Friday, September 23, 2011

Colorado 2011 - Part 2 - Cuthroat Heaven

Well it's been a while since my last entry on my 2011 Colorado adventure, ttransferring back to West Virginia has been very time consuming - but worth every minute.

I was disappointed after stopping at a stream that I had good luck on in 2006. The tail water stream was nearly dry and the reservoir above was only half full. After waiting out a massive storm we headed further south to a Rio Grande cutthroat stream that I had fished in 2008. I did not do well in 2008 but later learned I had fished it too high. I fished in the high meadow section when I should have went lower, into the canyon section.

Arriving late, we found a hotel room in Alamosa, had dinner and early to bed again. We were up and on the road before daylight, but thirty miles of gut-busting gravel roads made for slow travel.

Once at the destination, we set up camp, and made the mile or so hike down into the canyon. The canyon was absolutely amazing and we were quickly into fish. As normal, I let my partner catch the Rio Grande cutthroat, and thus completing his Colorado Cuttslam.

After watching him catch a few more, I jumped in and was quickly into cutties.

I picked up several cutties in the 10" - 12" class and thought this was just another typical cutthroat stream, until we got deep into the canyon. Moving up into the canyon meant larger, deeper pools.

Deeper pools meant larger fish, and they were plentiful.

At one point in the canyon we had to backtrack as there was no (safe) way to progress upstream....

...but before we turned around my partner landed this very nice cutthroat!

As we returned to the stream, it was more of the same - high walls and deep pools....

...and better than average Rio Grande cutthroat!

There were plenty of nice cutthroat landed, including my partner's 18" and one I caught that was 20"+. Neither of us had a net (we didn't expect this!) so there were no pictures of either large fish. We were separated when he caught his and I couldn't hold on to the big hen long enough to get a photo. I tailed my big fish and could not wrap my hand around the base of my big fish's tail.

It was an incredible day: large cutthroat, large foam flies (size 12 Chernobyl hopper), and bamboo!

After waiting out the typical afternoon thunderstorm and an early dinner it was another early evening. The night was a bit chilly and I slept in multiple layers and completely utilizing my mummy bag. When I woke the next morning the thermometer in the vehicle registered 38 degrees...great wet wading weather.

We decided to hike into the canyon again this morning, but not so deep. It took quite a while this morning for the sun to make it into the canyon.

The cold air temperatures made wet-wading a challenge but we braved it. The fishing started out slow but when I finally landed my first fish, it was another beautiful 14" Rio Grande cutt.

My second fish of the day was a 16" cutty....

...and finally, the third fish of the day, an amazing 18" male Rio Grande cutthroat!

With this series of fish, and the final being the most amazing cutthroat I have ever caught, I decided to call it an early day. I figured I couldn't top it so I turned the water over to my partner and I just took photos.

This entry is not my typical entry, more photos and less writing, but I figured I couldn't describe the fish or the scenery any better. Other than Golden Trout Creek in Big Whitney Meadow, I have not fished a better native salmonid stream anywhere! AMAZING!!



TenkaraOnTheFly said...

Awesome post. I tried to get into some Rio Grand Cutt's this Summer without result - I was in the right place but on the wrong river and not high enough. Maybe next Summer...

Unknown said...

Oh that was well done Chris! Appreciate your discretion on locale, it is indeed a unique and special place. mike