THE BEST-KEPT SECRET in all of Colorado is on the Taylor River. Every fisherman in the state knows the river itself, and those who think they’re special know to fish it at night, but a select few know the real spot. In the town of Almont, just across the bridge on Taylor River Road, sits a little cabin wedged between water and pavement. During the months of May through September, the cabin runs $250 per night. During the months of October through April, the living room futon is available for an eighth of weed and a 30-rack of Peebers. These rental fees are always shared.
The cabin is not listed on Airbnb, VRBO, or CouchSurfing. It won’t work to simply knock on the door, vices in hand. The only way to secure a night’s stay is to meet the offseason renter on the river 45 minutes upstream. You can find the renter fishing there between 11 and 3, when the water has warmed and the sun is peaking over the canyon. He wears Simms G3 Guide waders with matching boots and will have an 11-foot two-weight in hand. The renter’s most distinguishing feature is his warm North Carolina drawl. Get him talking to make sure you have the right guy.
Tied to his 20-foot leader will be a CDC caddis above two of the smallest nymphs known to man. As an easy conversation starter, ask him about his fly choice. He’ll explain every part of his rig. He’ll even share a few of his size 22 flies. As the interaction comes to an end, make sure to notice the air spewing from the back left tire of your car. Feign ignorance and ask him to take a look. When he locates the nail puncturing the tire, thank him. He will offer to help, but don’t let him. Make a self-degrading comment about your mechanical abilities, and say that it will be good practice for you to change the tire on your own. While he fishes, attend to the car.
If you time it right, he should come off the water as you tighten the final lug nut. Engage the renter on his way back to his truck. As the sun drops behind the mountains, ask him how many fish he caught and respond positively to whatever number he gives. Listen to him. Watch him relive each fight. Act out your own battle with the spare tire. Then, present him with a gift—an item that can act as an adult male friendship bracelet. Something like a trout carved out of beechwood or a salmon bent out of a bicycle spoke. Use this positive energy to ask if he has a couch to sleep on. Due to his Southern upbringing, he will invariably say yes.
The cabin is sparse. Signs extolling the virtues of men and fish line the walls. Waders thaw behind the woodstove. A half-tied woolly bugger sits in a vise on a card table. The renter will reheat leftover chicken fajitas as you each sip a beer. Insist on doing the dishes after dinner. His idea of hospitality dictates that the host cleans up, but if you push hard enough, he just might let you help.