That is where I go..
By Ed Urbas
There are those few occasions in life that for some reason or another you just seem to remember more vividly than others. My Colorado fishing experience guided by Frank Drummond is one I will always remember.
I could barely contain my excitement when I found out we were going to start business in Colorado. Within in two hours of landing, I had a map in my hands and had traveled to the most promising looking trout stream nearby my hotel. Soon, I stood streamside and gazed and the tumbling water and serene backdrop of boulder county. That moment is when I realized that after 41 years of life I finally made it to Colorado. Surrounded by all the things I enjoy in the outdoor world.
Over the next couple days of working, I made sure to look up local Fly shops on line. I stumbled across “The Laughing Grizzly” in an on-line search. It sounded like fun and I knew I just had to stop in to see what this was all about. After about 2 minutes talking to Mike Kruise, I knew I had found the right shop. Long story short, I explained that I was returning in August and wanted to get out fishing. We spent the next hour talking fishing and setting things up.
August 14th. For the first time in my life I was packed and ready to go on a business trip a full day before my flight departed. I asked what kind of gear to bring out and Mike said none. You can rent it all from us. He also advised me on patterns, presentations, trails, parking, etc. Mike was very generous. I own a service business and over the years I sure have learned what it means to get good service. You could not ask for better service or a better person than Mike at Laughing Grizzly. Mike had arranged for me to explore some creeks myself and for one guided trip. Mike set me up with guide Frank Drummond on Wednesday.
Frank and I met in Estes Park. Upon arrival, we talked about the kind of trout fishing I liked. After contemplating a couple moments he said, ‘I know just the place’. We jumped in the jeep and were off. The 30 minute drive to the stream was just magnificent. I could not put down my camera. I know I looked like an amateur tourist but I did not care. At the parking area, Frank showed me how the snow piles up 20+ feel high in the canyon of this creek during the winter. At the bank of the creek I got down and put my hands in the water, studied the rocks and engulfed the damp pine forest smell. I just could not believe I was there. It was just like the stories I used to hear when I was a kid. We had not even cast a line yet,…it did not matter.
We began catching fish. Brooks, cuts and few browns initially. There were a couple good pools upcoming. Frank suggested we try an L.A. Ant. It was my first time using this pattern. I joked that it looked like a yellow GM Hummer 3 tied to a hook and then realized why they call it an L.A. Ant. We did not catch anything in the main part of the pool. Frank and I suspected we knew why. At the top of the pool there was a back-eddy, under a narrow shaded ledge with lots of spit that I thought I could get my fly into. It had a couple logs blocking it so I really had to think about how to get the right cast. Frank nodded and said give it a shot. After a try or two, I got it into the right spot. After about 5 seconds Frank and I saw a big head come out and grab the ant.
I set the hook and the hole exploded with activity. My line was wrapping up against the logs, my rod was not nearly built to hold a brute like this but I manage to keep him out of the logs and my 4x held. After 10 minutes we brought the brown to hand. Slightly hooked jaw, golden, big spots, big shoulders. 19.5 inches. He could barely fit in the net. We revived him and released him to the same back-eddy. Frank noted that this stream has not been stocked in 40 years.
As the day progressed, the fishing became better. We tried several patterns. They all worked! Then we started catching the Rainbows and the magnificent cut-bows. Possibly the most beautiful trout I have ever seen. There was just something about the way the sun revealed their spots and colors that is unforgettable. I can close my eyes and still see it. We had lunch in the sun at 8k feet. I wondered if any person alive felt as lucky as I felt that day. We caught more fish after lunch and decided that today we created enough memories to last a lifetime. We then walked back to the jeep smiling and admiring the grandeur of the Colorado Rockies.
You know how you have those stressful days at work? Those days where you want to take yourself back to a much more positive, satisfying, relaxing day in your life. The kind of day you dream about in mid February when you never see the sun, everyone is crabby, not anything goes well,…the kind of day where you worry about paying the bills, family problems, raising your kids or managing change. When I have one of those days, I go back to the day I spent on that tiny Colorado trout stream with Frank. That is were I go. The fish were everywhere, their colors were magnificent, and they were taking any dry that hit the water. There was not a cloud in the sky, the views of the 13teeners and pine forest was just magnificent and I thanked God that Dad taught me how to fish. I think back to that gem of a day I spent on the trout stream. I think back to the day where for one minute I did not think about one problem of life. I go back to that time where for one day, I was free. That is where I go.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. I can not wait to get out fishing again with Frank.
State College, Pennsylvania
My first ever guided trip and it was very interesting and quite successful from my perspective. The guide was Frank Drummond – he did a masterful job of not only getting me to some nice spots, but also helped me tremendously with my technique and water-reading ability. That’s exactly what I needed! Fishing pocket water in RMNP is so different from the type of angling I’m used to here in the Midwest – faster water, different flies, and a whole ‘nother way of going after the fish. I think I caught a nice brookie on my second cast, and things just got better after that!
Over the course of the day, I caught many trout – most were in the 10″ range, but I also caught a few that were around or over 13″. And even though the Grand Slam seems to be somewhat of a marketing ploy, I was pretty pleased to catch all five of the species in the stream (brookie, rainbow, cutthroat, cuttbow, and brown). The brown was the treat – we had to move down the stream a bit in the afternoon, and the action was tapering off (I was also getting a little tired and sloppy at that altitude). What was special about catching the brown was that I tossed the fly above a boulder and watched it drift into a lie. I was surprised to clearly see the brown come up from the bottom, grab the fly, jump clear of the water, and take off on a little run. Ususally, I feel the tug, set the hook, and go from there, but this time, I got to see the whole thing unfold. In all, it was a very successful outing, and I can’t think af a better guide/mentor than Frank – check him out.