Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rainbow trout in the winter.

“Rocky Ford Creek” winter trout in the desert.
  The days have grown much shorter now and the colorful skies of autumn are fading to shades of gray. Where in the world does one go to get their fishing fix now? You know, a place where you might land a 20-30” rainbow trout. Perhaps with a fly rod and one’s favorite drowned bug. My friend a spring feed desert stream awaits you and your warmest cap and boots. The sound of crunching snow beneath your feet and sage brush rustling in the breeze are broken only by slapping of “cat tail reeds”. The cat tails seemingly stand guard on the banks of “Rocky Ford Creek” protecting the fish as they navigate grass, basalt boulders and the frigid creek. Large, lazy rainbows graze the flats for olive scuds and the occasional mouse that ventures to close to water’s edge.
  It was two Novembers past when last I visited Rocky Ford in the snow. It stays fresh in my mind. First tracks in the wind-blown snow on the drive down Trout Lodge Road. Saturday morning when most folks are just sipping that first “cup of Joe” I was pulling up to an empty frozen parking lot. Crawling out of the warm truck’s cab into 25 degree snow and wind doesn’t really get one fired up to catch fish. But months of anticipation and a two and a half drive in the dark over the Pass and you’re primed for Rocky Rainbows. While this place is by no means a secret but it does seem like my own little hide away. Within ten minutes I was crossing the foot bridge and busy scanning the channel for shadows working the streams edge. Even in the winter months the stream is rich in feed and cover. The creek is blessed with many fine fish that live out their lives fearing only a not so gentle catch and release.
  I crouched behind the reeds, watching and waiting for just the right moment to toss a very small olive scud. The water explodes and silence is broken. One of those careless mice had slide out on some thin ice only to become breakfast for a fast and cleaver rainbow. Quickly I changed to a brown and white deer haired rodent pattern. I cast across to the opposite shore and waited for the current to gently pull my line and mouse downstream. I did not wait long, a 7lb beauty darted from 30 feet away to hammer it “game on”. Several runs of 40 to 50 feet and she came in for routine plucking of the fly and off she went fat and happy. It is truly amazing how serene and different the place looks dressed in her coat of white. One thing never changes from those great summer hatches and warm sunny afternoons till now, the unequalled quality of fishing and scenery. A half dozen fish later I realized 6 hours had passed, I had traveled a mile and a half upstream. Cold, hungry and tired I wander back to the truck where a hot cup of coffee and some smoked salmon await. Many a time I have fished Rocky Ford Creek and honestly I can say never have left disappointed.  

Summer afternoons at Rocky Ford.

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