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Fly Fishing - In Search of the Chase

With fly fishing, sometimes it is all about the chase. Here’s a day trip that looked unfruitful, but turned out alright in the end.

Colorado Fly Fishing

We put the raft in on a warm morning in Sept. without a cloud in sight. My expectations were not high, since a warm sunny day tends to put the fish down, at least on this stretch of the Colorado. When the fish aren’t rising, I go straight for tandem streamers; there is nothing more exciting than a big pissed off brown chasing your streamer off the bank in shallow fast moving water. Dredging the bottom with a nymph just doesn’t do it for me. If I break out a nymph’n rig, I must have exhausted all other options.

The first quarter mile of water put a bleak outlook on the remaining 9 house of river ahead of us, not a single chase through some of the higher quality water on this stretch!! My invited guest on board had no experience throwing a heavy awkward tandem streamer rig, and was fairly discouraged after nearly throwing his shoulder out with only a handful of well-placed casts. I always talk of the exciting chases, but now; he must think I am full of it. I now know the frustration that guides must endure while watching miles of quality water go by without a singe well placed or completely untouched. “There was probably a nice fish it that pocket we just passed”, came out of my mouth far too many times than I care to recall.

About 3 miles into our float, which is exactly what it had become, a sightseeing float, the weather began to change. Here came the clouds, an encouraging sign, of course unless the wind comes with it. Here came the wind, and next thing you know, our beautiful sightseeing float turned into a back rowing battle to keep the boat heading downstream. Luckily, this did not last long, but the rain did begin to fall.

Within a few minuets after the rain subsided, the mayflies were swarming and the fish were rising. Were eddied out in several prime spots and began to catch fish in the swirling foam. Just about any well-placed cast was rewarded. Time went by unnoticed, until suddenly I realize that we had only traveled half way to our take out and more than half of the day was gone. Pushing through the slack water and hammering the moving water with the streamers was now becoming very productive. Finally, I could prove to my guest how exciting the chase could be. It seems that every other cast produced an aggressive brown, either territorial or just plain hungry.

We landed several nice fish while powering through the final stretch, arriving at last light. A turn in the weather sure can turn on the fish and bring on the chase.

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