We had a couple of days in Steamboat Springs thanks to the kindness of our neighbor who lent us their condo in the off-season.
My primary goal was the big pike I'd hooked and lost two years ago, in a slough on the river. The first morning had frost on the grass and a very slow start. It seemed the fish weren't enjoying the fall cooldown. This was fly rodding, Fenwick FFL807 and Abu Delta 5 reel. Never did see that big pike, did get a pikelet and then a nice 30" one for dinner. The pikelet took a small streamer tied to imitate the rainbow smelt of the BWCA lake. The big pike took a black rabbit fur bunny leech, my version is tied with a rabbit tail and palmered marabou for the body which makes it easier to cast than the standard version with rabbit wrapped for the body. A good swirl and pull at a 6" deerhair-headed streamer, we missed each other. That could have been a good fish to judge by the boil left behind.
The next morning fished the river through town for trout, lots of fishermen and no sign of fish. Smelly old skunk, pfui. Sunday morning my pike spot was occupied by some duck hunters with their decoys planted right in amongst the fish. From 200 yards upstream I thought, those ducks don't look natural, must be a set of decoys. If I could tell so fast and easy you have to think the real ducks would not be fooled. I'd had several flocks of both teal and mallard come through while fishing the first day. Oh well one year maybe will find that mighty pike again. Fished the pond instead, the fly shop in town thinks it has pike, but you couldn't prove it by me. At least the scenery was worth getting up in the frosty pre-dawn.
Another day we took the canoes up to a lake (in fact a reservoir). This has always been rumored to hold grayling though all I ever caught was cutthroats. No fly rod as my wife's patience with me flyfishing has dwindled over the years. Instead it was the 5 percenter, Abu ZoomSafari 765L rod which is 5% glass, and a rebuilt Abu 3600 reel. Fishing from a canoe is too easy, it's all beer and skittles.
That's an Avery Brewing, Patrol Dog Pale Ale, lot of words for a nourishing gulp of good beer. My son in his solo canoe got a nice 18" cutt first, then I had a 10"er.
I was fishing a Ryuki Spearhead 38s, absolutely my favorite trout lure these days. Tie it on at the start of the day and usually that's what I take off at the end of the day.
Something better hit it on the troll, brought it in thinking a nice trout, it was a 17" grayling. Wild. Later making some casts it appeared what they wanted was bass-fishing style, burn the lure in fast and they'd slam it. Grayling are supposed to be these delicate insect-feeders.. Fabulously pretty fish, took dozens of pictures of which most were blurry messes.
These are Arctic grayling, a long way from home. There's two lakes in CO I know for sure have them, one is the brood stock lake, and another on the Grand Mesa is reputably reported to hold some. Now I want to come back and try for them on the fly.
Unsolicited fall colors picture to finish with,