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SILVERTHORNE, Colo. (KDRV) — When the forecast looks ominous, Highlands Ranch resident Rob Grisham heads to the outlets in Silverthorne.

He’s hoping to beat the crowds, but shopping is not on the agenda.

“Not too many people will come out when it’s this cold,” Grisham said. “And the fish gotta eat, so if you can put it in front of them they’ll probably take it.”

The Blue River below Dillon Reservoir is classified as gold medal water, a designation for fishing destinations of the highest quality.

It’s a hot spot for fly fishermen even in the dead of winter.

“With the dam being so close, the water temperature is pretty much consistent and fish like that,” Grisham, a fly-fishing guide for the North Fork Ranch in Bailey, said. “(It has a) good food source, lots of aquatic insects and things. So it’s just a good stretch of river, even though it gets a ton of pressure. It seems to produce some really big trout.”

They say trout don’t live in ugly places, but this stretch of the Blue River, between the bustling Silverthorne Outlet Mall and I-70 might be the exception.

“I would totally agree. For being one hour from Metro-Denver, I think that your chance to get a 24-inch or bigger fish here is as good as anywhere else,” Grisham said. 

The odds of landing that fish of a lifetime get better when Mother Nature throws curveball because many anglers will choose to stay home. At least that’s how Grisham rationalizes his decision to stand in ice-cold water on a frigid morning in search of trophy trout. 

“(Why do I battle the elements?) temporary insanity,” joked Grisham. “The idea that the best days for me are the days that are worse for everybody else. Meaning that, if the weather is really (bad) you know, there’s not going to be that many people. And if I can get here, and have the day to myself, it’s awesome.”