Right around Halloween I saw this steer head at the farm where we bought our pumpkins - pretty cool looking woodworking project.
I think it had a price tag of about $60 on it. It was made of old fence boars that were made to look "weathered". As cheap as I am I thought I could make something similar for less.
So last week bought some 1/2" X 1 1/2" X 8' pine boards for $6, cut them in half, placed them on a flat surface and free handed the steer head onto them. Then I cut them out with a jig saw.
Doing these cuts on individual boards was tougher than I thought - I had to make sure they lined up after making the cuts. Then once all the cuts were roughly made, I had to make the horns. Finally I bought a piece of thin plywood to secure the whole this together and add some stability. I traced the steer head on the plywood and rough cut out the shape. I then flipped it over and tacked the plywood to the pine boards to secure the whole thing.
With that done, I had to sand the edges, paint the skull portion with white paint and let dry. The next day I sanded out the white to make it look aged, then took my torch out and blackened the horns and edges, and aged the white sections as well. I added a hook to the back and hung it in the garage for a day or so.
I added some Christmas lights to make it a bit more festive.
Final resting spot is in the basement behind the fly tying bench.
Finally got a day off - budget season was a bear and it is now over - so huge opportunity to take a day off, head up to Silverthorne and fish at my own pace.
I stayed in bed a little later than I wanted to, but that was ok - I was on VACATION! Left the house a little after 6am.
34 degrees when I left Highlands Ranch.
A skim of ice on Georgetown Lake
First sign of snow on the ground at Silver Plume
Loveland is making snow.
21 degrees in Silverthorne.
As I'm changing, Pat Dorsey pulls into the parking lot.
I jump in the river
Water is super high - which is a good thing
6X snaps twice while tying on flies
2nd cast I get a hit, full break off
Retie with 4X
I got a few fish
Nice fish - hefty, maybe 4 lbs or so. Nose is all beaten up - like the Colorado Headwater Fisheries guy mentioned in his blog. Story here.
I was trying not to touch the fish, so pics are from the net POV. The water felt numbing.
At about 10:30 I decide to go hit Cutthroat Anglers for some new laces and a magnet for my big net that hangs behind me and keeps catching my line.
I then hit a small stillwater
I've fished here with the kids, and I know there are fish in here - but never had any luck
These cutts - I assume Snake River Cutts?? were swimming in the shallows - beautiful fish about 15-16 inches long.
I did manage one dumb rainbow trout - fought well - small but was very healthy.
About 1:30pm I hit Wendy's and was back in the HR by almost 3pm.
Good day to fish with good results.
I had the rare chance to get up to a high mountain lake and Steffan and I were itching to get out. I planned to crash at Steffan's in Boulder on Friday night and head up super early on Saturday morning. Huge thanks to Steffan who hooked me up with a beautiful Orvis large arbor Hydros reel for my 40th birthday - an amazingly generous gift - thanks man!
The lake is located in the Poudre basin. The ride from Boulder is a good 2.5 hours - the hardest part is the slippery drive through the beautiful and burned out canyon for over 60+ miles. We left about 4:45am and after a couple stops (gas/piss/chase a pheasant/pay fee) we were at the trailhead about 7:15am. We saw 7 or so moose (1 had a ginormous rack) at the top of one of the passes and plenty of hunters already parked along the side of the road.
The Cragg views are amazing - straight up sheer crumbling rock. The view was sure to be amazing, but the uphill climb was killer, especially at 10,250 feet. The trail is only .8 miles, but it felt straight up with 400 ft elevation gain. At the top we got these views.
As you can see it is the typical high mtn lake, cliffs fall straight into the glacial green water. The lake is shallow around the edges, but drops to 10+ feet almost immediately. There was no sign of life in the lake for the first 30 minutes or so we were there. We were the only people on the lake and it was completely quiet - which is very eery. We made our way around to the side of the lake and started off with a streamer (me) and a dry (Steffan). As we made our way into the water and waded out a few feet it was easy to see that the water was going to win the numbness battle. At 40 degrees (I'm guessing) your legs and feet (and other nether regions) freeze quickly. Unfortunately with close quarters behind us and our shitty casting ability, we were needing to wade out over our nuts to get to the deepest spots. I switched to chiros after losing the streamer to the back cast gods. No luck.
We fished for another hour or so. During that time the lake started filling up. We decided to head around the bend into the cove - but there was someone there. We went around them and then came around a huge rock to see beautiful cutties swimming near the top looking for dries. We immediately switched back to dries. Steffan stuck with the dries, but I was back on the chiros. Still no luck. The fish just wouldn't eat.
We fished until 11:45 and gave up - hiked out, back in the truck around 12:15. We decided to hit the Poudre on the way back, and found a spot about half way back. The spot looked well fished, and I think in the bait fishing area - I left my chiros on and cast into the first pool right by the truck. First cast and I landed this beautiful 16 inch cutthroat - amazing fish, healthy, fought hard, amazing - and I caught him on the snowcone grey chiro - crazy!!
I caught another smaller rainbow and a dink brown out of the hole and gave it to Steffan. I moved down a couple hundred feet and caught another rainbow out of the rock garden area. Nothing fancy.
Steffan didn't have much luck and so we decided to leave - still having a long ride home - and me to HR.
Great day to get out, beautiful area, great scenery, good beers, and good to hang with Steffan. Thanks man!
My buddy from work came out to Grand Lake for a long weekend with some of his fraternity buddies. He asked that I find a nice hike and fishing spot to take them and show them around a bit. We got up early on Saturday, 5:45am early and I had them out of their cabin and into the park by about 6:15am. We saw tons of animals right off, including 5 moose and lots of elk near the Grand Lake side. We travelled the whole length of Trail Ridge Road - from the GL side to the Estes Side. We stopped multiple times for photos and so the guys could awe at the views.
Over the top of the passes we saw 6 or 7 of the big boy elks, with the huge racks. Amazing sight to see. I'll have to get those pics - I don't think I took a picture.
We finally made it to the trailhead at around 7:45am and met Steffan there. We suited up and hiked in the 1 mile. The river has changed quite a bit. The water seemed faster and there were not as many pockets or pools as there seemed to be 4 years ago. Maybe I'm wrong. There were also a lot less fish up there. we all ended up catching fish, but the numbers were very small.
These are really the only pics I got. As I said, the fishing was so-so. I managed 2 fish, both were large and feisty and about 11 inches long. That was about it.
We were back down the hill at 2:30pm and back over the mountain and in GL at 4pm. It was a good trip and these guys really enjoyed themselves - I just wish the fishing was better.
Thanks Steffan for playing guide for the day - I appreciate you helping me out.
One more long weekend left of vacation - I hope to fish almost every day next weekend.