Trouts Journal

PHOTO ESSAY - Troutin' the Banana Belt

Ivan Orsic / Mar 7, 2019

I'm sure you've heard the saying - "In Colorado, if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes." Not for nothing, but I've heard that saying in Wyoming, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maine, Hawaii, Alaska, and Delaware. And I'd be willing to bet that whatever fine state you're reading this in, someone somewhere is dropping that little nugget of small talk into their conversation.

With rain, snow, clouds, and even a little bit of sun forecasted for some of Zeke's favorite spots on the Eagle and Colorado, we figured it was best to avoid waiting for every five-minute weather change known to man and headed to Colorado's very own banana belt and fish the Arkansas River at Salida. Zeke and I were joined by my good friend and Executive Chef at Kachina Cantina, Denis Zvekic. Denis and I picked up Zeke at Trouts Frisco and started the 1.5-hour drive to Salida. Zeke had just fished this section on Saturday and regaled us with tales of rising fish and maybe even Blue-Winged Olives.

If you've watched even one Video Fishing Report, you know how I feel about Blue Wings. With dreams of dry flies dancing in our heads, Denis parked and we started to rig up. It was partly cloudy and the ole "W-word" wasn't rearing its ugly head. Let's get to the pictures...

With dry flies on the brain, Denis dug deep in his SIMMS Bounty Hunter Vault and started rigging up his 8'6" 4 weight Orvis Superfine Carbon. DRY FLIES WERE ON THE HORIZON...Zeke promised.
Zeke measures twice and cuts once. A real guide's guide.
No wind. Partly cloudy. Things were looking up.
The moment Denis and Zeke stepped foot in the Arkansas...the wind showed up.
Denis (a little dejected) roll casts.
The "W-word" was beating us up, our faith was wavering...but Denis connected with a small brown and our panic levels started to drop.
Zeke kept on punching his nymph rig to the far seam. But action was slow. dry flies.
We worked upstream and found shelter around the next bend.
Some midges started showing up.
It wasn't long before Zeke found one.
Arkansas Browns...always dressed to the nines.
Bye Now.
Zeke found another.
Even the photographer found one on the G Loomis Asquith.
The wind died down. Air temps were in the mid-40s. It was cloudy. Surely, BWOs were on they're way.
Nope. But, they were eating Barr's Emergers pretty good.
Zeke takes one last look before it's "Bye Now" time.
Bye Now.
Denis found one.
Party Time.
It was raining off and on. But, that didn't stop Zeke from taking another crack.
Old Man Zeke throws a stack of line out.
Drift and swing.
and fish!
Another release for Zeke. Even these small Arkansas River browns pull well in the spring.
Zeke rubs a little magic dirt on his rig.
Those clouds let us know our time was coming to a close...
Letting it soak.
And connecting.
This fish took it on the swing. It's always worth swinging out your drift in springtime. Fish like a swung fly.
We started to work our way back to the truck...But, Zeke couldn't resist another shot at one of his favorite spring runs.
Zeke takes a glance at a Shotglass Baetis eater. Blue wings are definitely getting more active and the fish are starting to key in on them.
The Arkansas River doesn't usually give up many Rainbow Fish.
Bye Now!
We left the Banana Belt and it was snowing...and avalanching.

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