There’s a chile roaster in a just about every grocery store parking lot. The aspen trees are changing from green to bright yellow and orange. All of the trout have decked themselves out in their best fall colors. Mornings are brisk, usually in the 40s; afternoons are full-on summer. For me, this is the most magical time of the year and usually one of the hardest.
In years past, this is the week that Jacob and I would pack up our little Subaru, full of beer that we couldn’t find back East and goodies that we couldn’t live without, usually a collection of rocks and other treasures found along trout streams. It’s the time of year that we say “see ya’ later” to the place we love so much, but not this year.
We pulled off the highway on the road up North into a lot with not another car to be found, no hikers and fortunately, no other fishermen. I stared off into the canyon wondering where fall was, hoping that since there were only spots of gold we'd have a few more trips up here before winter. It’s still wet wading season, the water may be a little colder, but it’s offset nicely by the warmth of the sun. We loaded up and headed down into that canyon, spotting the fish from up high. How these fish aren’t extinct from osprey is beyond me, clear water and wide open streams can be hazardous for trout.
Jacob and I have a system in small streams, one fishes a hole and the other hangs back until a fish is landed, then we swap. Mostly it works well unless the fishing is awful or superb, then things get tricky. On this particular day, it was the later, as it always seems to be around here. I hung back watching Jacob, as fish ate almost every cast, but none to the net. I’ve been at this with him for long enough to know that it isn’t because he’s having trouble with a hook set or that the fish are being finicky, no, it’s a skill. You see, Jacob has the expertise to shake off fish before they’re landed. I suppose it comes with the territory of being a guide on the East coast during the hot summer months or maybe it’s his way of cheating our balanced system. Either way, one of us ends up with more fishing time.
I’ve been trying to find harmony myself lately. Understand that there’s no need to hide away as much of Colorado as I can because this year I’m not leaving, this year I’m already home, there’s nothing to say goodbye to. I’m controlling my urge to buy up as many roasted chile’s as I can, there’ll be more at the grocery next time I come. There’s no need to consume as much “Boxcar Red” or “El Duende Green Chile Ale” as I can manage, possibly harming my liver, I can stop by the brewery anytime. It’s all right here at my fingertips, well, at least until the season changes.
When we reached the last big hole Jacob took the time to make sure I got enough time fishing, he usually does at the end of the day. Maybe it’s guilt or he’s just tired, I don’t know. He handed over his bamboo rod, a personal build, and told me to fish away, a rarity in itself. I stood there, catching fish after fish and understanding that I didn’t mind the wait because this would be here tomorrow and next week and next month. I suppose I could get disgruntled with his little "shake off" shenanigans, but there’s no need to be greedy about it because the fish are still there and still biting and I’m still standing here, ready to see what’s next.