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“Road Tripping and Fly Fishing” w/ Buck Smith

“Road Tripping and Fly Fishing” w/ Buck Smith

Road Tripping and Fly Fishing
Photos and Words by Buck Smith


My first look at the Gunnison River, its pristine waters slowly cutting through a deep desert landscape, reveals a scene that seemed out of place in Colorado, a drastic contrast to the normally turbid silt riddled rivers that spill out of the high country this time of year. Still six hundred feet above the river we could see mats of emerald green vegetation clinging to the riverbed, shimmering beneath crystal clear water, I felt thirsty.  After spending all of my 26 years in Colorado, I again found myself in a world completely new to me, familiar, yet unique in the high desert of southwest.

Two days earlier, I was sitting in Ophir enjoying my offseason, home between spontaneous trips to the desert, Front Range, biking, more fishing, camping and everything else that peaks my interests.  My phone lit up, “Thinking about exploring the Gunny Gorge for a couple days, want to join?” Bobby and I had been talking about making our way to this world renowned fishery for a while, knowing I had no tethers keeping me from checking this amazing place off my ever expanding list, my decision was easy.  I quickly gathered all the gear I would need and left early the next morning, excitedly hoping that this famed river would live up to its reputation.

Unlike the high country, seemingly locked in limbo between a dry winter and the coming spring, the desert was in full bloom, cactus flowers and Indian Paintbrush grew dispersed among the Juniper and Sage, every breath was a sweet reminder that spring was here.  The hike down Ute trail was quick, wanting to spend as much time as possible in the river; we hastily made our way down the 1200’ walls of the gorge.  Reaching the bottom we scanned the river hoping for signs of fish rising. We both prefer dry flies to nymphing especially in such clear water, but after a moment of observation we agreed that staying below the surface would give us the best chance of tempting a monster from the depths.

Geared up and in the water, I quickly find a promising section of river, a small seam between a deep rapid and the green rocky shallow I had waded onto.  A hand full of casts later my indicator jolts upstream, practice aided instinct kicks in, the hook is set and the tip of my 4 weight rod is ripped down towards the surface of the water as my reel screams, line being ripped out as the fish turns into the current.  Pulling my rod to the left, I slowly battle my quarry; pulling it back into calmer water I see the yellow telltale color of a nice brown trout.  Now comes the tricky part, the indicator keeps me from reeling him in any further, slowly, I pull the fish as close as possible, my arms spread wide trying to make up for the 12’ of leader and tippet separating me and the fish.  I dipped my net in the water, “got him!” About an inch short from spanning the entire length of my net, a 20 incher, always a prize in my book, a quick photo and the fish is back in the water disappearing into the depths it came from. The rest of the day continued much like this, screaming reels, bent rods and quick glimpses of the natural beauties our world has to offer.

For the first time I didn’t feel like I needed to keep fishing till lack of light kept me from changing my flies or seeing details in the river.  After landing a gorgeous 24’ kype jawed rainbow, one of the most beautiful fish I have had the pleasure of seeing in person, I sat on a grassy bank, completely content to watch time flow by like the emerald river in front of me.  A true treasure of a day, the hike back to the top of the gorge in the afternoon sun was easy, filled with the very recent memories of the best day I have had with a fly rod in my hand.

Click here to book a guided trip with BootDoctors® and Solitary Anglers

image.pngA word from the Doctor:  Buck Smith is a BootDoctors® Telluride employee that works in the Mountain Village Store during the winter months, as a key member of our rafting team during the runoff season and a Mountain Bike aficionado to round out the rest of the season.

