I wrote this post last year on my phone and recently read it bringing back fond memories. With fishing season approaching and hopefully our last bits of snow leaving the ground here in the PNW, I am hopeful for all 2017 has in store for me.
A small background before we begin. My in-laws have a place in Steamboat Springs, CO which for the last few years we have gone to visit in the summer. It is an amazing road trip crossing through numerous states camping in dispersed and primitive campsites with a baby and two dogs. In 2015 I had fished the Blue Ribbon waters of the Yampa and been skunked every day for almost a week. I caught fish on other rivers and ponds but the Yampa eluded me. In 2016, I had one goal in mind to pull a trout from the Yampa. I was tying a series of Catskills style dries and as soon as plans were finalized I switched gears turning all of my attention towards having everything a trout in Colorado may be fooled by (including some of my own experiments). This is the story of a fish that meant a lot to me, almost as much as the other first of this trip, my first Montana Fish.
I like to fish in the morning, and by morning I mean I want to watch the sun come up. On vacation I usually have a few precious hours of “me time” before the family gets moving.
The day arrived, I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed down to the river access. I fished the fabled Yampa the year before but only just for a moment and had no idea where I was going. Today was different I had a scenic drive the day before with the family. This of course meant I had already staked my claim in my mind as to where o would be. I pulled into the access point, donned my waders and prepared my rod and flies. As I walked toward the river I saw a sign, “No tubes or water craft except for exclusive fishing”, I knew I was in the land made for and by fisherman. I arrived and pulled my way into the chilly water. The temperature in my car read 45 so I was glad I brought along a hoodie. As I made my first cast and read the river I knew it would be a perfect morning. The sun rose and, I began to see signs of life. Thrushes and swifts started chirping while pine martins barked at me intruding into their domain. I sent cast after cast working different areas and watching as my dry fly rode the current in a beautiful dance. I changed flies a few times after no strikes, however did not feel frustrated as I took in all Mother Nature offered me that day. In the distance a hot air balloon was inflated and took flight while a family of beavers seam past me. As my time in the river drew to a close, I let loose a few more casts and as if knowing the river gifted me a strike almost missed as I took in the scenery around me. It was a short fight with the small rainbow on my dry fly, but it was memorable, a year of waiting ended by this beautiful creature. I removed the fly from his mouth and took a video as I released him full of life back to his home, hopefully to be reunited another day on another cast.
This was a great fish caught on a bit of a strange fly that I tied on just to see how it would work. It was a size 10 Stimulator using bright green angora dubbing. I was excited to throw it out there but less than hopeful of course on the first cast it was smacked. I included a picture and recipe below. This fly is from before I became serious with my fly tying its messy, disproportionate but effective. I have since improved upon this pattern, cleaned it up for angler appeal and you can order the improved version on my Stimulators page.
Hook: Size 10 3x Long Curved Stimulator Hook
Thread: Olive 140 Denier
Tail: Bleached Elk Hair
Hackle: Ginger Dry Fly Hackle
Body: Highlander Green Angora Dubbing
Wing: Bleached Elk Hair