On the Fly: Distancing since 1613

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

Fly fishers have been out there distancing since the 17th century, as most of us abhor a crowded river and adore those stolen moments of solitude. Fishing isn’t the only way to socially distance, as most valley residents agonize choosing between their multiple hobbies of hunting, hiking, skinning, snowshoeing, kayaking and so forth. Unless you work for the CDC or NIH, you probably never guessed just a year ago where we’d be today in regards to our health and safety, let alone missing out on sharing life’s most important moments with our friends and families.

This was an incredibly busy summer and fall for us in the fly-fishing world, as many visitors and locals alike were looking to get some space and fresh air and wash away the cabin fever. Local shops and guides did quite a bit to ensure the safety of themselves and their clients, ranging from constant cleaning of fly shops, driving separately, using a facial covering on-water when distance wasn’t achievable, to daily disinfection of waders, boots, equipment and boats as well. Strange times call for innovative ways to keep enjoying our outdoor lifestyles and local professionals stepped up their game significantly.

The river will always be a place to exercise your mind and body in the pursuit of our finned friends and a bit of happiness, despite what the future holds for us. Of course, this applies to many of our mountain hobbies, but casting a fly to a feeding trout can certainly help you compartmentalize your worries and think about something else for a few hours. The murmuring river always helps me clear my mind, and the chess match of fooling a trout with some feathers and tinsel tied on a hook will never cease to intrigue me.

Can you fish in a group and still distance? Yes. Driving separately or sticking with people from your household is a good place to start. Many lucky locals have a short walk to the Roaring Fork, Crystal, Fryingpan or Colorado rivers from their back doors. If we all take the time to keep ourselves and others safe out there, we’ll get through this and come out on the other end better anglers and more appreciative of spending time on the water with our favorite people in the not-so-distant future. I’ll see you out there, from a safe distance.

This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.