I might have a chance to get out and fish one more time before year end (over the Xmas holiday). I was lucky enough to have a great year of fishing - opportunities to fish the San Juan River in New Mexico, the North Platte River in Wyoming and the Green River in Utah with friends. That is quite a bit of water to cover in one year. Each river was unique. Each river was beautiful. Yet each river was a let down. Obviously the more you fish a river, the better you know it and the better you will do. Each trip was about the same as the next - with average results.
On the Juan you need to use tiny flies - often size 24 or 22. The smaller the better. Be used to fishing water with 50 other strangers nearby. And you better be ready to nymph fish everything and clean the weeds off your flies every other cast. When the lake turns over, the water will be off color and tough to fish.
The North Platte was interesting water. A beautiful river with deep holes and lots of sucker eggs! The fish are as fat as lake fish, and fight you to the end. During a wet year, like this year, there are just as many fish, but twice as much water - making it really tough to catch fish. Be prepared to deal with scary weather - especially if you camp out, because it can turn on a dime.
The Green is the prettiest of the rivers I fished this year, carving a canyon through Utah. The water is as clear as gin, the fish are beautifully colored and they eat the weirdest shit I have ever seen. They won't eat many normal nymphs, but tie on a pink marabou jig fly and drag it through the shallows and you'l pull up some fish. Fish a weirdly colored looking hopper/cricket fly and you may get lucky. These fish are picky, yet dumb. Bring something to float on, because even though you can walk the whole river, the good holes are far apart and DEEP!
All this said, I think I prefer Montana or Colorado fishing. I mean, none of these three rivers hold a candle to the Bighorn. And I might be partial to the Colorado or Roaring Fork or Taylor or Arkansas or Gunnison - but Colorado has some amazing water that produces amazing fish. Escaping for quick trips to Clear Creek, the Big T or Boulder Creek has its treasures as well.
I'm not sure what far away river I'll hit next year, or maybe I'll just stay close to home. I have a few months to think about it....while the lakes freeze over, the days get short and cold, and then spring starts making an appearance in early April before they start opening the reservoirs again. Maybe I'll try some ice fishing this year, or maybe just stick to tying flies in front of the TV.
Putting the finishing touches on another great year has made me realize I couldn't (and wouldn't want to) do it without great friends. I appreciate their companionship, long hours in the truck, sharing great beer, loud snoring, putting up with my bad cliches or one liners and most importantly with their willingness to do it all again the next trip. I'm hoping to have even more opportunities next year to net your fish or crack you a beer and watch you catch that next fish.
Happy holidays to all, and hoping 2016 is as great as 2015 was. Cheers.