My Trophies

by Vanhunks Pro-Staff Dan Carns

Every angler has in their mind the idea of a perfect trophy fish. It may be a personal best (PB) Largemouth Bass or a stunning Snook but for me the trophies come from the places I fish. Don’t get me wrong, I want to catch a big fish but when you spend three days catching over hundred wild Brown and Brook trout as I recently did in the  Colorado Rockies they were all trophies.

          I thought I had planned this trip to coincide with warmer weather being the middle of June but once I got closer to my campground in the Rocky Mountains National Park I realized that the surrounding mountains were still snow capped. Not only was there snow but the main rivers were chocolate brown and raging downhill. The biggest river flowing though this part of the Rockies is called the Big Thompson and is a torrent at this time of year although it manages to slow down just a little in this valley called Morriane Park. This is a classic oxbow river cutting back and forth across this valley but I noticed on Google Maps that it splits off as it enters the clearing and a little off shoot stream cuts away to the backside by the valley’s edge. There is a lot of tree coverage and shore line vegetation inhibiting all the fly fisherman from using this area so with my waders on, I hiked in about mile and made my first cast. No less than six trout raced out of this pool towards my lure and it was game on! I fished about a half mile of this clear rocky stream on my first day. Moving about a third of the way up the valley I released around fifty beautiful native Brown Trout. Averaging about six through twelve inches but increasing in size, I began to see less and less evidence of other fisherman as I went.

The next day I decided to return to my original stopping point. Once again I stepped into the very cold brook and hooked a much bigger fish. This turned out to be a repeat of the day before but the fish were now in the twelve to sixteen inch range. I also started catching a fair amount of Brook Trout. I finished the morning with yet another fifty fish or so and called it quits.

On my third day I hiked back up the valley and stepped into the water. On my first cast, about two miles from my truck, I hooked into a twenty five inch monster Brown Trout that proceeded to break my rod during the fight just to let me know who was in charge. I banked her, got a quick photo and released this beauty back into her watery world. Broken rod in hand, a long hike back to the truck but a smile on my face. I was grateful for all the trophies!

Vanhunks Pro-Staff Dan Carns