6. Mountain Bumming
Arkansas, Gunnison, Taylor, Uncompahgre Rivers -> April 5-9
On this trip I turned a planned 2 day weekend outing into a 5 day car camping, mountain exploring, trout bumming excursion. I witnessed a number of amazing sights and found a couple fish along the way.
The trip started out along the Arkansas River in central Colorado, which has some of coolest views I have seen in the state. This 3 day leg of the trip was spent with a number of great people whom I had met through a weekly fly tying class I had been attending at the Denver Bass Pro Shop. We had a group of 15 people there and it was a great time. The fish were a little less cooperative than the weather but we had our fun and I learned a lot about different fishing techniques from guys who had been fishing this river for the last 30 years. I spend my two nights here camping out under the stars and woke up each morning to incredible views of the collegiate peaks that surrounded the river valley.
After the 3 days along the Ark I parted ways and headed towards the Gunnison area and spent the next 3 days fishing the Taylor, Gunnison and Uncompahgre rivers. Incredible views and incredible fish were found in my time exploring those areas.
7. Winter Cutty Country
Colorado Cutthroat Creek -> January-February
I absolutely love winter fly fishing and cutthroat trout. Finding a new spot where I could mix them together last winter made for some of my favorite fishing in 2019. I wrote up trip reports from my times exploring this creek and you can find them here: Cutty Country | 1/16/2019 and 1/21/2019 and Dillan | 2/4-6/2019.
8. First Weekend of “Summer”
Northern Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park -> June 22-23
Last summer my friend Micah flew out to Colorado and stayed with me for a weekend in Estes Park. We planned on spending our first day together fishing a river and the other day hiking into Rocky Mountain National Park and fishing an alpine lake. We kept to the plan but Mother Nature sure didn’t make it easy. Prior to Micah coming out the extreme snowpack that we received last winter that was 400% of normal had been melting off and causing the rivers in the area to skyrocket. We saw the rivers flooding at 4 times the cfs that they had peaked at the year before. Along with the flooding, northern Colorado was hit with a blizzard that dumped 20 some inches of snow in the high country. Fishing an alpine lake at 25 degrees with snow blowing sideways was a wild experience. Although the weather was brutal and the rivers were gushing we fished on and had a great time battling the elements and catching fish. Micah and his wife Abigail run The Driftless Flyer blog. You can see his write up about the crazy weekend we had here: A Quick Trip To Colorado.
9. Alpine Days
Rocky Mountain National Park -> Summer
As far as fishing goes, one thing that Rocky Mountain National Park is known for is having awesome alpine lake fishing. One of my goals for this past summer was to make it up to as many alpine lakes as I could. By the end of the summer I made it up to 8 different lakes ranging in distance from 1.5-8 miles into the backcountry. We had a late thaw this year that pushed the fishing back a little bit but overall the stillwater fishing in Rocky’s lakes this summer was spectacular.
10. Home Waters
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa -> 2019
No matter where I go the midwest will always be home. I haven’t made it home often the last couple of years since moving to Colorado but I cherish the times that I do. Aside from spending time with my friends and family, the Driftless area and the north woods capture me. There is just nothing like a foggy morning along a misty southeastern Minnesota trout stream or sitting next to a fire and watching the sun set in the Boundary Waters. Last year I made it home for a couple of weddings, the Driftless 1 Fly competition, and I lived at home for three months in the fall between jobs in Colorado. While I was back I spent a lot of time on the water with friends and family. It was good to be on my home waters. And man I wish Colorado had Kwik Trips.