Sunday, June 30, 2013

Best $9 Ever Spent

-- Fishing with Howard --
It all started with a Facebook message a week ago. I had a conference to attend in Broomfield, CO and knew Howard Levett (a.k.a. Windknots & Tangled Lines) lived the next town over. Howard and I have interacted via our social networks for over 3 years. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet and possibly find some time to fish together. Both Howard and I were able to work our schedules to have Friday off and the outing was planned.

-- Drive up the Canyon --
I was able to get to Dick's Sporting Goods Thursday afternoon and pick up a one-day, non-resident Colorado fishing license for only $9. We met at 9 AM at my hotel and started our venture into the foothills of the Colorado Front Range.

During the drive, we shared lots of stories, both good and sad, and realized that we have a lot in common.We both share common values about fishing--time on the water, especially in beautiful places with friends, is as good as it gets. Catching fish is a bonus.
-- A little runoff, but fishable --

The road up the canyon follows the river which was fast with runoff, but not unfishable. We stopped at a spot to scope the river then drove on to a second spot.

Gearing up at the car, I tied on a Goddard Caddis and Howard rigged up a new leader and started with a rubber legged nymph. I used a LL Bean Double L 3 wt, 6'6" stick and Howard his trusty 4 wt glass rod. The Double L was a gift from my son (Troutdoors) and wife from last Christmas. It is a sweet light weight 4-piece rod that fits nicely in a suitcase.
-- Rigging up --

There was one guy in the middle of the stream in waders flailing away and not catching anything. We also saw some prospectors. Howard tells me some folks can do well panning for gold in these hills. There was also a motorcycle officer talking with a couple of rangers. Lot's of activity for mid-morning on a Friday. The ranger asked if we had our licenses but didn't come and check-said he trusted us. Howard tells me he has never been checked for a license on this stream.
-- Almost had the stream to ourselves --

We worked the section upstream and down aways. I saw a couple rise to my Goddard Caddis, but they weren't taking my offering. With the swift current, I was keeping my fly close to bank through sections of pocket water. I was having a hard time seeing the Goddard Caddis on the water and seeing some small, white winged caddis flying above the water, I switched to a size 16 olive caddis with a light tan wing.
-- Howard working a nice run --
-- Mr. Windknots & Tangled Lines keeping true to his namesake --
With neither of us getting fish, but seeing a few rises to our flies, we drove to a different section upstream. It was still warm and sunny outside, but there was a slight increase in bug activity (small mayflies and caddis).
Howard graciously let me cast at a spot we both thought looked promising.
-- Nice spot for a drift along the bank --
One cast upstream with a dead drift and the little brownie came up and attacked the fly. After the first one, I kept working the banks and was landing fish consistently.
-- First brownie to hand --
It's such a great feeling to get in a zone and see the fish rising out of the swift water to your fly, setting the hook and landing. Howard letting me fish the best water first was certainly another reason I was having success.
-- Another Brownie --
-- And Another --
-- Smile for the camera --
-- A Rainbow that provided some aerobatics while landing --
-- Same bow --
-- Another Brown --
-- A little Brown that attacked a size 8 Stimulator --
Howard was also having some luck as well. Landed two with lots of takes.
The largest one, close to 12 inches calmly sipped in the fly and allowed me to bring him to the bank, but also calmly unhooked himself (I fish barbless) and slid back into the stream while I was pulling out the camera.

This was the most trout I've ever landed in one day, so a major bonus on our outing. I was joking with Howard after calling it a day and heading back for a late lunch, that when I used to ski a lot, we would judge the ski day by the cost per run. Getting that below a $1/run was a good day for sure. Well on this day, my cost per fish was definitely less than a $1.

The best $9 ever spent on fishing.

Howard dropped me off at the hotel. I scoped out google earth and found a pond & stream within walking distance. Decided to check it out and, much to my surprise, found these 2 to 3 ft tailing carp in the pond.
-- Tailing Carp --
-- Clear water and easily 2 to 3 ft. size Ghosts --
-- Queue theme to Jaws music --
I hadn't planned to chase this kind of tail on my one day outing, so all the carp flies were at home. I tried throwing a Skip's Dad, a Roughfisher styled Psycho Nymph, a black woolly bugger, a Griffith's Gnat plus a few more that I don't remember to no avail. It was cool to actually see these guys and cast to them with the 3 wt. I haven't found this type of clear carp water in Massachusetts. Even if I had hooked one, I doubt I could've landed it on the 3 wt, but it would have been fun trying.

Again, I must thank my most gracious host for guiding me on his home waters. Howard is a wonderful man and it is a privilege and honor to meet face to face and spend time on the water together. Mr. Windknots & Tangled Lines, you are always invited to come and chase fish in my home waters.