After our day on the Elk river we contacted Matt and found out a new plan was in effect. With rain in the forecast we decided to do a day on the Colorado, a day on the Roaring Fork, and a walk wade trip to show us several places we could return on our own and fish.
Monday night we meet Matt and Ryan Herbert, our other guide, in the Flat Tops. Put the boats in the water and fished through an impressive storm. We caught an insane amount of cutties and grayling. It was super cool catching my first grayling. Afterwards, we drove to what would be our campsite for the next 2 nights. It rained the following three nights and temperatures dropped to near 40f. The new plan seemed like a great idea. Honestly, I was already excited about the new agenda because it meant visiting several rivers on our trip.
Tuesday we fished the Colorado. Brad caught a brown on the very first cast. Awesome man, now we're doomed, if you believe catching a fish on the first cast is bad luck. You decide...
He followed that up with a dink fest. Twenty minutes later I was victimized when a nice brown stole my dropper. We pulled into an eddy and dropped anchor so that Brad can take a dunk in the drink and cleanse himself of the bad karma. Suddenly, the left oar pulled a Michael Phelps and went for a swim.
Now the raft goes into controlled panic mode. The anchor had snagged on something. Matt and I are on the starboard side fighting to free it. Brad started freeing the spare oar from the port side. While all that was going on, the good oar was drifting further down the Colorado river.
We finally dislodge the anchor. Matt's rowing vigorously after the fugitive oar, when he said, "Man this is the best spot on the river for both size and numbers!" We all crack a smile.
We reacquired the lost oar and immediately decided it was 5 o'clock somewhere. It wasn't even 10 am but it had been a stressful morning. After putting some balance back in our lives we started putting fish in the boat. Matt took digs at our missed eats, poor technique, and our inability to cast 200 feet. We took digs at his boating skills, his driving skills, and his inability to help us find a 30 inch trout. The rest of the day was simply awesome.
When we got back to camp that night the guys from YVA had the fire going strong. We set beside the fire eating steaks, baked potato and side salad discussing the next day's plan. The early morning hopper bite wasn't great considering the 40f nights. The suggestion was to be on the river around 10 am. That would allow us to avoid the morning shove off and fish until dark (not the typical guide day).
I fished in Herbs boat on the Roaring Fork. There was no relief from the good time we were having. He mocked the missed eats and we criticized his inability to put us on a 30 inch trout. In return, he made us eat bite sized snickers after every catch...we were miserable by lunch. It was late when we got off the river. No one was up for a campfire cookout. Matt and Herb treated us to some fine Thai cuisine that night.
Thursday was the wade day and it didn't disappoint. However, it wasn't about the quantity of fish caught but rather the experience. We found fish rising and were able to do something I don't get to do very often, fish dry's to selective 18 and 20 inch rainbow's. I broke off three good fish that morning, it was a humbling experience to say the least.
The last morning, we fished the Eagle river until just after lunch. It was the only time on the trip that I fished a nymph under an indicator exclusively. The last fish of my trip was a ~20 inch brown that made a 25 ft run away from me, jumped out of the water and broke me off. I'll have to return and check on that dude next year. Unless I can convince my wife to move to Colorado sooner!
With all the negativity on social media I think it's important to also give credit when it's deserved. In this case it would be the crew at Yampa Valley Anglers. This was my first time fishing with a guide and I have nothing but positive things to say about Matt and Herb. They went above and beyond to make our trip to Colorado a fantastic one. They listened to what we wanted out of our trip and made it happen. If you're looking for a guide in the Steamboat Springs, CO area give these guys a call, you'll be happy you did.
Read about the entire adventure below:
Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2