A Big Rainbow Trout I Landed Today

Spring Fishing in Colorado

It was a beautiful spring day in Colorado, it was in the low 80’s with high clouds that cleared up in the afternoon to a gorgeous blue sky with a slight breeze from the northeast.  I had been waiting for this day for four months to the day.  It was January 3rd when I hurt my back and was unable to do anything at all since then.  After surgery in mid-March, I was itching to get outside, although I wasn’t sure what to expect with my condition.  The farthest I had walked until today was about 10 city blocks yesterday to meet a friend for lunch, and that was all on level concrete.

Today I was headed to an area two miles east of my home that has five lakes and the South Platte River flowing through it.  I figured it would be a fairly easy place to walk around, even with my large back brace and a 15 pound back pack full of tackle, water, and food.  I knew I was pushing it a bit, especially since I am not supposed to lift anything more than 5 pounds for at least another month, but I was feeling pretty good and couldn’t wait to get outside.  After I parked my truck, I put on my pack, grabbed my spinning rod, and headed into the wildlife area.


Cormorants on a Log

I headed towards Red Tail Lake, staying on the walking path or worn trails all the time, testing out how my back was feeling.  It felt so good to be outside in the wild again, hearing and watching the birds, looking at the landscape that was more green than brown as spring chased away the final grips of winter.  I had this sense of freedom in me that I haven’t had in such a long time.  Just to be able to be out walking like that felt amazing to me, and even the smallest things, like the scurrying of a small animal in the underbrush, or the sight of Cormorants sitting on a huge log in the lake, were exciting to me.

After a quarter mile or so I came to the river flowing serenely past the brush and cottonwoods along its banks.  The water was deep and clear, inviting me to toss in a lure, but the bank was too steep for me to attempt going down, so I followed along the path above the river for a while.  There were

South Platte River

South Platte River that runs through this area.

Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks all over the area, protecting their nesting areas.  The geese would come running at me to keep me away, and the drake mallards would fly away from their nesting areas to draw my attention towards them.  Then they would sneak back in and fly away again, trying to distract me from their nesting site.  I was very careful though not to disturb anything or any wildlife, I know this is a critical time for them and their young.

I broke away from the river and walked to Red Tail Lake to start fishing.  I had been walking for almost an hour by then, going at a very slow pace.  I found a place to shuffle down the gravelly slope to the shoreline of the lake, rigged my rod with a Kastmaster, and started casting out into the lake.  There wasn’t much room for me to move around on the bank of the lake, but I was content to be casting a lure and feeling the sunshine on my face.  I stayed there for a while, then walked around the lake, just exploring it and enjoying being outside.

According to the solunar tables, which predict the best activity times for fish and wildlife based on the phases of the moon, there would be a major feeding period from 3 PM to 5 PM with the peak being at 4PM.  I wanted to be at Eagle Watch Lake for that time period since I am more familiar with where to fish on that lake.  I am a firm believer in the solunar tables, and they would prove to be accurate today.  It took me about 45 minutes to get from Red Tail Lake to Eagle Watch Lake, and I arrived at one of my favorite fishing spots right at 3PM.

I fished there for the next two hours, and I only caught two fish, a good sized rainbow and a monster rainbow trout that took me about 4 minutes to bring in with a very exciting fight.  He was a hawg!  He jumped high out of the water, he took off on runs peeling line off of my reel, and as I got him close he tried to dive for every underwater structure he could find.  It was a very exciting fight, and after taking his picture I was happy to release him to fight another day.

Eagle Watch Lake

Eagle Watch Lake

I didn’t get any bites after that, so I headed back for the truck at 5:30, hungry for dinner and ready to call it a day.  And what a day it was for me!  If you read any of my articles from a few months ago I probably said it would be June before I would be able to get out and enjoy the outdoors, so today was an incredible victory for me!  I walked about four miles, was able to enjoy the outdoors again for the first time in four months, and caught a couple of nice fish along the way.  It was a great spring day of fishing in Colorado.