Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Rocky Mountain Adventure

I don't often get the chance to travel in the west but when I do I usually try to fish since it is a great way to experience first hand the unique natural beauty of new places, in this case the vastness and majesty of the Rocky Mountains.  Prior to the the trip, I made guide arrangements with Cutthroat Anglers in Silverthorne, CO for  two half day wade trips.

Day 1 - was warm but overcast and as the afternoon progressed the wind picked up and you could feel the weather changing as a cold front approached.  Chris (guide for day1) had thought that fishing the Blue River above Green Mountain Reservoir would be a good option hoping to connect with some rainbows that move up the Blue as the reservoir ice opens up.  We fished hard in the surreal surroundings of massive chucks of ice and managed a couple hookups and one silvery rainbow to the net but as the weather changed the fishing quickly turned off.


Blue River rainbow
The surrounding mountains as a front began to move through
Day 2 - thankfully Kory's (guide for day2) schedule was flexible enough to allow us to wait an extra day for the weather to move through so that we could fish the Colorado River in better weather.  The night before was clear and the early morning temperatures where in the single digits but a later start provided enough time for the sun to warm things up.  The drive up and into the Colorado River canyon was spectacular and I took lots of photos of this unique high dessert landscape.  It's not often that I can enjoy vista that encompass hundreds of miles in one direction here in the northeast.



We arrived in the canyon late morning and started fishing a gentle glide and were quickly into some gorgeous healthy wild browns (one cutbow also decided to join in the fun).  The wild browns were quite strong and active, running hard both up and downstream after being hooked rather than the usual head shaking, deep dive followed by a prolonged, bottom-hugging, tug of war characteristic of most of the larger browns I've caught.


Some gorgeous, healthy wild browns
About mid-morning, Kory turned over a rock and I was astonished by the number and size of the nymphs all over the rock.  It looked like something out of a low-budget Sci-Fi movie.  With all that biomass available it is no wonder that the fish are so healthy and strong.  As on day1, we were indicator nymphing with a PT, a brown rubber legs, and an RS2.  Many of browns were taken on the rubber legs (no surprise here given the size of the nymphs were were seeing) but the other flies also accounted for fish.

A couple salmon fly nymphs and various other nymphs

We continued to take fish in the softer seams as we worked our way upstream into this amazing beautiful canyon.

A blue-cheeked brown


The last brown of the day
The trip back was a delight as the late afternoon sun brought the mule deer out into the meadows. We were on the lookout for elk and big horn sheep but did not spot any.  The low, late afternoon sun softly light the high dessert landscape and with the Continental Divide in the distance, it was a stunning drive back to close out a wonderful couple days of fishing the Rockies.

mule deer in a high meadow

           
God's creation is so amazing and varied and I am very thankful to have had this opportunity and would like to thank to the guides Chris and Kory from Cutthroat Anglers for two fantastic days and Howard Levett at Windknots & Tangled Lines for recommending them.

19 comments:

  1. Awesome trip Mark!!Stunning photos of the scenery and the gorgeous fish! Congrats to you!

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    1. It was Pete! Grateful to have these opportunities every now and then!

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  2. Thanks for the mention Mark. Is it any wonder why the Blue is my wife's and my favorite trip of the year? You need to come back when the weather is a little more civilized.

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    1. Howard - Thanks so much for the recommendation, although I will say the altitude took a little getting used to! Someday I hope to have the opportunity to hike up into the smaller mountains streams out west to catch some native western trout.

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    2. Mark, if you haven't, you need to take a trip to Rocky Mountain Nat. Park.

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  3. What an amazing adventure! Thanks for taking us "along" with you Mark!
    Will

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    1. Will - thanks, it was a great trip and I had a ton of photos to sort through to find the better ones.

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  4. Freaking sweet! Those are awesome fish. Colorado is definitely a bucket list trip for me.

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    1. Rowan - If you ever get the chance to fish out west you won't be disappointed!

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  5. Mark, beautiful.
    What a lovely trip. Great photos.

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    1. Alan - It's is amazing country out west! The pictures can quite capture the expansiveness ot the western landscape.

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  6. Beautiful! Looks like a great trip!

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    1. Ben - it was a trip I will remember for a long time!

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  7. Mark
    You have done something that a lot of us would love to do, fish in that part of the U.S. that is king to trout fishing. Those were some outstanding browns you landed and with the back drop of some fantastic scenery it had to special. Just curious what length, weight fly rods were you using? Congrats on a great trip and thanks for sharing it with all of us.

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    1. Bill - It was a fantastic trip from both for the scenery and the fishing! We were using 9ft 4 and 5 wts indicator nymphing.

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  8. Beautiful pictures of an amazing fishing trip. I love the picture of the insects living underneath the rocks. No wonder those trout get so big in those waters.

    Regards, Sam

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    1. Sam - thanks! That rock was covered with nymphs many of which swam off before I could get the camera out. It was really something to see both in terms of the size (the larger ones were about 1.5" and longer) and the sheer number of them.

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  9. Mark, I'm glad you got in a couple of successful Rocky Mountain fishing days. Nice going!Some of those photos are inspiring and make me look forward to another visit to the southern Rockies, hopefully early summer. So much to explore and do. Thanks for sharing your visit with us.

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    1. Thanks Walt - It was a great trip and the scenery was outstanding. I am thankful for one clear day to get some decent photos of the mountains without low snow clouds blocking the view. Hope you have a great trip this summer. I would love to get back out there when the smaller streams with native fish are accessible!

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