Figuring out Colorado fly fishing was a year of hiking, tangled line, and catching far more trees than trout.
A Guest Post by Hunter Worth
My first year as a Colorado fly fisherman was less than ideal. I spent a lot of money on flies because most of what I bought ended up in the trees. When a fish did finally strike my knot would slip. I also spent a lot of time hiking to remote sections of river away from other fishermen. It wasn’t so much that I was seeking undisturbed waters. Rather, I wanted to practice in solitude.
That’s how I categorize the first year – as one long practice session. I had no wife, no kids, just a full-on enthusiasm to become a fly fisherman who used his net for something other than swatting at a fly hung up in a tree branch. As life has progressed in the way it has for homo sapiens since the cavemen, I don’t have as much time to log miles either on foot or in my truck to those same remote stretches of river.
The turning point for me was meeting and fishing with Expedition Outside. While the trip was not guided per se, the founder of the company met me at the property to show me where to go. (It was the early days of ExOut, as founder Christian Barnes calls his company, and signage wasn’t as prevalent as it is now). We hit it off and I asked if he wanted to fish with me. Turns out he did. And you could say the rest is history. Because he was able to give me a few tips that created the foundation for the knowledge I have today regarding fly fishing.
Knowing Where to Go
There is no shortage of rivers in Colorado. And most hold fish. But for me, knowing where to go is as much about learning to read water as it is choosing a river. Throughout Colorado, rivers will vary at different times of the year. Where one river may freeze during the winter, another just down the road remains open. When one experiences run off from the spring melt, another is a week behind and still fishable.
Colorado is an expansive state with what seems like endless options on where to go fishing. For me, it was the “aha” moment of really learning to read water that’s led me to land a few good ones.
Knowing What to Take
Ever heard the statement, “if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait ten minutes”? It’s true. A sunny day in May can devolve into a snow storm before you know it.
Think layers when you’re dressing for the day. Companies like Patagonia who make performance gear for fly fishermen understand the need for sweat wicking, breathable clothes that will in turn keep you warm on a cool day.
Take plenty of water. I can’t stress this enough. Especially if you’re coming in from lower elevations. Snacks too if you can fit them in your pack.
Since that enlightening day on the river, I have come back to ExOut properties regularly while also fishing public waters around Colorado. I guess in retrospect figuring out Colorado fly fishing wasn’t too terribly hard. But it sure did help to have someone point me in the right direction.