What stories caught our attention in 2013? I’m not sure if these would qualify as “top fly fishing stories in Colorado” for the year, but they definitely had us talking!
Snowpack and drought. As we headed through the winter into the early spring, people feared we were heading to a repeat of 2012. The winter had not been particularly wet and our snowpack was low. As we approached May and June, Spinney was “just a puddle,” to quote Jon Easdon. And they were threatening to close and drain Antero Reservoir. Then April and even May surprised us with some heavy, wet snows that bumped areas of the mountains to 80% of our snowpack. Of course, we could use more; high snowpack levels built up in the winter are our best defense against drought conditions. Jon Easdon points out that Cheesman and Deckers fished consistently well through the Spring all the way through the summer and into the Fall. The guys at Flies and Lies Fly Shop in Deckers said it was the best summer since the fire. Let’s hope we have turned the corner at Deckers, and it is returning to the quality fishery we have known.
Flooding. One year after the Waldo Canyon fire, we learned a little bit more about the delicate and complex ecosystems in the Pikes Peak region. The steady rainfall in July and August resulted in torrents of water cascading through Highway 24 corridor into Manitou and the westside of Colorado Springs. It will be interesting to see what effect the flood mitigation efforts, including proposed culverts under Highway 24, will have this coming year.
Low Flows in the late summer. The heavy rains in August and September caused Denver to not need to tap into Elevenmile Reservoir -- which resulted in incredibly low flows through Elevenmile Canyon. At one point in September, the flow was at a frightening 16 cfs. What effect this may have had on fish behavior and mortality -- well, time will tell.
The rich opportunity in Colorado. Ok, so maybe this is true every year! I had the chance to travel through a good portion of the state with my loved ones and solo. We fished small streams -- Grape Creek, Chalk Creek, and others. We fished the Conejos. We fished Deckers, the Arkansas (both up high by Salida and the Pueblo Tailwaters), and Elevenmile Canyon. We fished the Gunnison and the San Juan. Each location had its own challenge and its unique beauty. Maybe what was unique in 2013 was the chance to experience these different adventures throughout our state all in one year. I hope to carry that into 2014!
Fly Fishing Film Tour. Again, not new for 2013 and certainly becoming a routine part of each February, the F3T is a great event for a worthwhile cause. Proceeds support Project Healing Waters. I like the films and the prizes...but the testimonials shared by the veterans who have participated in the classes and outings offered by Project Healing Waters are always moving stories that touch your heart. Hope to see you there on February 7!
From the crew at Angler's Covey, Happy New Year and tight lines in 2014!
301 Fly Tying with Greg Blessing: Colorado Guide flies, Part 1
Fy Tying with Juan Ramirez. Caddis