Saturday, January 24, 2015

Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boot: Gear Review

   Because I get to fish so much, I've gone through numerous pairs of wading boots over the years. Felt, studs, rubber soles....you name it and I've worn it. I go through 2-3 sets a year. I usually hate splurging on boots because I have no faith they will last. That was until I got the new Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots. There's a reason they have won some awards this year, they are LEGIT.

   Traction and durability are the most important things to me when looking into purchasing a wading boot. The most striking feature people will notice is the wedged aluminum bars on the sole of the boot. The bars are soft enough to grab rocky surfaces with a good grip, but hard enough to cut through anything else mother nature throws at you. The bars provide a large area for traction like felt but don’t wear out like felt soles. They also have the ability to keep you stable with the wedged traction bars. They are the sturdiest boots I've ever worn on the stream. Even though they are light, they are well constructed and I feel confident they will last me the entire fishing season.

   I've tested these out on some streams that are known to eat anglers on a regular basis. These boots have given me the confidence to wade further into the river and catch more fish. Absolutely a must have if you are in the market for a new fishing boot, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Winter Escapades


Winter Escapade
Cold hands are worth it for these fish





 
Small Stream, Good Fish


Pat scores a good fish
www.troutbitten.com
 I got to celebrate my birthday for a few days this week. It started out with a lovely day of skiing with my wife, then some pizza and a movie.....that's what I call a birthday. To top it all off my wife let me go fishing for a few days with my dad and my good friend Pat Burke (www.troutbitten.com)


   Winter fishing can be mentally challenging. Not only are you dealing with cold hands, but usually you are layered up and feel like you weigh 20 pounds heavier then you really are. Trying to move around, take pictures, cast your rod, stay dry and focused can be a challenging thing to do while spending an entire day on the water. Well we accomplished all of that in a 3 day span.

Black and White



21 inch trout that needs to eat more


   The first two days of the trip were very challenging and rewarding at the same time. Numbers were very low but the quality was extremely high. I'll take that any day of the week. Covering deeper water depressions was the ticket if you wanted to find a trout that was hungry. I caught most of my fish under the indicator because Tight-lining wasn't working for us. One certain nymph pattern was the ticket in fooling this pretty wild fish.

Hefty Little Fella
Winter Wonderland


   Day #3 proved to be the high numbers day, and I still managed to catch a few good fish as well. The snow came down hard and created a beautiful setting to end my trip. Great times were had with friends and family, a 33rd birthday I'll never forget!

Nymph Eater
One for the road


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Winter Soldier

Aggressive Eater
   I woke up this morning and felt like someone beat the shit out me. The river I fished yesterday can do that to you because it's brutal to wade. I went into the kitchen, filled my coffee mug, kissed the wife goodbye as she headed for work and stared outside at the heavy snow squall coming down. Overnight Old Man Winter dumped 3 fresh inches of snow on the ground. A brief check at the radar indicated it wasn't stopping anytime soon.

   I wasn't in the mood to sit down and tie flies. So I decided to pack up the truck with my artillery and do some fishing. The snow was puking out there, but the weather wasn't all that bad. There was no wind to speak of and the air temperatures was a balmy 20 degrees. The drive in was slow because the roads were covered, but I eventually got to my parking spot.

   Nothing beats walking through the woods when there is a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. The march in was peaceful and quite, the only sounds I could hear were my boots crunching in the snow. After breaking trail in 4 inches of the fresh stuff for 20 minutes, I was warmed up and ready for battle...time to fish.

Wild Brown
   I was excited to Tight-Line and get better drifts today. The first spot I stopped at was an indicator hole though, yesterday it produced 4-5 fish and today ZILCH! Dang the day wasn't starting off so good. I moved into the pocket water and focused my attention on the banks. I managed to get a few fish this way, very similar to yesterday, maybe a few more fish. The action picked up around mid-day, I was definitely getting into a few more fish. Unlike yesterday, I could tell my drifts were better quality, and the fish agreed. The soft spots behind structure that produced so well in the spring/summer still held fish, just not in the numbers I am used too. The slower water feels like it has more fish then normal, maybe the trout are moving into winter lies.

   I think it was a pretty good outing for a winter trip, numbers were good enough to forget about the cold. A few times my hands got numb, but only when they got wet. They got wet because I was catching fish, nothing to complain about there.

Best Fish Of The Day 

   I landed a decent amount of fish in the 11-13 inch range, and a few were 15 inches. The best of the day was this studly 18 incher. Around 4:15pm I marched on down the path to my truck, feeling battered and bruised, but ready for another day in the trenches soon........
Till The Next Time......

