Posted By shefisher

Arkansas River Brown trout Colorado's springtime weather is always an adventure. You shovel snow, chip ice off the windshield, bask in sunny 60 degrees, and tie the dog down so he doesn't blow away in the gale force winds. And that's all in a single day!

We don't celebrate spring with the appearance of tulips and daffodils at Easter up here in the mountains. It will be several weeks before the crabapple and cherry trees break out in blossoms. Those of us who flyfish look instead for the "blooming" of Blue-Winged Olive mayflies. Those aren't our first dry flies of early season (that honor goes to midges - little black ones, most often), but they do signal the official beginning of the dry fly months on the Arkansas River.

Mayfly by Don P Today was one of those typical windy Colorado spring days. Not the best prospect for the delicate BWOs. But you go when you can go. Good thing. It was the best fishing day so far this year. Even though fish were rising, I kept with the midge emerger I'd tied before going out this morning because the fish wouldn't leave it alone. Even when the fish switched to BWOs after their round of midges, they kept taking the midge. Who am I to argue with that? I retired the first midge after about 18 fish. The replacement took another 6-7 fish before I called it a day. Fish were still rising when I left.

Now to Denver, first for CWFishers, some errands and personal time, then to present a flyfishing program to the West Denver TU chapter on Wednesday. If I can't always fish, at least I can go talk about it.


Posted By shefisher

Ark River Collegiate Peaks The second decade of the 21st Century began in the deep freeze. Snow pulsed through on random days, then was swept by the arctic winds into hard-packed drifts. Nighttime temperatures plunged toward zero, wind chills double digits below that. Ice blades and heavy shovels were pounded into 2 feet of concrete-like mounds of snow that buried driveway and propane tank access. Hundreds of dollars went toward keeping that tank filled so house and pipes would not freeze.

Return Rainbow to water The balmy 40s and 50s of this week are, by comparison, a nearly tropic relief. Sunshine, blue sky and no wind invite one to risk a walk on the patchwork of snow and mud. The river's ice cover is melting in the upper valley. I was sure I heard fish calling my name down near Salida. After 2 months of missing my little finned friends, how could I not answer?

And they did come out to play. With the still snowy Collegiate Peaks as a backdrop, several rainbows and a brown trout came to my fly, then my hand, to welcome me back to the river. Happy New Year indeed!


Posted By shefisher

Wireless on Computer Guy Ah, the wonders of technology. After being in the business of computers, software and related technologies all those years, I of all people should know better. Here it is the end of October without writing. So where have I been? Fighting with our shiny new 3G wireless Internet service.

All the promise of the new 3G here in the valley started innocently enough. We dropped in to the local Alltel cell phone store to check out what our next phone and services would be. Lo and behold, Alltel has everything we need to package our phones with the wireless, portable high-speed Internet we need. Lucky us.

Yeah, sure. Fancy new phones, expansion SD chip (gotta share with the computer, you know), Internet aircard for said computer, and a wireless 3G router would transport us into tinsel-town Twenty-first century. I haven't heard as many "cha-chings" since we had a house built years ago. By the time we walked out the door, our plan to save over $70 a month on our combined phone and Internet amounted to a whopping $13.

Rainbow Trout PH It all went fine until I hooked up the router from hell. The story is just too gruesome to share, even on this Halloween eve. Bottom line: Alltel has no idea what they are selling or how to make it work. After too much pain and agony, the router went back. I ordered a Cradlepoint 3G router instead. We were both surfing at high speed wirelessly in 10 minutes. It "only" took a month to get to this point.

Bluebird Oh, there were some fishing days. The brown trout are busy spawning now, but they and the rainbows gave us some good times. Mix in some ATV outings for Phil and a trip to Loveland for more granddaughter time for me, cap it off by trading flyrods for snowshoes in the current big snowstorm, and that has been our month.

It's nice to be back to the simpler wonders, like watching a bluebird fluffed up against the cold as it takes refuge in the bush just feet from our window.


Posted By shefisher

Deer in Aspen If it's true that variety is the spice of life, then last week was full of flavor. A few days of early season snow and cold weather put a nip in the air and richer golden color in the changing fall leaves. The first day of the valley's annual Color Run ATV festival drew us up to Marshall Pass. Most of the group had headed over the southern route to old mine sites and the little town of Bonanza. We chose instead the road up Marshall Pass, past O'Haver Lake and around the base of Mt. Ouray's snowy cirque.

Light snow lay in the shadows on the forest floor and frosted the outstretched limbs of pine trees. Ranks upon ranks of towering white aspen trunks held their golden crowns skyward to meet the sun's complementing shimmer. Deer quietly wove their way through the trees. Our return descent down a narrow 4-wheel path along a burbling stream was a ride through an enchanted forest.

Peek-a-Boo Girl Another kind of enchantment was had at my granddaughter's birthday party. The 2-year mark was celebrated with endless energy and laughter. Not getting to see her often, I was fortunate to be able to sneak in our own private prelude to the main celebration. What greater pleasure is there than to spend an hour together on her bedroom floor with new crayons, piles of drawing paper, and a full sheet of smiley-face stickers? The real reward, of course, was re-connecting with this precious young life, and making sure that Grandma is a continuing part of her life.

Rainbow Trout Paling by comparison, but still appreciated, was a day of great fall fishing on the river. It is dry fly season, and the fish are looking to the surface to feed. Bigger browns are on the move, bulking up for the upcoming spawn and the winter that follows. Rainbows feed in the faster lanes where browns are less apt to rule.

The beauty and variety of autumn continues.

Posted By shefisher

Fishing Browns Canyon Fall is in full force in the Arkansas River valley. Last week, so were women's flyfishing trips on the river. It was a week of women, but certainly not weak women. Each one was dynamic, motivated, and ready to learn, re-learn, or improve her flyfishing skills. Each one lent her own perspective, style, and intensity to the day.

Rainbow w guide For those who were joined on their adventure by their husbands, there was the usual charming balance of mutual support and competition. As with most couples, it was also quickly apparent whose trip this really was. I've long observed how couples care for each other's experience on a guided trip. When I am with the lady, she will, at some point, encourage me to do all I can to see that her guy catches fish. The man, in turn, nearly always asks me to spend more time with his lady so that she catches fish and has a very enjoyable day. Brown TroutWhen one such husband started his half of that two-voiced speech last week, I related how much I enjoy this mutual sentiment between couples on these trips. He looked me right in the eye, and with a good-natured smile but a tone that was unmistakable, said, "No. This is all about [her]." Given his wife's intensity and her lifelong passion for other fishing, I acceded the point in this case. Make no mistake, we ladies take our flyfishing quite seriously!

Js Brown As a guide, it makes little difference to me whether I take out men, women, or a couple. There is, however, a subtle difference in each of those combinations. Even though women are often just as competitive or intense as men, there is a certain artful thoughtfulness that women bring to the mix. I may have noticed it more last week simply because so many women came on trips within such a short time. In any case, everyone - men and women alike - caught beautiful trout on a clear Rocky Mountain river amid spectacular autumn scenery and sunshine. There is no gender preference in appreciating that.




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