Wednesday, September 9, 2009

High Country run…Colorado River

Nothing says natural beauty like the Colorado High Country. Thick wooded areas broken up by clumps of aspen and dramatic rock formations make the rocky mountain terrain so amazing that anglers have to make a difficult choice…enjoy every second of the view or fish.

(Above: River shot early in the morning. The air was a crisp 48 degrees at the gear up. Things would get a grueling 75 later in the day.)

Conditions are coming into primetime for fall brown trout fishing. Wanting to get a jump on things I hit a few sections of the Colorado River on the Western Slope. This area offers better fishing when the recreation traffic starts to die down. Lower temperatures and the fact school starts up again can weaken angling pressure and rafting quite a bit.

Fishing action was not as “explosive” as I have seen it at other trips when my timing is spot on. Not dialing in the exact presentation could have been another major factor. Still managed to find a few quality fish and soak up some of that Colorado mountain beauty. Honestly it is just good to get back up here in the hills with the sticks, the bugs and the bears.

(Above: Some solo video work on the river’s edge. It only works out if the fish cooperates. This one didn’t seem to mind so much.)

When fishing river and creek sections it is crucial to read the water. Not only are you looking for the best spots that hold fish but also the secondary spots that people may have overlooked. When fishing pressure is a factor, the secondary spots may prove to be better than the best looking spots that everyone is hammering.

Case in point: I had been struggling all day to get anything but smaller fish out of the best eddies and pools that traditionally hold the best fishing action. However I was picking up fish on the edges or even “ugly” spots other anglers pass up. So when I came to the large flat section my focus was directed to the lesser areas first. First cast in and wham! Beauty brown.

(Above: This was one of my better fish of the day and it wanted to pose beautifully for me. This almost never happens by the way. Male brown trout have a meaner looking face with a more prominent lower jaw. The colors may often be more spectacular in regards to the amount of yellow on the head and belly. The image was taken from the brief video clip to minimize handling time.)

I never stop learning and this trip reinforced my belief that water changes constantly and new plans and presentations need to follow suit. Being able to start with a good plan keeps an angler focused and on track. But knowing when to abandon that plan and quickly move to something else could save you crucial time. When Don hooked up with a fish right away on silver patterns, I abandoned my brown trout colors and went to silver. All of my fish were caught on silver patterns where brown trout patterns have always proven to do really well. Experimenting throughout the day was done attempting to dial in an even hotter color. It was not to be. Silver ruled the day. My point is this: don’t wait until the 4th quarter to change things up particularly if the scoreboard is still zero in your favor.

Help out the trout-better fish handling and release message:

1. Crimping barbs on hooks minimizes the damage to the fish and makes the releasing of these beautiful fish much easier.

2. Wetting your hands before touching helps a lot too in regards to minimizing damage to the protective slime layer most salmonoids have. (Keep the fish in the water as much as possible).

3. Needle nose pliers or higher quality hook removers can come in real handy when getting the hook out. In most cases you don’t even have to touch the fish in order to get a nice easy hook removal and release.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

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