November 17th, 2003

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A Colorado Fall Weekend to Remember

By Tradd Duggan, Denver, Colorado

I started my trip to Almont where the Taylor and East Rivers became one and joined the mighty Gunnison. Thanks to hunting season and everyone thinking it was going to be a cold weeknd the empty parking lots and campgrounds came in handy when it was time to wet a line.

What was weird was that I left Denver at 85 degrees Friday and awoke to brush frost off my dog Zekes' face at 22 degrees in the morning. It didn't take much for me to get out of the tent and start casting at 7am below the Three Rivers Section. It wasn't long before a few browns were lighting up my #18 BWO and trying to find some Brown trout in a sea of spawning bright red Kokanee salmon was a little tough. After a little while and about 10 Browns later I was ready to test my skills against these Tarpon like fish that were very truly aggressive at defending their areas and keeping all flies and fish away. Finally a 4lb Kokanee hit my Woolly Bugger and it was off to the races. Boy that was a blast and to have the opportunity to catch another after that made it even more worth while.

That evening I went back to the camping area to catch a few more Browns to eat for dinner and a ceremonial cocktail celebrating a hard day of work before retiring to bed for an early day. The next morning I was off to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison only to find about three other groups of fisherman. The one thing about this canyon fishing is the deeper in the canyon you hike the bigger the fish.

Two guys I met hiked five miles into the canyon and were catching plenty of 21-25 inch Rainbows.

I fished about a mile in and had enough rising Browns to keep me busy for a few hours. One lasting impression on this area was besides its grand beauty, remoteness, nonexistent traffic and great weather, were the countless big Browns 3-6lbs that teased you the whole day from the put-in to the very far reaches down the river. These wild brownies flaunted it much like Florida Mullet jumping around making noise and through many arduous attempts, not many fly fishers were able to catch anything over 20 inches in this front section. I will be back to this place and after a fall weekend of low 70 degree weather and no crowds what more could one ask for?

Was going to top it off with a little evening dry action on the Arkansas with the Collegiate Peaks in close view but Zeke was impatient and a little beat up from the hiking/fishing and was forced to head home. Until next time ~ Tradd Duggan


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