I love September! Opening of hunting season and time to go to Colorado for trout fishing.
This report is the perspective of a fly fishing novice. My experience consists of going to the Lower Mountain Fork a half dozen times, fishing the Texas winter trout stocking, and the spring sand bass run. Also, I am NOT a photographer. Between trying to land the fish, take a picture with my cell phone, and release the fish without injury left me with only a few poor quality pictures. I missed pictures of a big brown, a cutthroat at Sylvan Lake, a brook trout and most of the rainbows.
1. Didn't know if I wanted to wear waders or just fish from the rocks. So I bought a pair of Keen Kovens. These are a lightweight hiking mid-top shoe. They are also waterproof, which is a big plus. The soles are firm with a good arch so I was able to walk along the rock all day long without slipping or making my feet sore. I have trouble finding shoes that don't hurt my feet (I have plantar fasciitis) and I can recommend these for hiking and fishing. I brought my waders but ended up not using them. The weather was warm and I didn't feel like messing with them.
2. My wife and I planned this as a 3 day 4 night trip. We flew into Vale/Edwards, which is really cool. We landed right in the Rockies with the sun setting. The picture doesn't do it justice. The airport is small and constructed like a hunting lodge. Much better than flying into Denver.
3. We stayed in Avon right on the Eagle river. There is fishing all along the Eagle. I fished each morning for a few hours while my wife slept in and relaxed.
Note: I stopped at every fly shop we passed to buy a half dozen recommended flies and get some tips. None of the flies or advice paid off. The flies that worked the best for me were #22 elk hair caddis, green bead head emerger, and black wooly bugger. I fished the same stretch of the Eagle every morning with the same flies. Day one and day three I had followers and no takers. On day two I caught a big brown on the elk hair early. Then I caught another brown and several rainbows on the black wooly bugger. Not sure why they were more aggressive day two, but I am glad I was there to experience it.
4. In the afternoon we would stop at one of the many craft breweries for a couple beers and usually wings or sliders. Then on to the next fishing destination. We went to Sylvan Lake where I caught a brook trout and nice size cutthroat... again no picture. Apparently the lake also sports some big brown trout. There was a picture of a kid who caught a 28 inch brown. The fall colors were amazing. I was hoping to see a moose or elk but not this time.
5. Day two more beer... We drove to Edwards for lunch. Then just stayed in Avon so my wife could fish the town lake. Colorado is very fishing friendly. Most people fly fish, but they allow conventional gear and lures. My wife fished the lake with a super duper and was catching rainbows so fast, I never had a chance to fish. This is a great area for kids to fish. They rent paddle boats and fishing gear. There is a band shell, grass field, playground, and volleyball court.
6. Day three we drove to Silverthorne to fish the blue, visit the outlet mall (and fly shop), and then on up to the Green Mountain Reservoir. We just fished from shore and the lake is big. We should have fished the river into the lake or tried to rent a boat. No fish caught this day but the drive and being outdoors was great. Oh yeah, we also had more beer.
This was a great first trip for a new fly fisherman. I am sure I made all kinds of mistakes and probably could have caught more fish with a guide. But I enjoyed exploring on my own and learning. The fish I caught were very special and I am already thinking about going back. I pinched the barbs on the wife's super duper and we safely released all the fish we caught. Only one swallowed the super duper so we took it back to the condo for dinner. I generally don't care for eating trout. But I think that is more the result of eating Texas Winter Stockers. I find them to be too mushy without flavor. However, this Colorado trout was very good. It cooked up firm and tasty. The town of Avon is quaint and quiet (in the off-season). The last week of September - the first three weeks of October is a great time to see the fall colors, avoid the summer crowd, and get deals on airfare and lodging. If you decide to go, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.