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October 26th, 2008, 11:43 PM #1Last extended fly fishing trip for 2008
Wow, what a fall fishing season I’ve gotten to enjoy. The tent camper got lots of use this year with fly fishing trips to Utah, Wyoming and several Colorado mountain destinations.
This past week, my oldest son Jeremy took a week’s vacation to go fishing. Aside of doing support for our companies, Jeremy is also a talented fly fishing guide here in Colorado and an excellent fly-tier. As we work a four day week, he generally guides Friday thru Sunday on the weekends spring thru fall. His fall vacation each year gives him an opportunity to fish for himself instead of taking care of clients.
Each of the past three years, he has invited me to spend a few days fishing with him and so we always visit some of our favorite out of the way fisheries. This year, it was the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork rivers located near Aspen, CO.
I had been recuperating from an illness the previous two weeks, so I wasn’t sure I was going to be up to it. But the idea of spending quality time with my # 1 son (to quote Charlie Chan) was the perfect elixir.
Last Wednesday, we got the tent camper ready, filled the bulk propane tanks, loaded up our fishing and camping gear, got a good nights sleep and then hit the road Thursday morning. Had a great trip up, discussing his kids, our businesses, “kool aid consumption” in America this year and dozens of other spontaneous topics.
We arrived in Basalt, CO., (about 12 miles north of Aspen) around 12:30 Thursday afternoon. Two hours later, camp was set up and with waders on, we headed down about 2 miles from camp to the upper section of the Frying Pan. To our delight and surprise, we were the only ones there; i.e., the fish were at our mercy!
We spent the next three hours catching and releasing big, healthy, feisty Brown Trout. Between the two of us, we played between 50 and 60 fish during that afternoon! Each of us battled with a few Rainbows or browns in the 8 to 12 lb range, but were not able to land one of them. They are very creative and know well how to use the rocks, tree branches and currents to their advantage. Couple that with having to use extremely lightweight line (3.2 lb test) in order to get them to take the fly, and you have at the very least, an uphill challenge. We do occasionally land one of these monsters, but it is few and far between.
We retired to camp around 6:30 that evening and while Jeremy tied some flies for our next day, I prepared our dinner. The temperature that night dipped to 8 degrees, but the super Big Buddy heater Donuts sent me after our visit in Sept kept us nice and cozy. In fact, we got nearly 9 hours of good sleep. To our delight, temperatures during the day were in the high 50's and sunny, which at 9,000 feet feels pretty warm.
We awoke Friday morning, well rested and ready to go. After breakfast, we headed toward Aspen to fish the Roaring Fork. The stretch we fished is perhaps one of the most beautiful stretches of river I have seen anywhere. If it’s possible, the water here is clearer than crystal clear. The river meanders through the canyon that it has carved over many millenniums. The banks are filled with rich foliage running right down to the water. It’s the kind of place where you can equally enjoy the scenery along with the native population of healthy, sizeable, strong rainbow trout.
The fly fishing Gods were with us again as the action was almost non-stop for the next three hours. You can notice the clarity of the water in a couple of the pictures I’ve included of rainbows on “The Fork.” After lunch, we headed back to the Frying Pan to work the lower section of the river. We continued our way up the river, fishing each publically accessible stretch as we worked our way up to the top section.
By 4 that afternoon, we were back to the top and it was the biggest treat of our trip. In less than 2 ½ hours, we netted at least 50 fish, each of them health, scrappy fighters. After another great nights sleep, we returned to the Frying Pan Saturday morning. The fish were not as eager Saturday as the sun was shining brightly on the water, so the fish were not real eager to eat. But we did manage to net 20 or so nice fish.
We headed out late Saturday afternoon and as we were en route to home, we’d look at each other every once in a while, smile and one of us would make a comment like: “what a great trip!” It was one of those trips that every recreation enthusiast gets to enjoy occasionally, whether it is a great game of golf, a super day of snowmobiling, that perfect ski day, an unforgettable evening walk on the beach, or whatever past time gives you that special break away from the world.
For us, this was our last extended stay fishing trip for 2008. We’ll have a few day trips between now and January when I head to Florida to hit the saltwater, but this was an excellent way to end our overnight trips this year. I’ve included some pics of my son and I with some of our friends from the river. The picture of the Brown trout laying inside the net with the fly rod next to it was a 23" brown trout, which by any standard is a sizeable fish. But what really caught our attention was the full gut on each fish and their thick bodies. Due to the big run off season this year, the flows of our rivers has been up most of the summer. As a result, the Frying Pan river has had tons of Mysis shrimp (very small freshwater shrimp) coming down the river as they are released in the water from the dam, so the trout really grew this year.
They all returned to their ice cold water homes safe and sound, none the worse for the experience, so it was a win win for all involved!
October 27th, 2008, 12:34 AM #2
October 27th, 2008, 07:28 AM #3
All I can say is wow, Alan. We were in the Blue Ridge Mountains (the Shenandoah National Park) yesterday, and I remembered you a couple of times in conversations with my wife, knowing for a fact there are quite a few good trout fishing spots in the Blue Ridge... Thank you for sharing this, Alan.
Geno Prussakov AM Navigator LLC Twitter.com/ePrussakov We Manage: These affiliate programs My Services: Affiliate program management, audit, consulting, speaking
October 27th, 2008, 08:37 AM #4
October 27th, 2008, 08:45 AM #5
Is that snow on the banks in the first picture?
October 27th, 2008, 09:46 AM #6
loved reading your details buddy, what a fab trip!!! very cool pics!!!
look forward to fishing and drinking with you very soon down here in Florida.
Last edited by Donuts; October 27th, 2008 at 09:46 AM. Reason: typo
October 27th, 2008, 10:16 AM #7
Alan, you have my most sincere jealousy!
What a beautiful trip in every way.
October 27th, 2008, 10:27 AM #8Originally Posted by Donuts
Geno - yes, that is snow on the banks in the picture. We had 13" at my home last Tuesday, but the weather up here is different than what you experience at sea level. It can snow one day and then be in the 60's or even low 70's the next week. That's one of the things I love so much about the mountains in my area.
2busy - Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. It was a slice of heaven for this ol trout chaser.
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