Tag: Dream Stream

A modest proposal for the future of certain trout

Foreword

I have spent the entirety of the year 2010 without fishing the “Meyers Stretch” of the South Platte River, a.k.a the Dream Stream, and will without doubt finish the year not touching its banks once.

I may never fish it again either, unless there are some changes. The reasoning is simple.

I was once one of those jackasses who spent the fall months slinging egg sucking leaches, followed by egg patterns, followed by bead-headed midges, across those waters as the browns moved up to make whoopie in the willows. Then I realized that unlike those fish, we humans get it on for fun and games. They are moving on instinct, to replicate the species. Period.

I then asked myself this: with the mortality rate already built into catch and release fishing (which probably runs at least 35% percent, based on my half-assed research on the matter), how many of those majestic fish would actual survive being caught multiple times a season? Counting the vehicles in the lots, I subsequently puked all over my leaky $500 waders. (Side note: I’ll never wear a pair of waders that cost that much ever again).

The previous few summers I caught some bonafide pigs at Meyers on streamers and dries, and then skipped the spawning season out of pure satisfaction. The fish I bagged were healthy and bright, unlike those I’d caught previous autumns with multiple copper johns hanging out of their snouts. I haven’t been back since August ’09.

Modesty and Twelve Gauges

Let’s turn the Dream Stream into a permit-only water. Draw for days, just like elk hunting season. And pay dearly just the same. No poaching, no guiding, and no cheating. Guns drawn and off to jail with you if you disobey.

Think of the fees it could generate for protecting those fish. Imagine how those fish might behave with significantly less pressure on their poor souls. $50 per day to park in the lot between May 1st and August 31st. And then, say, a $150 per person rod fee during the spawns – February 1st through April 31st and September 1st through October 31st – would allow those fin finned friends to breed without undue harassment. I suspect the populations would explode, and the need for stocking would be significantly reduced too.

Catching wild fish on an extraordinary stretch of water. One now named after a luminary lost. What would Charlie think about this?

By the way, the same could be said for the Taylor, Frying Pan, and probably a few other sections of water too. Raking the reds with a three fly nymph rig for a digital hero shot? I think you should pay out-the-ass for such guilty pleasures.

How do you feel?

MG signing off (to avoid catching trophy fish while they are trying to make more trophy fish)

A Little Red Book, for a lifetime on the water

Viewing the golf tournament live at Augusta National is for many a once-in-a-lifetime experience, myself included. I was afforded the opportunity in 1995, and wound up sitting by the 18th green on a Sunday as Ben Crenshaw sunk a putt that moved everyone to tears. He had laid his golfing mentor Harvey Penick to rest the Wednesday before, and then won the Masters.

A decade and a half later another student has said goodbye to his teacher. Kirk Deeter readily admits it would be impossible for anyone fill the shoes of his instructor, the late Charlie Meyers, who did not simply cover the Colorado outdoors scene through his writing, but molded it with a watchful eye and caring touch into what it is today. His judiciousness, and kindness, lives on.

Kirk and Charlie co-authored The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing, which went to print just after Mr. Meyers passed. The book is a compilation of trout-wise anecdotes accumulated by the authors from many days on the river, much of it spent together. It is a manual for improving your game sans technicality, the overriding theme being enjoyment of the sport, from the inside and out. It is also a window into life on the water that I believe anyone who peeks in will carry with them. Or maybe climb through.

I was offered a chance to fish with Kirk not long ago – at first two outings on the South Andros Island flats. The bonefishing (and perusal of The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing) was followed by a day in Kirk’s own backyard that I hoped would exemplify the setting teacher and student had shared so many times before. I spent the majority of the time asking questions, about Charlie, about trout, and about life itself. Mr. Meyers had an ego described as the size of a small indicator, and his protegee answered in-kind. On repeated request I was positioned in pools chock full of trout, while my guide studied my actions carefully from the bank. Cast after cast, fish after fish, I listened.

