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Colorado Fly Fishing – Bait Huckin' vs. Fly Fishin'

It was one of those fishing trips. You know, everyone catches fish but you, you loose six or eight of your most expensive streamers, it rains buckets, and you sink the boat. That’s right; I got skunked at Steamboat Lake over Memorial weekend.

I was determined to show those meat huckers (worms and power bait) that a well chosen and strategically placed fly was as effective as anything a conventional fisherman could load on a hook and hang under a bobber. Well, no such luck, I got stomped.

The fish were rising like mad on a midge hatch, and I threw everything in the box at them. I could swear I saw a hefty rainbow nudge my fly to the side to eat the natural laying only centimeters from my damn near perfect replica. As we watched the group of 12 year olds add another 18” fish to their stringer (full loaded, I might add) I decided it must be a lake thing. I don’t fish lakes often.

I usually have good luck with a streamer in faster moving water, so I head for one on the several tributaries hoping to get the boat up far enough to make a make a few good casts. No such luck, here comes the wind. Determined and frustrated, I proceed to lose several of my best streamers in the dense shrubbery surrounding the mouth of the creek (can’t retrieve them since the current is too strong to get the boat any further up the creek).

On the way back to camp we are passed by a couple of boats with stringers of fish crashing off the bows of their boats (hmmm, are they just rubbing it my face, or are they tenderizing the meat?) Questioning my decision to become a fly fisherman, I head over to the dock to pick up my 5 year-old son and a fresh styro of night crawlers. I'll let my son fish the meat before I crumble and load one up on the spinner myself. Surprising, no luck with the meat either, and hear comes the rain. I throw my arms up and ponder my karma activity of the past year.

We charge for shore as the lake turns to white caps. The rain and lightning moves in fast. Did I mention that we got the boat for free and have no clue what to do in the rain? We pull the boat up close to shore near our camp, outside of the no-wake zone. We leave all of our gear and head for the soggy camp.

Well, apparently it’s best to leave your boat in protected cove in the no wake zone. From what we could tell, our boat was hammered with 300 to 400 gallons of water from the waves and boat wakes from boaters rushing back to the dock. Yes, it sank in 18 inches of water. I didn’t realize a boat could sink in 18” of water! All of our gear is floating around the shore. The gas tank and gear which included an Orvis waste pack with hmmmm, some 500 plus flies. Every box any fly had to be opened and dried on the dashboards of our trucks.

We bail the boat, load the truck and haul our soggy gear and crippled egos back home.

Next memorial day, it’s back to the river!!!


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