Every spring and summer, there is a pilgrimage of anglers who head west to the famed trout streams of the Rockies, from Colorado to Montana and beyond. Within each state and each fishery, there are countless guides who make a living by giving people the best possible experience they can have on the water. From introducing people to fly fishing to meet the same folks every year, these guides are the reason so many of us love fly fishing the way we do.
What happens when you leave and your guide says their goodbyes after a long day on the river? We can usually find the local crew at our favorite spot, the Tipsy Trout (I know, it’s a great name for a riverside bar and grill). From the bar you can hear stories from the day, stories from years ago from the older guides, and the Coors Light tap is almost always flowing.
These are some fishy folks, and we have had the pleasure of getting to know Shannon Outing, a Sage Elite Ambassador, mostly from sharing beers at the Tipsy Trout. You can’t forget Ruby (her and Beck’s black pointing lab) making her rounds to try to find someone with a stray french fry.
From our time spent with Shannon, we have learned the day doesn’t end here. Early in the summertime, while the water is still holding its cold temperatures a special hatch happens at dusk. While it is always fun to hear stories from years past and the day, the green drakes and caddis were calling us up the road.
As we pull up to our spot for the evening, we can start to see caddis and some green drakes start to come off the water. We pulled the rods out of the rod rack, which needed some new flies after the great day they had with their clients earlier. Shannon rigged up the Sage R8 CORE 590, her go-to rod for any condition whether she is guiding or fishing for herself. With the drakes and caddis hatching in unison, the question was which one we should tie on. The final decision was both. With Ruby (her trusted river companion in tow) we all headed down to the river to find the rising fish we were looking for.
With brush close behind, a good roll cast was needed to add our flies to the conveyor belt of bugs on the water. Without surprise, Shannon was hooked up only after a few casts. This trend continued but the night was young.
As the sun went down, the bugs got thicker, and fish were rising for our dries almost every cast. When it got so dark that we could barely see, the best way to know if you had an eat was to listen for the faintest splash in the direction of your fly. While our sight was limited only to a few feet in front of us, you had to feel the rod in your hand as the line rolled out of its loop.
The headlamps were out, and the cooler was broken into. We suddenly hear a splash that was different… We scrambled in the dark for the net as the rod was bent a little further than the previous fish we had hooked into that evening. We scrambled, somehow kept our footing, and netted the biggest fish of the night as the hatch was slowing down. It was a special moment to admire the fish under headlamps and moonlight.
With the crack of celebratory beers, we called it a night. Shannon put the rods away, ready to be rigged up again in the morning for her next set of eager clients.