The courtesy didn’t cease until I demanded it to. Then all at once I found myself on the 18th green again, watching a perfect putt…

I know there are many more snippets of wisdom, stories worth mention, that I have yet to hear. Fortunately, fly fishing is not the Masters – anyone and everyone now has a chance to experience it up close and personal. Next Saturday, June 12th, the South Platte River in Spinney Mountain Ranch, previously known as the Dream Stream, will be dedicated to the man who spent a lifetime sharing thoughts on Colorado – its mountains, its valleys, its rivers, its ski slopes, and most of all its trout.

I’ve received but a glimpse, and I now yearn for more.

A full press release including details of the Charlie Meyers stream dedication, the family-friendly gathering that will happen throughout the day and into the evening thereafter, is included after the jump.

MG signing off (to make my way to South Park)

(more…)

Tallying the score for my fly-fishing year (2009)

I’d planned on fishing Christmas day, but with high temps expected to climb no higher than the teens I’m likely to bag it. Hence, my fly-fishing year is over, and this year-in-review comes a few days early.

The learning curve

I spent 30 minutes talking one-on-one with Lefty Kreh, in the second week of January. I should have quit while I was ahead. (+30)

Creating infamy

The Wall Street Journal showed up in Denver after I guaranteed them some carp on the fly footage, and Tom Teasdale got front page billing in the print edition, nationally. I know self-made entrepreneurs with $250 million net worths that never made the front page of the WSJ. So I take all the credit for this one. (+250)

Time spent fishing is better than time spent working

I had 22 days on the Blue River, 21 days on suburban lakes, 13 days on the urban South Platte, 10 days on the Dream Stream, 4 days on the Williams Fork, 3 days on the North Platte, 3 days on the salt, 1 day in Cheesman Canyon, 1 day on the Colorado, and a few minutes on Gore Creek and Ten Mile Creek. (+78.5) ALMOST FORGOT: 2 days on the Eagle, and a day on “Moose Creek” – so +81.5

Worth a mention

I caught this fish and this fish using 5X tippets and tiny flies (+2). I used a San Juan Worm one day this year – this fish was the result (+1). I almost died from dehydration in the Carp Slam, but thank my lucky stars Barry Reynolds was my partner (+10).

Some gear runs through it

I acquired five fly rods and four fly reels this year (+9). I dumped one 2009 rod for another (+0), gave one rod up as a going away present (+1), and passed on three reels to folks that really needed them (-3). At least two rods will get ejected in the spring, and I’m on the hunt for another reel (-1).

I retired some waders, and waited patiently for some others (+0). I booted three pairs of wading boots, and wound up with two pairs in their place (-1). I gave away two wading belts (+2), and I found my socks (+20).

I bought seven fly lines, was given one fly line, sold two fly lines, and gave seven fly lines away (+13). I ruined one fly line, and one fly line just plain fell apart on me (-2). Two fly lines are still in the boxes (-2). I gave away a tippet dispenser, six spools of tippet, 250 yards of gelspun backing, and spooled/rigged four reels for newbies (+261).

Fly boxes are for civilians

I purchased 780 flies, tied ten flies, bent four hooks, popped 28 leaders with two-fly rigs, and snagged 2,462 flies on tree branches. (-1,732)

Liar liar pants on fire

I caught 225 brown, rainbow and/or cutthroat trout over ten pounds, 150 carp over forty pounds, 90 largemouth bass over eleven pounds, and one state record brook trout (at twelve pounds) that I didn’t get a picture of since I was by myself in a desolate location with no food, water, or camera. (225 X 10) + (150 X 40) + (90 X 12) + (1 X 12 X 11,500 foot elevation) = +147,330

High note

I acquired a king’s hoard of new friends, but unlike royalty throughout history I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And I spent some precious time fishing with some dear old friends too. ((7382 + 6) X 1014 = 7.382e+17) (Note: score arrived at by adding total friends, new and old, to the number of beers consumed in their company, individually, post-outing, then multiplying by the ACTUAL VALUE of time spent fishing and/or drinking with them)

Final tally

I want to say I lost count, but the reality is I’m an accountant, which means I don’t know how to count it was just a darn good year.

Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, What-Have-You, and a Happy New Year to all.

