Spring fishing in Colorado

By Brandon

Howdy folks! Let me start off by telling you what I’d like to be blogging about right now… Steady and clear flows on the Elk River, wild and fat trout rising recklessly to whatever dry fly I gently lay across the water’s placid surface, and a right elbow and shoulder sore from battling a few more fish than deserved in a day. Alas, it’s May here in northern Routt County and, while the weather doesn’t get much sweeter, the Elk and its tributaries are flowing at a rate approximately four times greater than summer time averages. The water is the color of English tea with milk, and the trout seem to be bunkering down for cover against the onslaught of springtime runoff from high above us in the Zirkel Mountains. As a comparison I’ve included a recent picture taken from the same location as last month’s Fly Blog photo.

I attempted an outing last week with fellow VVR guide and trusty fishing partner Stephen “Bubba” Vateto. We hit the North Fork of the Elk, more so out of a desperate need to cast a line and an inability to wait until more sensible anglers typically venture into the river. We managed to hook one fish but quickly executed an LDR. For the unenlightened, an LDR is a Long Distance Release. In appearance it’s almost identical to “the fish getting off” but I assure you it’s an advanced skill carried out by only the most seasoned professionals. A few of you may buy into my advanced techniques, and for you I’ve got a great line on a population of yellowfin tuna in Steamboat Lake that readily take a size 14 dry fly. Yes, after a couple hours of searching for trout it felt a bit like returning with our collective tails between our legs; though, what’s that cliché saying? …A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work? Well, I guess for us a bad day of fishing is a bad day of work; which, when I think about it, sounds like a decent line of work. Okay, sob story complete! Now, take heart my friends for this too shall pass. Yes, the rivers which now gorge themselves on this spring snowmelt will surely return to their former splendor and these last few weeks of longing and heartache will give way to yet another season of fantastic sport on the water!

While we await the ebb of the roaring rivers we’ll likely focus our preseason efforts on some nearby lakes, which are rapidly shedding their ice. The narrow tail waters of Willow Creek below Hahn’s Peak Lake and Steamboat Lake seem to be shaping up quite nicely, as well. An exciting addition this year to the VVR fishing program are float tubes (AKA belly boats) which will allow much greater access on and around the lakes that we often fish (think fancy inner-tubes complete with seats, armrests and drink holders). We think it’ll be a fantastic way to enjoy a day on the water!

Well, I suppose that’s about all for now. On behalf of Bubba and the rest of the VVR staff, we can’t wait for you to get out here! Whether it’s your first time visiting us for a family vacation in the coming months, or you are waiting out our adult only vacation times in September, or your return to what we hope feels like home, we anxiously await your arrival!