Gazette Article - How To Properly Handle Trout!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Our Fall Fly Fishing Adventure - 8 Tailwaters in 10 Days!

We are home, and the inevitable let down that comes after going on these huge adventures has hit us. Sitting here thinking about the amazing time we had exploring new places, and fishing new water. Feeling so blessed for my family, and plan on making this trip an annual tradition, adding new places and memories as we go. New hotel pools for Bree to get excited to swim, new mountain passes to drive over, new restaurants to eat at, new stores to shop, and last but not least new fish to catch. 

We started this adventure by making the decision to fish 8 tailwaters in 8 days! An easy idea for a solidary troutbum, but an interesting prospect for a family of flyfishers with the every day nuisances of life such as work, money, and the extremely challenging and uncontrollable issue of time! We put our heads together and figured out a way to make our adventure work, which was definitely worth it in the end. If you’re planning on following in our wadersteps, make sure to give yourself some extra time in case you want to take some detours and stop to enjoy some of Colorado’s beauty.

We walked into some great fly shops and talked trout with some good people. Thank you Steve at Kirk’s Fly Shop in Estes Park for making us feel welcome, and giving us the inside track on the Big Thompson tailwater! Kirk’s is an amazing shop with an equally impressive staff. And thank you to Matt and Chance at Rigs Fly Shop in Ridgeway for giving us solid info, and for helping me feel immense relief that there’s a real fly shop within reasonable driving distance of the Uncompahgre! That river deserves a good fly shop and outfitter.

Visiting these shops added so much to an already crazy adventure. We drove over Cottonwood pass during snowy whiteout conditions (not intentionally of course). This was an experience I would give a 10 out of 10 on the scale of butthole puckering moments. On the same day, we drove over Independence pass, where hours after we were there a huge accident would happen. This didn’t come as a surprise to us because people were driving like idiots, but… still hair raising.

All of the danger involved was worth it because we saw some of the most beautiful country we have ever witnessed. Snow covered mountains with lit up aspens, the headwaters and tailwaters of some of the best trout streams in America, and the list goes on. Being a Colorado native, I’m ashamed to say that I never seen the town and surrounding awesomeness that is Aspen. We picked the perfect time to go! That place really lives up to it’s name.

Before Aspen, we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park, and it literally took our breath away. I don’t know what memory of that drive will stand out more; seeing the wild cutthroat that had probably never been fished to in a small stream surrounded by changing aspens, getting our gorgeous glass trout statue in that shop at the top of one of the passes, or throwing 60-70 foot casts in the wind at Poudre lake so I could reach the middle where I caught a solitary rising 6 inch wild brookie on an Amy’s Ant.

Kristen was happy because we made a pit stop on our journey to stay 2 nights in Almont to fish the kokanee salmon run on the Gunnison river, which is her favorite species to fish for. While fishing for Kokanee we ran into Brandon Snyder. Brandon’s a guide for Dragonfly Anglers, and a super nice guy. Bree had this man so wrapped around her finger that he gave her a quick ride in his drift boat before he finished setting up for the days trip. That was Bree’s first time sitting in a boat and it made her trip! Brandon and his clients couldn’t get rid of her after that. So much so that I’m convinced if she was given the opportunity she would have ditched mommy and daddy on the bank and gone on a fishing float trip with complete strangers.

Between stops to fish, and the free boat rides, we had to somehow find a place that sells post cards, fill out our adventure for the day, find the local post office, and send it to our condo here in the Springs. Completely unnecessary, but Kristen would not let us skip a day, and I’m glad she didn’t. Now we have another souvenir from our adventure!

We also learned a ton about these fisheries we plan to include in our book, and caught a lot of fish in the process. For instance, I learned first hand that the rocks in the Pan are slippery as shit… I have 2 busted shins and a sore knee and ankle to prove it! And Kristen learned how to deal with defeat. She had on a fish of the year contender at the Uncompahgre and lost it, and I could tell it just crushed her. So much so that she went back to the now dead pool she hooked and played that fish in, and beat the water there for another 15 minutes, trying to capture that fish or one like it. I honestly think she was really trying to capture that feeling of pure adrenaline and joy that comes with the hard work involved to get good enough to even dance with a fish like that. She’ll get the next one!

If it isn’t obvious, we are inspired by our trip, and are ready to do some serious writing and finish this project we started almost a year ago! We got a ton of great photos to share, and a base of knowledge to work with, and hope that you guys enjoy the final outcome when that time arrives! Here are a few photos to wet your appetite until then. Let it be known that these are mostly just the family ones and the non-tailwater related with a few exceptions. If you want to see my favorite photos we're gonna make you have to buy the book when it comes out ;) We'll keep ya posted!

Fly Fishing Rocky Mountain National Park
Our Cabin.

Drive by Shot I Got in One of the Many Canyons We Drove Through.

The Kleis Family at RMNP

We Saw Plenty of Changing Aspens This Year!
Kristen With a Nice Brown on the Big Thompson Below Estes Lake.
Kristen Was On a Mission To Photograph As Many Fallen Leaves as Possible
One of My Favorite Shots. Classic Colorado!
Tried to Keep the Camera as Still as Possible Balancing on a Rock To Get This One!
Our Bree Chillaxing.

The Trail Along the Black Canyon Below Blue Mesa.

Cant Go Camping Without Roasting Marshmallows.
Kristen With One of the Many Nice Salmon She Landed on the Gunni!

Bree Getting Some Casting Practice in on the Yampa
My Ladies on the Williams Fork!


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