South Platte

December 18th, 2006

Tributary Five
Honors Fishing, Part 2
By Carl Pudlo, Colorado

Later that year, in July, we again were back hunting the honor trout of Happy Meadows. This time Zachary accompanied Alex and me to the picturesque shores of the South Platte. On this occasion, Zachary chose to fish a section of the river we have named 'Zachary's rock'. This section gets its name from a section of water where the shore juts out with an immense rock. Although this is where Zachary ended the evening fishing, he spent much of his time on a section of water that starts about one hundred fifty yards above Zachary's rock. This section of the South Platte starts with several large rocks breaking the current, causing deep backwashes behind the rocks. After the rocks, the river takes a more casual pace with deep water at the far bank and occasion clusters of rocks creating cover both midstream and along the shore. The river finally takes a faster drop through a section of water better described as a rock garden. The rapids hit the shore where Zachary's rock extends into the water, creating an undercut bank where no cautious wader would venture to go.

I fished downstream from Zachary on a rocky stretch that empties into a sharp right turn. The fishing is excellent through the rocks and rapids and right up to the sharp right turn. I have harvested several honors fish from this section of the river. I was again getting the occasional ten to twelve inch rainbow and brown trout. As it was getting dark, I decided to head back to Zachary and finish the evening. I do not like to walk through this section of the river when it is dark. Small rocks have a tendency to grab your ankles and pull you into the stream for a cold swim.

As I slowly worked my way upstream, avoiding slips on unnoticed rocks, I could see Zachary had a fish on the line. I assumed a small trout, but he kept playing the trout, unable to get it close to land it. As I watched, I could not help hoping he hooked a good trout. Zachary had never caught a really good trout. I could see the trout getting close then taking another run. The runs repeated several times. By the time I got close to see more detail of the action, Zachary had the trout sufficiently tired. He reached down, cradled the trout in his palm, and slowly made his way to shore. Zachary was unhooking the brown trout when I came to shore. It was definitely the honors trout of the evening. It was sixteen inches long, and had a torpedo shaped body. I felt parental pride when I saw the glow of success on Zachary's face. It wasn't the first time Zachary had earned the honors, but it was the largest trout he had ever caught with fly rod and hand tied flies. I cannot help but think that part of the satisfaction Zachary felt was due to the fact he had out-fished both his father and his older brother. All the other times Zachary had earned the honors had been with me alone. This was definitely a move into another level of fishing expertise for a relatively young fly fisherman. It was especially gratifying to me to see both my sons take a step to a higher level of fishing success during the summer of 2001.

To be continued... ~ Carl Pudlo, Colorado

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