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Black Hills Gold

Musing over cooler times while trying to endure the hot, dry temperatures this June and following the devastating wild-fires burning our state, I recall a winter trip up the Big T. a few years back.

It was hard to believe how warm a day we had on that day in mid-December. Greg and I both had the same idea. We both ended up on the Big Thompson.

There had been a lot of ice in the river since before Thanksgiving, however, I was certain a lot of it had melted with the run of warm Chinook days we were having. I thought I would probably have to go up to the tail water near Estes Park, anyway, to find fishable water. No problem—I spotted Greg’s Jeep in the lower area so I barged right in on him. (I figure I can get by with it since I used to change his diapers.) He said the fishing was fairly active and invited me to boot up and join him. Must have raised him right.

About half of the river was ice free with some fairly stable bank ice remaining. We worked our way up river alternating pools and fish. This particular section of the stream hosts some nice 12 to 14 inch fish. Greg’s little 2 weight Sage doubled over on one real nice rainbow which he eventually cupped in his hand. “Wow! Look at the color of this fish’s sides and belly.”, Greg remarked. “A nice, fat, wild trout!”

Looking at the pretty 13 inch ’bow, it struck me that the color reminded me of the unique sheen of Black Hills gold. I think the fish are probably more valuable, however.

We continued to have fairly active fishing with the most productive pattern being—you guessed it—a Mr. Clean nymph. After a couple of hours I sampled the water temperature. Didn’t use a thermometer. I fell in! The water was 34 degrees (below zero!).

Ron Sheets

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Last updated on 11 Jun, 2011