Regular gas and rainbows
I headed out this week with the intention of floating the Roaring Fork with Mark Sassi, the general manager of Gorsuch Outfitters. It is a rare occasion for us to fish together because we usually cover each other’s shifts in the fly shop and are rarely off the same day. We met at 7 a.m. at the fly shop in Edwards and, after a quick stop for fuel at the Edwards Texaco, we would be off to get the boat. I pulled up to the pump, stuck the nozzle in the tank and began to pump regular gasoline causally into my truck which takes diesel fuel. I thought nothing of it and strolled into the store to get some hot, gas station coffee.
I actually prefer the gas station coffee to the thick, burnt taste of the other popular coffee establishments. Upon returning to the truck, I promptly removed the gasoline nozzle from the tank, my brain suddenly came back online and I realized the completely idiotic mistake I had just made. Luckily, I was with Mark who rarely gets upset about anything, and he was able to keep me calm under potentially chaotic circumstances. After a few minutes discussing our options, we called the West Vail Shell. Within minutes, the tow truck was there, my truck was loaded and on it’s way to the Chevrolet dealer in Silverthorne.Now, you are probably wondering why I told you about all this. Well, it is what happens next that gets interesting. We regrouped, got into Mark’s vehicle and headed to Dotsero to fish the lower Eagle. Mark’s car does not have a hitch, so we accepted our fate to wade fish. Our destination was the confluence of the Eagle and the Colorado, but as we arrived riverside, we saw the color of the water and commented that this just wasn’t our day.
We decided to go to the Gypsum Wildlife Area and fish no matter what the water looked like. We parked, rigged up and headed for the off-color river. I was feeling defeated at this point and wasn’t even that into fishing, but I went along with it anyway. We walked to the river just to the east of the access road, confirming that the color of the water was brown with six to twelve inches of visibility. Along the rocks were dozens of stonefly shucks, and some looked fresh. I figured, “What the hell. I’ll tie on the biggest stonefly nymph I have and give it a try.” Within minutes, I landed a nice brown that just pounded my fly. There was no question that the strike indicator moved a foot or so when he ate the fly. That first fish turned on the light, and a few minutes later I landed a huge rainbow. Now my day was going from bad to better, and I was fishing my way out of the funk. Mark and I worked our way up the river, fishing the big holes with giant flies and hooking many nice fish along the way. As the morning progressed, I began to reflect on the great water we have here in the Eagle Valley and how lucky I was to be out fishing on a Wednesday.
The Eagle River is really an amazing fishery. I have been fishing it and its tributaries for over 17 years, and they have never disappointed me. After a few more big rainbows and browns, it was time to head back up valley, so we wrapped it up and headed out. We discussed our fortune and bathed in our success and all was forgotten of the morning we had had just a few hours earlier. Unfortunately, we have no photos of the fish we caught because the only camera we had fell in the water while taking a picture of the five pound Flannel Mouth Sucker that Mark hooked. By the time we got to that point, we didn’t really care about the camera. It was just one more thing that went wrong that day. For this article, I did include a picture of a big fish caught on the lower river this summer by one of our favorite guide service customers, Barb Munneke, who was fishing with veteran guide, Nick Varnberg. TThe fish we caught were large, but this bruiser is over 20 inches and was caught in July between Eagle and Gypsum. The moral to the story is that there is always a positive side to everything! Now I have to go and find a ride to Silverthorne to pick up my truck.
Until next week…John Cochran is the owner of Gorsuch Outfitters. He can be reached at 926-0900.Vail, Colorado
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