Fly Fishing in Colorado in January

Snow...Ice...Rainbow Trout!

The first week of January I decided to go fly fishing in Colorado. In the Rocky Mountains. In the snow. By myself... I had mixed feelings.

One, I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew I was jones’ing for the love of the tug and I was about to start my new job – so what better time to head to Basalt Colorado to hit the Frying Pan? The weather report showed one day with a high of 34 so I loaded up the silk long-handles, wool socks, hand warmers, and layers and layers of sweaters and coats.

I usually like to hit the shop by ten and be on the water by 11 am but I pulled in to Taylor Creek Fly Shop around noon – I was in no hurry to get out there before the sun had time to do its’ thing. I loaded up with one dozen of the fly-du jour, (tiny black midges and a couple of pink eggs with a bit of flash) and headed up Frying Pan road for the best fly fishing in Colorado.

I really wanted to head right to my honey-hole, my comfort zone – all the way up by the dam. But today I felt like challenging myself. (As if the weather weren’t enough). I know I can catch fish all day up by the dam – why not stop at mile marker 12 by those big pools and try it out? When I climbed out of the truck it was 29F. Balmy.

I kept my wading minimized to ankle deep. Though I technically don’t have testicles, I could feel something shrinking every time I took a step in past the knee. After about three casts I had to stop and clear the eyelets of my pink, ElkHorn rod. After the fifth cast I had to stop and rehearse that technique again. Eighth cast, again. By the ninth cast my line frosted over and I was casting cable. I slowly realized that the sunny side of the river would have been a wiser choice and my parking spot was nowhere near sunshine. I should have gone straight to the dam.

Frustrations such as these somehow stiffen my neck. I could actually see my target and I was not going to give it up until I brought one of these hardy rainbows in. The problem was, one can’t get a natural drift casting cable. I stopped for the umpteenth time to clear my eyelets and as I completed the maneuver my warmed line hit the downstream flow. In the flash of a frozen eye I got the tug. Fish on!

Rainbow trout

Not real fat, not real long, but bringing that rainbow to the bank left me giggling like an Obama girl at a Jonas Brother’s concert.

Fly fishing in Colorado, in January… mission accomplished! I quickly recorded my triumph digitally and packed my frozen rump back into my truck and headed to Tempranillo’s so Louise could thaw me out with a glass of red and a hot plate of tapas. It’s not quantity, but quality.

The following day it dumped about 6" of snow before noon and I enjoyed the hot-tub on the river. That night I headed to Aspen for some of the best sushi I've ever eaten - the ultimate FISH ON ICE!


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