MG signing off (until 2010)

The pitfalls of posing by the river

After walking this fish downstream through a heavy flow, a fellow fisherman was nice enough to grab my camera and take this shot…

fish-in-hand

Thankfully, the angler turned cameraman was quick with their shutter finger, because moments later…

whoops

We all laughed after realizing the second pic existed. Still, I’d caught a break.

But when I asked Mother Goose to pose, she turned her back on me…

mother-goose

I took no offense, as she had a family to take care of…

goose-family

Adieu.

South Platte, Cutbow Phat

I’d been in Colorado for a few years before I took my first trip to the “Dream Stream” but had heard plenty about it. The vista is stunning. Hurricane force winds can and will appear out of nowhere. That section of the South Platte River is full of huge, wary fish. And the folks I talked to were right. The scenery is wildly breathtaking – the river winds through a valley surrounded by perpetually snowcapped peaks, most of which you don’t notice until you pass the herds of grazing antelope, dodge moose-sized elk in the roads, share a few quiet pools with curious, resident muskrats and the occasional pair of geese, or have a standoff with a jack-rabbit. Then there’s the wind – it whips up after noon and can and will cause your flies to smack you in the back of the head. As for the fish…

Until now I hadn’t had a lot of experience with them. My first couple of trips had produced little to talk about (with the exception of one feisty brown that pounded a streamer minutes before quitting time). I chalked it up to getting the water “dialed in” and my lack thereof. Yesterday made me feel lucky.

cutthroat-19 rainbow-20 chunky-cutbow

We hooked up on more than a dozen sizable fish, and size seemed to be the only thing biting (no complaint here). There were no dinks this day, but there were plenty of cutbows (and a lone rainbow) that looked guilty of eating them. We were run downsteam on several occasions, including two mad scrambles through sections of split stream full of rocks, and one fish that took me around two bends and through two human occupied pools (apologies were sincere, if frenetic) after swallowing the trailing fly and snagging the lead on her underbelly.

berg-and-cutbowThe Australian, fresh off his first catch ever, shook a few more bad habits and picked up an even worse one – stepping into holes just vacated by other fishermen and hooking up immediately. As if his head couldn’t get any bigger, we wound up impressing the authorities to boot. A park ranger ambled by, checking licenses – out of the ten or so anglers within eyeshot, for some reason he picked us last. As it turned out, his conversations with the others produced a consistent response…“We’re not having much luck, but those guys over there are on fire.” After the license request, he quizzed us on fly selection – he was also donning waders, which made us think he was soon headed back to his vehicle for a rod.

Last but certainly not least, we ran into a father and son team who were friendly as could be. They noted some success, which made me quite happy. Reason: I figured they must be good folks because they had two of the most adorable dogs in tow. These twin pups seemed to be having the time of their lives, bounding through the stream with their owners, and taking intermittent breaks lying in the tall grass. As much as I love the sight of fish in my net and good friends with fish in their hands, watching those dogs frolic really made my day.

fisherman-and-his-dogs
The real South Park – sportsman and best friends

Dream Stream Grand Slam

I don’t know if there is such a thing, but someone got one anyway.

[singlepic id=88 w=100 h=75 float=left]We hit the Dream Stream today, and spent up until 1:30 pm wishing we hadn’t dressed for a winter storm – the day started off cold and gray, and way too quickly moved to warm and cloudless. For me, things got more productive as the day progressed – the morning was a bust, started the afternoon with several dinks, then moved up to a few 12 to 14 inch rainbows. As the sun began its drop behind the mountains I was able to haul in a fat 21 inch brown on a leech to round things out (and no, she isn’t being crushed – she’d just been grabbed out of the net and was in the water a split second later).

The real news here, however, is about the grand slam! Todd Pepin picked up a Kokanee, a stout Brown, and a Pike…in a single outing. We were none too happy to find a pike in the river (they eat trout with reckless abandon), but Todd’s feat has to be recognized. I’m doing that here, where said recognition shall remain for eternity (or until the database gets corrupted).

dream-stream-kokanee dream-stream-brown dream-stream-pike

And last but certainly not least, we caught a lobster. Actually a crawfish, but it was about seven inches long and gunning for my finger when I was setting him up for the pic.