There's more to the Poudre than just fly fishing (I know, I could hardly believe it either). Every now and again you see something really spectacular if you simply stop to look:
This guy was perched atop a tree overlooking one of my favorite stretches of the river. He's keeping an eye on things for me when I'm off the water. I suppose - technically - he could be considered part of the "competition" for fishable trout water, but in this case I'm not going to complain.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
The stars must have aligned over northern Colorado last night, for when I awoke this morning, the temperature was perfect, the skies were just a bit overcast - hazy would be a better description - and most of all, there was no hint of a wind. Mercifully, the gusts of the past week finally eased up. All the elements were in place for the creation of another memorable day on the Poudre. And boy, the old girl didn't disappoint today.
Some of the more knowledgeable angling folks in the area (check out Liarflies, by the way) have generated some promising recent fishing reports for all segments of the Poudre, from the upper canyon to the stretch near and through Fort Collins. Based on today, I'd have to say they were right on target. We arrived on the river to find a decent hatch with fish rising aggressively to the surface, not only in glassy slicks and holes, but also in shallow, fast water. I don't know why I always insist on rigging up before I get to the river, but the surface action on the water today caused me to break down a double-nymph rig I'd prepared just minutes earlier and replace it with a single, homemade BWO. Between BWOs and a couple of PMD mayfly patterns, I fished dry flies all day. Kinda makes me wonder why I spent all those winter months experimenting with various patterns at the bench, but truth be told, I did it as much for simple enjoyment as as for expected success on the water. In any event, a box full of BWOs sufficed for today.
Doc, meanwhile, must have felt the stars aligning as well, because he came out of the gate with a vengeance fueled by a seven-month hiatus from fishing. He initially struck first blood on, of all things, a San Juan worm. I think that's primarily because it was what happened to be on the end of his tippet from last season. He landed a nice, fat rainbow in the range of 13 inches, which would be about the size of my standard catches for the remainder of the day. Having broken the ice, he then switched over to a BWO and proceeded to absolutely destroy it with two huge rainbows serving as bookends around several smaller fish. It was a stunning start to his 2011 season, and I suspect a healthy helping of sweet revenge for last April, when he landed a nice 18 inch rainbow only to see me follow up later that day with an ugly trout that easily broke 20 inches. There would be no out-dueling him today, and the pictures don't lie.
I found myself remarking that this last fish was the biggest one "we" had taken out of the Poudre to date. Isn't it convenient when "he" becomes "we?" After all, I tied the flies and took the pictures! (Oh, just hush and let me live vicariously for a minute).
I didn't have a bad day myself, landing about a dozen fish and being slow on the hook-set on too many others to count. I didn't hook into anything tremendous, but most of the fish were healthy and chunky, and all of them put up enough fight to leave me smiling from ear to ear.
Every time I think this hobby/obsession/passion/addiction can't get any better, a day like today comes along and blows me away. There aren't all that many days where I lose track of the number of blessings I really do have in life, but I think today was one where I couldn't tally them up if I consciously tried. Watching Doc clearly surge into the lead in the third iteration of our annual seasonal battle for angling supremacy was a special treat. Seeing tangible results of my still basic but ever-improving tying skills was another.
A friend from the blogosphere once gently chided me after reading of one of my several skunkings, pointing out to me that the occasional troutless days on the river are a necessary reminder of how special the truly epic days on the river can be. Wise words, and never more true than today.
Slingin' homemade BWOs in my dreams tonight,