Spring is here and it really feels good after another long winter. The ice is coming off the rivers fast now as it warms up. There have been good midge hatches, and I caught my first fish of the season on dry flies this week. It’s been great to get out with my bamboo rods again. Special thanks to my friend and rod maker, Ron Barch, for fixing up my cane rods over the winter. Now if I can just patch these holes in my waders, I’ll be set!
I got out yesterday afternoon for a few hours and fished the East River, Taylor River, and Gunnison River. It still feels like winter fishing right now, and there is more winter weather coming. But I had a very good day on the river. Last week, I spooked out a pretty big brown on the East River. So this week I went back and used a bit more stealth and looked for this fish in the same spot. Sure enough, it was there, and this brown did not hesitate to take a size 20 red midge. It measured out at 23 inches. I got quite a few decent fish up in Taylor Canyon as well, including a fat 19-inch rainbow. I must have put 20 casts over this fish with one rig, and it just was not interested. After I changed to an egg with a black midge behind it, it took the midge on the first drift. It was a fun day.
Though it is still winter, spring is in the air. The days are warming up, some snow is melting, and the fishing has really turned on. Early season fishing, from now until run-off, can be really spectacular. It is a great time to get out on the river. The brutally cold winter, including too many days below zero for me to count and one that was -32, is officially in the rear view mirror. I ‘m sure Mother Nature will have more in store for us, but I finally feel like we’re over the hump.
I snowshoed into the Taylor Canyon yesterday to fish for a couple of hours in the afternoon. It snowed the night before and was snowing when I got there. I had to cut a trail to the river in snow that was at least waist high from the ground up. Luckily, I didn’t sink down all the way to ground level, but it was pretty close. The Taylor Canyon is especially beautiful in winter, so I got a couple of photos when the sun broke through. And the fishing was very good. I actually had my best day of the winter season.
I decided to hike into the East River yesterday, mostly just to get some much needed exercise. I fished for about 3 hours and caught a few fish, mostly rainbows, which were pretty chunky. It was cold, and I don’t think the temperature got out of the teens. It was nice to get out though. The scenery there is pretty special during winter. And catching some nice wild trout is a bonus for the middle of February.
It was a tough day at the Taylor River C&R earlier this week. I fished for about 3 hours and landed one fish. I lost a really nice rainbow and two other browns, but that was it. It was windy and cold, and very slow fishing, even for February. But as Dave says, one is better than none.