Much of the Pacific Northwest and even the east coast received copious amounts of snow this winter, but here in the west—basically all of Colorado— is experiencing quite the contrary. The state received record LOW snow totals and while this isn’t completely unheard of, it’s rare to say the least. So, patiently I waited, the optimist in me stayed hopeful that old’ man winter would eventually show his face. I clung to any powder day over 4 inches—waking up early, arriving to work late—knowing that these days would be few and far between. Although, the best of snow years rarely keep me from hanging up my waders for more than a few weeks--but the fishing never really stopped this winter. Now, it’s getting close to full blown spring, and should the tame weather continue, mud season will be here soon.
Prior to mud season, somewhere in-between late winter and early spring, lies a sweet spot for trout fishing. I would argue that some of best fly-fishing takes place between now and when the high-country snow begins to melt, rapidly washing through every gully and gulch. The water is low and clear, the fish are feeding voraciously, and with a little magic it’s possible to hit some of the first prolific hatches of the season. Replace blue-bird skies and bottomless powder days for warmer weather and mid-afternoon hatches on thawing out river banks. These are the days that start in a puffy jacket and end in a t-shirt. Somewhat selfishly, I’ve been taking full advantage of early run-off season. In the back of my mind, I know what this means for summer and the overall well-being of trout. With winter coming to a close, I stay hopeful for a moisture heavy mud season.
The die-hard—both angler and snowboarder in me, can’t come to choose between playing on the mountain just a few more times before the lifts shut off, or getting a head start on the fishing season and casting to a few risers. Fortunately for me, most of the time I don’t have too. And it’s a treasured luxury I wouldn’t trade, even if someone paid me. This highly anticipated time of year lends itself well to multi-activity days and my typical Saturday goes down a little something like this…
7 am - Alarm goes off, hit the snooze button.
7:55 am - Wake up, stay in bed, debate whether to go fishing or snowboarding.
8:00 am - Get up, start the coffee, get back in bed and debate some more.
8:15 am - Check the forecast, AM: Sunny and blue-bird skies, PM: Cloudy with a chance of rain (bows).
9:30 am - Get up, take the dog out, load up truck with rods, waders, & boots.
9:35 am - Load up truck again, snowboard & boots.
9:55 am - Get to mountain and go snowboarding!
12:00 - Break for Tacos.
12:30 pm - Change from snow-gear and boots to waders and boots, jump in truck, head to the spot.
12:45 pm - Get to spot and get to fishing!
4:30 pm - Heavy après, cheers to early spring fishing and later winter snowboarding, find the nearest happy hour to celebrate.
7:00 pm - Head home, fall asleep early on the couch, wake up and do it again the next day.