Monday, January 5, 2015

Patagonia 3-in-1 River Salt Jacket

Ok, I've only been out on the water 1 time with this beast but I have no doubt it will continue to produce. I wanted a new jacket because my winter coat is bright red. I know right, I'm getting carried away but I always thought during the winter months I was spooking fish because the water is usually low and clear. Well Santa hooked me up (Thanks Mom and Dad!) and today was the first day out on the water with it.

The shell itself has Patagonia's H2NO Performance Standard Shell to block the wind and keep you dry. I have a few other Patagonia Jackets like this and they are all bomb proof. The cuffs are spandex and for the first time ever my base layers didn't get a drop of water on them. Usually when I release fish it's inevitable that some water leaks down your jacket sleeve, not with this jacket. There are plenty of pockets that can store a bunch of gear. But....my favorite feature is the Button Up Nano-Puff. I did a float with a client 2 months ago and he gave the Nano-Puff rave reviews. He was spot on. I layered with a thin wool long underwear top, and a zip-up fleece. I was out on the water for 8 hours today, it was 19 degrees with 20-30 mph winds....there were times I was sweating lol. I don't know what the heck that PrimaLoft Gold insulation is but it keeps you warm and is light. The weight is such an added bonus, I felt 50 pounds lighter then last year at this time. Ya it's expensive. But if you don't mind spending the cash or can get a deal on this jacket, I HIGHLY recommend it.

Hell Weeks......




 Hell Weeks......well that's what I call them. It's the time around Christmas Eve to somewhere after New Year's Day. This is what the tourism industry calls these two Holidays.  Don't get me wrong, it's great, business is good, workers are busy and the resort is making money. But, after 2 weeks of working, sleeping, eating and not much else, I look forward to the Monday after New Years Day. Everyone else is dreading going back to work, but the few of us who worked over the Holidays makes this day feel like Christmas all over again.

My Therapy 


   After driving on snow covered roads for 30 minutes I finally arrived at my destination. The weather couldn't of been worse, 19 degrees with 20-30 mph winds.  I still had a smile on my face as I was rigging up. I've been longing to wet a line since the Hell Weeks started.

   As I was getting blown over by the wind, I realized I better throw on a TB because Tight Lining would be near impossible. Fishing an indicator on this river is not my first choice, the currents are too complex to get good drifts and registering strikes becomes a challenge. But I didn't mind so much today, I was just happy to be out. I took a long walk away from where I parked,  didn't want to get back to my truck till 4. I recently got a new wading jacket for Christmas, the 3-1 Salt River Jacket from Patagonia. I wanted to put it to the in these harsh conditions. I also scored a pair of Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots, no better place to test their traction then here.

   After 20 minutes of walking I finally dunked my nymph's in the river. I started in a slower area methodically working my way through the hole. I managed to land a few fish and lost 1 really good high teens brown. He put on an impressive head shake but my set was slow and the hook didn't stick. Oh well. I continued to work upstream, fighting off cold hands, ice build up and broken rigs. I swear it took me 2 hours to move 100 yards because I kept breaking off. Nothing is more frustrating then re-gigging when your hands are numb. The fish were still spread out throughout all types of water, I caught fish in slow water, on the banks, and in heavy pockets. My confidence wasn't great fishing this type of water with the TB but I still caught a few fish each hour to make the day go by quickly.

   In route back to where I parked I tried throwing streamers. I fished them hard for about 20 minutes but only got 1 chase, the fish was a solid mid-teens brown. A nice ice cold Head Hunter was waiting for me back at the truck and the streamer bite was off, easy decision..... I gave up on throwing meat for the Head Hunter......good choice. While drinking my beer I noticed my streamer was frozen solid....maybe not enough movement in the water??? LOL
Head Hunter


   Toward the end of the day I scored my best brown of this outing, I very colored up 16 inch wild brown. That was the icing on the cake, Hell Week is forgotten and a new year is upon us.......

Icing On The Cake.....Or All Over My Body


I'll post a gear review on my two new products, but 2 thumbs up to both, my core stayed extremely warm for 8 straight hours, Patagonia knows how to develop top notch outdoor apparel. As for the boots they worked tremendous, I wish I would of had a pair of these last year.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bane The Brown




They don't get much prettier then him 
   Man, who doesn't anticipate when you have ALL DAY to do nothing but fish? Well, this past Sunday was one of those day's for me. Mother Nature didn't cooperate though, 1.5 inches of well needed rain fell on Friday and Saturday jacking up most of my options. Luckily one of my favorite streams was still flowing at good levels even after the weekend downpour.


