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Cold Ones with the Boys, Part 1

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

It's been a busy summer full of float fishing trips, and last Friday was no different. A couple of my friends gave me a shout last week about getting on the boat for some bank pounding and beer drinking. Naturally, I have absolutely no opposition to those requests, so we made it happen.

Before we get into how the day went, I want to introduce our boat: Thicc Shippy a.k.a the Skytanic. Our boat is a 14' saturn raft we bought at the start of the pandemic (putting those stimmy checks to work!) She features a very basic frame and isn't even really a fishing boat... yet. I'm aiming to get lean bars and all the fittings installed by next summer. It would have happened this year, but buying a house cut into our spare change for a while. We've rowed our boat on the Animas, upper Colorado, and of course the Arkansas. She's an awesome floater!

The guys and I settled on a Friday morning float that would take us down 12 miles of rocky waters. Dwelling on my float with Tanner and Eric prior to this trip, I figured the faster water would produce well on streamers. I told the guys to stock up on mini dungeons, slumpbusters, and whatever else was bright and flashy.

We hopped out the house early Friday and made our way to the boat ramp. A quick unload and rigging session followed by a shuttle run later, we were on the water and making our way through some seriously skinny water. Conveniently, the river flows began to drop earlier in the week and the water was warmer than it had been in a while. We were still in safe fishing threshold (under 65 degrees is my limit), and began tossing streamers at every pool we found.

The fishing started slow, with tons of follows but no big takes. Breaking through the morning shade seemed to be our key to success that day; once we were in the sun, the fish started talking smack at our meat wads and answered our call. Stosh got into the first couple of fish at the front of the boat.

The streamer bite was on that morning. We found that a relaxed strip with a decent pause was the recipe for takes. I personally find the retrieve more important than the fly when fishing streamers from the boat. Fast strips work well in fast water, short strips work well on the shelves. It takes time to figure out the best retrieve for the water you're working, but be patient and diverse in your retrieve. Something will work eventually, unless it doesn't. That happens too.

We continued on through the float, enjoying some smack talk and some crispy cold ones. We eddied out for a quick lunch of last night's pizza before starting the second half of the expedition. The guys switched positions in the boat, and Jordan took over the bow. He slapped some big boogers into pools and eddies before bringing in the only rainbow trout of the trip.

The second half of the trip was a bit slower than the morning. We had a handful of follows and a couple eager eaters that spit the hooks, but otherwise we just chatted and lazily lobbed a few flies around in the down time. I blame the dropping flows and warm temperatures, and definitely not our abilities. I think it was also raining in Atlanta that day, which probably affected the bite here in Colorado. Sound logic.

The trip took around 6 hours and left us all with a few well-earned blisters. It was great to get out with these guys, they fish hard. We are definitely moving into autumn now, even if the thermometer doesn't show it. I'm thrilled to finish off the summer with trips like these and often use these trips to learn more about the river. We found some awesome spots, soaked up the late summer sun, and had a blast. Hoping for days like these next summer, too.

Fish on, my friends.

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