As I sit here on my front porch enjoying both a cold Rainier, as well as the remnants of the first day of the year that makes you think ‘Summer is here’ I can’t help but be optimistic for the months to come. The month of May came and went in an anticipated blink of an eye even with the (I’m taking a guess here) 26 days of rain we experienced. I’m not sure of the exact number of days that required a rain jacket but I know it’s darn close to this. Looking back on that aqueous 5th month I would say the rain had two major effects- 1) it made the rivers around here appear to be in full on runoff mode and 2) it kept (and even added to) the snow up in the mountains, making me think runoff hasn’t even really started. I’ve spent the past 3 days down in South Park guiding on the Dream Stream and the view to the West shows mountain peaks that force you to think they’re still stuck in February. Case in point, we’ve got a bunch of water around here and that should lead us to experience some phenomenal fishing in the months to come. Cold, clean water is the recipe our finned friends keep their fingers, or perhaps fins, crossed for and that’s exactly what it appears they’ll be getting once Summer really does arrive in full force. I guess another bonus of all the recent precip is that my concerns about smelling smoke anytime soon have been put to rest for the foreseeable future. But as is usually the case with these monthly rants, it’s time to get back to the hear and now. What to do when the rivers have pushed their way into the willows and you feel as though you’re fishing in a river straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Well in simplest terms, use this time to make you get better. After all, that’s what we all want isn’t it? To get better at fishing. The current conditions are forcing me to do just that very thing as you’ll notice by my recent guide trip reports (and the ones to come in the near future) which are not being sourced from my usual canyon confines. And while not every river within a day trip from Denver is reminiscent of Yoohoo, they’re all running big right now and I’ve been surprised by the number of customers on recent guide trips who said they haven’t been hitting the water much because of the conditions. The fact is, the fishing is still very good around our part of the state and I encourage all of you use the cards we’re dealt to do what I just mentioned- get better. If you really think about this strategy/mindset/goal/mission (pick your term) it really goes a long ways beyond just trout fishing. So your favorite trout stream may not be as appealing at 1000 cfs as it is at 100cfs. Who says you have to just go trout fishing? The warmwater ponds around the area are going in full force right now and are full of a variety of species eager to eat a fly. I was just talking to a customer of ours today at the shop who just spent the past weekend bass fishing-which he had never done- and guess what? He caught his first several bass on the fly. Would this have happened if the Platte was running at 150cfs? It’s hard to say for sure but I’d lean towards a “no”. Our manager RIck is still finding a way to put way more carp in the net than one would deem humanly possible. A couple of our other guys from the shop were up at a lake yesterday not far from town in pursuit of Tiger Musky. Lastly, the local Pike game is going strong and I’ve seen the pictures to back it up. However, if trout remain your quarry of choice the good news is- as I’ve said countless times- they still have to eat for a living. Fishing the mud and the muck can result in some truly amazing days where you get the opportunity to fish considerably bigger tippet and flies than one can usually get away with. Fishing 3x in Cheesman canyon….you betcha. My point with all this is a simple one- embrace the conditions we’re currently facing, get out there, and make them make you better. I can assure you that if you’re catching fish at Deckers at 1100 cfs (when you’ve never done it before), your confidence is going to soar and the way you approach that river will be changed from here on out. I can’t think of a way I’d rather go through life than with a fly rod in hand, constantly trying to get better.