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Looking Back at 2016

12/31/16 at 06:53 AM by Vince Puzick

 

As is our tradition at Angler’s Covey, we look back at the milestones of the previous year and reflect on those moments and events that impacted our lives.  For 2016, we reflect on our local fisheries, our personal lives, and meaningful trips led by our top-notch professional guides. 

 

Local Fisheries

tricos
Tricos hatch in Elevenmile Canyon.  Photo courtesy of Dave Herber.

 

Paul Martinez: I would have to say it was the summer of the Trico. The Trico's started early June and continued up into early Sept. In the height of the hatch both 11 Mile Canyon, and Deckers had great fishing on many Trico patterns. I saw mid-mornings in the Canyon where I swear every fish in the river was rising to Trico emergers, cripples, and adults. I would tie on a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis, and drop off a size 20-22 Trico pattern, and let the fun begin!  By the way, the Caddis took its fair share trout as well. 

 

Neil Luehring: Strong Hatches. The Trico hatch in 11 Mile Canyon this year seemed to start early and stayed strong well into late summer and early fall. I fished Tricos at Deckers a few times this year as well. BWO hatches and attractor patterns were successful at both places as well. This year seemed to be a strong dry fly year for me probably related to the flows. The water levels were strong throughout the summer and fall, often being a little higher than I prefer. It was great to have fishable flows for the entire season. I’d also add that the trout in upper 11 Mile Canyon seemed bigger and healthier this year. I attribute that to the huge flows of Spring of 2015. Seems the big flows scour out the river and the entire food chain benefits. I had numerous clients land 18"-20" fish this year.

 

zachJuan Ramirez: This year on the South Platte was fantastic!  Especially the Dream Stream section.  The Trico Spinner falls were extremely consistent and enjoyable on the river.  The flows there and elsewhere were consistent and the fish loved that.  Everyday during the summer, you could find fish eating heavily on bugs until noon or so.  Once the temperatures started climbing, the fish were done eating and you were done fishing.  In the evenings, when the temps went down, the fish came back up looking for caddis. Many fish were fooled by skating caddis patterns in the evening. 

 

On the Arkansas River, the caddis hatch was once again great. If you hit it right, swinging caddis pupa was the way to go and throwing caddis dries there is always fun.  This fall provided some great fishing in the a.m. using adult craneflies.  When was the last time you pulled out adult craneflies and had some fun?  The streamer fishing there was a blast again as these fish there are always willing to chase and attack.  Overall, I think this year was one of the best in several years.  Great water conditions and lots of bugs make happy fish.  Let's hope 2017 is more of the same. 

 

David Caraghar: This was the year of the Trico.  We had amazing hatches and near perfect flows.  Deckers and 11 Mile Canyon fished great all year.  One downside are the crowds in the Canyon.  It’s past time to explore some new water and enjoy some of our small streams and private water.  Overall, a great season.  

 


jannetta gunnison

Vince Puzick: Jannetta and I enjoyed a full-day float trip in April on the Gunnison that we bid on at the Fly Fishing Film Tour.  We hit the river on a great day – clear flows, hungry fish, with a great guide.  In the early spring, I had some very productive days on the Arkansas swinging those caddis pupa Juan mentioned above.  The Dream Stream and Deckers – let’s just say our local fisheries fished great in 2016!

 

Jon Easdon: 2016 was a great relief in terms of fishing and consistent stream flows. After a couple of very strange weather years, it was nice to experience normal conditions. Statewide, fishing conditions were very consistent throughout the year. Our home drainage, the South Platte, was very productive. My highlights were plentiful, but a few stick out:

  • In my logs, I calculated that we saw GREAT dry fly action 10 months out of this last year. Yes, 10. 
  • I witnessed a good friend catch a 34-inch brown (Not in spawning season, AND in public water) while on a very cold winter fishing mission. 
  • My daughter learning to fly fish. At 6 years old, she is starting to hold her own. I look forward to fishing with her more in 2017. 

Closer to home

 

Neil Luehring: On a personal note I fished in Mexico and Alaska this year. I am going to write a blog post on the AK trip. Great year for me, I estimate around 100 days on the water either guiding or fishing.

 

Greg Blessing: Had an up and down year, great fishing, lots of trips, but lost my best fishing buddy I ever had, still crying. But the camaraderie of the guides and the shop has never been better! I look forward to another year of guiding and another new fishing buddy!!!

 

Vince Puzick:  I had the opportunity to attend the Outdoor Blogger Summit in October in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  It was great to be with people who understand the responsibility of being in the outdoor recreation business and working toward preservation and conservation so that our natural resources are there for future generations to enjoy.  The highlight, though, was spending a week in Cabo San Lucas where I got engaged.  The day before, a Wednesday, we caught roosterfish and sierra, but Thursday I netted the best catch in my life. 

 

Jon Easdon:  2016 was a tough year for a lot of folks, and in certain ways for myself as well. I have been exposed to the outdoors since I can remember. Taking trips deep in the mountains to hunt and fish as a kid are some of my fondest memories. The feeling I got when I went into the woods is something that is still with me to this day. It has that familiar warm feeling of "going home.”

 

My Dad made it a point to educate me in the outdoors. As with anything parents teach their kids, I had no idea every trip to fish or hunt was a lesson. In retrospect, I see that now. I learned to love every part of being outside. Being cold, hungry, and worn out were all a welcome part of the experience. Like so many others out there, my Dad shaped me into the man I am today and he did it with a real edge. Nothing was sugar coated; it was real. 

 

This last Father's Day, I lost my Dad. I had to say goodbye to the man that showed me the true essence of living. I’m grateful I got to say goodbye, but it still didn't make the loss any easier. I know I’m not alone in this experience, and I applaud all that walk through it as best they can. It’s a different vibe when I’m "in the woods" now. It’s smaller.

 

I can now only do what I think my Father would hope I would do: spread this knowledge and give these experiences to my children.  To show them what really matters in life and offer the true essence of being outside. If I can do something in life for my kids, I hope it will be to give them the gifts my father gave me. 

 

sunset on the dream
Sunset in South Park.  Photo courtesy of Vince Puzick.

 

Best wishes and tight lines in 2017, everybody! 

 

 
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