by Kelly Bastone
I'm tempted to join them—I've basked through plenty of afternoons here. Not today, though.
Once the snow warms past the point of good corn skiing, I trade my ski pants for waders and drive five minutes from the slopes to the Yampa River, where early spring offers a precious window of angling opportunity. By May, I'll find the river blown out with snowmelt, which puts the kibosh on good fishing. But today, in late March, the water's still calm and clear. And the warm air keeps my line guides from freezing up. The sun also rouses the trout, which sip stoneflies and midges that hatch on the snowbanks.
I toss out a nymph, but my eyes wander from its drift. It's been six months since I last stood in the Yampa, and I'm as eager to take stock of the water as I am to hook a fish. Nuggets of snow sparkle atop the boulders. A dusky scent rises from the emerging patches of grass. My ears strain to catch every variation of the water's song. It hints at the many days of fishing I have to look forward to—on the same day I got to savor skiing's last blast.
General InformationSteamboat Flyfisher; Steamboat Springs
The guides based at this Steamboat fly shop claim to see the year's biggest rainbows in March when they "enter their pre-spawn hyperactivity and the males become aggressive." Outings on the Yampa include a 20-minute snowmobile tour to open water and lunch. [steamboatflyfisher.com]
From the Spring 2010 issue