There's no doubt that the high country is seeing some great early season snow. But, let's not let that powder distract us from the fact that the early winter fishing has been pretty damn good. So, I headed up I-70 to meet our new Outfitting Manager (former Frisco Head Guide) Zeke Hersh after he got a couple of turns in on his snowboard. He was shredding the gnar in chest deep pow pow or whatever the cool kids are saying these days. We met at
Trouts Frisco at 10 ish...and headed west to the Eagle River. Zeke gets rid of the snowboard boots... in favor of wading boots. That's more my speed. Zeke rigging up some go-to winter freestone nymphs - the Zebra Midge and the Rainbow Warrior. My rig of choice for the day was the Sage Igniter 691. I was expecting nymphing and maybe a little streamer fishing. Zeke went with his trusty Scott Flex 905-4 and the Ross Evolution LTX 5/6 Fly Reel It was cloudy, but reasonably warm considering. Here, Zeke heads towards the river. Winter Fishing on Freestones is a game of patience. Find one fish and you'll probably find quite a few more. We fully expected to move through a couple of runs before we found our first fish. We were wrong. A couple of drifts in - this rainbow made an appearance. Zeke was headed upstream, but I called him back after I landed four more fish in the next ten drifts. Zeke jumped in the run. Cast. Mend. Set. Zeke shows off a diminutive brown trout. It's winter fishing...so once you find the right drift, chances are there's a willing fish who slid in. Another nice rainbow out of the original run. The Zebra and the Rainbow Warrior were doing work. Zeke re-rigs and gets rid of some of the riff raff on his rig. After the fishing slowed a bit, we decided to finally head upstream to the next slow run. Cast, mend... Set. With the light waning, we decided to fish a couple more runs and head back to Frisco. We'd seen some sporadic dry fly eats over the course of the day, but the next run held more than it's fair share of risers. See. Risers. Three right there. Zeke cut his nymph rig off real quick. He got in to position. Made the cast...well, a couple of casts to those picky midge eaters. And whammy. Zeke was on the board with a late November dry fly eater. A solid Eagle River brown trout. Zeke browsing his tiny dry fly collection for the something that might work with a few fewer casts. Cast. The Eat. The glory.
Another Eagle River brown who couldn't resist a small Parachute Adams that Zeke cut the tail off of. A solid way to end a good day in the mountains.