During 2023 I landed 832 trout during 70 stream visits. My stated goal is 1,000 fish per year, so based on this yardstick I came up short. However, I lost four weeks due to illness during September and early October, and these are typically some of my most productive periods. Despite my advancing age, I continue to seek areas for improvement, and I explore new waterways, and 2023 delivered on these aspects of fly fishing. An area of focus over the last several years has been lake fishing, and I feel certain that progress was made. Below is my annual take on my top ten fishing outings of 2023.
10. Clear Lake – 06/21/2023 – A goal of mine over the last several years was to improve my ability to catch fish in stillwaters, and my outing on 06/21/2023 is a testament to progress toward that objective. I landed thirty-five rainbow trout during an afternoon of hot fishing. Sure, they were stocked fish, but the ability to land this many trout from a lake was still a notable accomplishment in my experience with lake fishing.
9. Elk River – 08/08/2023 – The lack of cutthroat trout was a definite disappointment, but landing nineteen trout in a gorgeous backcountry setting was still a much appreciated day. A handful of very fine brown trout including a sixteen inch lunker in a relatively small stream setting separated this day from other high country creek visits.
8. Eagle River – 10/03/2023 – My friend, Dave G., invited me to join him for an autumn outing on some private water on the Eagle River. I was glad I accepted the offer. The day started slow, but after Dave G. offered me one of his olive perdigons, I caught fire. By the end of our outing I accumulated twelve landed trout, and many were very healthy slabs of pink-striped rainbow trout. See below.
7. Roaring Fork River – 07/21/2023 – This was one of two guided float trips during 2023. I joined my friend, Dave G., and we floated the Roaring Fork River with my favorite guide, Reed Ryan, The Roaring Fork flows were nearly ideal, and I landed fourteen very nice cutbows and rainbows. These fish were all in the fourteen to sixteen inch range, and they were very active fighters. Dry flies ruled the day, and that is always a positive in this angler’s book.
6. South Boulder Creek – 08/20/2023 – On this day in August I introduced my new friend, Nate, to fly fishing during the green drake hatch. The green drake hatch was not dense, but the trout were tuned in, as I landed twenty-four browns and rainbows. Nate did quite well also, and I think he set a new personal record for quantity in one day. The parachute green drake was the most productive fly of the day.
5. Beaver Creek – 08/29/2023 – I renamed this creek to protect it. I landed thirty trout, and many were above average size brown trout for a relatively small stream. The creek was low and clear, the sun was bright, and the scenery was spectacular. In short, when combined with thirty trout, it was a recipe for one of my best days of the year.
4. South Platte River – 04/14/2023 – It was cold and windy; perfect conditions for blue wing olives, and they took advantage. I, in turn, leveraged a long afternoon hatch to land twenty stunning trout from major pools, and many were above average size. It was a great launch for blue wing olive season on the South Platte River. Wind, cold and snow could not deter me from a rewarding early season outing.
3. North Fork of the White River – 09/27/2023 – Stunning cutbows and brook trout were the name of the game. It took awhile to solve the puzzle, but eventually a hippie stomper and salvation nymph created some torrid action. Every one of forty-two fish landed was a pallet of vivid colors. Take me back to September.
2. North Fork of the White River – 09/29/2023 – A third day on the North Fork produced outstanding results. Although the fish count of twenty-nine trailed the 09/27/2023 day, it was accomplished in a shorter window of time, since I needed to depart early for the long drive back to Denver. The number of brook trout landed was greatly reduced compared to Wednesday, and this translated to larger cutbows and rainbows. The autumn weather was stunning, and this day was close to perfect.
- Myrarkvisl River – 05/22/2023 AM and Myrarkvisl River – 05/22/2023 PM – This was my last full day of fly fishing in Iceland, and everything seemed to click. I came down with a cold, which I eventually learned was covid, but I battled through two sessions to record my best day of the trip. The wind was strong in the morning, but it finally abated enough to enjoy some dry/dropper fishing in the evening. In the morning session I landed six brown trout in the seventeen to nineteen inch range on black ghost and Mickey Finn streamers. Six additional browns squirmed in my net during the evening session including a twenty inch beast and a very heavy nineteen inch brown. It was a highlight of my trip, and I was able to deploy the dry/dropper technique to land two nineteen inch bruisers.