   This stream is an ideal place to Tight-Line, it's where I trained all winter last year. It's where I honed in my skills, many times leaving defeated, but those defeats eventually molded me into a better fisherman. You could call this place my Jedi Master, and I it's Padawan learner. It often feels like Jedi Mind Tricks are throwing you off your game. Flawless drifts in complex currents is the what this stream is all about.

   So I started the day off in the same pool where I started Tight-Lining about a year ago. Only this time my drifts were better, and the fish came to hand much easier. About a dozen 9-14 inch wild brown trout ate my nymph's eagerly, what a change from a year ago. I got most of them in calm water behind structure, the fish here really love cover. The trout on this stream are as beautiful as any fish in the country, and although small most of the time, they are very rewarding to catch.

   Up until about 2pm the fishing was stellar. I was running into some issues with moss and algae, it was caking my flies every time I dinked the bottom. Well the Troutbitten gang always has a remedy for situations like this. I started to "DROP SHOT NYMPH," using one single fly, tying  a piece of tippet off the bend of the hook and adding split shot to that section below the fly. This allows your flies to ride close to the bottom without gathering junk along the way. It's super effective.  This technique allowed me to continue catching fish and gave me the confidence I needed to get down low without fearing my flies would be covered in subsurface crap.
Butter Brown

   At 2pm I decided to venture into an area of river I never stepped foot in before. It was a boulder strewn nightmare waiting to cobble up a fisherman with bad balance. I love this type of water. The fishing slowed down, areas that were producing earlier in the day seemed void of fish. Just when I was losing confidence I noticed a slab of a brown trout that looked out of place in this stream.......

   I love when the heart starts racing after locating a good fish. Mine was pounded like never before because this place isn't known for numerous big fish. I took a deep breathe and threw a tuck cast at the head of the riffle. He bolted! Man, how did he see me??? I was sick to my stomach, the fish of a lifetime outsmarted me. In frustration, I lobbed my fly again only to get hung up on a tree branch below me. I walked back down to get my fly untangled and I just stared at the water below me thinking about what could of been. While these negative thoughts were racing in my brain, I noticed another long, dark shadow tucked close to the bottom not far from where I was standing before. Hello Bane. He was laying in 18 inches of water and was probably only 15 feet from me. I don't know how I didn't see him before. So I took a deep breathe and quickly lobbed my flies back into the water. This time I could see me fly tracking on the bottom right toward him. As with most big trout, he very lazily opened up his huge mouth and sucked in my fly! A slight hesitation and WHAM I set the hook......FISH ON! Up and down the stream he went, swimming under rocks and other obstructions where he could. I horsed him out of a few hairy spots, heart pounding harder every minute! After a long struggle I ended up winning the battle and brought him to the net. WOW. Bane was the most rewarding trout I've ever landed, not just because his size but because he came out of a stream that isn't known to supply such quality fish. Having taught myself to Tight-Line here, and then getting rewarded with a trophy trout employing this technique....you could say Christmas came a little bit early for me this year. Being out on the water, learning new things, and experiencing situations like that really is what being Troutbitten is all about.






Most Anglers Shy Away From This Stuff

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dodging Bullets And Catching Wild Browns

Winter Fishing For Wild Browns


I decided to venture out and join the Orange Army yesterday, the only catch.....I was fishing, not hunting. The weather was great for trout, cloudy, drizzly and warm! I met my buddy Dom in Central PA and we did some damage to feisty wild browns. The water temperature was only 44 degrees, but that didn't stop the trout bite. Fishing was very good all day long. We only noticed a few redds, and it looked like they hadn't been freshened up for awhile. It felt good to have such a high number day in December!

