As the winter continues to bring incredible powder days here in Colorado, the choice between hitting the river and slopes continues to be a struggle for the weekend plans. As I sit in class I can’t help but to reflect on one of my favorite fall days of fishing where it felt like fall, summer and winter all in one day. On this particular morning, my buddy Josh and I had enough of our Finance class and decided that the rest of our Friday would be better off if we took a day trip to Wyoming. Living in Fort Collins, Colorado gives a fly fisherman the ability to venture North across the border pretty easily, which keeps him away from the crowds of Denver that head to the mountains on weekends.
As soon as our class ended we packed up our gear as quickly as we could, hit up St. Peters Fly Shop in Fort Collins, and we headed North to Wyoming where we could see the storm clouds moving in the distance.
The multiple Wyoming plains lakes we had access to fish that day offer an abundance of scuds, midges and plant life creating an ideal scenario to produce good sized fish. In fact, after a full day of fishing these waters, we find multiple scuds and midges on our neoprene waders when we take our boots off.
The only thing that wasn’t in our favor at this point in the day was the weather, with a strong chance of rain and snow in the forecast. As the day progressed we ran into strong winds crippling our ability to cleanly present the fly and spooking fish in fine pockets resulting in a few fish encounters ranging between 15”-18”. Luck wasn’t in our favor until we threw on our biggest streamer in the box, which we refer to as “the canary” and had some incredible encounters with fish ranging in the 20”-24” range. These fish would run us to our backing with our 3x tippet and had us running up and down the shore.
After a few PBR’s the wind settled and the sun peaked out for the rest of the afternoon, venturing down the bank of the lake I could see a rising brown that looked like a pumpkin making consistent movements to the surface slurping flies on the water. I did the best I could to match the hatch and on my first cast I was into the brown. The brown came in at 24” and was by far one of the most beautiful fish I’ve encountered.
On the drive out we were greeted by wild horses and a bald eagle swooping through the valley. Easily one of my most memorable days fishing.
Landon Ecker is currently a student at Colorado State University but recently started an Instagram page called Western Natives specializing in high-quality photography and videography focusing on the outdoor space. He runs the page with three of his good friends Josh Lewis, Brian Waugh and Will Baker. Landon was a rafting guide in Buena Vista, Colorado where he developed his love for fly fishing.