oh, and the water is cold...

Looking back over pictures from the last couple of months reminds me of the great fall season I enjoyed.  Perhaps the most epic trip I did this fall was a 2 day grand tour of Colorado with my parents when they visited in early October.  The huge loop took in Independence and Kebbler passes, Aspen, Gunnison, and many other towns in between.  Of course there really wasn't any fishing on a trip like this but the scenery more than made up for the lack of fishing.  Naturally, family time meant a lot also so that in the end I didn't even miss the fishing.

I'll share some more pictures over the next few days but here are a couple to get things started.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Have you ever gone fishing when you just weren't really feeling it?  After spotting and successfully stalking the nice brown trout,  I began to think that my day had reached its climax early.  My plan had been to head to a nearby river where I have hooked large fish before.  In fact, the fish in this particular spot have taken me to school.  The largest rainbow I've ever hooked was on this river.  The fish threw the fly after peeling line in one continuous blistering run downstream until I was well into the backing.  Those moments happen but rarely, at least when I'm trout fishing.

This was supposed to be one of those redemption trips where you find and hook a nice fish and then don't lose it in the process of fighting it.  I just wasn't feeling it though.  Rigging up with a deep nymph system complete with midges and my favorite sow bug pattern brought a little confidence, but then the long times between even the most subtle of takes had me thinking increasingly about heading home.  Knowing that the fish were there was kind of nice but not hooking them was not helping with the feeling that the day was winding down.

Finally it was decision time.  I'll just head on out.  Then I noticed that the water had dropped a few inches and decided to try another few casts.  You know, just one more.  Of course, one became three, then four, and on cast four the indicator shot under.  Forget those gentle takes, this was undoubtedly a fish.  Pulling back, I realized that it was not just any fish but a decent trout, hopefully a brown.  The golden flash moments later verified that last bit.  The fish had succumbed to the sow bug pattern.

Yes, I was happy now.  My persistence had paid off.  Again I contemplated leaving, but again I decided on a few more casts.  Catching fish has a way of getting your mind back in the game.  The next time the indicator shot under, the ponderous head shakes that followed suggested a larger specimen.  The steady bulldogging convinced me that it was a brown.  Up and down the river I followed as the fish pretty much went wherever it wanted.  Slowly I gained line until finally I slipped the net under a beautiful male brown colored up like fall.

Likely the prettiest fish I'll catch this year, I took a moment to appreciate the reward I gained for my persistence.  Gently holding the fish in calm water, I gave the big brown the opportunity to rest from its exertions.  Only a moment was required before it shot back out into the current, but not without leaving behind a memory of the reward gained for persistence.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dialed In

When I planned to go fishing this past weekend, there were a few question marks surrounding the potential trip.  The biggest was the cold I had been battling for several days.  Cold weather camping is just plain miserable when you have a cold.  Instead of taking off as early as possible on Friday, I decided that I would relax and get a good night's rest Friday night.  The new plan was to leave Saturday morning for two relaxing days and one night out in the deep wilderness as far from civilization as possible.

The excitement was building to the point that, while it was nice to sleep in my own bed, the sleep part never was particularly great.  I kept waking up wondering if it was time to go.  By around 6:00 the next morning, I was ready to get up.  On the road around sunrise, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were very few people out at this time of day.  Instead of getting stuck in the usual slow weekend traffic, I made good time and a few hours later was cruising through one of my favorite mountain towns in America.

Pushing on to a remote tributary, I found a campsite and put in my claim by setting up the tent and leaving my camp chair up and ready.  On the way down to the campsite I was all over the road, mostly because I was staring at the beautiful stream instead of the narrow dirt road.  Someone following my car's tracks probably thought that a drunk guy had been driving and expected to find a crash around every bend.

On the drive in I had located two good pools full of Kokanee salmon with most fish podded up but a few were doing their thing on the redds.  A handful of browns were around also gobble up any stray eggs.  Never having encountered Kokanee before, I rigged up with a pair of bright nymphs and started working the pod.  My indicator dove 3 or 4 times before the line came tight.  The fish had eaten one of the nymphs!

The fish was strong and full of fight.  By the time I had netted the fish it had worked me back to the tail of the pool.  Another few feet and it would have gained the faster current below.  I was lucky on that one.  A couple of quick pictures were taken to document my first ever salmon.  The Kokanee were fun, but I think I'm ready for Alaska now.  Bring on the real salmon!

In another hour or so of fishing, I accidentally snagged a couple of salmon and fair caught one more.  Apparently snagging salmon is a big sport, but as I wasn't fishing for table fare, I tried to stick to the high road.  The sun was beginning to lower by the time I made it back down to camp.  The only other people around had left by this time, and I had the whole stream to myself.  

Walking downstream, I found several nice pools.  One in particular seemed to hold some salmon.  A streamer had been dug out of the bottom of my fishing pack and tied on so I was looking for something other than the Kokanee.  Swinging the fly, swimming the fly, stripping the fly, any method I used seemed to produce about the same...absolutely nothing.  Perhaps it was the full moon...or maybe I had the wrong color on...or maybe there were no fish.  You know how it goes.  Lots of great reasons for my lack of success were occurring to me by this time.  

Distracted by the scenery and lack of fish, I started to take a few pictures of my surroundings.  The colors in the landscape seemed more beautiful in the late evening light.  

Then I returned to the pool with the Kokanee.  Finally, like a flash of brilliance (more likely just dumb luck) I thought maybe I should fish the far side.  

One of the best things I did all day was to throw the streamer to the far side of the current.  By the second strip, I saw a huge flash as a brown rolled on the streamer.  For the next 45 minutes, nearly every cast produced at least a follow, and I was catching enough beautiful lake run browns to mostly forget that I had a camera hanging around my neck.  I was dialed in although I think it was more along the lines of stumbling into luck.  The salmon were podded up near me while the browns were almost all in the soft water on the far bank.  

The next morning I returned to the same spot and again caught some nice fish including a small lake trout.  Some fishing holes are definitely better than others, or at least that seems to be the main lesson I learned.  Later on Sunday, I would again stumble upon a great fishing hole, but more about that later.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

First Salmon

Yes, you read that correctly.  I found my first salmon right here in Colorado.  For those that don't know, we have Kokanee here in Colorado (landlocked and smaller version of Sockeye apparently).  I found those along with a lot of very nice trout in my journeys this past weekend.  I'll have many more details coming soon once I get some time.  Here is a closeup of the salmon until then.