The Last Floats of Spring

The rains and cooler weather delayed the inevitable just long enough to get a few more days on the water before the push began. Finding participants wasn’t hard, and one of them even provided me with an excuse to get a free hall pass from work. The Arkansas River was holding well, while the Colorado was proving to be much more impatient than her easterly flowing partner. Day one had weather whose intentions looked nefarious to say the least, and eventually we would fall victim to those intentions. Before all of that, the streamer fishing would take center stage, and specifically those streamers of the olive variety.

Olive
Olive

Not long after this wonderful moment a massive storm front came sweeping over the Collegiate Peaks. We turned around in time to see the whitecaps racing downstream towards us. We got to shore just as the winds picked up, snapping a mature tree in half across the river from our location.

You Have to Be "This Far" Away to Avoid the Lightning.
You Have to Be “This Far” Away to Avoid the Lightning.

Nick was clearly the more experienced outdoorsmen of my two companions, as he found refuge away from the sleet and hail to finish his beer.

A More Experienced Participant
A More Experienced Participant

We floated into town as I wanted to show my guests the best sandwich on Colorado which is served exclusively at the Boathouse Cantina. It is known as┬áthe Green Chili Cheddar BLT, but the red sauce they finish the sandwich with gives it real depth of flavor. Sorry, I was too hungry to take a picture but rest assured you have to get one if you’re there.

The second day we floated further downstream, requiring Nick to hitchhike and me to rig the boat all by myself. Mission Accomplished. Before I had even finished stringing the rods I saw him walking down the boat ramp, grinning from ear to ear. He hadn’t been gone 20 minutes but he had used his incredible personality to score a ride from the first person he saw.

Complete with the Bud Light Lime
Complete with the Bud Light Lime

Fishing was even better on this stretch and to slow ourselves down we even nymphed a few holes to up our catch rates for our friends at home. Streamers still ruled the day and quite frankly I’d rather see fish trying to eat my streamer than see my indicator go under.

White For This One
White For This One

As we neared the end of our journey an unfortunate gust of wind took the fly into the front anglers tricep muscle. I hurriedly captained us to shore where I was able to come up with the solution for my friends ailment. With the barb intact I assured him that a quick jerk would free the hook from his arm and pain would not have to be a consideration. Counting to the number “3” I pulled the hook from his arm after the number 2. Screams were heard all around Cotapaxi as my friend writhed in anguish from the delicate hook that was artfully removed from his arm.

The Hook Drew Blood
The Hook Drew Blood

 

Just two days removed from our time on the river and it appears the levels are rising considerably. They will, by most estimations, continue that trend for the next several weeks until the high level snowpack is reduced. I’ll be waiting it out and catching the river again on the down swing.

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