My buddies Darren, Werm and I all got the day off on Friday and decided to go fishing. Although we had a bit of a battle trying to decide where we wanted to go, we knew the general vacinity and honestly, it didn't matter where as long as we were fishing.
We hit the road around 5:30am - headed for the Parshall hole - no matter what the roads looked like. The morning drive was pretty uneventful, no cars off the road, and the road actually got better as we got closer to Kremmling. Werm brought the chocolate covered Entemann's donuts - so he scored big points there. But then he lost those points when he made us stop in Idaho Springs at the Kum and Go because he has a tiny bladder (you should probably get that looked at Werm).
We pulled into Parshall Hole at 8am (ish) - we were the only car in sight - and it was easy to see why. The weather was in the teens and it was hell putting on your gear.
D tying on Werm's flies....no, I'm not kidding.
The morning was a typical winter morning on a river - the sun was fighting the clouds to come out and shine, the river was steaming, everything was covered in snow, the river had ice sheets along the edges, and the water was very very close to freezing - at least it felt that way. One fish or strip of your line and your fingers were buring, then frozen then they were useless. We fought this the entire day, off and on, until our gloves were soaked and we just gave up and let them freeze.
The day started out very quickly. As the three of us lined up on the road side of the river in the riffles, slicks and flats of this stretch. Darren immediately started hooking fish, and we had instant info as to what they were taking - green thread midges size 18-20. Werm hooked up next and I soon after and the skunk was off. After that we just had fun.
The sun tried it's hardest to stay out, but would dip behind the clouds for long periods of time. No matter the light we just kept catching fish all along this 100 yard stretch, in the deep riffles, along the slack water, at the very bottom of the riffles in the slow slicks. Most fish were close to the edges in knee to waist deep water - just outside of the moving current. The hits were mostly subtle, with a few strong takes.
Werm and I were hit and miss all day long, sometimes we'd have a good 20 minutes and catch 4 or 5 fish and then it would turn off for 40 minutes or so. Darren and I stuck the whole day with a nymphing rig, Werm tried dry flying for an hour or so with no luck. The fish were popping all day long and the bugs were all over the water. They turned out to be grey midges and the fish porpoising along the far bank - some showing their entire bodies. One particular fish looked larger than the rest and Werm started hunting for it. He switched back to a midge rig and hooked up hard on a sweet fish - definitely the fish of the day - a beautiful 17 inch rainbow. It was only the 2nd rainbow of the day and the only 2 of the 80 or so browns caught by all of us.
The browns were a ton of fun to catch - I would estimate that 95% of them were between 13 and 15 inches. The occassional 12 incher and 16 incher was thrown in here and there - but the rainbow was the largest and fattest. All of the fish were very healthy and in great shape - and every single brown fought fiestily. Most browns would tail walk on the water and spin uncontrollably trying to get off - many of them would spin your tippet into a bird's nest and strangle themselves on the line between flies. They wouldn't give up and lots of times the fight led you to believe you had a hog on, only to pull another 13 incher out. Either way, it was a blast.
The 17 inch Bow - remember, Werm has large hands...
The day was highlighted by several doubles and even a near triple (Werm had just released his fish). We also had a weird warm spell where our fingers stopped hurting and I could almost feel my feet around 1pm. But that was only temporary, as it started snowing sideways again and the sun slipped behind the clouds.
Around 2:30 we all caught a fish and decided to call it a day. I can honestly say that there was no way the day could have been any better.
I was home by about 5:45pm, and just as I was unloading my gear, I just started to feel my feet again. I was sore as hell that night - my finger tips hurt, my feet hurt, I took some Tylenol PM and was in bed at 8pm!
Great day, great friends, good beer, great fish, gotta love Colorado!