all things good and bad must eventually come to an end…

…this trip was exceptionally good…and I will leave it and you with a few thoughts…

          This trip was sort of an epiphany for me…I pursued it as hard as I do one of  my stone masonry jobs…all out…and the rewards were many…but its amazing how much better I became at reading water and setting up after so many days of really working hard at it…making clutch casts within inches of nasty roots and limb…right where they live!…tying on a special pattern…plotting a drift…never giving up…then getting to spend a few seconds with a prize…then watching it whip its tail and dart away! little segments of time is how it all appears now that its over…

~ here are a few parting remarks and my favorite pictures of the trip~

~and a link to the whole road trip~


rt_332a…incredible close up of a beautiful brown~

~the detail and intricacies get more incredible the closer you look!~

~the size 18 Rs2 looks so primitive compared to this fishes colors, textures and features~

rt_32~the only kind of “natural fire” that’s welcome in the Colorado Rockies~

~what started out in mid September amidst the glory of Rocky Mountain Autumn, and ran into the early part of November, allowed me to see not only the seasonal change, but also a crucial part of the cycle of life for Brown Trout~


rt_221a~birds eye view of a big Brook trout trying to eat my net~


          ~ Quite frankly the blessing of God on it all is something I will always remember~

…a trip I worked pretty darn hard  to be able to pull off…many times thinking it wouldn’t happen…


rt_255~look at the reflections in this browns eye~


When gas prices were up I was pretty sad…then they dropped…and at 10-12 mpg it makes a difference…but I made it on a shoestring…and that was probably more fun than if I was bankrolled…


rt_194~incredible colors of the huge Brook trout I caught ~

I ate a lot of the chili and peaches we put up this summer…and my old grill got a workout for sure…I made so many pots of coffee I cant even begin to count…never did a meal coffee or taste so good!



~colors not usually associated with Colorado are around for a brief time for those that appreciate them~


rt_330~another beautiful brown~


rt_362~Big Horn sheep cross the freestone by my home regularly~

…since the “rut” was in full swing they let me get a little closer than normal…this guy had his hands full!

…there were three younger rams and probably a dozen ewes in this herd…

…there was a front moving in and they had feed on their minds…



My finger tips got so cracked and bleeding from the cold water and dry air after about two weeks of dipping my hands in water releasing fish that I had a hard time lacing my boots up…but the second I saw the shadows of my “finned friends” I would forget all about the pulsing fingertips…and tied up another rig…


rt_350~a gorgeous spot on my local freestone about 2000 feet higher than my home(10,500 ft.)~

…my Simms waders are as good as new(7 years old)…no new barbed wire tears…my G-3’s (both pairs)do need a good coating of shoe polish and conditioner…I did break two rod tips…good ole truck doors & wind at Walden…I used at least12 dozen flie…three spools of #5 tippet…about 10 leaders…I lost a whole set of dropper rigs from all hand tied flies…ouch!…I repaired one net…after I slid about 15 feet down a little cliff in Cheesman Canyon…buts all good now…just a few screws and some glue…


rt_296~a brute that had black fins~


I lost stuff…I found stuff…the river keeps track! I used about 8 cans of propane for my stove and grill…I went through three pairs of reading glasses(cant tie up rigs w/o)…but managed to keep my nice Costas(ten years old!)…about  three pounds of bacon…three pounds of coffee…about a dozen jars of canned goods…chili, peaches and corn…


rt_44~you’re never homeless when your house is on your truck~

…the 1967 Chevrolet performed just fine…


I made at least 15 new friends that I would love to(and will) connect with again…also discovered a few really nice fly shops…and a one or two I will never visit again(snob shops, 2 bucks a fly and lousy advice!)…discovered some new places in Colorado I will never forget…and visited some of my all time favorites too…


rt_292~one of the nicest fish from the trip~


The camper I built that has been my home has become something much more than a place to sleep…and the rods and nets I made much much more than just items to fish with…much like my stone masonry and carpenters tools I have used and cared for , for over 40 years…some of my newly made gear this year has become things I will cherish like my other tools.


rt_339~one of my rigs I used…the “Native Angler”~

…who says you cant land a 7 pound fish with a 4wt.bamboo?…

Some of the pictures I took with the 2nd string deal blew my mind…(my mainstay SLR broke a few days before I left) indeed the Creator works on a level I never knew before existed!and I still am waiting for Samsung to make me their official “Wandering Monk” angler…LOL



…The bamboo rods became an extension of my arm and hands…

…almost effortlessly obeying the thoughts in my head…



…the feeling of accomplishment having the gear I crafted perform so well was an incredible reward in itself…

rt_95~eggs from the brown spawn…mid October~

                 All the fish released became much more than just quarry…but an extension of all I love in the outdoors…seeing them whip their tail and be gone is a feeling of joy and that,not only with the bruisers, but also the smaller critters too…it made me feel very close to not only the stream, but also a point of being in touch with myself…most of all knowing some other lucky person might get a chance to meet them too!


rt_64~yes, a room with a view~

I have guided every day in falls past…but never had scenarios like the ones I saw evolve…then, always trying to please someone else…this time it was just me…every angler should do something similar more than once…


rt_322~Mr BlackTail~

                      I have been working on firewood for almost a week and watched some beautiful afternoons come and go…not fishing…because I’m still reflecting on a few new friends I met…like Mr BlackTail!


rt_78~beautiful freestone shot~


…thanks for entering in…I wish you all well…wm


~best fish of my whole trip…a 23″ brown…

~”Indian Summer” commemorative carving of Mr. “BlackTail”~

                    I am currently working with an artist friend who hand carves trout from heart pine , then stains, dyes and paints specific details…and creates an incredible work of art …he is making up some carvings for me painted in a way to be reminiscent of this big “BlackTail”…I will be offering them to friends and customers that have been following along with me on the trip, and be something to share with them and all the experiences from it and hang  up in their home or office …a series of signed & numbered 1-100…I will have some pictures up in a week or two…contact me for more details…

all photos and text are property of Wandering Monk Fly Rod
and can be only used with permission
~a big brook trout up close~




~some friends just passing through the neighborhood~

“the true wandering monks”

~moving before the storm~

rt_403~with “the flick of a switch”, one of my favorite runs turns from Indian Summer to winter…two nights of below “O” degree temperatures  , 8″ of snow, and the freestone is all but closed up…until next year!~

rt_404~under this spot is where I hooked my nicest brown of the trip…  now hes back downstream in deeper water , just like me waiting until next year~


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