The Overcast Day Was Excellent For The Trout Bite
Celebrating A Great Day On The Water With A Great IPA
 
 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cold Water Still Producing Some Bites

A Slender Rainbow

   I was able to get out on the local river for a few days this past week. Water Temperatures were a chilly 42-48 degrees. Levels are still good. A buddy of mine and myself tried to drum up some big ones, but the only quality fish of the two days was a slender 18 inch rainbow that fell victim to a nymph. It seemed like the faster moving pocket water was out producing the slower water. The first section that we fished had slower moving water and we were only able to catch 5-6 fish. We made a move to faster stuff and the fishing picked up drastically. I need to score another 2 footer before the year is over, now that my buck tag is filled I still have ample time to do so.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nasty Weather

Chucking Meat 


I got to fish for a quick 2 hours today. The weather couldn't of been nastier. 15-20 mph winds, rain/snow/sleet and cold temps. I decided to throw some meat for the first hour, the bite was lousy but I did manage to get 1 decent bow. After that I put on some nymph's and the fishing was very productive. I got into 2 good rainbows and lots of smaller fish. I wish I could of been out there all day.....I think it would of been a banner day.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Satisfied

Satisfaction with the archery kill 


Today is the next to last day of archery season here in PA. The last 10 days has been taxing on my brain. Every morning I have woken up at 4am, walked 1 mile in the woods before sun-up and set up in various locations trying to score a good buck I have on trail camera. Mature Whitetails are extremely challenging to bring into bow range. Some sits have produced deer sightings, some haven't. I went on a 3 day stretch this week where I didn't see a single deer.....BORING! But, if you don't have patience and persistence you will never be a good archery hunter. I would love to shoot a big buck every year, it just doesn't always happen that way. So I get to a point in the season where if a legal buck walks my way he's dead. This year I held off till the last 2 days, knowing I had all day today and tomorrow morning to fill the freezer. Well after passing 9 different legal bucks up this season and missing a good 8 point, I settled on the smallest legal deer you can kill in my county, a half rack 4 point ! The size of this deer was good, and if his other side wouldn't of been busted off due to fighting he could be a mid-size rack for around my parts. He was searching for does around 8:15am and a few sounds with the grunt tube pulled him into bow range. He didn't present me a good shot so I took what I had, A SPINE SHOT. These are tricky shots but when placed right are deadly. He fell in his tracks and died shortly after. It wasn't the size of rack I had hoped for, but I always feel a sense of accomplishment filling my buck tag, I now have extended my streak to 9 straight years, only 1 of those years I had to fill it in rifle. Time to fish :) 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday Outing

Butter Brown


Got to do some fishing with Magic Mike finally. We traveled for the day and got into a few decent fish, but nothing too exciting, overall the fishing was slow. We didn't notice any spawning activity but it's only a matter of time before things kick off.

No color on my hen!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Things are starting to heat up in the woods

I finally took a break from fishing and got to spend some time in the woods this week. I expected some October Lull conditions but was pleasantly surprised to see the woods littered with fresh rubs and scrapes. I saw 1 smaller 6 PT with his nose to the ground on Monday evening at 4:30pm. In a different location this morning I passed on another medium size 6 PT. He was acting pre-rutty, checking rubs and licking branches with his nose to the ground. No doe sightings but I'm ok with that. It's October 24th, so things should start to get better each passing day. It seems like the smaller bucks are becoming more visible in the daylight hours, hopefully the bigger guys will start showing themselves as well. I will be out all day tomorrow, hopefully a kill will be reported.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Water Is Finally Cooling Off

Not A Steelhead :) 


I was able to float twice this week. The water temps are finally starting to cool off on the river. Action was pretty darn good both floats for fish. Float #1 had us doing really well under the bobber with various nymph's. Float #2 we experienced the same but the streamer bite was also very good. It was really exciting to see fish chase out of the boat. The lower river seems to be fishing much better then the upper. Big Golden Drakes were hatching sporadically throughout the day on Float #1 but seemed to disappear the next day. The occasional October Caddis, Slate Drake and BWO were also lingering around, and some fish were working the surface if you looked closely at the water. I think the fishing will continue to get better as long as the water temps continue to drop.

Laurel Highlands Hunting Report 10-13-14

Well the first full week of bow season has come and gone! Wow, things do move way too fast nowadays.  Well combined we only got out two mornings and two nights, and those outings amounted to about zero, zilch, nada.  So much for the first week success that has blessed us the past few years.  The deer seemed very tuned to the edge of light on both sides of the horizon, and it was does at that.  One thing is for sure - Saturday night, cool day - light wind - man it felt good to be out hunting.  I'll be checking in frequently so stay tuned.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Here and There

Fall Colors In The Air


I managed to get out a few times before and after some vacation time with the wife. Nothing spectacular to report, a few good fish but the fishing seems to have slowed down in most parts. Hopefully the fall spawn will trigger some action soon.


Great Brown Out Of A Small Stream

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reminder: COME SUPPORT!


HARRISBURG, Pa. (Sept. 16) – The Youghiogheny River and Ohiopyle State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands region offer a treasure trove of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts, from whitewater rafting and kayaking, to biking along the Great Allegheny Passage trail, to fishing for world class trout.

With so many opportunities, visitors could use a little “inside advice” when it comes to planning trips to the popular area.

In conjunction with various Yough River guides and outfitters, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will deliver “Yough Talk” on Monday, Sept. 29, from 7-9 p.m. at the Nemacolin Woodlands Shooting Academy in Markleysburg.

“The list of outdoor activities in our area is just remarkable, which has made this region a destination vacation spot for so many people,” says Boswell resident Lenny Lichvar, who serves as the PFBC District 4 Commissioner representing Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin and Somerset counties.

“A lot of local residents know what a gem we have right here in our backyard, but they’d probably be surprised when they hear from the experts who spend the majority of their time enjoying these resources,” he added. “This is their chance to hear the ‘best of’ the Yough from the pros.”

In addition to guides and outfitters, the evening event will include a presentation from Rick Lorson, PFBC Area 8 Fisheries Manager, who will describe what fish inhabit the river and where they live and will discuss how the PFBC manages the fishery so it remains a popular fishing area.

The evening presentation is free and open to the public.

Details include:

Date: Monday, Sept. 29

Time: 7 – 9 p.m.

Location: Nemacolin Woodlands Shooting Academy, 321 Pike School Road, Markleysburg, PA 15459

Agenda:

Greeting – Dale Kotowski, Moderator

Welcome – John Arway, PFBC Executive Director

Yough Talk – Yough River Guides and Outfitters

Yough River Management Plan – Rick Lorson, PFBC Area 8 Fisheries Manager

Public Q & A – Yough River Guides and Outfitters and PFBC staff

The evening event coincides with the PFBC’s quarterly business meeting, which will be held Sept. 29-30 at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington. More information about the quarterly business meeting is available at: http://fishandboat.com/minutes.htm.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Buttery Brown

BUTTER

Got a few good ones today but overall the fishing was slow! 
18 incher with some girth 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Come Support The Youghiogheny River!

A few local organizations like Laurel Highlands Guide Service, Chestnut Ridge Trout Unlimited, Wilderness Voyagers and Nemacolin Woodlands Orvis Endorsed Lodge have worked extremely hard over the years to create some awareness about the Youghiogheny River in Maryland and PA. Everyone's combined efforts has allowed us to get the PFBC to hold a public meeting on Monday September 29th at 7pm at the Nemacolin Field Club. At this meeting the PFBC and the local Guide Services will deliver a presentation about the Yough. Everyone that lives in the area and get's to fish this river knows that the potential for a World Class Fishery is there, we just need a different management plan in place for stocking and potential regulation changes. I am asking anyone that has checked out our blog for the last few years to please attend, a good turnout will show the PFBC that the anglers in Southwestern PA don't need to travel into the center of the state anymore to find world class fishing, it's right in our backyards and with a little help from everyone we can make the Youghiogheny River one of the best rivers in the East Coast. So come out, bring a friend and watch history unfold on the 29th....should be fun! Tight Lines To All!

Monday, September 8, 2014

September Slate Drakes

Fat Brown



After a long hiatus from PA water I decided to fish early this morning. Water temps were around 64 degrees at first light. The fishing was very productive under the surface this morning. I managed to get into them pretty good using some caddis flies. The September version of the Slate Drake started hatching good around 9am. These bugs looked like a #14 to me. Some fish took notice and started rising but I had to leave. Felt good to get back on our home water.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Few More Pictures


Studly Colorado Brown!
Another Good Fish


As my brother stated below, we left the Arkansas and headed North for the last few days of our trip. Well I'm glad we did because we stumbled upon an amazing fishery almost by accident. This river doesn't get the hype that other streams do in this state, and for that I will keep it's name a secret for all those lucky folks that call it their home water. The upper portion gave away a good amount of 14-16 inch rainbows and a few bigger ones. The bottom portion was dominated by 14-17 inch wild browns. I also landed the biggest fish of the trip here. All I can say is WOW....huge numbers and great fish!


Fat Daddy!
Short Mouth


One For The Road



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fly Fishing on the Arkansas River 2014



Matt and I hit the Arkansas river from Salida, Co up thru Granite, Co over a four day stretch recently.  We arrived at Buena Vista, Co and quickly found a place to camp at one of the numerous camping areas along the Arkansas river, Ruby Mountain, and got an hour or so of hurried fishing in, even landing a few on nymphs.  We pitched up the tent, rearranged the gear, and quickly fell asleep after the long flight and drive from Pa.





