Sunday, August 10, 2014

Arkansas/Taylor- 8/9/14

Felt great to get up into the mountains yesterday for some fishing and camping with my buddy Mikey and his dog Jackson.  With both of our schedules so hectic this year, time on the water has been hard to come by, but we made up for it yesterday by hitting up two of the most famous rivers in Colorado: the Arkansas and the Taylor.

We headed up highway 285 around 10 AM, with plans to hit up the Arkansas above Buena Vista for a few hours before heading over Cottonwood Pass to set up camp, and fish the Taylor.  I had never fished the Arkansas, and was super excited to see what this Gold Medal Water was all about.  We fished above Buena Vista near the Railroad Bridge access.  Between the large amount of whitewater enthusiasts braving the rapids, we were able to get some of the rivers famous Brown trout to take our flies.

After stopping in Buena Vista to load up on camping food, we made the incredible drive over Cottonwood Pass into the Taylor Park Reservoir Valley.  I have lived in Colorado my entire life, but there are still some areas in this state that will always take my breath away no matter how many times you see them.  Being the 2nd highest pass in the state at 12,126 feet, this amazing 30 mile drive takes you up on the Chaffee County side to the summit, and then down the Gunnison County side into Taylor Park Reservoir.  There are views of a number of the states famous 14er's, and provides absolutely breathtaking views on the entire trip.

After finding a campsite that overlooked the Reservoir, Mikey went to work cooking a feast over the campfire while I started to string up the rods in anticipation of the Taylor River later that night.  Ribeye steaks with grilled portobello mushrooms, fried potatoes with onions, jalapenos, and ranchero beans, and Stone IPA made the meal perfect, while lounging around, watching Jackson play, and soaking in the great views.

After cleaning up the mess, we loaded up the truck to go hog hunting on the Taylor.  If you've never  night fished on the Taylor, this is something that you have to do.  It is absolutely nutty, with literally thousands of fish coming out to feed with reckless abandon all night.  For some reason they do not spook at all, which allows you to get right on top of them with your headlamp.  All it takes is a good drift, and you watch the mouth open to take your bug.  Mikey took top honors for the night, landing a massive 20"+ fish to end the night.

Such a great weekend with my buddy, enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors.  With summer quickly passing, these weekends need to cherished because I have no idea when the next one will be.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Eagle River- 8/1/14

With the summer quickly slipping away, I spent a much needed day fly fishing the Eagle River in the Vail Valley last Friday.  One of my buddies is getting married in a few weeks, so he wanted to head up early and pick up the fly rod for the first time.  We spent the morning in our rain jackets, as the storm clouds kept the rain coming and slowly turning the river to chocolate milk.  We still were able to hook some feisty Eagle River trout on large, flashy flies that kept it exciting.  At about noon, the storms cleared and the bugs started to move around in the river.  We moved up to a pull off closer to town, and continued to catch fish as the rest of our group started to show up.  Finished off the day by drinking some cold ones stream side, just as the caddis started to pop off the water.  It was a perfect way to start the weekend.