By: Suzana Haertzen
A golden mid-October morning found me hiking with my husband, Matt, along Saguache Creek near Saguache, Colorado. The air was cool, the sun was warm, and we could smell the fall in the cool air. We could also see it in the yellows and oranges along the stream and through the valley. Our Brittany Spaniel, Rudy, explored every willow along the way, preferring his meandering way off the trail to the established path, as usual. Matt had read that Saguache Creek promised 100 fish days, so we thought we’d test that theory. Also, for a true angler, any guarantee of good fishing is irresistible.
Matt and I have shared a passion for fly fishing throughout our 25+ year marriage. He learned to fly fish growing up in Alamosa, Colorado, and even dabbled in some fly tying. He introduced me to fly fishing and I took courses in fly tying and rod building. I flew with him for a few years and then we settled into a routine of Mat fishing with flies I tied while sitting on the creek bank taking pictures, reading my book or just enjoying the outdoors.
Matt placed his fly “order” with me a few weeks before our excursion to Saguache Creek. He asked for some #16 Hare’s Ear Specials that he had seen in an AvidMax email among some other flies that he thought would be successful. As we walked along the path, grasshoppers crackled through the air, which convinced him to use an orange rabbit ear stimulator as a dropper.
After a couple of miles of walking, we started looking for good deep fish holes and cut banks for him to cast his fly. Some parts of the creek were very overgrown, some were very flat, but others were perfect. In the first place hopeful, Matt made his first cast. No matter how good the place looked, the first cast came and went without a strike. The next few casts gave the same result. As is often the case, the problem was not the location and certainly not the fly, but his wrong cast. When he was able to place the flies on the edge of the current cast in the correct spot, he caught his first brown trout of the day. The first fish of the day is always exciting, and I try to snap a photo before he posts it – then he has proof it wasn’t skunked. After that, he continued to wade upstream, catching fish here and there as he went.
At one point, Matt took a break and we were sitting on the trail with a good view of the creek. Suddenly, about a hundred yards away, a bull bull appeared through the willows, foraging as it wandered along. I tried to find Rudy and put him on a leash while Matt tried to take some pictures. Mois darted towards us for a while, then turned and crossed the stream, his chin wagging as he turned his head. And, almost as suddenly as he appeared, he was gone.
A few hours later, as we headed back to the car, Matt continued to fish promising stretches. Was it a 100 fish day? Not exactly—by the end of the day, he had caught about a dozen brown trout. By our standards, it was a lot of fish caught and, more importantly, numbers were not the most important measure of success on that memorable autumn day. Indeed, the weather was perfect, the scenery picturesque and the company (including the mold) magnificent. I think the best indicator of a successful fishing trip is if you start planning the next opportunity to visit the boathouse. We can’t wait for next summer.
Suzana Haertzen: Suzana lives in southwest Colorado with her husband and dog. She retired from full-time teaching in 2022, but continues to teach online and do remote accounting work. In her free time, Suzanne enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping, reading, and tying flies.