.001  |  Seven Miles to Heaven

.001 | Seven Miles to Heaven

With the Spring runoff lagging behind a month and close local rivers raging we were itching to get out, to explore and swing some flies in hopes of landing some Brook trout, Colorado Cutthroats, and the feisty Tiger trout.

Days leading up to the trip it seemed that every hour we were refreshing snoflo.org in hopes to see water levels drop a bit and they finally did. Our wait was over! Well, all except the 2.5 hour drive into the 9,000+ mountainous elevation and the 30 minute detour to the nearest outdoor store for a new pair of boots. Sorry mates. :)

We fish this stream once a year but this particular stretch of stream was new to us. We turned off the main road and headed north along a ridge. With the river hidden from our view, we drove for seven miles only to find the road access blocked. At this point we hadn't seen the stream once. With a bit of wonder and excitement we were anxious to see if we were even in the right place or if the road ahead would take us to the stream. With a quick run to the top of the hill we saw what we came for, a beautiful valley with a small high-mountain stream. For me, the 3 hour drive had just paid off.


high mountain stream and valley


With our rods ready we made the hike down to the stream. Standing by the small mountain stream we searched for bug life and with the weather being a breezy 65°F the on-surface bug life didn't result to much. We turned over some rocks, found some San Juan Worms and what appeared to be Stonefly or Caddisfly larvae.

With that knowledge we tied on Stonefly patterns, a black Hares Ear and a Prince Nymph - both with gold beads. We were going to nymph our way through the morning.

Not seeing or spooking many fish we began to wonder if the seven mile trek to this beautiful valley was worth it or if we should have stuck to where we had success every year prior.

Just as we were about to head up to the truck, FISH ON!


Colorado Cutthroat in net Fly Fishing

Our first fish on this stretch was a nice Colorado Cutthroat. After fishing for a bit longer we trekked up to the truck ready to make the drive up stream but in order to go up we needed to go around.

Thirty minutes later we were back at the stream examining the bug life. The wind had subsided and there was a bit more life in the air so we took to the dries and tied on some Caddisflies.

Swinging dry flies requires a bit of expertise on this stretch due to the willows and brush but it wasn't long before we were all hooking up with some nice fish. The trophy of the day definitely belongs to this Tiger trout.


Tiger Trout catch and release


This Tiger trout was definitely the fish of the trip. Tiger trout are known for their fight and this one did not disappoint.
Over the course of the rest of the day we ended up catching several more Tiger trout, Brook trout, and Colorado Cutthroats. A trip well worth waking up early for.
With every trip we take that is out of the norm of fishing close by we test out new rods, new bags, flies, and reels hoping to design and build the best fly fishing and outdoor gear for our customers.

Fly rods we tested:
  • San Juan 9 foot, 4 weight, 4 piece (best fly rod we have designed and all around solid rod)
  • Unnamed 7 foot, 2 weight, 6 piece (a great fly rod for these small streams but would prefer something in the 8 foot range)
  • Unnamed 8.6 foot, 3 weight, 4 piece (great rod for these conditions)
Fly reels we tested:
  • Unnamed aluminum 2 weight (perfect for the 7 foot fly rod)
  • Unnamed carbon fiber aluminum hybrid 4 weight (light, durable, and great balance - really happy with this one)

Flies we lost in the willows or under water:

  • Caddisfly (2)
  • Prince nymph (1)
  • Light Cahill (1)
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