Streamer fishing on Colorado River a great way to pass an autumn day
Credit: Scott Willoughby, The Denver Post
BURNS — "Is that a leaf or a fish?"
It was a reasonable question, given the wafer-thin profile of the dink that Mac Cunningham had accidentally flipped over his shoulder with a forgivably overzealous hook set. Autumn was peaking, after all, and small golden leafs were far more prevalent in this lonely section of the Colorado River than were pinky-length brown trout. A modest wind gust might have had the same effect on either.
In the wake of such piscatorial acrobatics, a less conservation-minded angler might have thought to string a hook through the fingerling to see how it fared as bait. But Cunningham, who sits on the board of Colorado Trout Unlimited, was as pleased to release the small fry as he was to see the next generation of browns thriving in the treasured, vulnerable river. Besides, onboard tackle boxes were already teeming with gaudy imitations quite capable of tricking the downstream trout.
"These fish have pretty much never seen an artificial fly before," said Jack Bombardier, the owner of Confluence Casting (970-524-1440) who volunteered to row Cunningham down the river on his birthday. "They have no reason to think it isn't natural food."
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