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Fishing report: Keeping it simple

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – I often feel that fly fishing intimidates many newcomers to our wonderful sport. Anglers who are familiar with conventional or spinning equipment often feel that fly fishing is too intricate, with too many nuances.

There’s no denying that many seasoned fly fishers initially gravitated to the sport due to the wealth of gear that we seemingly possess. If you’re a gear junkie, then fly fishing is the ultimate sport. There are waders, boots, rods, reels, nets, lines, flies, tools and apparel, just to name a few. It’s no wonder that newcomers are intimidated.

The flipside of this coin is that I often see anglers who seemingly have all the tools and toys, but struggle when it comes down to actually catching fish. Keeping fly fishing simple is what many guides preach to their clients.



A basic 9-foot, 5-weight fly rod is widely considered as the do-all western trout rod. Pairing it with a matching 5-weight reel and fly line is our basic setup. A leader is then attached to the end of the fly line, which is simply a piece of clear, tapered nylon monofilament. We then add on a small section of fishing line (tippet) to the end of the leader, on which a fly is attached.

Day in and day out, nymph fishing accounts for the majority of the fish caught in the Roaring Fork Valley. Nymph fishing is essentially using flies that imitate immature insects that are fished on or near the bottom of the river. We can accomplish this by adding weight in the form of split shot above our flies. A strike indicator, or bobber, is placed on our leader above our flies and weight to aid in detecting strikes.




Hot flies should include the following: 20-inchers, eggs, and zebra midges on the Roaring Fork, with eggs, pheasant tails, and RS2s along the Fryingpan River. You don’t need to carry the entire kitchen sink at this time of year to be successful. Simpler is often better. We encourage you to give fly fishing a try this winter.


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