This past August on a trip to Colorado I fished the Elk River, a tributary to the Yampa. I was impressed with the river. Colorado just seems to be a place where the trout fishing is endless. Sure, you hear about the big name rivers, but they can get crowded, however if you head a little off the beaten path you can fish alone. I’m not even talking about, hiking it in, just head to some of those places that you don’t read about in all the magazines. The Elk is a clear and beautiful freestone river. It tumbles along over cobbles and boulders with a nice gradient, creating beautiful pools and pockets on the way. But be aware – the wading is tough, don’t forget the wading staff. Those smooth, round rocks can be tough to navigate.
The fishing was outstanding. Brooks, browns and cuts (and even some huge whitefish) were much in evidence. And best of all, there was no reason to fish underneath, fish rose readily to big stimulators. On this trip to Colorado I fished almost exclusively dries – not because I’m a dry-fly snob, but just because there’s nothing like it. When there’s enough room to roam a little, hiking along, casting big attractors is just too much fun. Would you catch more fishing deep? Maybe, but I just don’t enjoy that as much these days (of course I will if I have to).
I fished a new tenkara rod that my buddy brought all the way from Japan (it’s a Kenpo SE 360). It served me well on the Elk, landing fish on a Tenkara rod is much easier than you would imagine. The limber rod protects light tippets very well. I fished a 12-ft line with about 4-ft of tippet on the 12-ft rod. This made it just a little tricky to net the fish, ideally a long handled net would make it a bit easier, but all of the long handled nets I’ve found so far are just way too big. If you have any net suggestions send them my way.