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Good Friends, Nasty Weather, and Good Times

One of the things that my wife, Pam, and I appreciate more and more as the birthdays fly by is good friends. Two of our good friends (Curtis and Becky) live in Silverthorne Colorado and although they love to hike, bike and ski the mountains, they are just now learning to fly fish.

Two more of our friends (Doug and Janie) that we work with and go to church with are also our neighbors. We introduced them to fly fishing this year as well.  We started with knot tying lessons in their living room, then moved to the street in front of their house for casting lessons.

The Harriman’s and the Hall’s planned a business trip in September that included stops in Waco, Tucson and lastly Silverthorne, Colorado. It was strategically planned to coincide with the turning of the aspens in the Rockies. I hoped to squeeze in a few hours of “live fishing lessons” for my friends on a small public catch and release lake in Silverthorne. 

We arrived in Summit County Colorado late on a Friday night. We got a couple of meetings out of the way Saturday morning and in spite of a major early fall storm that was predicted to come in that afternoon, 6 senior citizens went fishing. We arrived at North Pond just ahead of the front and by the time everyone got tied on and “wadered up” the clouds were starting to drop below the tops of the Rockies. 

The parking lot was at the north end of the pond. It was a quarter of a mile walk from the parking lot to the south end of the pond, where I wanted to fish in order to allow my neophyte fly casters the advantage of a 25 mph south tailwind. Just as the 6 of us waded into the water the cold front slammed us in the face. The wind shifted to the north and continued to gust up to 25 -30 mph and the temperature started to plummet. We were severely underdressed, but no matter the fish were biting like crazy.

The catch and release pond is full of small rainbow and cutthroats that can be a little finicky, but not today.

My team could only make short cast cross wind but it did not matter. Everyone caught one or two fish before the spray from the white caps starting soaking us and we had to quit. The fishing had only lasted about 10 minutes. We walked back toward the north parking lot in the face of blowing rain and sleet. 

Then God really put on a show for us. The fog started rolling in and the ceiling dropped to less than 500 feet. The golden aspens seem to literally come ablaze with color and the hardwoods and the bushes splashed in reds, ambers and purples.

All of my team members except my wife thought we were headed for the car in light of the weather conditions, but I was just moving our team to the other end of the lake to get out of some of the wind and allow them to make ”world class” casts downwind.

Becky abandoned us and started back to the house, opting to walk home which was about one mile to the south with the wind at her back rather than endure the shorter walk into the wind and rain.

We were down to 5 when we waded back out into the pond. The strong bite continued and everyone caught more fish. The 3 men (me included) only lasted about 45 minute before we headed for the car. My wife and Janie refused to quit until we threatened to leave them in the near blizzard conditions. Wet, cold and exhilarated we headed back home for hot chocolate and a warm fireplace. As contemporary philosopher “Hannibal Smith” once said “I love it when a plan comes together”. 

- Jim

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