Trouts Journal

PHOTO ESSAY | Boat Battles

Ivan Orsic / Aug 25, 2020

A couple of Thursdays ago, Zeke Hersh (Trouts Frisco Regional Store Manager), Courtney Despos (Director of Education), and myself decided to make a day of it on the Colorado River. Recent bumps in cold, clear flows from upstream tributaries had the big river fishing well and water temperatures staying in the good zone despite all the hot weather we've had through the month of August.

While the Grizzly Creek fire just started downstream in Glenwood Canyon, upstream has been fishing well and we all met in front of the Frisco shop early with high hopes for some banger dry-dropper and streamer fishing on one of Zeke's favorite stretches of water. Luckily for us, we were in for a good day on the water.

We met at Trouts Frisco - which was nominated as the Best of Summit 2020 Fly Fishing Outfitter. Shameless plug here, please CLICK HERE and vote for Trouts Fly Fishing. We'd be honored to have your support in this year's Best of Summit. Voting runs through September 6th.

Back to the day, we swung by storage to pick up Zeke's drift boat...

and like every other visit, this bus was parked in the lot. I want the Cactus Cruizer. That has nothing to do with fishing, but the Cactus Cruizer is it. Want that bus. Need that bus. No clue what I'd do with it...but I need it.

We got to the put in and everyone rigged up two rods. One for dry-droppers and one for streamers. Zeke wanted to use dry-droppers - and who could blame him. Dry fly eats are hard to beat. But, like every other time I've shared the boat with Courtney, streamer rods were at the ready.

We've been loving the new Umpqua Leader and Tippet material. 1x for the streamers.

Zeke rigged his four-weight.

Courtney showed off her boat etiquette and politely rigged a dry dropper rig.

"You fishing that dry-dropper rig, right?" Zeke said. "Yup" Courtney responded.

DRY FLY EATS! Zeke was excited. He like-a the dry fly.

Fast forward a run and a half of Courtney throwing dry-droppers and she was picking out streamers. She'd already hooked a trout or two on droppers, but I was in the back of the boat taking the opportunity to throw a black peanut envy and I was moving and catching fish. Courtney wasn't having it. If you've watched any episodes of The Fly Fishing Forecast, you'll know that I'm a big black guy...and I'm not a big olive guy when it comes to streamers. In fact, I hate it. Love black and hate olive and I'll debate the merits of black over olive to anyone in earshot.

It just so happens that Courtney is a big fan of olive...or so she says and a battle of streamer colors was on. Courtney (in the front of the boat), got off to an early lead.


and SCORE.

First to 8 fish won. Zeke shows off one of my loser fish. I took the L...pretty decisively. But, if you want to hear my litany of excuses for why I lost, call us here at the shop - I've got an encyclopedia of excuses.

It was Captain Zeke's turn and he picked up the dry-dropper rig and got to work.

It's always fun to watch the wily veteran of the Colorado River put a bend in his rod and flex some of that 20 plus years of experience.




Bend....and repeat.

The smoke wasn't too bad at this point in the morning...and the Colorado River was showing off.

Zeke missed a good dry fly eat...but, call me here at the shop, I have plenty of excuses for him too.

After trading off, it was time for Courtney to take back the front of the boat. Olive was her choice. GROSSS.

Zeke ran Rodeo and we were ready for the second half of our float.

A quick look back at the rapid, looking for pockets to throw a dry-dropper into.

But, Courtney was throwing streamers...

and damn if they were'nt producing.

Solid Colorado Brown Trout are hard to beat.

Before the big smoke rolled through.

We eddied out, so Zeke could talk to us about his great idea - a conventional tackle shop called "Lures Galure."

Lots of lures at Lures Galure.

Lots of Lures.

As the day progressed, it was clear the Grizzly Creek fire was growing. It was 4 PM and it felt like we were on a different planet. We need rain...and we need it now.

Courtney kept pounding the bank...

and streamers kept producing. Countless fish to the net made this day pretty damn successful.

We got old blue back on the wagon.

Packed up...

And headed back down River Road. It was clear the fire had grown. Wildfires are part of life here in Colorado. Some fire seasons are worse than others and 2020 certainly hasn't been the best fire season. In the end, nature has to nature...but, we hope that damage to life, property and our favorite fisheries is kept to a minimum. As always, bye now.

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