Clear Creek canyon is my getaway for when I have a few hours. It’s not spectacular – so far the fishing has been ho-hum, and it’s right along one of the busiest state highways around, always crammed full of blackhawk weekend casino traffic when I fish it.
It’s interesting, our desire to be two places at once.
After a quick morning meeting on Friday, I had the rest of the day off, and since I had dropped the little guy off at his daycare, I had until about 5pm all to myself. So I went fishing.
But here’s the funny thing: half of me wanted to be fishing, and the other half wanted to be spending time with my son. And so, two halves of me were at odds. On one hand, I know that, as a parent, it’s reenergizing and important to take time to ourselves. On the other hand, I really love spending time with my guy, and I felt bad about not sharing my day off with him. I still went fishing, but it bothered me all day, and having something gnaw at you is darn counterproductive to the calm you’re supposed to experience on the water.
Which is why it was karmic, I suppose, that I broke my rod at the end of the day. I put that negative energy out into the universe for the better part of the morning and afternoon, and it was returned to me in a moment of graphite snapping certainty. I smiled a resigned kind of smile, reeled in, and went to my stash spot to change back into my hiking shoes.
I desperately want the South Platte River, through its urban corridor of Denver, to be a consistent, high quality fishery. I want to have the best of both worlds – the concerts, museums, sporting events, and culture of a city like Denver, with a trout river that flows through it. But in this instance, what I want and reality are still a ways off.
I’ve lived a few years in Arizona and New Mexico, and in the southwest there are mountain chains that rise to over 9,000 and 10,000 feet, commonly referred to as sky islands. They contain vastly different terrain than the surrounding desert, and above a certain elevation the desert flora and fauna are replaced by pine trees and mountain mammals. These mountains are pockets of uniquely different habitat surrounded by a vast, arid desert.
Fishing the urban South Platte in Denver is a lot like traveling between the sky islands of the desert southwest. In other words, there are some incredibly beautiful, high quality rapids, riffles, and runs, but they’re all at least a quarter mile apart. These little pockets of high quality water look as good as anywhere I’ve fished. I’ve seen caddis, tricos, and PMD’s in great numbers in these stretches. Take this one, for instance: