Trouts Journal

PHOTO ESSAY // First Tracks

Ivan Orsic / Dec 23, 2021

Y'all remember when 100 mph winds blew across the Front Range? It was pretty wild. The day after that storm - shop associate and man of the people - Kevin Hanahan figured it was as good a time as any to go check on a wintertime favorite around the shop. So, we made the trip up US 40 to visit the old Williams Fork. We were not totally caught off guard by the winter conditions, but it was almost refreshing to worry about ice and snow while driving through Winter Park.

After a stop or two at a gas station or three, we were surprised to be the first ones in the parking lot. Fresh snow and an empty parking lot. That's hard to beat. We weren't planning on being the first ones in...but there we were. First tracks in.

Temperatures were forecasted to peak around 32F. We threw on our waders and layered up for what was sure to be a warm walk-in on a cold day. There's nothing like trying to do the math on how many layers you should wear for a mile hike in when it's in the 20s. You'll undoubtedly shed a layer or two when you arrive to your destination, only to throw them back on a couple of minutes later.

We were greeted with a fresh, but not that deep blanket of snow on this tributary to the Colorado River. As expected, the Williams Fork is low and is winter after all.

Before we hit the water, we filmed an episode of "What's in My Bag?" with Kevin where we explored the contents of his Umpqua ZS2 Ledges 500. Stay tuned to our YouTube channel for that video in the coming weeks. We took a look at what Kevin carries on the water with him on a typical winter day.

Like a true gentleman and a scholar, Kevin waited to rig up once we got to the river. Hanahan rigged up with a couple of small midges and a leech.

Kevin was horrified for us to expose his deepest and darkest secrets. He drinks Red Bull on the water. Wild move from Kev Dawg. He took a couple of sips of Red Bull Original, made a couple of casts, and he was hooked up with a diminutive winter brown.

Gotta respect a brown trout that puts on a visual display like this. Absolutely have to respect it.

This little home tie of a Three Dollar Dip got the job done and Kevin was back at it working an undercut bank.

The leech did the trick.

Another brown trout in the bag. Kevin hit him with a quick Jamal Murray stepback, release from downtown. Can't wait for that guy to be back at Pepsi Center...but I digress.

As the day progressed, the temps felt downright balmy. So balmy, Kevin almost took off his SIMMS Exstream jacket. Almost...

Fishing wasn't lights out by any means, but Kevin kept plugging away. Dinking and dunking a variety of flies in all of the Williams Fork's pockets, runs and pools.

Winter browns are always welcome around these parts. Kevin shows this leech eater off before he sends him back.

With some icy roads in our future, we decided to call it a day around 3:30 PM and make the walk back to the parking lot. Before we say "Bye Now," all of us at Trouts Fly Fishing want to wish you a Happy Holiday season. We can't thank you enough for your support over the course of 2021 and can't wait to see what 2022 has in store for us. We hope you spend the holidays surrounded by family, friends, and of course...a little fly fishing.

Bye now.

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