End of January, 60 degree wind free day, good friends, and a nice section of river to fish. For an open water Colorado fisher it doesnít get much better than that. Yesterday was my first time out this year, and the first day on the water since my trip to California. So it was a delight to be out for a few hours.
I know, winter is ice fishing time. Despite many enjoyable hours spent on the ice, as Iíve aged my tolerance for cold had decreased dramatically. So these days, I leave the ice to those hardy souls who donít mind the brisk air, and wish them all success. Myself, I look forward to trips to warmer parts of the country such as Southern California, Arizona, or the rare days like yesterday when the air temperatures get warm enough so I donít have to deal with icing guides. When such days coincide with a weekend I make a couple calls, and itís off to one of the Front Range rivers to try my hand at a little winter fly fishing.
Yesterdayís choice was the Arkansas below Pueblo Reservoir. Two fishing friends from Fort Collins, Jim and Lance, joined me for the day, and we arranged to meet with NJH (Noah) and his brother. One of my pleasures is getting a chance to meet and fish with our skippers. With their in-depth local knowledge, they are able to provide me with knowledge that would take years to learn. If you get a chance do fish with a skipper, such as Noah, you should do so.
We got to the river around 10:30, and I found myself the laggard. Everyone was in their waders and had their rods rigged while I was still dressing. However, they had pity on me and socialized while I muddled along. Although, once we headed for the river, their generosity was not so great and I was the last to cast a fly.
River flows were low. Fisher flows were high. As a result the fish were on edge in most runs, making fishing a bit difficult. Still we managed to catch fair numbers of fish. The key was deep runs and small patterns, 18-22. Out of the Fort Collins threesome, I came in last with maybe a dozen fish on the day, mostly suckers. But I did win the most species contest, with a rainbow, brown, white sucker, and a longnose sucker. Best trout was over 18 inches (not me) and the best sucker push 21 inches.
A warm dayís fishing in the middle of the winter on a nice tail water with great company and a few fish to boot. Now I donít know about you, but for me, it doesnít get any better than that.