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Trouts Journal

A Year on the Fly with Tanner Smith | February

Tanner Smith / Feb 26, 2021

“It won’t be long now.” If you’re like me then this has been your thought all winter as we eagerly await the warm spring temps to arrive out West. Does the cold mean I haven’t been fishing all winter? Hell no, it just means I’m over ice in my guides, low flows, 6x, and fishing midges. As the season quickly approaches with thought it was a good time to introduce a new blog series “A Year on the Fly.” Throughout the year I will be recapping at least one trip a month. The objective of the blog is to give insight to how I am approaching water, including the gear and setups I am using, sharing my mediocre photography and any other comical stories that take place along the ride.

To kick things off I’ll be recapping a trip the big guy and I took last Monday. For reference, if I ever mention the big guy in this series I am referring to fellow Trouts member Ivan Orsic. The original idea for the day was to head up north and chase some trout across the border. However, that plan changed a little bit. If you know anything about I-80 or I-25 up in Wyoming this time of the year then you know the combination of snow and wind is an awful thing to see in the weather forecast. After checking road conditions and seeing everything was open Sunday evening we set a goal to be on the road around 2 AM Monday morning. As the alarm went off I took one last glance at WYDOT and wasn’t surprised to see conditions had changed leaving the roads closed any way we would have tried to get there. Knowing that the roads were closed I text Ivan to see his ETA. For once he was running early and replied, “I’m Here.”

I invited him in and we discussed a new gameplan. We agreed to get a few more hours of sleep and head out to the Dream. This time of the year at the Dream there are two ways you can approach it. Head low and hope to get lucky by running into a few lake runs or go grind it out up top where there is for sure fish. Low was my choice. The rod of choice for the day was the NRX+ 595 - a 9’5” 5-weight. This is my go-to Colorado nymph rod, it provides a little bit extra length, offers a ton of feel, and has enough backbone to punch through the wind and fight big fish.

When I head lower on the Dream my strategy is almost solely sight fishing, down then up then back down then back up is repeated throughout the day. While there is some blind casting through the good-looking runs I try to minimize that so there is more time to find a target to focus on. By the end of the day, we had put about 8 miles on the legs. Some surprises were found as well as a few fish we were looking for. I will let the photos tell the rest of the story for the day. These photos happen to be a little better than mediocre because well… Ivan is a little better with a camera than I am.

It all started with Old Gus and I taking a stroll.

Cow Patty Mine Field

The 595 NRX+ is my go to for Colorado Bobber fishing.

Spotted a Dark Shadow so I decided to see if it was a fish or a snag.

Fish on... Or maybe it was a snag.

Sight Fishing is how I prefer to fish the Dream and most of Colorado's tailwaters. Having a target to cast at gives you a major advantage when working picky trout.

The Payoff can be worth it.

Hooked up on one last little surprise.

Going for the Scoop.

The elusive Carp Trout. That is all for now. Bye Now.

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