|A Fine Ending to a Week on the South Platte|
September was a stellar month for fishing. Sharon and I pulled into Woodland Park, CO on September 15. A few days later Besnik “Nick” Haxhijaj (hi-gee-eye) flew into Denver and met me on the Dream Stream. The next day we hiked into Cheesman Canyon with Jon Easdon and Justin Brenner from Angler's Covey in Colorado Springs. Cheesman is one of the places I've had on my radar for a couple decades but for one reason or another never made it in there. It was well worth the wait and I'm thrilled that I got to share it with a great friend and two new friends that I hope to spend much more time on the water with in the future. I can't really give a play by play at the moment. Look for that to happen next spring in Southwest Fly Fishing magazine.
The next couple days Nick and I hit the Deckers section of the South Platte just downstream of Cheesman. Wednesday evening Nick was able to land his first Colorado dry fly trout. Appropriately enough it was a cutthroat! The next day we got an early start and hit it hard but the fishing was tough due to the brutal winds. It was still a great day shared by great friends.
We finished out the week back at the Dream Stream with a really rough start to the day but a stellar end to the week......another story that you can read about in Southwest Fly Fishing this spring.
Since Colorado things have been hit and miss as far as fishing. Sharon and I met my brother Mark at Lake Texoma for one of the warmest Octobers in decades. The plan was to try for stripers on the fly but a long hot spell just prior to our arrival had the stripers clinging to the deep water edges out of reasonable reach for fly fishing. Instead Mark worked me like a minimum wage laborer running noodle lines for catfish. It wasn't what I had in mind for fun but we did catch a few brutes and hauled in a few dozen in 5 hard days of running lines. On the last day we hauled in one we estimated at easily 40+ pounds and another around 20. Not a bad day especially considering between runs we got into some schooling sandbass -whitebass- and I was able to take a few on the fly. They weren't exactly the 20+ pound striper I was hoping for but it was a great way to end the week.
From there we went through D/FW on our way to meet friends from the Austin area at Lake Catherine State Park in Arkansas. There was no fishing but there may have been a few beers consumed among the group. ALWAYS a great time with these folks!!
The next week we found ourselves in a campground outside of Mountain Home Arkansas.........way outside of Mountain Home Arkansas. We were there to meet new friends that we met at our favorite campground in southwest Colorado. Between the looooooong drive back into town, recuperating from Colorado and Texoma, trying to work and the relentless midge hatches I didn't get much fishing time in there. We were camped next to the White River and believe or not except for the day I went out with Nick (Arkansas Nick not Houston Nick) I found I had little motivation to fish.
From Arkansas we headed east through Tennessee to North Carolina where I had set up some days on the water to research articles for Eastern Fly Fishing magazine. It's a tough job but someone has to do it for your reading pleasure. I got to see a lot of new water, catch some smallmouth and trout including a couple of native Southern Appalachian brook tout and meet some great new friends. Thanks a million to Ken Hardwick of Headwaters Outfitters who guided me on the French Broad Rive and Matt Canter of Brookings Cashiers Anglers who introduced me to the tailwater on the Tuckasegee River.
We showed up in Panama City Beach, FL a little over 2 weeks ago. Though I have been chomping at the bit I still don't even have a fishing license yet but I did get to help 3 of the grandkids catch some bluegills. Between kids, grandkids, trying to catch up on writing and sifting through a few thousand photos it's no surprise. It's been what seems like forever since kids rushed over and called me grandpa. That's almost enough to make an old guy forget all about fishing..........almost. It's also a great reminder that there are far more important things in life than fishing.