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It’s Officially Spring in the Mountains

After a long week at work, my wife and I needed to get out of Boulder for a while, so we headed to Beaver Creek with some friends to get in some spring slush/dirt skiing. Although it was a beautiful day on the mountain, the intense sun was rapidly exposing the rocks and dirt below the snow, a sure sign Spring had arrived. Core shots were definitely had, but luckily not by us. Our friends stayed on the mountain, however my wife and I called it an early day, so I took the opportunity to hit the river for a few hours in the prime of the day. To make what was already a great day even sweeter, I got a chance to try a new rod for the weekend, the Sage Circa 8’9” 5wt. What a sweet rod that was! It’s not too stiff, just a great mid-action rod with a sensitive response, allowing the fly to fall gently onto the surface for the patiently waiting browns and rainbows. Because of the sunny, spring like days and a solid mid-morning Midge and Stonefly hatch, the fish were hovering just below the surface, waiting to sip on emergers. It took some time to match the hatch, rotating though BWOs, Caddis and some Stoneflies, but I finally found success with a WD-40 trailed behind a Parachute Adams. I pulled in a few solid fish, followed by many on the smaller side, but it still made for some of my best dry fly fishing of the early spring season.

As I drank my morning coffee the following day, I pondered whether I wanted to dodge mud patches on my board or dive head first into another beautiful day on the river. Although the water was quickly rising, it hadn’t quite started resembling chocolate milk, so commonly associated with spring run-off, so I committed to a full day of fishing. However, as the water became increasingly stained, the fish started to become more spooky, so I decided to work on my czech nymphing skills. I started with one of my all-time favorite flies, a Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone Fly (aka “Cat Poop”) in size 10 to 12. As usual the long rubber legs and meaty body were irresistible to the fish, which made landing some fatties a quick endeavor. I ended up with some nice ones in the net and some just outside of the net, but what can you do, you can’t catch them all.

Sunburned and exhausted after 2 great days in the mountains, I grabbed a walking stick to help me get back across the river. Right before runoff kicks in the rocky bottom of the Eagle can be a slick S.O.B. It’s always at the end of great day that the rock snot seems to get the best of me and I take a swim. I usually just laugh it off and say “I’m just checking the water temp”, but we all know better. I’m looking forward to switching out the waders for board shorts and intentional swims in the months to come!