I decided to make one thread about my trips exploring the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I am originally from New Orleans but moved to Colorado Springs in June 2015. It is a complete change in fishing and environment. I have never been out West so this is all brand new and quite an adventure for me.
Fishing has always been a passion for me since I was a kid and I spend a lot of days on the water every year. Back in New Orleans I mostly fished for catfish and garfish in large brackish rivers and I would fly fish for bass and panfish in smaller streams and ponds in the area. Since moving to Colorado I have been learning completely new skill sets chasing trout in the Rocky Mountains.
I am having a lot of fun and I thought some veteran trout anglers might enjoy seeing my progress and also people who dream of fishing here can see some fishing adventures. It really is an amazing place to fish. Within a couple hours drive I have access to famous "gold medal" waters,The Dream Stream, Eleven Mile park, the Arkansas River. Also there are numerous lakes and reservoirs in the area that produce trout that commonly exceed five pounds, and lots of back country lakes and streams to explore. And it's all new to me. I have no idea what I am doing but I am learning.
The first place I tried was the closest. A place right in the city called Quail Lake that was a twenty minutes from the hotel I stayed at when I first arrived.
Even in the middle of the city this little lake is beautiful. The water was fairly clear and I was told that it's full of trout. I didn't catch anything but to my surprise I saw a couple of small largemouth bass, and an absolutely massive snapping turtle. There was a decent amount of people fishing but nobody I talked to had caught anything. I decided to move on to somewhere less accessible that I hoped would keep some fishing pressure off.
For my next trip I decided to stay close to my new home again. I am the sorta guy who will fish any time I get a chance so I was curious what waters were close enough for me to sneak away if I only have a few hours. I found a small public lake that wasn't very well known. Only a half hour outside Colorado Springs but about half a mile up a steep hiking trail. I am a young man and I didn't think I would struggle at all. WRONG!
Elevation is no joke. I was dehydrated in no time and huffing and puffing up that trail. I had to stop twice and catch my breath. The trail is a beautiful hike along a babbling creek that flows down from a steep boulder filled canyon. It is beautiful but parts of it are pretty steep for a guy from the swamps who isn't used to this elevation. Once as I leaned against a rock trying to catch my breath a woman about 65 passed me by and said hello. Then she took a longer look and with genuine concern in her voice told me to pace myself. She hadn't broken a sweat. Pretty embarrassing, but funny.
I did eventually make it to that reservoir and it was beautiful. The water was clear and I could see small trout swimming over weed beds and sipping small bugs from the surface. My first time seeing trout in the wild and it really is amazing to watch rising trout. There is something hypnotizing about it.
I tied on a Parachute Adams because I was told it was a good searching pattern when you didn't know what the trout were feeding on. Within a few casts I caught my first trout on a fly rod. About a 7 inch Brook trout.
No lunker, but I was thrilled. Within a half hour I caught about half a dozen more near identical brook trout on the Adams and a foam ant pattern I used to fish with for bream.
After enough smaller fish I wanted something larger. I had seen grasshoppers on the trail, so I tied on a Dave's hopper hoping a larger fly would attract larger fish. I climbed onto a boulder that extended into the lake and cast over a weed bed that I could see led into deeper water. A few moments later it was slammed hard by a larger fish. It fought hard and when I got it into the net I was surprised to see a trout I didn't recognize. About an eleven inch mystery trout.
After the days success I tried one of my own creations. A foam moth fly pattern I have been tweaking. In a pretty cove I cast towards the end of a tree that had fallen in the water and was rewarded with an even bigger mystery trout. I found out later they are called Tiger trout and they are a brook trout and brown trout hybrid. They are very aggressive and are stocked to try to keep the Brook trout population in check. They have a lot of fight in them, and are fun to catch.
I had as good of a day as I could of hoped for at a little lake I found a half hour from my new home. So far, I am having a blast exploring Colorado.