One of the things I look forward to this time of year is fall trout fishing. The mountain lakes and rivers provide a world that is vastly different than the bass ponds of summer. Cattails and lily pads give way to pine trees and rugged rock formations. After months of bucket slammin’ on flat water, the high country action is a nice change of pace.
(Above: This is a beautiful shot of the stretch just past the spillway and around the bend. Expect company when you fish this area on the weekends.)
This trip was intended as a warm up to start transitioning my game into the trout scene. The Big T is a great place for this. The river itself is bigger than the creeks that are closer to me and offers a decent number of fish. Some fish are finicky and some are more eager. That makes this strip of “river” a good spot to work out some of the kinks.
The fish were not cooperating at first and I struggled to find that super hot pattern of the day. Angling pressure from Saturday could have also set the fish back a bit. Sure I could make a bunch of excuses here but honestly it was all about transitioning my fishing style into the mode of lighter tackle, smaller water and salmonoids.
(Above: First fish of the day on an early start. Even the fish looked sleepy.)
The sun rose higher in the sky and finally crested over the mountains. Sunlight gently warmed the canyon and action seemed to pick up. Being able to see the water more clearly helped a lot. The additional daylight let a person see through the water to the bottom vividly in the shallows and confessed to where the deeper water was. After a few more moments and light you could actually see the fish. They would jet in and out of the current or stage motionless in the shallows. Sometimes I would run my gear to see if they would hit and then just sit back and watch them.
(Above: Brown trout, trout in the big T aren’t generally huge but some of these fish can be very spectacular looking.)
Trout physically can’t tolerate my shameless photo ops like warm water species. So on this trip (as with most of my trout excursions) the trout photos were minimal. Some fish would get one shot and some fish would get none at all. Quick release and not beating up the fish was more important than getting a lot of trout pictures.
(Above: Another fantastic brown pulled out of swift current. Gold blade patterns on the spin action seemed to fair best.)
The brown trout were a bit easier to trick with the spin gear compared to the rainbows. I could see them setting up in the current but they were very selective compared to some of the browns. The worst part is the taunting. Fish would rise up and look at the lure. Then they would drift back to where they were and you just knew they were silently chuckling. The next cast and the fish would not even budge. Not so much as a scoff. Then I watched a few fly guys come in.
“They will teach these fish!” I mutter smirking for revenge. But after watching for a few moments I realized it was not to be.
Fly anglers would cast, drift and the fish would raise its nose then settle back down again. Cast, drift, rise and back down. At least the flies were getting closer looks and more of them but no bites. One guy hooks into a nice fish but it spits the hook shortly after.
Finally I was working a stretch of water that was flat and fairly calm. A nice cast was thrown followed up with a steady retrieve making the spinner look like a large bug or even small fish struggling in the current. I feel the bite and shimmer in the water. A quick land and very brief photo op before the release.
(Above: Beautiful cutbow and the only one that I landed. The rainbow trout here are wary and wise. Watching them swim away quickly and in good health is very satisfying for me.)
This river is AFLO/C&R most of the way down from Estes. The additional regulations seem to make this place better and better every year. Bait containers and spent fishing line are nonexistent and a thing of the past. The natural beauty and rugged canyon of the Big T can be breathtaking as well. These are the moments that I live for. Fishing in Colorado is a blessing, a privilege and just all around #$%^*& awesome!
(Above: Beautiful brown trout with very intense yellow coloring. Compared to bass fishing this is a whole different world.)
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.