Sometimes coming in last is a good thing. “How can being last ever be a good thing?” you might ask.
Several years back in late October, I decided to make a final trip to Parvin Lake, in the Red Feather’s area. Sue asked that Friday evening if I was really going to fish the next day as a major winter storm was forecast. “Yes,” I answered, explaining that fishing is often best as a storm arrives due to the low pressure. Besides, I have good winter apparel and, if it was snowing, the air temperatures would be near freezing so my guides wouldn’t freeze up. Further, I figured the storm would keep those who weren’t hunting at home watching college football.
I was right on all accounts. I was the only angler when I arrived at the lake and no one else showed. The day started out overcast and cool, but not bitter. After togging up, I launched my float tube. Once on the water, things quickly changed as the storm rolled in, heavy, wet snow, a strong breeze, and even a few thunder boomers.
As hoped, the fish were aggressive and it wasn’t long before my first fish came to net and then another. Fish after fish, nice, healthy 12-20 inch trout kept my line tight as the snow fell. By early afternoon the snow let up and the air turned bitter. The bite ended and, with my guides icing, I decided to call it a day. As the water temperatures were just above freezing, I figure I was the last angler to fish Parvin that year before ice-up. Yep, sometimes being last is a good thing.
Last weekend we attended a wedding in Sterling. We arrived in Sterling Friday evening so Sue could assist with a few things. The actual ceremony was Saturday evening and, since I wasn’t needed, I decided to fish Jumbo Annex that morning. It’s located under an hour northeast of Sterling, just off I-76.
I make a point of visiting the Annex every spring. Restricted to hand launched craft, it’s ideal to fish from a float tube, big enough to offer lots of fishing options, small enough that most of the water can be covered in a day. Plus, the fishing is generally quite good for a variety of fish, black bass, crappie, bluegill, carp, catfish, drum, and trout. Having never fished it in the fall, I was excited to give it a try.
Due to the recent rains, I wasn’t surprised to see the empty parking lot was devoid of tire tracks, but I half expected someone to show during the day, especially as this was the last weekend Jumbo Annex was open to boating. From October first through the end of March (hunting seasons), fishing is limited to the dam. Turns out I had the entire reservoir to myself. Unfortunately, the cold rains coupled with low water levels dropped the water temperatures below sixty. Add to that high air pressure after a storm, murky water, and strong winds, the fishing, catching actually, was extremely difficult. My catching was limited to a single carp (broke off another) and a small catfish. A few carp were tight to the dam face taking advantage of the windblown bounty coming their way.
Still, there is something to be said about having the entire water all to yourself (other than the deer, pelicans, geese, and herons). Solitude can make for great fishing, regardless of the catching. It’s all the sweeter when you realize that you’ll probably be the last one on the water until spring. Yep, sometimes it’s good to be last.
This first appeared in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on Sunday September 29, 2013,