Sometimes I take pictures of odd places and weird stretches of river. It probably seems strange to some people. I have taken my share of “fish porn,” too, those pictures of beautiful rainbow and cutthroat trout happily held in outstretched arms. But lately I have turned my camera to the place rather than the fish.
One summer night on the Gunnison River, downstream from the town a couple of miles, we were lucky enough to experience a nice Green Drake hatch. It was sunset. Fish were rising and we caught a handful. None of the fish were remarkable in size. Their coloration was the typical beautiful markings of Colorado’s rainbow and brown trout population. I didn’t take any pictures of them. When I looked up, I saw the striking beauty of the bluff and tree lit up. The photo captures the beauty of the night – and will serve as a reminder of the fish that were caught (and missed) that night.
I took a strange photo of this rock on the bank of the South Platte. If you’re familiar with the Deckers area, you have probably fished the bend in the river where this rock stands. Just moments before I took this picture on a September day, I made, if I do say so, a great cast right up against that rock. The current took the hopper pattern into a natural drift and a beautiful 18” rainbow took the fly. As weird as it may sound, and although it is not as strikingly colorful as that fish, the rock will always remind me of the cast, the presentation, the strike, and the fight.
One January day, I had the chance to fish the Frying Pan. I didn’t go all the way to the dam. I found a nice pull-out and decided to fish a little riffle. As the late morning warmed, a fish began to rise. I decided to tie on a little Griffith’s Gnat. It took me few casts, but I finally hit the seam and the fish took the pattern.
And the last picture, the Dream Stream, is of a hole that was so much fun to fish. It was deep and oxygenated. But the thing I like most about the picture, other than the beautiful water and clouds on the horizon, is the promise that it holds.
Corny, I know, but it’s not always about the fish in the net or the fish in the picture, is it?
Sometimes, or maybe all the time, we have to look up and around at the places we fish. The place can remind us of casts made, the take, and the battle.
301 Fly Tying with Greg Blessing: Colorado Guide flies, Part 1
Fy Tying with Juan Ramirez. Caddis