Weekend Chase: Fall Browns on the Rio Grande

I’m woken by the sleep talking of a three year old “where are you going with that?…let’s take the horses down to the river”. Once he falls silent, I lay in this ocean of a bed remembering last night’s tequila and lime drinks (solid bar tending, Matt, thank you) only for the silence to be broken again by said three year old “Mama? Are we at the hotel?”.

I explain that it’s a townhouse, but yes, we’re at the hotel…”it’s so cozy…”. My husband releases a sleep deprived chuckle, apparently he was stirred awake, too. And again, silence. 

As I make my way downstairs, barefoot and blurry-eyed, to some 6am coffee, I realize I haven’t walked down stairs to make coffee in a long time. Living in a house where everything is centrally located on one floor is convenient, and after a night catching up with friends and making new ones, stairs can be quite the nemesis. As I slam my toe into an unseen piece of furniture en route to the kitchen, I come to – apparently my brain wasn’t quite ready for such philosophical thought – crack a coconut water, and work my way through a French press. 

The wind is light and the sun is just starting to make itself known. I grab my pack and sift through flies. Last night, I heard stories of emergers coming off and big browns coming in. I had never fished this stretch of water, but I’m getting stoked for the chance. The Rio Grande Club in southern Colorado has a semi-private stretch of water and I hear this section of the Rio Grande is especially loaded with big browns and hungry bows.

As the caffeine starts kicking in, I grab my pack and sift through boxes of flies. I decide with the breeze and cold temperatures, nymphing will be my best choice on what feels like an exceptionally fall morning. Keep them small and keep them heavy, I tell myself. 

Fast forward a couple hours and I’m sufficiently caffeinated and river-bound, walking past one of the 18-holes the Club offers, but my sights are set on a nice riffle I heard about the night before. They say this 1-mile stretch of Gold Metal water is loaded with hundreds of hungry trout, and I’m ready to get myself some.

The water is cold, the breeze is blowing stronger, and the call of big fall browns is strong. I’m into my third cast below an eddy as I see a couple of other fly anglers chit-chatting on the opposite bank. I lift my line, stuck. No…Fish. Of course I forgot my net. 

Cast after cast, I find myself landing gorgeous browns and rainbows. I hike a bit, another one slams my fly. I take a break to sip some more coffee and soak in the late morning sun. Cast, cast, fish to hand. 

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I don’t get a lot of days on the water where every other cast brings a fish in, but that day on the Rio Grande was a special one. Was it fishing a fresh stretch of water? Or maybe the especially delicious coffee that morning? I chase fish, not to find them, but to see what else I might find in the pursuit of the finned ones. Whatever it is, it keeps me coming back for more, apparently. 

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