Sunday, January 31, 2010

Redemption found up north

Every angler experiences highs and lows. I recently hit a dry spell that was so severe that I thought the name of my blog was going to be changed to “Matt takes his fishing poles for a walk.” January is always tough for me for some reason but this year was downright brutal.

Plan A was to hike in and fish the reservoir. The sign on the booth stated the reservoir had been recently drained and no stocking had occurred due to more draining required for yet more repairs. Part of me wanted to fish it anyway to see if this was indeed the case but chose to go with Plan B. My backup plan was to fish the river. Luckily the water was open 90% of the way.

(Above: Shot of the trib looking downstream. I don’t get up this way often and that is a shame. By sheer luck and good timing this slip of water became a viable Plan B.)

The area is sparsely wooded for the most part with some vertical rock features that are unique as well as interesting. The maintenance road leading to up from the parking area was downright easy compared to the last few runs that I have made. Not wasting any time on the lower section I walked the mile and a half straight to the main tailwater. Second cast and I feel the bite and then the tug of a fish. I was running a gold PM into the large pool below the dam and was working it back steady and the thing just got clobbered. The action on the rod raised my spirits immensely.

(Above: Grainy picture from early in the AM. After a serious dry spell this fish was sweet redemption.)

A few more casts, a few changes and no strikes I decided to move down to the rest of the water. Going through the patterns one or two colors would get follows but only the gold would get strikes. Fish size can range anywhere from 8 to 16-inches on the better stretch of this water that spans only a mile or two from the bridge to the dam. Brown trout are the staple in the population but occasionally an angler will run into a rainbow or cutbow trout.

(Above: A decent shot of some upstream water with a little bit of everything; flats, pools, rocks, current. Not the biggest water a person can find in Colorado but can still be a slice of heaven in January.)

I found the most success when working the less obvious water compared to fishing the larger holes that looked more ideal. This is becoming a rule of thumb for me in regards to trout action these days. Of course you still have to run the gear through the popular spots but working the less than perfect water with intent is what boosts up my fish counts.

Case in point…I cast through a beauty spot and only come up empty. Working the flat water behind it I get a heavy thump. A hefty fish (at least for this water) grabs onto the spinner and puts up a sturdy fight. The shallow water and lesser current does not bode well for a fish this size and quickly the fish is subdued.

(Above: Fish of the day. A nice near 16’er male brown trout caught in a shallow flat. Notice the damaged tail? That is a mark of a scrapper fish.)

When walking back to the truck there is a huge difference between having fished and actually catching fish, at least for me. Catching fish is not the most important aspect to angling, learning is. But we validate what we learn via the catch. January was nearly a complete skunkfest for me, which was downright unacceptable by fishaholic standards. Being able to catch and release some quality fish at the tail end of the month is huge. It may sound silly to most but for me this trip can only be described as Pure Redemption!

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.


Don said...

Nice job Matt..way to start the season! Been a few years since you and I stomped our way back there!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on getting the "skunk' off you for January. That is some beautiful looking water. I like to fish smaller rivers and creeks for trout also.

More happy hook ups to you, Matt.