Where to begin... so much to write about after the last week fishing in Colorado and attending the 2015 Tenkara USA Summit. I'll try to tell more in photos than words.
The trip started on Boulder Creek before shifting to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park for the Summit.
Bruce met me on South Boulder Creek to show me around some of the spots he liked to fish. It was nice to connect with new people and then meet them in their home waters.
I've made a habit of doing that this year and its been rewarding and eye-opening, to say the least.
I hadn't caught much, just hooked into a few fish that wiggled off. Bruce already had a few.
We moved upstream and I was fishing behind Bruce. I caught a small one, but it was off before I could grab a photo. Then I noticed this incredible pool and decided to get my fly under the boulder.
I'm glad I decided to do that, because first cast had a nice strike and a miss, but the second cast had me into one of the largest Tenkara Brown trout I've ever had on my line, and likely the largest I've ever landed.
Bruce took a few pictures with my camera. I rarely take these kinds of photos but I have to admit it was a little bit of fun.
A beautiful brown, revived and released after a 5 minute fight that had my rod singing... what a treat for the beginning of the trip.
We hit a few more spots and then I called it a morning. Wild peas were all around as we walked back to the car.
I spent the afternoon exploring Boulder and then headed off to Estes Park to check into my cabin. I had no idea what to expect but I knew it would be an adventure.
The cabin was very small, with a great little deck looking out onto the Big Thompson River. Excellent.
I relaxed for a few moments, but was too excited to slow down just yet, so I went fishing.
Some nice browns...
.... and rainbows too.
It was a nice small stream, not so different from some of the spots I had fished in Valle Varaita, Italy this past July.
I drove up towards the park the next morning. A possible storm was blowing through.
While it was brewing higher up in the mountains, I drove up along a lower ridgeline to check out the terrain, and enjoyed the Aspens changing color agains the tall Pines.
A rainbow signified the end of the storm, which was to be the only one of the entire trip. What incredible luck I had on this vacation.
I spotted some Elk on the way up into the park, this was all new to me.
Up high it was mostly pine trees, with a few Aspens mixed in here and there.
I made a quick stop at Sprague Lake to watch the Brookies run up the little inlet. They weren't interested in flies, nor were they spooked by my presence. These fish are and invasive species up here, which was rather hard to Stomach, coming from New York.
I was getting antsy, and it was time to try to catch some fish. Driving up the windy road into the park, I found the spot I had been looking for on the map...
Glacier Gorge lot was full, but luckily someone was just leaving. I filled my Zimmerbuilt Guide Sling for a morning of fishing, and headed out along a popular hiking trail. I saw no other fishermen on the streams. They all had western rigs and were headed to the lakes. The ones coming down didn't have any great fish tales, and I knew I was making the right call sticking to the fast running water.
It was hard not to be excited by the overwhelming surroundings and the opportunity to immerse myself in the alpine environment.
I had bough Steve Schweitzer's book about fishing RMNP, and I had scouted a few spots. The first one was Chaos Creek. I don't feel so bad naming creeks here because there just doesn't seem to be an overwhelming pressure compared to the fish's abilities to reproduce.
The stream was tiny, and I was in heaven. I began to work my way up the bank and was immediately into some fish.
I had never caught any Cutthroat Trout before, and I was hoping to get a few different kinds into my net over the course of the next few days.
My prospecting work was rewarded with this nice little cut on the 2nd or third cast.
You can see the telltale markings at the underside of the gills.
I pulled two fish from that productive pool, and began to work through all the little holes.
Brookies were mixed in....
I had many opportunities to hook fish, but I didn't land them all. Each pool held something, which was impressive, to say the least.
I approached low and picked up another cut in the pool above.
The stream reconnected with the trail a ways up, and the scenery was breathtaking.
Not to mention that the altitude was literally taking my breath away too.
But all the hard work paid off....
With stream brookies that put most to shame out east!
The nicest Cut of the day was taken in this pool, after I had already caught the more aggressive brookie and released him in a run, below.
Some onlookers were watching me fish under the bridge...
Where I pulled out another nice brook trout.
And in a tiny run just above, this nice Cut, the last of the afternoon for me.
I collapsed the rod and headed back for the car - it was time to meet up with Adam Trahan from Tenkara-Fisher.com
I snapped a few more photos and drove down towards the exit.
Stopping on the meadow road, I watched a herd of Elk and listened to their calls. I could have stayed a while, but there were people to meet and other places to fish. More to follow soon!