Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Dawn Cracked Hard, Like A Pool Cue," Tom Waites

Yesterday my fishing buddy Eric called @ 5 am. “I’m headed up the pass if you still want to go fishing today.”
The night before I had a long jam session with some friends at a local venue and tossed back a few beers after the jam at the T-Bird bar in Florissant. ” Dazed from being shaken awake by the ringing phone, I replied in something resembling English, “I’ll be ready.”
Eric pulled into the driveway and knocked on the door. “Can I use your bathroom? I just had a bear stand up and look in my passenger window when I slowed down to go over that speed bump around the corner.”
While Eric took care of business I loaded my gear in the back of his truck and soon we were on our way, destination yet to be determined. “I heard the Tricos are heavy on the Dream Stream,” he said.
“OK, sounds good.”
After some small talk about 3wts and numbers fishing on small water, with big dry flies, we changed our minds and decided to hit Alma Wildlife Area and Tomahawk Wildlife Area to chase brookies, browns and rainbows.
Climbing Wilkerson Pass we stopped to try and get some photos of two of the biggest bull elk I’ve ever seen. Still in velvet these two bruisers were a beautiful sight to see in the faint light of dawn. As we got out of the truck and crossed the road the two looked at us and casually trotted away toward the tree line, heads back, antlers nearly scratching their rumps.
On the drive between Hartsel and Fairplay we saw small patches of golden leaves on selective aspens that grow in the shady areas on hillsides.
 “Fall is coming.”
“Yup, browns will be staging for the spawn soon.”
We arrived at AWA  shortly after sunrise. The sky was overcast, but not threatening. A light breeze was blowing and the morning temps were in the low 40’s.
“Smells like Fall.”
We geared up and headed off toward the maze of beaver ponds and channels that broke up the thick patches of willows and sedge grass. I tied on a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis and Eric a size 14 rubber legged stimulator, a deadly pattern of his own design.

Making our way through the willows, low and stealthy as possible we slogged through the boot sucking mud and got into position to make our first casts to rings of rippling water.
Eric, “Fish on.” 
Me, “It’s gonna be a good day.”

After catching and releasing innumerable numbers of wild brookies and browns we loaded up again and headed for Tomahawk, with a short stop at the Brown Burro in Fairplay for a little lunch.
We drove to the lower parking lot and headed up river fishing every fishy run, riffle and pool. I got into lots of rainbows, Eric was hooking up with browns. We walked and fished up river about a mile taking fish after fish, again on caddis and stimulator patterns.

We called it a day around 4:30 and recounted the days catch as we walked back down river to the truck.

“I love pitching large dry flies to eager fish on an August day in Colorado.”

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