John Swincinski

A Gift for the Fourth
60 x 48 in
It was Fourth of July weekend. The busiest fly fishing weekend of the year. I was in Colorado delivering artwork to the gallery. I couldn’t let the fact that it was a holiday deter me from wetting a line. But there were challenges. The day before, I drove all up and down the South Platte River looking for an available dispersed campsite. But alas, all of Denver was on the South Platte. It started to rain. I wanted a shower and a cocktail – so off to Colorado Springs I went.
The next morning, Fourth of July morning, would be my last morning in Colorado. I had catch fish. A while back, a Colorado Springs local mentioned a place called Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area. I was a little out of the way, but I was convinced that I would be shoulder to shoulder with other anglers anyways. When I finally made it to the parking area, I was shocked to find that it was completely empty. Being the consummate pessimist, I assumed that it must mean that the fishing here was poor. I was wrong – very, very wrong.
The Beaver Creek starts up on Pike’s Peak and in the SWA it flows through a rugged and beautiful box canyon. The walls are high. You have to cross the stream about every 100-yards as the crystal-clear water continues the carving process started hundreds of thousands of years ago. And to my absolute delight, it was full of fish - Browns and Cutthroats. So many in fact, that I could not count how many I hooked with my dry fly. Maybe fifty. Maybe more. The reality is I probably didn’t deserve such a wonderful gift given my poor attitude earlier. I learned my lesson. Mother Nature never lets me down. Even on the Fourth of July.