Fishing the South Platte. Heaven on Earth!

South Platte, Back Exit Tonkawa, Near Hartsel, Colorado

I fished my ass off this Friday. Second time out with friend and fishing guide, Bill. He’s got the bug. I’ve got the bug. I’ve never been so tired in my life after walking miles up and down the South Platte near

South Platte, Deckers, Colorado, last Friday in June, 2010

Hartsel. It was awesome! We were the first out in our area. Picked him up in Florissant at 5 a.m., stopped for gas, ice for the Coronnas and headed on down Hwy 24 to hwy 9. This is the route I took home from Breckenridge when the kids were visiting to ski in March.  Wilkerson Pass is gorgeous and I understand why the Indians settled there on the gorgeous golden prairie that slides right into the jutting snow-covered mountains.

By 7:30 a.m. , Bill pulled in his first big one, however, not big enough to keep. This wild brown trout measured in at 18 inches. Needed to be over 21. I caught about 7 med. to little browns and returned them to the winding river and Bill says he caught a total of 25. I didn’t witness all of them….He scooted ahead of me sometimes along the winding curve of the river. My shins and calves are sunburned, bug bitten and bush scratched. I had to sit down a couple of times and enjoyed a Coronna and nectarine while experiencing the most beautiful scent of sage and flowers that bordered the river. There were wild irises and yellow columbines too that quilted the grass and sage.

Beer and nectarine break along the South Platte

The areas that looked like the only place to hide one’s buttocks while relieving ones self looked like a perfect meeting place for mountain lions so after about 5 hours I talked Bill back to the car for a drive

Friend and fishing guide, Bill. Hob cafe and Saloon in Hartsel, Colorado

18 inch wild brown trout

to Hartsel and I had the best patty melt in the strangest old historical musty bar, the Hob Cafe and Saloon. They had dollar bills taped up all over the ceiling and walls. It was good to relax while looking across the hwy at the “Hartsel Jail.” Lots of tourists and Harley dudes and dudettes were hanging out for refreshment too.

Patty melt in Hartsel

After lunch, we explored other parts of the Platte as dark clouds, thunder and lightning moved in. We joked around about the lightning and Bill laughed at my healthy fear of Colorado lightning as I scooted back to the car. He said he’s ready to go and it might as well be by lightning. I asked him if he wanted to be resuscitated and he said, hell no. I told him I recently had a trip to see my grandsons and Pete and Benny and I really hit it off so I’d like to stay around a couple more years if possible…

We then went back to our honey hole where we started early in the morning.  By then I was pretty exhausted because I didn’t get much sleep the night before and got up at 4 a.m., however, I walked another mile or two along the river casting along the way. By five we decided it was time to head home. Traffic was wild and crazy and drivers were dangerous as we headed towards Wilkerson Pass and Florissant, our home base. I crashed and slept a gazillion hours dreaming of the sweet smelling sage, the gorgeous winding gurgling river, wild brown trout and the snow speckled mountains in the background. Doesn’t get better than that.

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