After my last blog I thought I had written the perfect Fly Fishing blog. I got some feedback from David Allen Coe that made me think otherwise. He said I didn’t write about mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk. Well I’m going to sit down and write another verse to this song. Maybe after you read this you will realize I have written the perfect Fly Fishing blog.
The best thing about my fishing buddies is that if we have the same days off nothing is ruled out. However, this time of the year it’s tough to make a weekend trip because missing the Broncos on Sunday is not really an option. After getting off Saturday afternoon I met up with a buddy of mine to drink beers and grab a bite to eat. We had a couple and began talking about what the plan for the night was going to be. Denver played Buffalo the following afternoon so getting wasted, sleeping in and going to Mama’s for the game was a viable option. Then fishing became the topic of conversation, from there it was all downhill. There had been a certain trip on everyone’s mind for the past few weeks, but a four hour drive one way in good weather and conflicting schedules had delayed the journey. I checked the weather forecast it read sunny with a high in the 40’s. Road conditions over the pass were reading dry. At that point there was only one obstacle that remained, telling the waitress “no” the next time she asked if we were ready for another. If you’ve ever been drinking Flo IPAs at Trinity Brewery with any of us, especially Phillip and I, then you understand how hard a simple “no” can be. To avoid a poor decision, I made a run to the bathroom and let Derek make the call. I returned to see the tab on the table. We paid, said our good riddance and headed for the trucks.
By that time it was about 7:30 PM. I told Derek we probably need to hit the road by four in the morning. Not being a big fan of early mornings he suggested that we just leave now, sleep in the truck so we can be fishing by sun up. Given that I wasn’t driving I threw my gear in his ride, we swooped Gus and hit the highway. We were making good time, which generally is the case unless my Dad is driving. It also helps that when Derek is around there is usually a cloudy haze in the car that makes miles go by a little easier. As we approached the bottom of the pass I suggested stopping to grab some snacks and drinks. Considering all we had was a half a two liter of Diet 7Up, a bottle of Gin and four Cheladas this was a no brainer. As we pulled in to the gas station the lights were on but, the door was locked. Thankfully they were open; it just happened that the guy working was sitting in his car enjoying his own session with God’s grass. After listening to him ramble about God knows what, I finally escaped with the essentials, Gatorade, Mini Doughnuts and Beef Jerky. The rest of the drive was smooth. Atmosphere and 50 Cent played in the stereo, reminding us of High School days.
It was about midnight as we pulled up to the Dam. As we figured all the camp grounds were closed and under a few feet of snow. Renting a cabin wasn’t an option because we aren’t pussies so we drove up to the top of the damn. Derek got as far off the road as he could and called it good. We got our sleeping bags out, leaned the seats back and got as comfortable as possible. While the high Sunday was supposed to be in the 40s, Saturday night was a cold bitch. As expected the night’s sleep wasn’t much of a sleep. Although it wasn’t really needed, the alarm went off at 6 am. Knowing how long it takes the sun to get into the canyon, we weren’t really in a hurry rigging up. The typical put the waders on, warm up, tie on some flies, warm up, smoke, drink a beer, warm up, Winter rig up process ensued. With the mind right, Braving the cold is an easy decision when it means you get this piece of water all to yourself.
We finally made it out of the truck and like anyone who has ever fished here we strolled over to the bridge to scope things out. As usual some very good Rainbows were in their typical spots feeding in front of every boulder as browns littered the rest of the river. Derek spotted from the bridge as I made my way down to inevitably screwed it up. It took about three drifts to move all the fish I plowed through the snowdrifts for. I did land a few browns before I decided it was time to move on. We walked up the road searching for fish. If you have fished here it isn’t a question of seeing fish but, by searching I mean finding a fish you drive four hours to for. We spotted another bruiser, he spooked and to our surprise settle in a seam. I laid a few drifts past him and knew I wasn’t getting down to him. I added some additional weight, threw another cast, watched my indicator stop and it was on. He instantly made a run for the other side of the river and like they do here, he dove to wrap me around the nearest boulder. I got him around the boulder and he began to run right back up to repeat the process. Seeing the bastard get air was cool, however the following head shake that sent 40 feet of line flying past me and into the pine trees on the ridge behind me wasn’t. As I untangled we joked about how lucky I was that we were the only ones out because this would have been damn good show for my peers to witness. Within the next hour I lost a rig on the gage wire, something that happens to me here more often than it should. We worked up through the fishable water. With decent success our first trip up to the private line came to an end. We decided to go drink another beer, warm up and let the sun make its way to the water.
As the sun began to find the water we got out the car and went to work. We realized how many fish we walked right by earlier. From that point on if the fish wouldn’t spook, it only took a cast or two to hook up. My favorite way to fish here at this time of the year is to fish from the snowdrifts on the road. There aren’t many places that give you an opportunity to pick and choose between which 18-24 inch fish you want to cast too. Too say fish were stacked all over would be an understatement. As we worked it we landed some solid fish, got some good pictures and paved a trail through the snowdrifts to river bank. I don’t mean to make it sound like it was easy, tangling with these fish on light tippet left my hands frozen multiple times after losing everything more than once.
Knowing the Broncos kickoff was vastly approaching we debated to call it or walk it one more time. We decided to work it again and as we searched for “that” fish we both saw a bright red side in the same seam where that big asshole worked me earlier. After a few casts it was on again, as predicted he made the exact same move as earlier. I helplessly watched line scream from the reel until the inevitable happened once again. A laugh filled with a series of words I won’t repeat followed. I reeled in and cracked my last beer as we began the walk back to the pickup. We took our gear off, tuned the radio to 850 AM and let Dave Logan and Eddie Mac fill the airwaves. The Beef Jerky didn’t last long as we looked at pictures from the day. We reviewed the day, hopped in the ride and began the ride home. As the Broncos cruised to an easy W I dozed on and off a good majority of the ride home. Derek decided on McDonalds for dinner and I don’t think a McDouble has ever tasted as good. I threw my shit back in the Tacoma and headed home. As expected it didn’t take long for the friendly banter to begin. I checked the phone on the charger to see Derek had texted me. It read… “Go Broncos. Good Day homie… Too Bad you can’t Play a fish worth a shit.” Sometimes good days can be better, but I won’t complain. Oh and I apologize I couldn’t find a way to fit a train into the story.