The stage was set - snowy weather, sunny skies, and a plan to meet at 9:30 that morning by the river. As the brakes squealed and both cars came to rest, anticipation hovered above like fog, and friendly handshakes were exchanged as Sanders and I shivered violently in the frosty morning air.
Slightly torn waders and trusty wading boots were slid onto my frozen body, and an overflowing hip pack was strapped to my waist as it tightly hugged the over-sized wooden net also known as the 'Pig Stick'. Worn laces were cinched tight, and a few weapons for the day were selected from the diligently organized rows of my fly boxes. The moistened knots were then drawn tight, securing the meal courses to the tippet.
Approaching the water, flows became a concern whether we said it or not, but determination drove us forward without looking back. A mere fifteen minutes into the day, I dropped to my knees as I screamed "Holy S**t Sanders, We got a 25 inch fish right here!" What usually spans the course of 20-30 minutes of presentations took only a single cast as the fish turned without hesitation to slam the easy meal. A smooth lift of the rod resulted in intense runs, but after around 45 seconds the big male brown was brought to net, and we both stared in disbelief. The colors were astonishing, and my day had been made. After a series of photos, and a dramatic increase in morale, the beautiful fish was released, and we knew that Sanders' turn would come next.
|4.5 pound brown|
|My best Brown to date!|
Continuous searching resulted in few fish, so a swift decision was made to proceed to the next area, giving us a shot at different fish. Rods were loaded into the cars, and off we went. Upon arrival, it appeared that every person in Fort Collins had decided to try fly fishing that day, seeing as there were exactly two spots left in the lot. Crowded water resulted in minimal fishing, but as fellow anglers left whistling the signature Super Bowl anthem, space became plentiful.
As the afternoon midge hatch entered full swing, a single fisherman sat perched right in the heart of the action. Sean and I tried above him, and quickly brought three fish to hand. Frustrated, the man left the perch, giving us a shot at a few fish. A single rise was spotted and after a few refined presentations, the dry fly was slowly tugged under, and what seemed like a 12 inch stocker at first suddenly showed itself as an 17 inch cutbow thrashing below the surface. Directing the fight while chest deep in the river with the net, I watched as Sean bravely battled the fish. A few minutes later, the chance presented itself, and the gorgeous fish was scooped into the net. Sean's face lit up like a kid in a candy store - an image I will never forget. Sean proudly hoisted his biggest trout from this particular watershed, and after many pictures, the camera-friendly cutbow was carefully released.
|Sanders with his gorgeous cutbow!|
|Poor guy's jaw was ripped up...|
|Favorite pic of the trip|
What had been my best day on the water so far this year came to an end with handshakes and talk of the next outing. Sanders is a great guy, and I could tell he learned a lot about the river that day. Check out Sanders' blog here!
To Sanders - that was a badass day dude.... we are definitely going out again soon! This time though, we have to try and beat the fish from this trip... ha!