Weekend Chase: High Country Creeks

Summer is in full-swing. Bugs flying, fish rising and a weekend in the mountains is how we get our kicks when the conditions are just right. Those high country streams hold browns, ‘bows and the ever-enticing cutthroat. Of course, chasing trout isn’t taken lightly around these parts, especially southern Colorado’s native Rio Grande Cutthroats (an absolutely gorgeous species of fish)! Here’s our recap to prove it and some tips for your next high country chase.

Carry a net

#FishFlop might be a funny snap to humans, but it’s a bad deal for fish if they’re hitting rocks on the way down. Carry a net for a smooth landing and easier release.

Order up! Full nets are just what we had on the menu, but don’t worry, we released this brownie.

Pinch ‘yer barb

If you’re planning to practice catch and release tactics on your high country excursions, go with barbless flies or pinch your barb before the first cast. High country creeks start to feel the impact of summer’s high heat and dry days by mid-July. By not using barbs – barbs are pointed backwards to keep a fish on – anglers can easily remove a fly. The more stress-free releases you have, the more fish survive in the creek and therefore the more you can chase. It’s a win-win!

Prior to late summer’s low, warm flows, go with barbless flies or pinch the barbs down on any other fly to ensure a quick and efficient release.

Perspective is everything

Colorado’s native Rio Grande Cutthroat trout likely won’t top the 18 inch mark in skinny streams like this…and that’s ok. What they lack in size, they make up for in so many other ways, making these little guys (and gals) 100% worth the chase. They are super skittish and fight like hell when hooked, so landing one definitely takes skill and stealth.

It’s not always the size that matters. Native trout are elusive and not easily caught. Landing one in a tiny high country stream is a feat worth adding to your bucket list.

It’s ok to celebrate the small wins

You got out there, gave it your best shot and you may or may not have landed those elusive finned friends. Grab a bevy and celebrate the day – you earned it! And if you did land some, well shoot, better make it a double!

It’s always happy hour when you’re landing fish.

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