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It’s late September and Rod Stewart says I should be back at school but we went camping on the Gunnison River instead. I haven’t been her since the flood but I found the river in typical low flow with a noticeable ring of silt along the edges. The new campground had one occupant in our favorite spot but we settled into a fine sight under the cottonwoods and the bright blue skies. It was warm, 80’s with no wind and the trees were just starting to turn yellow with the occasional leaf dropping onto our camp chairs. After setting up and a nap in the open air the shadows started to show on the opposite shore so I suited up and entered the tail out of the camp pool. At the edge clouds of silt were disrupted as I stepped into the stream but the volume diminished as I reached swifter water and I found the tail an easy crossing via a upstream detour to the far side eliminating a half mile walk to a known crossing down stream.

I moved up to the broken water, where a man made rock ledge has been placed, and stripped off eight pull of line and sent out my first cast into the bubbles below the rocks. The current pulled the fly down on the upstream cast and with several mends the drift into the slowing water was good. Two strips and fly was taken with a heavy thud. The rainbow exploded out of the seam twisting and spraying droplets in her efforts to shake the hook and as the loose line was taken the reel began to sing that old familiar tune. Soon my first fish of the day was held, a nice upper teen’s rainbow hen taken on my namesake fly on virtually my first good drift, a nice start. And so the evening went, fish responding in the likely places, missing many, hooking some and the caddis were so thick they would obscure my vision at times. Large rises in shallow waters, with good fish follows and even hooking a four inch brown that I sent into the brush behind me as I was making a new cast. All sizes of fish were present on this part of the stream so I would think the flood from last month did not harm the population as much as stated.

With the surrounding hills now just capped in the golden hue of the setting sun I returned to my crossing point and made a few cast into the broken water and my last fish was a brown of equal size to the first captured today. He had the look of a fish entering spawning mode with beautiful colors and spots and that kype jaw the males will grow. I released him back to his river and negotiated the crossing in the fading light. Seeing our campfire in the distance and knowing my wife is preparing dinner I quickened my pace but at the edge the heavy silt buttered the bottom and I lost my footing. I found myself sitting in a cloud of down drifting muck, caddis and mayflies buzzing around my head and with a smile on my face laughing at my clumsiness. A great final day of summer on a home river with a humbling end, too bad I was the only one to see it.
 
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