The Juan, Paper Bird and Salt Fire

by Chris Aaland

I dusted off the fly rod for the first time since September last Saturday … and, boy, was I rusty. I once considered myself a San Juan expert, an uncanny nymph and emerger fisherman. Saturday’s first six hours, though, were ugly. I hooked one trout – a big one – that played me like a fiddle. A late hook-set allowed my fine-finned friend to have her way with me, first bulling around on the outskirts of a big run, then turning tail and heading downstream in the swift current. It was game over before it even started.

And I was trying to show off, too, teaching a new friend and the father of one of my wife’s Fort Lewis volleyball players the ropes, so to speak, on the Juan. Brad fared a lot better a day earlier without me getting in the way, when he netted a dozen or so rainbows, including a monster 25-incher.

But by the end of the day, I proved the theorem that even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn. Replacing my nymph rig with a 6X tippet and a#22 Griffith’s Gnat, I briefly appeared to know what I was doing, catching three trout, including a 20-inch beauty, in a five-minute span.

It just goes to show: Use it or lose it.

If fate works in my favor, I’ll be in Pueblo on Friday and Saturday for the RMAC Shootout. The Skyhawk men’s and women’s basketball teams – both likely participants in this spring’s NCAA playoffs – will advance with home-court victories Tuesday night (I write my columns on Monday nights). If one or both squads make the league finals, folks across the globe can watch live on Altitude Sports & Entertainment at 3 p.m. (women) and 5:30 p.m. (men) Saturday. The Skyhawks have players from Austria and Canada on their roster, meaning viewers from Carinthia to Calgary – and even that trailer park near Bondad Hill – can watch the Fort. And if there’s any luck in the world, I can cast to the picky little browns on the Arkansas below Pueblo Reservoir.

As many of you have already heard, Congress is considering cutting all funding for public broadcasting, which threatens to silence countless public radio and television stations across the country. That means programs like “Democracy Now!” are in jeopardy of being heard. Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of “Democracy Now!” will speak at the Smiley Auditorium from 2:30-4 p.m. Sunday, with live broadcasts on DCAT and KDUR. Goodman, last here in 2004, is coming to our state on a whirlwind tour to help community radio stations raise awareness and critical funds while generating public support for independent journalism. Admission is free, but a $10 donation is suggested. Following her appearance, Goodman will sign copies of her book, with $5 from the sale of each copy benefiting KDUR and DCAT. Stand up to the madness and contact your senators now!

Paper Bird stole the show at last fall’s Oktoberfest. The eclectic Colorado band returns to the Abbey at 9 p.m.

Wednesday. It’s Americana with a twist: paying homage to the American Bandstand of the 1950s, albeit with an indie rock twist and such instrumentation as banjo, upright bass, guitar, trombone and twin vocals. Waiting on Trial and Robby Overfield are also on the bill.

The Abbey hosts a CD release party for Juno What? at 9 p.m. Friday. This jammy, jazzy, funky, ‘70s retro act features members of the Motet. The Abbey is throwing a pimps & hos-themed spring break celebration that night, too. If you like high-energy, synth bass/funk-disco/electronica – or simply like dressing in purple – then this event is for you.

Salt Fire Circus and Bare Bones Burlesque is seeking original artwork to auction at their spring fund-raiser, which will take place April 1 at Ska Brewing. They’re seeking art inspired by old-time circus and burlesque imagery or themes. For more information or submission questions, call Talia at 799-0442 by March 7. Final submissions are due March 21. Funds raised will support Salt Fire Circus and Bare Bones Burlesque’s new production, “The Elixir,” which will be performed the last two weekends of May at the Durango Arts Center.

The Summit’s slate includes the Codi Jordan Band playing Thirsty Thursday at 9 p.m. tonight; Eric Kiefer’s acoustic happy hour from 6-9 p.m. Friday; the monthly First Friday event pairing live visual arts and music at 10 p.m.; Rupnow & friends at Saturday’s 6-9 p.m. happy hour; and Bare Wires with Fuzzy Killing Machine at 10 p.m. Saturday.

The Starlight’s lineup includes Salsa Night with DJ Caliente at 8 p.m. tonight; Niko & Mr. Anderson at 9 p.m. Saturday; Musica del Mundo at 9 p.m. Sunday; and a Mardi Gras party featuring the Uncovered at 8 p.m. Tuesday – complete with beads, hurricanes and gumbo.

Elsewhere: Doug Phillips performs his solo power-blues guitar act at tonight’s weekly Ska-B-Q in Bodo Park; Black Velvet plays the Derailed Saloon at 6 p.m. Friday; the Kirk James Blues Band rocks the Billy Goat in Gem Village at 8:30 p.m. Friday; and Kirk does solo blues from 10 a.m. ‘til 1 p.m. Saturday at the Brickhouse Café.

This week’s Top Shelf list acknowledges flies that didn’t work for me on the Juan:

- Red & Pink Annelids

- Disco Midge

- White & Black Bunny Leeches

- Purple Chamois Leech

- Black Thread Midge Pupa

- Olive RS-2

- WD-40

- Some fancy, sparkly, purple midge emerger that Brad tied •

Looks like I got me one of them fish on? E-mail me at



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