I found nothing but blue skies and brown fish in the mountains on Monday. As much of a fishing trip as this was, it was also a recon trip to check out some new areas to fish. My plan was to check out a few lower stretches of this river and use my new subscription to OnX Maps to find the public areas.
As you can see in the picture above this river held quite a bit of shoulder ice which made for a fun challenge to find the right type of water that would be slow and deep enough to hold feeding fish but not completely frozen over. 3 months of doing this during the colder parts of this winter set me up well for today and fish were found. Not in numbers but definitely in size. Streamers were the name of the game today, at least thats all I threw.
I approached the river rigged up with two rods. The first rod was my 11′ 3wt and I had it set up with a size 2 Fricks Fix and a new line system. This winter I have been getting progressively more proficient at high sticking streamers and the 11′ rod has been an awesome tool for this practice. The next step for me has been incorporating a mono line setup similar to the streamer mono rig that Troutbitten talks about in his blog post Fly Fishing with Streamers on the Mono Rig. Using a mono rig allows for more direct contact to the fly and less line diameter for the wind to push around. The result is that I can get streamers down fast and deep, control them with little effort, and feel every tick on a rock or hit from a fish.
The second rod I had with me was a formerly 9′ (currently more like 8’10”) 5wt setup with a 15′ sink tip line, a split shot, and a black hog snare (size 2 front hook, size 4 back hook). Recently I have been tying up a number of hog snares in various color combinations (s/o to @the_wheat_thins for introducing me to this killer pattern). I love their action and they are a little easier to tie than a sex dungeon in my opinion but offer similar or better action.
The three separate fish above were all caught within 20′ of each other in the same hole. 17″, 18″, and 18″ from left to right. They all looked very similar and practically the only way to tell them apart is to look at the spots. The first two fish were caught letting the current dead drift/bounce the fix of the bottom of the river then swinging the fly back upstream after it had been carried downstream below me. I believe that both fish were caught on the dead drift but I moved multiple other fish during the upstream swing, most likely including the 3rd fish that I would catch later. After catching the second fish I switched rods and threw around the hog snare and on an upstream strip underneath the ice shelf below me the 3rd fish smashed the black fly. Pretty cool experience catching these 3 solid browns in one spot!
From this hole I fished upstream and landed a few more browns on the fix before the fishing shut down about an hour before sunset. Around this time I also walked up on a flock of turkeys, something I haven’t seen too many of in Colorado compared to back at home in Minnesota.
I walked back to the car a little before dark came and I was able to watch the stars begin to pop out into the early night sky. I sat back and took it all in and thanked the Lord for my opportunity to be out here in Colorado and for the amount of time I get to spend in the outdoors.