Carney Column: Check that one off the bucket list, Dad
Just under three years ago, making my way West for the first newspaper job of my career coming out of grad school, I passed through Western Colorado with my Dad in tow. During that time traveling west on I-70, my Dad caught of glimpse of the Colorado River, and make the remark that he had to fish that fast-flowing river just once while I lived here in the area.
Check that one off the bucket list, Dad.
Last week, my Dad made the flight out to Western Colorado for the first time since I moved out here in September ’15. While here for a full week, my Dad and I picked up fly fishing for the first time in our lives, and fished the Colorado and Fryingpan Rivers, as well as Ruedi Reservoir.
Although I didn’t catch a single thing over four days of fishing (my Dad caught two, yet claims three, even though he didn’t pull the third out of the water completely), it was nice just to be able to fish with my Dad once again. Growing up, the first day of trout season in Western Pennsylvania was a joyous time for us as a family, because it meant we’d spend the day on the bank of the nearest creek, ripping rainbow trout out of the water. Plus, I got to miss school, since we’d usually be in the mountains hours away from my hometown, spending time at my grandfather’s camp.
As I grew older and went off to college, that stopped happening as much. I believe that after I went to college — both undergraduate and graduate school — I think I fished with my Dad roughly three times total. That simply wasn’t good enough.
Once I moved to Colorado, I pretty much gave up fishing altogether. Not once in the few years prior to my Dad’s trip out last week did I touch my fishing pole, largely because I didn’t have time, and I didn’t really know what the best places to fish were, as I did at home.
But once my Dad planned his trip out over Memorial Day weekend, I knew it was time to get back into fishing, even if that meant trading in my standard fishing pole for a fly fishing rod.
Learning how to fly fish isn’t easy, but it was fun just being on the water with my Dad, taking some time away from work to do something relaxing while enjoying the natural beauty of my surroundings here in Western Colorado.
I have to give a special thank-you shoutout to Peter at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt for helping my Dad and me learn how to cast outside of the shop one afternoon, while also setting us up with the right flies and gear for the week. Without his generosity, my Dad and I would have had to figure things out ourselves, and probably made fools of ourselves on the rivers.
While the Colorado wasn’t great to fish in, due to the fast-moving water, and the depth in certain areas we were told to fish in, my Dad and I still enjoyed the experience. But what really made the trip was the drive up to the Ruedi Reservoir. It was a picture-perfect day, and we found the perfect hole, right near the mouth of the Fryingpan River that feeds into the reservoir. At that hole, my fiancée, Karlie, relaxed on the bank near a picnic table, hanging out with our dog, Chance, while my Dad and I fished in the Fryingpan.
There, my Dad yanked two fish out of the river with his fly rod. Seeing the smile on his face made it all worth it. He talked about wanting to do a fishing trip in Colorado while I was out here, and he did it. Catching something made the trip worth it for him.
With that box checked off on my Dad’s Colorado bucket list, up next is an elk guided hunt. That might take some time, considering the cost, but with as much fun as we had fishing on our own, I can’t imagine how great of a time a guided hunt for elk will be.