Sometimes opportunity falls into your lap, sometimes you have to work your ass off for it. With Junior year of college in the rearview, we trekked 26 hours to Colorful Colorado with a rather large trout boner. Pit stops were minimal, only for energy drinks, piss breaks and a cold beer (in that order).
When your buddy has time to kill before guiding trophy tailwater all summer, you fill his tank and ask for first dibs on the hole you’re wanting to hit. And when he hauls in a gluttonous pig rainbow on the first dead drift, you realize just how small your net is.
Goose Creek- Creede, Colorado. If you ever get the chance, do it. Seriously.
With runoff in full swing, we were unsure what to expect from the trip. The high water blew out most of the usual honey holes and the fish were playing hide in seek in new territory. What better time to tie on a purple San Juan than being up the road from the San Juan River. Simple and incredibly effective. By the end of the first hour, I had realized my stockpile of 4x and 5x tippet was no match for energetic fish in a strong current.
We ended the day at the local watering hole for refreshments and bullshitting. Turns out, local guide “Party Marty” can out-bullshit you tenfold. He’ll buy you a drink then hook you up with behind-the-counter mouse patterns at Rio Grande Anglers. Small towns and good rivers produce some awesome communities.
“We could go up to the high alpine lake cabin… it’s just… well, the gate is closed so we have to hike.” Seven gruesome miles later and some huffin’ and puffin’, we arrive to a frozen lake. Dammit. “Dude, I think I just saw a rise over by that feeder creek.” Streamer? Streamer. Strip, strip, zing. Beautiful Greenback cutty. This melted portion of the lake by the creek must have held the entire Brookie population. Fresh seasoned Brooke trout on a old wood-fired stove, french pressed coffee and some of Colorado’s finest. We were living large in an isolated cabin older than your great-grandma.
Ah, fresh snow. A few inches later and we’re planning out how we’ll survive off of Brookies and oatmeal until we get rescued. After some exaggerated calculations, it is agreed upon that we could catch and eat fish for six months before starving. How could we take down a bull moose? Mousing theories.
Freeze-dried flatulence. Rock-paper-scissors tournament for the last pull of Evan Williams. Who can tie a loop knot the fastest? After a freezing few casts into the lake, we conclude that 1) Maybe mousing is a myth and 2) Casting in the dark is easier than daylight.
I’m on the flight home now, calculating just how much money I need to save up to become a trout bum for the rest of my life. If I paid more attention to my backcast I could probably save money on flies, and keystone light is my favorite beer anyways, so I could definitely make it work.
Three South Carolina boys got to fully experience trout country during runoff season, we could not have asked for anything else. Thank you, Colorado, I’ll be back sooner rather than later. As long as United doesn’t lose my 2 pieces of luggage.