The Grape Escape
Our trip to the Grape Creek, dubbed the "Grape Escape" by fellow FlyCaster Josh Ryon, was a huge success! It was the epitome of the FlyCast way of life. Not only did we explore one of Colorado's few remaining hidden gems, where the tourist were few and the fish were plenty, but we had a chance to generate some excitement around the sport for some of our newer FlyCast Lady Anglers.
The Trek In
It all started with what seemed to be an ambitious plan, as it was still March and if there is one thing you can count on in Colorado, it's the unpredictable weather. We were reminiscent of a similar trip we had made the same weekend a year ago, to Goose Creek, and the prospect of reenacting such a trip was all we needed. The Grape Escape took us down some long and questionable dirt roads, but the destination was well worth the stress on our struts and shocks. The trailhead was empty aside from Josh's Jeep, as he and the gals made it to camp the night before. His Jeep was so kindly marked with orange flagging by his fiance, Ellen Minnick. We made our way down the trail to the creek. It was beautiful and to be honest, we were half expecting it to be frozen so we were especially excited. We continued to follow the orange flags that were placed every 20 feet or so and taking them down as we went. It was a little aggressive, but thanks anyway Ellen! We crossed the creek twice before we finally made it to camp, some of us more prepared than others.
Finally, We Fish!
It couldn't have been more than five minutes upon arrival before we started rigging up our rods. We made our way down stream eager to start fishing, but not before sifting the water for aquatic insect life with our poor man's bug seine (5 gallon paint strainer from HomeDepot). There was an abundance of midge larvae size #20-22. It took us some time to match what the trout wanted, but after an hour or so of changing flies and adjusting our depth, the switch flipped and the fishing was lights out. The fish were relentless on the black beauty midge. Much to our surprise, the Grape Creek had some fairly deep holes along various rock features where the fish could swim in and out of the feeding lanes while staying fairly hidden from predators. We ended the day with a handful of fish and proceeded to take part in the traditional campfire festivities, you know, beer drinking and campfire dogs...with an extra emphasis on the beer drinking. Josh, however, may have gotten an early start to such festivities as he somehow managed to completely submerse himself in less than a foot of water on the walk back to camp.
The Trip Had To Come To An End, But Before That...
I woke up to a subtle headache and some cold toes, but thank God for Charley, my loyal canine fishing partner, for keeping me warm all night...she prefers to sleep in my bag and frankly so do I. Despite the mysterious person/creature outside of Lily's tent and the resulting pile of fecal matter between two tents, everyone got a decent night's sleep. I stepped out my tent, scanned the campground to find no one was awake, so i grabbed my rod and hit the honey hole down stream. If I thought the day before was great, the next morning was even better. I was catching fish left and right. With each cast they got bigger and more eager to fight. My hands were numb and my line was freezing, but I couldn't stop. It was getting to a point were I felt guilty for not running back and grabbing my friends to come and get in on the action. Eventually I said to myself, "Okay, one more and I'll run back". Three, maybe four fish later, I walked back to camp to gather my fishing compadres.
Just when I thought the day couldn't get any better, we had all of our FlyCast Lady Anglers hooked into numerous fish. Emma (bottom left) caught her first fish on a fly rod and it was the catch of the day! She proceeded to catch a couple more and you could see her hunger for a tight line grow stronger. Chelsea (middle) caught her first fish of 2018 and is gunning for more. Ellen managed to fight the headache and dehydration from the nights fun and hooked into a couple fish. It was incredible learning experience for the entire group and at the end of the day, that is what FlyCast is all about.