Fall biking, the gold season

Fall biking, the gold season

 (please click on the image to view the full size version)

Fall Foliage Telluride - Rider Tony Jacobs - Photo Kristofer Noel

Tony Jakob (BootDoctors®, Paragon Outdoors Bike Buyer) takes in the scenery. Photo: Kristofer Noel

Bicycles are amazing little machines.  Throw your leg over, start pedaling and your are whisked away to a different land.  Sometimes it brings you back to childhood, where smiles and laughter erupt without control.  Other times it’s cleaning (riding without having to walk) that hill that has menaced you all season. Or the most basic form of pedal therapy; simply leaving the hectic work day behind and clearing your head.  We are blessed with an amazing network of trails surrounding both Telluride and Taos, if you have yet to ride them I urge you to do so and honestly, there is no better time that the golden season.

BootDoctors® Rider: Tony Jacobs Photo: Kristofer Noel

Tony Jakob leans his Pivot Mach 6 into a turn. Photo: Kristofer Noel

Gold Season Biking 2014-24

Tony finds some space to ‘open it up’. Photo: Kristofer Noel

The Gold Season can yield good rides in all hours of the day; however the morning light and evening light tend to combine for the most stunning visual experience.  Telluride has trails that are suited to beginners and intermediates right up to grueling multi hour grinds that will take you through golden Aspens set before high alpine peaks.  Stop by Paragon Outdoors on Main Street in Telluride, CO and have a chat with one of our knowledgable staff.  They will share the beta with you to get you on your way to an amazing Gold Season ride. Paragon also has 2015 bikes in stack already and great deals on 2014 bikes, if you are in need of a new ride there is no better time than now!
Paragon Outdoors  970-728-4525

Gold Season Biking 2014-18

Sarah Bobbe get’s ‘covered up’ by the leaning Aspens. Photo: Kristofer Noel

Gold Season Biking 2014-33

Sarah has certainly cleared her head by this point. Photo: Kristofer Noel

Sarah Bobbe racing towards sunset.  Photo: Kristofer Noel

Sometimes you’ve got to race the sun. Rider: Sarah Bobbe Photo: Kristofer Noel


Pivot Cycles Demo – Telluride Aug. 9th

Pivot Cycles Demo – Telluride Aug. 9th

BootDoctors® and Paragon Outdoors will be pairing up again with the one and only Pivot Cycles to offer a FREE bike demo.  Pivot owner and designer Chris Cocalis is a legend in the MTB design world and each and every bike in their line-up is at the very top of their industry category; from the 29’er XC bike of the Mach 429c to the new and ground breaking All mountain Enduro race slaying Mach 6.  Come ride them, enjoy them, love them…..Pivot Cycles in stock at the Mountain Village BootDoctors®, Telluride.Pivot Imgae for Blast

Base of Chair 4 Mountain Village Telluride
August 9th  10-4pm 
Further Info  970.728.8954


Wildflower Season – Telluride, CO

Wildflower Season – Telluride, CO

The San Juan Mountains offer up some of the most breathtaking scenery imaginable.  Peaks that reach in grand and abrupt fashion from the valley floors up to the heavens in jagged spires and intimidating peaks.  The summer season allows us to enjoy these peaks, valleys, high alpine lakes and vistas with the added bonus of resilient and beautiful wild flowers.  Here are a few images from a July 5th, 2014 outing just outside of Telluride, CO.  Enjoy and get out there and smell the roses….or columbines, lupins, etc, you get the idea!  Stop by the shop and grab a map and beta to lead you to your perfect hike, or hire one of our expert guides to lead you to an unforgettable experience. Click here to learn more about our guiding services. Happy Summer!

Summer Photo Contest – WIN BIG!

Summer Photo Contest – WIN BIG!

#Tellurstory Contest BootDoctors® and WIN

BootDoctors® and Visit Telluride have teamed up with Element 52 and Auberge Residences to offer you the chance to win a getaway and adventure combo!  Here’s how it works; share your Telluride Summer Adventures, Memories and Moments with us on Instagram or Twitter by hash tagging #Tellurstory,  click here and “Like” our Facebook page and You can win 3 nights lodging at Element 52 and a guided adventure from your friends at the BootDoctors®!