With the snow drifting along the banks of the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, it doesn't look like a good weekend to go fishing. But you're just going to have to trust us on this one - it could be the best weekend of the season to catch a huge trout from our home stream.

Bucking Rainbow Outfitters, Storm Mountain Ranch, Orvis and a fisheries consulting firm, CFI, combined on Monday to stock 355 of the largest trout you've ever seen in the Yampa right in the city limits.

"We put in some big boys!" CFIs' Shannon Skelton said. "The 355 fish weighed over 2,000 pounds."

To save you doing the math, the fish averaged 5 pounds and the biggest weighed 14 pounds. There were numerous fish that weighed more than 10 pounds, John Duty said.

Duty is the owner of Bucking Rainbow. Duty said that after a successful season, the stocking was his way of thanking the community.
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Skelton said the big fish were raised as part of its program for the ponds and streams at Storm Mountain Ranch, just south of Steamboat.

Jeff temple, president of Storm Mountain Ranch, said that after seeing some of his guests catch 10-pounders this summer, he thought it would be fun to offer the opportunity to the public in the Yampa River.

Some of the big trout are Donaldson Rainbows, and others are Tasmanian rainbows. They had a retail value of $6,500, Skelton said.

Duty suggests that an appropriate fly pattern would be a large green scud, because the freshwater crustaceans formed the bulk of the fishes' diet while they were in captivity. You'll also want a tippet no finer than 3X.

Fishing in the Yampa in town is by flies and lures only, and regulations dictate that all fish must be returned to the river immediately.