Unlike 2018, the 2019 season did not include any destination fishing trips. My fishing ventures in the Wallowas were relatively short and a sidelight to the main events of camping, hiking and cycling. A day of guided fly fishing on the Green River below Flaming Gorge and a day on a fine stream in Pennsylvania were my only other ventures outside the state of Colorado. Heavy snowpack and late run off definitely impacted my normal seasonal routine. I fished only lakes between June 20 and July 9, and this time period spanned normally productive stream and river fishing in the Rocky Mountains. Late June and early July also coincide with prime mayfly hatches such as pale morning duns and green drakes on the freestones, and I largely missed out on these highly anticipated events. Nevertheless, I still managed to complete 85 outings and landed in excess of 1,000 fish. The late run off improved the quality of August fishing; however, not enough to offset the loss of four weeks during normally prime conditions. Ten of my outings involved stillwater destinations, and this was easily a personal record, although my success on these bodies of water was somewhat disappointing.
With this backdrop I introduce my top ten days of 2019 –
10. Yampa River – 07/16/2019 – My post run off days on the Yampa River were a month later than normal, but this day made it worthwhile, as I landed twelve trout, and most exhibited above average size.
9 South Platte River – 06/14/2019 – This outing occurred just before the water managers opened the floodgates from the dams, but I managed to land a generous quantity of nice fish on a gorgeous late spring day. Between one and three PM, the action was torrid, as trout attacked my salvation nymph during a sparse pale morning dun hatch.
8. Green River – 04/18/2019 – I last visited this northeastern Utah tailwater in 2002. On this day I found out that I was missing out on a lot of fun. Guide Charley put my friend and I into some very nice fish using small midge larva and baetis nymphs. I was anticipating dense blue winged olive hatches, but they were delayed. Charley made sure we were not disappointed by adjusting to subsurface offerings.
7. Marvine Creek – 09/16/2019 – An abundant quantity of vividly colored brook trout were accented by two gorgeous rainbows and a cutbow in a spectacular backcountry setting. It was hard to rank this day as low as number seven.
6. South Platte River – 05/07/2019 – Three waves of blue winged olive hatches allowed me to land fifteen trout on this day, and most were very respectable fish in the fourteen to sixteen inch range.
5. Elk Creek – 08/28/2019 – This day in late August was truly a fishing adventure. My exit story on this post almost overshadows the fishing. Since I am still here to write about it, I can assert that the fantastic day of fishing justified the backcountry scare.
4. South Boulder Creek – 08/24/2019 – An abundant quantity of fish were landed in a gorgeous setting to put this in the top ten, but spending a rare day with my son and watching him elevate his game raised this day to the top five. Near the end of our day we experienced an insane green drake hatch in a prime pool, and Dan got a taste of how intense fly fishing can be.
3. South Boulder Creek – 08/15/2019 – A forty fish day with twenty-five slurping a green drake dry fly. What more needs to be said about this spectacular day on my home water?
2. Eagle River – 07/24/2019 – Hot fish of above average size were the feature attraction on this day in July. July 24 on the Eagle River made me realize why I clear my calendar to hit freestones, as they subside from peak run off.
1. North Fork of the White River – 09/14/2019 – Abundant rainbows and cutbows of above average size in a remote backcountry setting placed this day in September at the top of my 2019 top ten list. If I could select one day to repeat, this is it.