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Colorado Wilderness Cutthroat on a Killer Blue
by Paul Vertrees
(Canon City, CO)
In mid-July, a friend and I horse and mule packed about 12 miles up into the headwaters of a wilderness stream, high in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. I was taking a test run with a potential horsepacker for future guided fly fishing trips offered by the fly shop I guide for. We spent the first day riding up a nice trout stream and topping out over 12,000 feet before dropping down into the next drainage. Just below our hidden camp ran the upper reaches of a wonderful canyon stream filled with feisty brook trout, and some surprisingly big Snake River Cutthroats. The morning of the second day we dropped about a quarter mile below and started fishing. Both of us had packed along our tenkara rods, and I had tied up a blue variation of Chris Stewart's Killer Kebari, using his blue yarn, blue hackle, and blue thread. Matter of fact, even the hooks I used had been supplied by Chris! After just an hour of fishing, we had both caught cutts in the 18-19" range. We were totally blown away by the size of these trout, given the very small size of the stream and the elevation, which was over 11,200'. Here's just one of several cutts caught that morning. The Killer Blue took them all!
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
"Study to be quiet." - Izaak Walton 1653
"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662
As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma