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Welcome back to our photoblog series detailing all the excitement and fly fishing that occurred during #ChotaGoesToChama! In the last installment, I explained how my husband, parents, and I arrived at The Lodge and Ranch at Chama Land & Cattle Company for four days of kayak fishing and stream fishing. After enjoying two consecutive days of lake fishing while trolling from Hobie kayaks, Dad and I took a day to enjoy some father/daughter quality time while stream fishing at the Poso Creek.
Day #4: Dad’s Best Day of Fishing
From the time I was old enough to walk, I grew up with a fishing rod in hand. Dad taught me the intricacies of reading the streams in the Smokies, of double-hauling, and the reverence and respect we both shared for the trout. As I grew older, those days spent together grew shorter and more fleeting as college, job hunting, and other adult responsibilities presented themselves.
But we were determined to make up for lost time at Chama, and we spent an unforgettable day fly fishing the Poso Creek, nestled within the Poso Valley at about 10,000 feet in elevation. The creek itself rarely exceeds two to three feet in depth, and in certain places the stream bed narrows to barely two feet across. Some runs were wide enough for traditional casting, while others required the technical, challenging art of “dapping,” where we would simply lay the fly directly into the water near the ledges and follow it downstream on foot for a few yards.
These wild trout were clever and easy to spook, so we had to approach with caution from downstream. At one point, a trout swam up from below us and planted himself in the current, head upstream, just a few feet from our position. I spotted it before Dad, who was on the opposite bank and had a better angle from which to cast, so I guided him until the little brook trout slammed the fly and he set the hook. The fight was a beautiful example of team work as Dad played the fish flawlessly while I netted him.
After that, we continued working our way upstream, pausing every few yards to try a new run or bend in the creek. The barbless hooks were somewhat tricky to set, and I had more than one trout shake himself free. I spent more time dapping beside the ledges than casting, and often I had to crouch and sneak up through the tall grass to avoid spooking any trout that might be hiding below. The faintest puff of breeze would pick up the lightweight leader and dry fly. But at the end of the day, persistence paid off. I landed a small rainbow and brown trout, which combined with Dad’s brook trout for a “Grand Slam” of the three major species. Dad firmly maintains that this was the best day of fishing he has ever had, and I think I’m inclined to agree.
We both wore Camo Hippies to tackle the shallow creek, and I could not have asked for more suitable waders for the task. The material was amazingly lightweight and breathable, so I barely noticed the waders’ presence or weight. They also doubled as brush guards while hiking through the tall grass that sometimes came up to our knees. For footwear, I once again donned the lightweight prototype Hybrid High-Top Felt Soled Wading Boots, or Chota 14s for short. They shed water effortlessly through the side mesh panels, and I never once felt unsteady while wading thanks to the sturdy felt soles. By the end of the day, I was definitely feeling the effects of the altitude and had to hike slowly back to the truck, which made me even more grateful for the minimal weight of my gear.
Day #5: When the Men Go Out to Play
Prior to leaving for Chama, my husband Philip needed to procure a pair of hip waders, and he tried calling and visiting several fishing/outdoor stores before finally purchasing a pair of Original Hippies and Abrams Creek Wading Boots from a small, local dealer called “Tim’s Flies and Lies.” Even earlier than that, my Dad gave Philip a Temple Fork Outfitters fly rod as a wedding gift, and while he had already caught lake trout with it, my husband was determined to properly christen his rod on the streams as well.
And so Dad and Philip spent our last day of fishing at the Poso Creek again, and judging by the photos, they had a blast. Philip caught his first trout on a dry fly, and Dad got to enjoy some quality time with his new son-in-law. When I asked Philip later about his Chota products, he had nothing but praise for his Original Hippies and Abrams Creek Wading Boots. Just like the Camo Hippies, the Original Hippies were lightweight, breathable, and stayed in place thanks to the drawstring and cinch strap. The Abrams Creek Wading Boots provided excellent traction with felt soles and all-day support and comfort, and we definitely appreciated their budget-friendly price point.
After that final day, all we had left to do was pack our bags, head home, and start planning our next adventure!
Original and Camo Hippies: The Hippies reigned supreme as an ideal balance of comfort, breathability, and durability for all-day fishing in the challenging altitude environment. Both styles of Hippies are roomy enough to accommodate an extra layer underneath for fishing cold water in the fall and winter months, and the Camo Hippies can double as waterproof hunting apparel for hiking along game trails or canoeing for waterfowl.
Abrams Creek Wading Boots: Philip’s boot of choice offered high-quality construction and comfort at a price that easily fit into our newlywed budget. PU leather uppers, sturdy laces, and the signature felt soles provided the legendary comfort and durability that we expect from Chota products, and Philip is already looking for more fly fishing opportunities to wear them again.
Hybrid High-Top Felt Soled Wading Boots (aka, Chota 14s): Having used these boots for kayak fishing and stream fishing, the Chota 14s are officially my new go-to footwear for any water-related activity. I loved the high-top design of these boots for extra ankle support, but they were still low-profile and easy to wear for kayaking and working the foot pedals of the Hobie MirageDrive. For wading, I simply removed the extra insole to make room for the Camo Hippies, and the combination was incredibly lightweight and comfortable. I personally love lightweight footwear when wading so I can more easily feel where I’m placing my feet, and the Chota 14s were perfect for negotiation the rocky, sometimes slippery stream beds of the Poso Creek.
In Our Next Installment…
We’ll get up close and personal with the Chota 14s in the next blog and review the features you can expect when these boots hit dealers’ shelves in November 2016. Stay tuned!
Comment Questions: What did you enjoy most about our blog series and coverage of #ChotaGoesToChama? Are you excited about our new Hybrid High-Top Boots? Let us know in the comments below!
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