 Early the next morning we were greeted with 40F temps and some fantastic Colorado scenery.  We fished several access points south toward Salida over the course of the day, even getting booted off some private water that we had crossed into by mistake.  The fishing was decent and we both landed several nice wild browns in the 12" range.    After cycling through many patterns and techniques, it became clear that the Ark was not going to give up any trout on the top, and nymphing was the way to go.  Stonefly nymphs, caddis nymphs, and Copper Johns were the mainstay for this first day, and the bulk of the trip really.  We racked up many miles and access points as we didn't stop fishing til dark, Big Bend, Hecla Junction, Brown's Canyon, and Rincon access points all produced fish, with the Rincon access being the hotspot for the day.



 Day 2 had us moving up to above the Granite area into the Hayden Ranch access.  The water up here was much more wadable and smaller, with a typical western meadow character.  The fishing proved equally strong, and the catching was actually a little better once we figured out to come down a size or two on our flies.  The top water action at least had a heartbeat, as I did manage a few trout along the bank with a Deer Hair Ant pattern, and one or two on the an Olive emerger.  Overall it was still a nymphing game, and as usual Matt was scoring very well using tight line tactics.  Over the course of the day we racked up several more stops, Granite SWA, Kobe, Railroad, and Champion access points were all covered.  The fishing on the Arkansas river can be summed up easily - stay on the shore, and cast no more than ten feet off the bank, if you catch some trout - great, if not keep moving until you do.  Every fish we caught was within ten feet of the bank - no kidding.  This was the overwhelming theme of fishing this river.  Cast - Good Drift - Move, no pounding holes all day here.

Day 3 started out with a bighorn sheep sighting right as we left the campground, followed by a bald eagle fighting with some other birds - all in 10 minutes of leaving camp!


We drove down to Texas Creek and began our final day's fishing, which proved very similar to the past few days, great catching on nymphs, zero dry fly action, and walking, walking, walking along the banks to keep finding the bankside honey holes.  Many more people on this day, but really we did very well fishing, keeping up with our average of at least 50 fish per day between the two of us.  That is good catching on any stream.  Texas Creek, Cotopaxi, Lone Pine, Vallie Bridge, and Stonebridge - all accesses fished on another 12 hour day of fishing.  We decided not to huddle next to the Whisperlites for dinner and chowed down at the Eddyline Brew Pub in Buena Vista, awesome wood-fired pizzas and excellent IPA and pale ales!  The next day we were off to another Colorado freestone stream further north, but had one more stop to make for breakfast at the Evergreen Cafe, also in Buena Vista, great food, service, and prices - we should of been eating there every morning!

Summing up the Arkansas is a fine fishery, but has a character all of it's own.  I've never fished anywhere that the fishing was so edge oriented, it felt like the fishing just did not even consider finding refuge anywhere but the banks.  The bug life was limited, but it was September, so things were wrapping up from summer, and the Baetis of fall weren't full bore yet.  I was slightly disappointed that the top water bite was nil, but with wild fish and water that was above average - it fits i guess.  The nymphing was great, and the pattern choice simple, Stonefly and Caddis nymphs, all day everyday.  The fish population here is fantastic, the size in the 10" - 15" range on average - which is fun, mostly browns, with rainbows showing up more frequently toward Salida.  Hopefully someday we'll be back for a hatch or two for another insight into this good trout stream.



We spent the last couple days further north, on a fantastic, under the radar trout stream!  We decided to not reveal the stream's location to respect the locals and fine fishing that we found, and to promote the spirit of adventure that all of us need.  Go out and find this gem on your own!


This stream is a fantastic freestoner, with loads of rainbows and browns to the 16" mark, and each day showed a few even fatter than that.  The water showed great riffle to pool to riffle mentality and provided fine fishing.  The fact I could spent and hour pounding a hole was a welcome relief to the billygoat fishing the Ark required. The access was improved, with much longer sections of public water.  The overall bug life seemed in tune with the Ark and time of year, meaning not much going on for the top water fisherman, but I have a feeling this was the exception to the rule, again revealing our high water on a wild trout river = no dry fly philosophy.  The nymphing was outrageous though!  Matt had stretches that he literally caught fish on every cast - awesome.  It really was a fantastic way to round out our Colorado 2014 fishing trip.