It’s been a bit sine I’ve last posted. The end of 2012 didn’t have me fishing nearly as much as I normally do. It was a culmination of being busy. Well, also the colder temperatures. I still enjoy fishing in the winter. But, lets be honest. When the temperatures max out below thirty degrees, what’s the point? Frostbite comes to mind. Spending more than half the time at the river in your car warming up is not much of a trip. Tying leaders up and then thawing your fingers can be exhausting. Not to mention, it may not even be worth the drive, let alone the slower fishing in these cold months. Don’t get me wrong, I still subject myself to it from time to time. When I force myself up to the mountains in the winter, it’s more out of boredom at home. Or willingly neglecting household chores.
One cool thing about winter fishing in Colorado can be the exposure to different areas. I don’t much care for the Arkansas River. There, I said it. This may be a bold statement, and I bet plenty of people would say I don’t know about the river enough. Or that I’m full of shit. Take it for what it’s worth, I prefer the South Platte River. I feel comfortable there. I spend 70% or more during the year. However, when you consider the South Platte being generally at a higher altitude, and the Arkansas being south below Lake Pueblo, temperatures can vary as much as thirty degrees. The later of the two being the warmer option.
You’ll never see me down south in the spring, summer and fall. Who can say no to a late January day at sixty degrees? The other reason I go down there in the winter is because of an event I’ve done once before (prior to this post). The Frostbite Fish Off is a great idea in theory. It’s also a lot of fun. This year, the third annual tournament will be my second go-around. I declined last year due to the previous year’s poor showing, on my part. Getting skunked where an actually scoreboard is in play is embarrassing.
This year I was able to convince my fishing pal, Eric, to join forces. This took a lot of back and forth conversations. But, in Eric’s own words, “…if it’s that important to you…”. Well, it was important to me and we will be competing in two weeks. I know one thing. It will be a fun event. Being around a group of people that share a similar identity is great. There’s a sense of fun in the competition side of it as well. It’s a great event that raises money for the Pueblo chapter of Trout Unlimited. At the end of the day it boils down to having fun. I’m not promising I won’t cuss up a storm. I’m a competitive guy.
The competition aside, 2013 is already shaping up to be a good fishing year. Weeks ago, around Christmas, I bought my girlfriend waders and boots. She’s been a good sport about it. Charlotte is seemingly enjoying it. At first, I had figured she was doing it for me. She’s getting g better every trip and every cast. I knew getting her in to some fish the very first outing would help keep her engaged. I’ve created a fishing monster.
Including your significant other in fly fishing could save couples from divorce. Bold statement? I know in the past its been stressful on my own relationships. It’s great to be able to share my passion with her. It’s becoming her passion to. You can tell by the smiling pictures I’ve gotten of her.
It’s fun going to the river on the weekends with her. It sure beats heading out on my lonesome to go fishing. She’s caught a good amount of fish in her three or four trips so far. She’s learned about streamer fishing and nymphing so far. We’re working on getting her acclimated to the various knots and will explore dry flying when it warms up a bit.
As far as my own fishing is going, I’m getting out, that’s the big thing. I’ve yet to get skunked over the course of the weekend. I’m trying to keep that going. My goal this year has been to get on the water at least 125 times. That’s no easy feat without being a guide or a similar profession. I work during the week like most poor saps. It’s fun, right? Sitting at a desk and occasionally thinking about fishing. Loving my day job makes it more than just bearable. I figure if I can hit around eight trips in a month and fill in the summer with fishing after work at Monument Lake, I’ll be just fine. If I end up getting a kayak this spring, that’ll motivate me. I’m keeping a calendar this year to put in perspective all the fly fishing I have and will continue to do. The idea was not my own. I went to the premier of “Low & Clear” with a buddy last month and got the idea from the eccentric Xenie in the documentary. I’m closing out January right now since next weekend begins February.
Now for the fish. I haven’t caught anything too amazing yet this year. There’s been a bunch of fish that range in the 10″ to 20″ spectrum. Counting fish though might be tough this year. I forget to write a lot of them down. I’m working on that. Not that fish count matters, it’s the experience. I just think it will be fun to look back at the end of the year and be able to say, “I caught X fish this year”. Maybe it will turn into a yearly competition with myself. Then again, I don’t think I need to stress myself out more than normal on my trips. Either way, I think it’ll be a neat idea. Perhaps, I will even be able to see how productive rivers are during certain times of the year. Maybe it will enable me to make more educated guesses next year on where to go. Not that what I write down in my field journal is really going to account for the thousands of reasons why fish are where and when.
Until next time, which will become more frequent, keep those lines tight and fly fish life.