The Pole
Ear to the ground
“I bet you could actually live here year-round.”
– Conversation overheard between tourists in Silverton at the Iron Horse finish line

Durango’s big fish
Local angler Nate Bronson is king of the stream. Bronson beat out 87 other fly fishermen in last weekend’s Teva Mountain Games, held in Vail, to take second in the Fly X-Stream Championship. First place went to Bronson’s fishing buddy, Frank Smethurst, of Telluride.

“I’ve been calling him Golden Boy,” said Bronson of Smethurst’s winning 20-incher in the championship round on the Eagle River. The final round saw anglers in drift boats competing in head-to-head combat for longest fish and most fish caught. They were only allowed to record the length of one fish and use two flies, six of each. And once the flies were gone, the contest was over. 

On his first cast, Smethurst landed an almost unheard of 20-inch trout, sealing his victory. Bronson, on the other hand, managed to land more fish but recorded a 16-incher for his winning lunker.

Of course the question on every anglers’ mind: what was the fly du jour? “I used a big streamer and picked some nymphs,” said Bronson, a longtime local fly fishing guide. “The streamers definitely proved more productive.”

And while fishing may often be a sport of luck, Bronson said he and Smethurst did their homework. “We got down there a day early and had gone out and fished,” he said. “That really helped as far as fly selection.”

And for their efforts, the two were rewarded with $1,000 (first) and $500 (second) in cash, almost enough to cover gas to Vail as well as a few extras. “It might go toward a big round at the El Rancho,” Bronson speculated.

Darn tootin’
A few lucky local “Fargo” fans got their dream star sighting last week when none other than William H. Macy swooped through town en route to Aspen.
Macy, who had his breakthrough role as the murder bungling used-car salesman Jerry Lundegaard in the 1996 Cohen Brothers’ cult classic, was spotted dining at Carver’s on the morning of May 30 before hitting the Million Dollar Highway on his Harley.

Local road rider Gardy Catsman caught up with the “Shameless” star at the top of Coalbank Pass later that day. “I usually don’t stop to chat, but for some reason I did,” said Catsman. “I thought I recognized his voice and when he took off his helmet, it was him."

Macy had ridden his Harley through the epic Arizona sandstorm earlier in the week, en route from his home in California. Guess that Clear Coat really did come in handy, after all.