Whether it’s the Spring opportunity or the Fall outing, the mini-destination trip to Almont, Colorado offers a chance to get away from our more familiar rivers and predictable routines. Leaving the familiar and predictable opens the door to rejuvenation and reconnection.
We recently had our Fall edition of the mini-destination trip to fish the rivers in Gunnison County. For the past several outings, our guest blogger Kaylee Pacheco has written a reflection about the weekend. This is sort of a blog within a blog. Her thoughts are in italics.
I was fortunate to tag along as one of the co-hosts with Jon Easdon, our Director of Services, who created this opportunity several years ago. Jon does a great job of organizing the event with the crew over at Three Rivers Resort and the guides from Willowfly Anglers.
Friday night, Ryan grilled up burgers and dogs for the crew. We all enjoyed dinner and fish stories on the cabin porch overlooking the Taylor River.
We relaxed and enjoyed the sound of the river and beautiful stars.
What has been cool to watch over the last few years are the friendships that have developed. Whether you are making new friends or reconnecting with folks from previous trips, time on the water seems to enhance those connections.
Or, as in Kaylee’s case for this outing, spending time at the River with lifelong friends: I have been looking forward to this trip since April when my best friend since 5th grade, Kim, told me she and her husband were going to fly out from Little Rock for this!
Ryan, Kaylee, and Kim, Corey in what became known as the “classic tourist photo.”
Another relationship that develops over time: the one between clients and their guides.
Day one we had Evan our guide! He took us for a nice hike and to catch some salmon! Evan was such a fun guide he is always full of excitement the entire day! On Sunday, our guide was Eric. Ryan and I have had Audrey, Holden and Evan as guides, so we were excited to learn from someone new!
We thought we were going to have to pay off Greg (one of the other participants and a friendship developed over time on previous mini-destination trips) to have Eric as a guide. Greg loves fishing with Eric and puts in a request for him each trip!
The Gunnison/Almont area offers some amazing fly fishing opportunities. Over the two days of the mini-destination trip, participants can walk/wade several different fisheries: the Taylor River “catch and release” stretch which requires technical skills to net “the fish of a lifetime”; the Taylor as it flows further through the Canyon and offers up hopper opportunities; the Gunnison, the Lake Fork, and even the Taylor Reservoir all present new opportunities from the Front Range or Pikes Peak region.
Evan didn’t fail Eric who netted this nice Rainbow on the Lake Fork of the Gunnison.
You know fall is around the corner when the salmon are changing colors getting ready for their journey up stream!
Kaylee and one of her many salmon.
On Saturday, all I wanted was a “fire truck salmon.” I netted a few chrome ones. Finally, I pulled out what I was looking for. Then it happened…a guide’s worst nightmare. The fish bit the line, flopped out of my tiny net and was swimming off. Evan and I were stunned. We just laughed about it and vowed to use a bigger net for bigger fish.
Kaylee with the fish that both she and Ryan caught.
Ryan started fishing to the pod and hooked into a salmon. He was stoked. Then the unimaginable happened! Ryan netted the same fish that I had caught previously with my egg and darth baetis in his mouth! What are the chances!? Ryan and I were able to get photos of “our” fish. We didn’t let him swim away this time!
Two new friends, Jan and Cindy, had a multi-fish Saturday.
Look quick to see the double in this photo!
Cindy with a quality Brown.
On Sunday, Ryan and I were ready to fish the Taylor. Ryan’s goal was to net a 25” trout. My goal was to fish dries. After many denials, I managed to hook into a brown with a mole fly. Then I hear the guys trying to net a big rainbow! I always love a double fish photo. Ryan had redeemed himself compared to our last Three Rivers double photo. Ryan didn’t get a 25” trout but 24” is still a win! Eric was a phenomenal guide; he has been guiding for over 20 years and was very knowledgeable.
On the left, Kaylee and Ryan with the double from four trips ago. On the right, Kaylee and Ryan with their 2021 double.
We enjoyed our last night at the Smokehouse with Cindy, Jan, Greg, Jeff, Kim, Corey, Ryan and myself. We laughed and can’t wait to see each other on the next trip.
In some ways, the spring trip offers a beginning to the season and the fall journey wraps it up. Like Kokanee heading upstream, or the PMD hatch in mid-morning, the mini-destination trip has become part of the rhythm of the season.
Thank you to Jon Easdon at Angler’s Covey, the guides at Willowfly Anglers, and Three Rivers Resort for hosting us for an unforgettable weekend.