The winters in Colorado are picturesque wilderness of mountains blanketed with glistening snow, with featureless skyscapes. The air is a frozen lace on my skin, delicate and cold. The sky is washed with grey, watery light illuminating, and thin patches to brilliance. The winter is such crystalline joy, those brilliant rays that show the uniqueness of every snowflake. Frozen rivers and creeks lie beneath the snow, and the existence of gorgeous days of deep blue skies in between storms.
Little did I realize at the time, Steamboat Resort had received 18 inches of snow, according to the ski area’s measurements. It was the biggest storm of the winter based on 24-hour accumulation measurements. Old Man Winter nestled in heavily and had made for some very happy powder pursuers, but also caused great anguish for travelers and snow plows just days prior to my chase for the river. Roads were snowy and icy most of the drive towards Steamboat Springs.
Eager with excitement upon my arrival, it became bleak to me the entrance into the state park was blocked and no vehicles or foot traffic were allowed. There waited another enthusiastic fisherman, Paul, who came to ice fish. Paul and I were the first public into the park after a week long closure, and so much snow removal to still happen. The park ranger warned me in particular, to be very prepared for detrimental conditions and snowshoes a must.
|My Fish Sled|
The temperature was 10 degrees, blue skies, no winds, occasional clouds. The rugged snowshoe hike took me close to 2 hours to get down to the tailwater. The trek entailed me to cross the frozen reservoir of which nearly sent me into a panic stricken state. The snow was so deep in areas that my snowshoes still sent me thigh deep into unknown snow pockets. My fish sled was loaded with all my fishing gear necessities, hot water, food, and additional warm gear.
Winter fly fishing so frigid, it was a constant battle with frozen guides. Application of unscented chapstick is my trick. Fish with gloves and hand warmers inside, and bring ski gloves for breaks and for the travels. A microfiber hand towel an absolute must for getting those hands dried and warmed as quickly as possible after handling fish. Love my fishy buffs from BUFF to protect my face and add warmth. A great pair of WORN technical backcountry frictionless neoprene wader socks 3.0 mm inside my waders to survive the necessary wading in the water for netting the big catches. I love my lucky fly fishing hats from the crafty Shopmcfly.
I never thought winter would challenge me with such a teeth chattering rewarding wintry fishy experience. The river entirely to myself, frozen salami sandwiches for lunch, and multitudinous beautiful catches of rainbow, cutbow, and brookie trout. Life is what you make it, and why not with experiences and reminiscences to last a lifetime. See you on the river!
|Happy fishy winter trails!|