The intensity of the early October snow increased as I exited I-70 at Silverthorne and headed north on Highway 9, leaving the traffic lights and storefronts behind. The next 30 miles was a bleary-eyed drive through near blinding flurries with both fox and deer dancing across the road.
I was headed to a conference. For work. In Steamboat. And the following morning, I discovered that the conference venue was within throwing distance of the Yampa River. Hello distraction, I'm a fishing addict.
The brisk fall day did not burn off the low morning clouds until just past the conference's lunch break of pulled pork and potato salad. The after lunch session left me only an hour to fish in the late afternoon sun before heading back down to the front range. With no observed rises, nymphing the deeper runs seemed to be the best approach.
The first few fish were small. I began to wonder just how pressured this easily accessible downtown stretch is and to formulate a plausible "it's always nice to get out fishing story".
Then, the line went tight halfway through a drift in a deeper slot below some boulders. The weight at the end of the line had some heft and some life. After a brief fight and netting, this nicer rainbow was brought to hand.
No streamside beer today. With a 3 hour drive ahead, a celebratory coffee was in order.
The drive home was much less eventful, with clear weather, beautiful views and plenty of time to wonder what could have been with more time on the water.
The 3 inches of snow on the sides of the road at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass and the color of the aspens show how close winter is at the higher elevations. The fishing is still great and the lower elevation waters should be in full fall swing and will be for at least a month still. Get out if you can and enjoy a few last bright warm days on the water before the cold weather really starts to sink in.