October 15th, 2007

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Family Reunion 2007
Estes Park, CO. July 13 16
By Wayne Bayles - New Jersey

Every five years my family gets together in Estes Park YMCA Center. Being from New Jersey I look foreword to these trips as a time to fish. Lose my clothes if you must but not my fishing gear.

Friday was a travel day and with the arrival of the family so I didn't get to fish till the next day. A group of the family drove into Rocky Mountain National Park and fished in Moraine Park. I didn't catch anything this time out but I did get a strike that tore up both flies I had tied on. That night I tried to get a group together for a trip the next day but only had one taker for a 5:30 AM departure.

Sunday AM came early and off Cousin David and I went. Mary's Lake I think (note to self: take a picture of the sign so you know where you are) but being 5:30 AM I'm not sure.

Now it's time for greenbacks. A gentle mist was rising over the water and fish rising all over the place. Except between 8 and 10 feet from shore. Olive woolly bugger tied on now if I can just not mess up the cast. I'm unable to get the cast out to where the fish are rising so I decide to walk the shore and find the darn things. As I'm walking I decide to fan cast to leave no water untouched. Down near the shallow end I stop to cast under some brush and begin casting farther and farther from shore. Well as I begin bringing in my line from a middle distance cast I see a good sized greenback swimming toward my line about 6 feet from shore. Not wanting to scare what I think must be the only fish within 200 feet of the shore I froze. It wam under my line and under the bush I tried before. When it was out of sight I slowly brought in my line and placed a perfect cast (it landed in the water and not in the bush) and began retrieving the fly. Out comes the fish and again it swims under my line turns and goes back under the bush. Well after beating the water into a froth I decided this was not the place to stay and started walking back to the car.

At this point we decided to change locations. The Fly Shops said both the Big Thompson feeding and leaving Lake Estes was fishing very well so off we went. We parked in the Visitors Center Parking lot and began fishing. Cousin David fishing one side and I the other. I walked down the river casting through openings in the vegetation until I got down to the fence at the golf course. Allowing the woolly Bugger to drift only caused it to get snagged and force me to break it off. My "Old Reliable" is a hopper so on it went. I knew there was something on or above the water because the birds were swooping all about. Well, this must be the place where the dumb ones hang out cause I had no sooner cast out when there was a violent attack of the area I had last seen my fly. Setting the hook I had a fish on. Bringing it to hand and releasing it I had to step down off the little step I was casting from.

When I tried to recast the fly I had something hit my rod hard. Being that the rod was at about 12 o'clock I thought I hit the tree I was standing near but, because it did not stop the cast I continued. As the line settled into the water I say something out of the corner of my eye. Looking down I saw a bird laying in the water under some roots. Because I'm fishing not bird watching I cast again then looked again. Well, it is still alive and is now climbing out of the water and onto one of the roots. Again I cast then thinking I can tell everyone I caught a 12" cutt and chances are they would believe me but tell them I hit a bird they would not believe it. So I reached into the pocket of my vest and took a picture of the darn thing just before it took flight. It is the black thing just above center in the picture below.

That was the last action of the day but we stayed out for about an hour before we had to return for services. Later that day My Beautiful Wife (MBW) decided a hike would be a great idea and she knew just the trail. Just a short drive up Old Fall River Road to the Alpine Visitors Center was an old Indian Trail that the guide books say is an easy walk. "We can just walk to the Milner Pass and have lunch. It's only about four miles," said MBW. Well off we go, and when we arrive at the Visitors Center the first thing we notice is a lack of oxygen at 11,796 feet there is plenty of wind but nothing to support human life. This never dawned on MBW but being game and having lots of water and food off we went. Well, we stopped for lunch about a half way to the pass then turned around. The trip back took twice as long as the trip out. We still got to see some pretty views.

Everyone slept very well that night.

5:30 AM Monday Cousin David, Nephew Josh (Who just got engaged the day before) and I set out to try Lake Estes where the Big Thompson feeds into it. Again the fish were rising but were not interested in what we had to offer. So after about two hours we decided to change spots and found a park and walking trail with great parking and easy access to the lake and river. Nothing biting close by so I went down the trail until it turned away from the river and I went cross country to see what was there. Fishing my black hopper across and down I got a good strike and on the third jump was able to accomplish a lovely remote release. What a great day.

Then reality set in and I had to head back to Estes Park to pack and fly home.

MBW has decided now is the time to make a move and is hunting for employment in the area so we can move there. If any one is looking for Access Control Manager four days a week just let me know... ~ New2thefly

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