Author: Trouts Staff
If there is one thing I have learned about fly fishing in the Rocky Mountain West, it is that nothing is constant. River levels rise and fall, insect hatches come and go, and a trout’s mood can be influenced by any number of outside variables, both tangible and not. While it would seem logical that late summer would be one of the more consistent times of year to fish, the reality is that there are evolving circumstances that can change the make up of a river and how fish will subsequently react. Knowing how to identify these variables, as well as understanding their subsequent influence on the productivity of a stream, is a paramount skill that every fly angler in Colorado should have. So let’s take a moment and discuss some of the key factors that influence the productivity of a river, particularly in late summer.
River Flow: While the flow of a river is in constant flux, it is from mid July to mid September where we see water flows play such a vital role in the productivity of a fishery. Too high and everything gets blown out leaving the fish scrambling trying to find suitable habitat. Too low and the fish begin to get stressed because they feel more vulnerable to predators. So it seems that we’re always looking for that elusive “prime” flow where the bugs are hatching, and the fish are happily feeding. So how do we know when that “prime” flow is? Unfortunately there isn’t a set standard or method to measure this; every river is different, and each will react differently to the rise and fall in flow. But if we understand where the water that fills our streams comes from, it becomes easier to calculate when these “prime” flows will be, particularly during the late summer months.
In the west, roughly 70% of our annual precipitation comes in the form of snow. So once the snow is gone, we are totally reliant on rainfall and cooler weather to help keep rivers at optimal levels. This year has been unique as we started out the summer with a state wide snowpack around 100% of average. We then quickly lost much of our snowpack in a short period of time right around the first weekend in June, when temperatures in the high country peaked in the upper 80’s and low 90’s. As a result, we experienced river levels that peaked at near 25 year highs on certain rivers. While these high flows are great for flushing out our streams, the mass exodus of our snowpack has ultimately left us very vulnerable to low flows and now 100% reliant on rainfall to help us get through the last months of summer. So what does this mean for late summer fishing here in Colorado? Pray for rain and cool weather!!!
It’s great when you have a boss that has the tarpon fishing trip of a lifetime, they typically come back all smiles and full of “yeses”. Still riding high from jumping 30 and boating close to 15; Tucker to say the least was in a very giving mood. Upon reentry into reality, the confines of Trout’s Fly Shop, Tucker afforded me the opportunity to take his place on the “1st Annual What The Shuck! Dealer Rendezvous-Rio Grande River”. You may be asking what is the meaning behind “What the Shuck!”? And what exactly constitutes a “Dealer Rendezvous”?
First things first, “What the Shuck!” was a term coined by super rep. Michael White, a.k.a Whitey, for this shin dig. Taking into account that this inaugural event was to take place stream side on the infamous Rio Grande and at a time when the dry fly fishing was to be at critical mass, this new term best described both the uncertainty of what was to unfold before us, as well as, providing a wholesome twist on a common exclamatory remark. I hope this begins to paint a clearer picture.
Now to the “Dealer Rendezvous” part of this equation. Commonly used as a noun, “rendezvous” I believe is best described and defined by MANY of the associated synonyms listed below.
Main Entry: rendezvous
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: get-together or place for get-together
Synonyms: affair, appointment (slightly late due to an emergence of grey drakes, handle of JD and LunaAzul Tequila), assignation, blind date (I didn’t know many in attendance, therefore I went in blind), date, double date (with three to a boat, more like a threesome), engagement, heavy date, matinee, meet, meeting, one night stand (I was told not to comment), tryst, gathering point (Cascada Bar & Grill), hangout, haunt, love nest, meeting place, spot, stomping ground (glorious Creede, CO), venue, watering hole (TommyKnocker Tavern…shot ski anyone?)