Sunday, September 28, 2008

Casting for Recovery

Much has happened since my last post. I have, as usual been fishing every spare moment and the fishing has been amazing. My clients have been getting into fish over 18" daily and I have been hunting down big fish in the evenings. The other evening I spent some time tracking down a big school of Kokanee salmon and spotted a few browns behind them. The browns had followed the salmon up from Blue Mesa Reservoir for a meal of roe before they go into the spawn. After accidentally hooking a salmon I managed to get on perfect drift into the browns territory and a big 23" female sucked down the egg pattern. After playing and landing the fish it sat in some clear water and I managed to snap a few photographs.

After catching the big fish and many other fish over 20" in the last few weeks I began dreaming of a small stream that runs through a remote canyon. The difficult part is access as there are several private properties and some serious off road driving to get past before coming close to the stream. A good friend who happens to be one of the few individuals who knows the route took me to the stream. We both hooked and landed many fish, several of which were pushing 19". Catching large browns on 3 weight rods in a small stream is a blast. I would rate this as the best small stream fishing I have ever experienced. Unfortunately my camera battery died after the first fish so the pictures are limited to one.

After all the excitement and great fishing I would say my life is perfect right now. However, a recent experience was really enlightening and gave new meaning to flyfishing. I had the opportunity to help with a retreat sponsored by an organization called Casting for Recovery. I spent one day at a private guest ranch helping instruct women recovering from breast cancer. The majority of the day was with Janet who is a fast learner and hooked into some nice trout. This organization is run by some wonderful people and the retreats are really beneficial to the women. This was one of the greatest moments in my guiding career and I hope to work with them in the future. In the meantime check out their website at, and enjoy some pictures of the fun we had at the Powderhorn Guest Ranch. They were incredible hosts the retreat was a success.

Janet and I

The Fall Colors are Amazing

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fall Fishing

The last month has been one of the busiest I have ever experienced. It was busy enough to prevent me from blogging so this may be a long one. My typical 6-7 day work week guiding has introduced me to some great new people from around the country and the fishing has been excellent. Working most days means getting my own fun in during the evening and nights. We had a near full moon recently and fellow guide Will and myself decided to hike Uncomphagre at night. I'll admit the six pack of beer on the way to the trail head did not help my hiking shape but I pushed through it and enjoyed moving along the moonlit trail. We reached the summit of 14,309' at midnight where we could see the lights of Gunnison and Montrose. We turned on our headlamps at the summit after hearing some strange scuffling sounds. There were two foxes getting frisky and they didn't seem to mind us being only feet away watching. We may have stayed longer if it wasn't below freezing in the wind and hail. We hiked down a mile to cook a hot meal and sleep for two hours on a bed of tundra and ice before hiking out and going straight to work. My camera performs poorly at night so the pictures are short of immaculate.

The Moon

Night Scene
After the night hike and the next day at work we headed out to Gunnison for some unfocused fishing on the Taylor between yawns. We picked up some fish but left early to get a half pound burger in Almont and find a camp spot for the night. Early the next morning we drove to the East Portal of the Black Canyon to do some fishing. We spent the entire day catching browns with a few rainbows in the mix. Will spotted one large rainbow and sight casted to it for a few minutes before hooking up and landing the fish.

We continued to scramble up and down the steep banks catching fish on micro mayflies and san juan worms until the sun began to set and we had to think about the three hour drive back to Lake City. Trying to ignore obligations I began casting a slump buster into the fading sunlight. Several average sized browns chased the streamer but it wasn't until we could barely see that a bigger brown slammed it. On this note we made a few more casts and headed into Montrose for an exciting dinner at Chile's which turned out to be average compared to the home cooked style meals at the restaurants in Lake City.

The Black Canyon is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to fish. In addition to the sheer ruggedness and incredible scenery there are some huge fish.

The next day we filmed a video for the Outdoor channel on the Lake Fork and I began to settle back into my routine of evening fishing. To keep this blog from getting out of control I'll post a few pictures from the Lake Fork without a lengthy story. The evening fishing has been great and the cold weather has big fish attacking streamers.

Sight fishing to a sucker is actually fun.

After getting into some evening fish I was supposed to move to Gunnison for the new college year. After arriving it didn't take long to find myself wanting to move back to Lake City. Between trips to the offices for withdrawal I managed to lose a large brown at the hog trough but landed more kokanee salmon on the East river than I could count. They are easy to catch while high sticking a pair of heavy streamers and they fight like crazy. It was definitely a good way to break in my new Ross rod.

After dropping out of college, which felt unusually good and casual I started fishing the Lake Fork again while enrolling at the Arizona State University online program. The fishing remains great on the Lake Fork, especially in the evenings. It feels great to be back in Lake City and I am looking forward to a long cold winter. Before the snow hits I'll be fishing and hiking. Today I did a guided hike up Cataract Gulch. The scenery was great on the trail as it followed the stream through thick green forest, weaving it's way around the deadwood and large boulders. There were some beautiful waterfalls and a few wildflowers that were in full bloom. This is one of my favorite hikes and today the trail was near empty. The aspen are turning and fall is almost in full swing. The mornings are cold and it is almost time to get out the waders. This is my favorite time of year.

Breaking in the new hiking sandals.

My summer home soon to be retired.
Night fishing on Lake San Cristobal with Will.
First fish on a fly rod. What a blast!