In advance of this trip, I contacted my friend Dave Budniakiewicz. Dave and I got to be good friends while we both lived in Baltimore. I fished and he was the manager of a local fly shop so it was inevitable that we would get to know each other. We also both served on the local Trout Unlimited board which gave us the opportunity to know each other better. With that, we would occasionally fish, drink, laugh and enjoy a hot bowl of Pho together. When he told me he was moving to Minturn, Colorado to run a shop there, I was bummed, but also quite excited for him. Of course, he knew I was working on my own dream of moving to Montana. Dave since moved to Minturn Angler's newest store in Parker, Colorado (outside of Denver) and we needed to get on the water together..period. He was in!
Before my trip, I did a bit of research on the river, mainly to find out what kind of fish one might find. The size of the trout that can be caught there is impressive. However, as soon as I saw that there were Kokanee in the river, that is all I could focus on. Sure, there are HUGE Brown Trout to be had, but I could not stop thinking about the Salmon and told Dave THAT was the fish I wanted to catch.
The forecast for the day looked to be on the cusp of miserable and it delivered. When we arrived there were not as many vehicles that we expected. Perhaps the wind and chill kept most away..smart people! We walked the river looking for a good spot to stop, but found that most of the good holes were taken. We finally decided to to fish the water up stream of a huge hole. There we so many Kokanee that the water had pinkish-red hue..it was crazy. Dave and I watched as the fella fishing the hole brought in fish..after fish..after fish. Some of respectable size too.
The rod of choice for this day was the brand new 6wt Mystic Sapphyre. In full disclosure, I had a tiny part in how this rod was built. The owner of Mystic, Dennis Klein, had contacted me during the summer of 2013 (ironically at the suggestion of Dave) to give him some feedback on a rod he was looking to build. One specifically for the female fly fisher. I was so in! Dennis sent me a couple of rods. One to fish with and one to give feedback on the color, which was spectacular. At the time I lived in Baltimore and the rod arrived just in time for my yearly trip to Montana, so I packed it. I had never fished or even held a Mystic rod, so I didn't know what to expect. I fished it twice...on the Gallatin River (one of my favs) and it performed beautifully. I tend to like a medium action rod and even though this one is marked as fast, I'm not sure I agree with the assessment. The one suggestion I had for Dennis was the grip. After hours of fishing, my hand was a bit tired from holding a grip that large. I suggested that if he were to make one adjustment, that would be it.
So here I am, getting ready to fish the Dream Stream with this beautiful rod. The color that was chosen for the Sapphyre was blue. How refreshing that a fly rod made for women wasn't bathed in pink. In the sun, the blue is translucent and nearly indescribable. In combination with the violet thread and silver wraps, the Sapphyre is a stunner to look at. And the grip, smaller for the petite hand. Thanks, Dennis!
Using my Hardy Ultralite 5000 DD reel with the 6wt Sapphyre was the perfect choice for this windy day. Well that is..once I actually got on the water. Dave got me set up to fish with a fly, lead and a strike indicator which, in that wind, was going to be quite the challenge. I flipped the rod round and knots from hell! He detangled and I was off. The wind did make it a challenging day, but I was and am really happy with how the rod performed. It cut through the wind better than I had expected and truly exceeded my expectations. While it wasn't a barn burner of day fish wise, I not only crossed another river off my list, but I accomplished my mission of catching a Kokanee..and a nice one at that!
Would love to return to the Dream Stream this summer and will most definitely give Dave a call. You should too!
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Hardy Ultralite 5000 DD