Fly-Fishing in the Twilight

16″ Rainbow Trout in the Net

. . . I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.

Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

At around 6:00 this evening, we set out to fish the Rio Grande about seven miles out of South Fork, Colorado in the Coller State Wildlife Area. I struggled into my waders & boots at the cabin, then drove out to the spot near the green bridge, as directed by one of the local fly shop proprietors. The broad river was tantalizing with its swift current. But alas, the moment we drove our vehicle into the Wildlife Area, it began to rain. Standing under the open hatch of my vehicle, I rigged up my fly rod, and by the time I was finished, the rain had shifted into a downpour. So, back to Riverbend Resort we drove, and found the encampment dry. At 7:00 I descended into the tent camping area of the stream since I was already dressed to fish. Around 8:00, my bobber suddenly disappeared in the midst of a swift current. I was fishing a bead head on a 36″ tippet, dredging the bottom as advised.

I have never played a fish as long as I did this 16″ rainbow. The fish stayed deep, refusing to bust the surface, and even circled me completely as we slowly spiraled it inward toward my net. By the time the fish was netted, I decided I did not want to take it out of the water. It had thrown the hook by the time it was in the net, so I just kept the net dipped into the water to allow a couple of inches to cover the tired fish. Once I took the photo and lowered the net, I was surprised at how quickly the rainbow swam away into the depths once again. The fishing at Riverbend Resort has been very slow indeed, so I’ve scouted several neighboring areas that are bringing in excellent reports daily. I’m excited about returning to Coller as soon as possible; I loved the looks of those broad, swift waters.

Thanks for reading.


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