Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Almont Part 1...Gunnison River

The end of August rolls around and the fellas prepare for the annual pilgrimage to Almont, Colorado in search of trout, salmon, Mario’s pizza, and a week of relaxation. The only thing that has been a constant over the six years the trip has happened is the time spent chasing fish, great food, and the laughs that accompany a group of fly anglers, some young and some old, that regress from husbands, fathers, and grandfathers to children. The trip is looked forward to by all those that attend as soon as the previous year’s trip is complete.

The Casio was showing 4:41am when I headed out the front door. The morning air was cool and everything was asleep except the newspaper delivery person, the neighborhood cat, crickets, and two fishing buddies that were expecting me to pick them up. I picked up JT and Bryan and we were heading to meet the other fellas.

6:00am on Sunday morning found two vehicles, loaded with all the necessary accoutrements of the trout hunter, pulling out of the parking lot of our favorite coffee shop. This year, seven trout hunters made the trip from Fort Collins to Almont, Colorado.  Dave, JT, Bryan, Mike of the Big Dry Fly fame, www.bigdryfly.com  and myself left after our fill of coffee. Pete and Jim would meet us sometime later in the day in Almont.

The route took us from Fort Collins to our first stop to refill our coffee in Idaho Springs. Off to Copper Mountain via the beauty that is the I-70 corridor. We pushed on to Leadville for our scheduled pit stop and then off to Buena Vista, passing the Climax Mine.  From Buena Vista, we yacked on the two way radio’s between vehicles over Monarch Pass into Gunnison. 

We traditionally start our week long trout hunt with lunch at the Ol’ Miner Steakhouse in downtown Gunnison. The lunch consisted of delicious warm sandwiches, great tasting beer, and conversations about the fishing to come.

After lunch, a quick stop into the Gunnison River Fly Shop, 300 N Main Street, netted us the information that “salmon where in the river”. After swapping stories, stocking up on the “go to” guide flies, and admiring the latest and greatest fly fishing gadgets we had one more stop before heading to the cabin. The final stop before we were on the water was…Wally world for food items, gas, and of course the Gunnison liquor store for libations. The libations ranged from beer to wine to scotch. Of course it wouldn't be a trip without ice cold Mike’s Hard Lemonade. After loading up we made the final leg to Almont.


The short drive from Gunnison to Almont, approximately 10 miles, always seems to be the longest part of the trip. The anticipation of getting on the water builds and the accelerator gets a little heavy. 


Prior to unloading at the cabin, we hit the Gunnison River. We arrived at our first fishing spot of the trip, a spot right off of CO-135. The vehicles hadn't settled to a stop before the doors were flying open and fellas were grabbing gear! The scene reminded me of many Christmas mornings when I almost fell down the steps to get to the Christmas tree. 

We were the only one vehicles in the pull out. The sun was out with a few clouds on the horizon that were threatening to get us wet, the wind had other plans and left us alone, and the water looked clear as we stared down on it.

Dave, Mike, Bryan, JT and I, geared up and headed down to the Gunnison River! Armed with traditional western fly rigs, a variety of dry flies and nymphs, wading staffs, and enough gear to warrant a Sherpa, everyone broke for the river. 

Everyone has their ritual before hitting the water. In our group you have it all. On one extreme is the fly fisher that is putting on their waders as they are driving, managing to slip on wading boots while keeping the car between the lines. He drives into the parking lot and the momentum of the vehicle does not even settle before he is bounding down the hillside to the “honey hole” that produced fish the last time the fly fisher was there. On the other extreme is the fly fisher that communes with the sky, wind, flora and fauna before checking the weather rock to see if the fishing gods will shine on the group. We have it all and everything in between.


The Gunnison River was 60 degrees and running approximately 420cfs. The water was clear with a depth of approximately 3-4 feet. 


Everyone on the river managed to entice a brown out of hiding and a few rainbows were taken.

It was nice to be on the water.

We fished from approximately 4 hours. It was time to head for the cabin and Three Rivers Resort and unpack. I wish I could tell you a hardship story about our cabin; however, I can’t. 

The cabin keeps us comfortable with heat, plumbing, electricity and a hot tub after the days on the river. We spend 10 hours in the cabin; the remainder is on the water or getting to it.

 If you have an opportunity to get to the Almont area, check out the Three Rivers Resort, www.3riversresort.com





We were joined by Pete and Jim and capped off the day with a delicious pasta dinner, libations, and preparation for the following day on the river…Where to go? Spring Creek!











Tips of the Trip…….
Check in with the locals: Get information from those anglers that call your destination home. Support the local fly shops. Research the area you are heading to using our friend the intranet.
Go with what you know: New area does not have to mean new approaches to your fly fishing approach. Never hesitate to use methods, patterns, and approaches that work on your home water.
Journal: A fishing log is a great way to capture the trip memories, conditions, and locations of your fly fishing adventure. It is extremely helpful on return trips.
Share what ya know: I am blessed that my father taught me to fish! I have had the priveldge to fish with a lot of great fly fishers and have learned tons from each of them. Share what you know with those that take the time to be on the river with you!
Catch and release: Ensure the future of our gift. Catch and release fish safely. Remember to be ambassadors for the sport and pack out what you take in; more importantly, pack out what others leave.

Happy Nymphing!



Come back for Part 2…Spring Creek




6 comments:

  1. Great start to your series! I enjoy reliving the trip through your text and photos, it really is a wonderful area, and a great group to travel with.

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    1. My pleasure BDF! I look forward to your posts! It was a fun trip just too short but tis the case. Look forward to next year! Tight lines buddy!

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  2. Congrats on a great outing, I wish we had browns like that in our local tailrace--thanks for sharing

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    1. The pleasure is all mine Bill! Thanks for stopping by. I will share some more browns and some more scenery for ya! Thanks for all the support!

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  3. Nice pics, NCN, but quit being so modest. Post some pictures of some of the lunkers you landed. Great trip again. Hope the tradition continues for years to come.

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    1. Hey buddy! Thanks for an amazing trip and enjoyed watching you work the Tenkara! I will share more of the trip in later posts. Thanks for stopping by and perhaps I can interest ya in doing a guest post?!

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Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully you found something that interested you. Leave a comment and I'll get back to ya. Happy Nymphing!