In a year that included 106 fishing trips and 1,300 fish in my net, how is it possible to select a top ten list? It was very difficult, so I deviated from past practice and designated my fifteen favorite posts during the past year. It will be extremely difficult to best 2017 in both quality and quantity of fish in future years.
15. Piney River – 07/25/2017 – I became accustomed to outstanding days on small Piney River, and this day in late July was no exception. Tuesday included a vigorous hike and spectacular scenery accompanied by a variety of cold water trout. The fish were mostly small, but they more than compensated with vivid color.
14. Arkansas River – 07/26/2017 – Fifteen trout landed including several tough fighters in the thirteen to fourteen inch range yielded an enjoyable day. Confident takes of a Harrop hair wing green drake pushed this day into the top fifteen.
13. South Platte River – 04/13/2017 – Landing ten quality trout in a highly pressured section of the South Platte River tailwater in Eleven Mile Canyon was a gratifying achievement. A dense blue winged olive hatch developed in the afternoon, and I fooled sizable trout with very long downstream drifts of a size 18 CDC blue winged olive.
12. South Boulder Creek – 10/17/2017 – A forty plus fish day in the peak of the season is grounds for rejoicing, but to accomplish the feat in the middle of October when insect activity is diminished and trout metabolism is reduced due to colder temperatures or spawning desires, is cause for celebration. The fish responded to an ant, beetle and deer hair caddis.
11. Frying Pan River – 08/31/2017 – The size of the fish was average, but the number of fish landed was superb, and the fish responded repeatedly to my green drake imitations. A strong green drake hatch is indicative of a marvelous day, and 08/31/2017 was typical.
10. Cache la Poudre River – 07/21/2017 – 2017 included numerous outstanding visits to the Cache la Poudre River west of Ft. Collins. On this day in July the trout responded to my dry/dropper offering with red hot action.
9. South Platte River – 09/23/2017 – A twenty fish day in September is always welcome, but spending a day with my son in a gorgeous remote setting after he completed his return move from Pittsburgh elevated this day into the top ten.
8. South Boulder Creek – 09/19/2017 – Tuesday was probably my best ever day on South Boulder Creek from a numbers perspective. The fish were hungry and responded to my fly choices throughout the day. The lingering effectiveness of green drakes on the small local tailwater was a nice discovery.
7. Marvine Creek – 09/13/2017 – The scenery was superb, the solitude was perfect, and I lost myself in the simple challenge of catching gullible mountain trout. It is always fun to discover a new quality stream and experience success.
6. South Boulder Creek – 08/08/2017 – I experienced numerous wonderful days on South Boulder Creek in 2017, but this Tuesday in August may have been the best. I cycled through three styles of green drake imitations, and finally settled on a winner, and it delivered a high level of success. Catching trout on western green drakes is one of my favorite pastimes.
5. North Fork of the White River – 09/14/2017 – The scenery was spectacular, and I relished the solitude that I crave. The world consisted of me and my thoughts, as I focused on how to land wild Flattops trout. Quantity and size made this a top five outing for 2017.
4. Yampa River – 06/29/2017 – Large visible fish were packed tightly in a short stretch of the river, and I managed to land double digit numbers of the educated tailwater stream dwellers.
3. Yampa River – 06/22/2017 – An insane day of action transpired as the run off levels receded in the town of Steamboat Springs. My catch included five trout in the fifteen to twenty inch size range, and mayflies popped off the water for several hours in the afternoon.
2. Eagle River – 07/03/2017 – Another magnificent day developed while the flows fell but remained relatively high. Five trout were landed in the fifteen to eighteen inch range, and I witnessed a yellow sally hatch that was more dense than anything seen previously.
1.Bow River – 08/25/2017 – I enjoyed a seventeen fish day on the mythical Bow River south of Calgary, AB. The day would have been wonderful at lower catch levels, but in addition I landed two rainbows that measured in the twenty inch range. The weather was outstanding, my guide was terrific, and the fish cooperated at relatively low and challenging river levels.