Some waters fall into my fishing calendar only on a seasonal basis. The wishbone is one of those places that I like to hit when conditions make things pretty darn difficult to get in. I call this section of water the Wishbone for the fact that two rivers come together at one point and sort of looks like a wishbone when you stand at the shoreline giving things a first look. There are a lot of water wishbones in Colorado and I do my best to fish them with high expectations.
(Above: Here is a shot of Don crossing the river in two-rod mode. One slip here can put a damper on the rest of your day.)
Conditions were crisp but reasonable for November. Ice formed on the edges of the river in some spots waiting silently to shred a pair of waders of the folks that don’t step lightly. Crossing the river and following the trail in you can’t help admire the snow-covered landscape. Reaching the water I throw a few casts and immediately start battling ice up in the twenty-degree weather. No bites, no follows so I start moving upstream. Similar to the T, water is very low making this section very difficult to hold fish. After a few no-go casts I decide to move down leaving this area for the hooded, ninja-style angler making his way down from the upper trailhead. Honestly I detest fighting for water and enduring the hard stairs of other anglers especially when other sections are available.
In the lower stretch I am casting at rocks and through any deep water that is present. A thick shelf of ice clung to the far side of the river. I toss a brown and yellow spinner bug onto the ice about a foot away form the edge. The bug is then retrieved across the shelf and dropped off the edge to the bottom of the river. The rod tip is raised and the art of retrieval begins. The rocks offered nothing but the ice shelf produced a few hits.
(Above: Respectable fish number one. This is not a huge fish mind you but respectable for this stretch.)
After an hour and two fish (yes, action was a bit slow) other anglers moved into the stretch all around us. Don and I had worked most of the section by now so we decided to move on. The next spot of water fished is often dubbed “The Front” and as water levels drop this section becomes more viable. I am sticking with my usual patterns but I look over to see Don in high experimentation mode. He would cast the spin, then cast the fly and then re-tie up both. Thirty minutes later he was into the fish. First one, then another and then another.
“Man, you are on fire! What are you slinging?” I ask ready to switch up in a heartbeat.
“Sandbar. The fish are stacked on it.” He replies with what almost looked liked a satisfied grin on his otherwise grizzled face.
With that tidbit of knowledge I cast at the tip of the sandbar and immediately get bit by a “lemonade” brown trout. It is fascinating how much the color can vary on this species of fish. For an extra bonus the fish was very docile for the photo op.
(Above: Sweet hold on a lemonade fish. This is one of my solo shots that turned out fairly well. Better late than never I guess.)
The fish goes back into the drink and a few minutes later the bite in this stretch goes to zero. With a lot of daylight remaining Don and I start going over the remaining options. With great pondering we choose a section deemed “terrible” by most. This is a stretch we have never tried before and just so happens to be the back door to the Orc section.
(Above: This is a shot of Don walking into the Plan B. The cliff dive is not as treacherous compared to what I am used to.)
The water for this stretch is typically shallow but even more so now. Hopefully we would be able to find a few fish in the scattered pockets. Travel on shore was difficult and a complete bushwack scenario. Wading was more or less a slippery mess with no action whatsoever. We did our best to walk our way into the Orc section but our legs didn’t have enough juice.
“I could probably make it in but not sure about the getting out part.” Don and I both spoke in subtle realization before making the long arduous hike out.
Our legs tingled from exertion as we removed waders and sat down for what may have been the first time in hours. Even though we didn’t catch any fish on the Plan B, being able to explore more of the area was greatly satisfying. Anytime you remove curiosity and the unknown, the closer you are to future success.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.