It was one of those days where, in the end, not a whole lot really needs to be said about it; especially when the accompanying pictures (see slideshow below) so adequately showcase the beauty of our surroundings and the fact that, this time, there was a lot more catching going on.
Nonetheless, here are a few details…
We asked Tim and his family to come spend the weekend with us in Steamboat. The wives had Saturday to themselves as Tim and I watched the toddler (ours) and the infant (theirs). The ladies hiked Mad Creek (not a bad little brookie stream itself, if you’re wondering), and soaked in Strawberry Park Hot Springs afterward – a quintessential Steamboat summer day.
Tim and I had Sunday morning for fishing and we started early, on the water before 7:30.
The low morning sun was honey colored and perfect, and hit the water in that angled way that a lot of us don’t often get to see (usually because we’re not out fishing early enough). We started at a bend west of town, a good 300 yard stretch that is away from the road, has no buildings on it, and gives the illusion of being a lot more isolated than it is.
Rivers in Colorado are coming down as runoff ends, but the Yampa was still around 1,400 cfs – in my mind, perfect. I LOVE fishing this time of year – the river is accessible on the edges at that height, the muddy part of runoff is long gone so the clarity is fine, the fish are hungry, and hardly anyone is on the river. Most anglers think it’s still unfishable, but if you know where to fish – which bends and eddies set up with soft water – the action can be fantastic.
And for us on Sunday, it was exactly that.
We shared a rod for the day, fished a heavily weighted double nymph rig with an indicator, and used just three basic flies the whole morning: hare’s ears, pheasant tails, and copper johns, sizes 14 to 18. It was one of those days where it didn’t take a genius to pick a fly, and hatch-matching was still a far off rumor, not to take place until later in the summer. To be honest, any generalist patterns would’ve worked in the high water, the bigger the better.
It was extremely gratifying to watch Tim put it all together on this day. He tied on flies when we lost rigs; he did the upstream rod pop/bounce trick when he got hung up on the bottom; he fought fish effectively and only let one of them get out into the heavy runoff current; he netted them on his own. He was obviously jazzed, but HOW jazzed really hit home for me as we were packing to leave that afternoon: he’s been using my old waders and boots, and he finally took the gear home with him for the first time after a trip. That means he’s now contemplating how to get out for some fishing on his own.
Welcome to the ranks, Timmy.
A conversation that took place after a VERY big brown jumped 3 feet across the water and broke Tim off.
[Jaws dropped, immediately turning to each other, both smiling ear-to-ear]
Me: “Holy Sh*t!”
Me: “That was big, Timmy!”
Tim: “I know!”
Me: “I’m talking 24 inches big! Like biggest fish of the year, big! Like a top 20 fish for me and I’ve been at this awhile, big!”
Guess I didn’t do a very good job of consoling him.
To view all pictures from the day, click HERE.