So I won the grand prize in the winter giveaway: a 2 day, all-expenses paid trip to the Lodge on the Roaring Fork. This past week was the first time I had the opportunity to take advantage of it, and it was great timing. The river was starting to rise (about 18 inches of visibility and around 900 cfs) but it wasn't full on runoff yet. I was pumped up and anticipating a great trip.
We arrived Tuesday evening at the Lodge and settled into the Sopris Suite. I have to say, the accommodations were beyond fantastic. I loved the room and the Lodge's proximity to two rivers: the Crystal and the Fork. The lodge itself is beautiful, great rooms, a hot tub, and it's decor was great. We fished a little that night with my dad catching a little brown trout. There are great fishing spots right behind the lodge. We ate at White House Pizza in Carbondale that night, and I had some of the most fantastic pizza ever. It was delicious. Stop by there if you're ever in town. Jason Segal at the Lodge did a great job picking spots for us to eat, they were all very good.
We slept comfortably and woke up the next morning for breakfast, where we met Mal Burks, our guide. Mal is a great guy and an even better guide, and it was nice to get to know him over breakfast. We later headed out to the Basalt put-in. I started fishing before I even got into the boat and nailed a nice Brown on a Girdle bug. When I hooked it, I turned to my dad and we said at the same time, with smiles plastered to our faces: "today's going to be a good day." We hopped in the boat and for the next mile or so my dad and I got used to fly fishing from a moving boat: how to mend properly, roll cast, and what water to cast to, etc, etc. We were using a 2 fly rig, top fly was a San Juan Worm and the bottom fly was a Girdle bug. Both flies caught fish. We hit riffles, runs, pools, side channels, cut banks, and lots of other water. We landed around 20 fish between us, with many more hooked. All fish were 13-17 inches or so, we only caught 2 rainbows, the rest were browns. They would hit with abandon in the murky water, making for easy to see takes and easy to hook fish. We did lose a lot of flies, however, but Mal was well prepared and always re-tied us and got us back to fishing in no time.
What shocked me was the lack of anyone, and I mean anyone, on the water. It was great spending a nice relaxing day on the water. Mal was an awesome guide and the ride on his new drift boat was smooth and comfortable. We rode one class III rapid and there were no problems. I barely even got wet. The drift boat allowed us to hit what is essentially private water, and it allowed us to cast to pockets and eddies that are inaccessible from shore.
We ate at Russets that evening. If you are ever in Carbondale and want to have a great meal, eat at Russets. It is fairly expensive, but it is really good.
The next day after breakfast we went with Mal to the Fork around Snowmass. The river there was blown out, but my dad did get a nice brown (again with the girlde-san juan combo). We hiked out of the canyon, electing to head to better water on the 'Pan. We fished the pan for the rest of the day, encountering both tough and easy patches of fishing (depending on the sun). I caught quite a few 'bows (10-15 inches) and one very nice brown (around 16 inches), and my dad did the same. We were fishing 20 inchers with either an rs2, micro mayfly, or loopwing emerger behind it. We would move from pocket to pocket, picking up a bow or two at each one. Really, really fun fishing. At the end of the day, we said goodbye to Mal. He was an excellent guide. I could not have asked for anyone better.
That night we fished right behind the lodge and I got a pair of 16+ inch 'bows on an F7 brown trout rapala. Once again, it was a ton of fun.
With our final day coming to a close, we looked back on all the great experiences that we had in this slice of heaven. The Lodge could not be better. The fishing was unreal. Mal and Jason were amazing hosts. Our accommodations were beyond our imagination. The food was great. All in all, there are few fishing experiences that can even come close to competing with this one. It was amazing and I highly, highly recommend a trip to the Lodge on the Roaring Fork. Thank you Jason, thank you Mal, and most importantly, thank you Matt and fishexplorer. It was a great experience.
So that was our trip to the Fork valley. Once again, thank you Jason, Mal, and Matt. I could not have thought of a better experience.
And after a long story like that, I'm sure you all expect plenty of pictures. Here they are.
1. The Lodge
2. The First Brown
3. Another pic of the first brown. Look at those red spots.