On the Fly: Ski-in, fish-out | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Ski-in, fish-out

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

Connie Britt and a Fryingpan River rainbow trout.

When you think of winter in the Aspen area, skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding and ripping around on snowmobiles obviously come to mind.

Locals are certainly dialed in on these activities, but they also realize the world-class fly fishing opportunities at the bottom of the hill. If you think about it, getting off at the top of any ski lift is much colder than standing in a warm river on the valley floor. On the river, you are usually tucked out of the wind and much warmer due to the difference in elevation.

Visiting wintertime customers in the fly shop usually are incredulous when we explain the terrific fishing opportunities here in the valley all year long. Insects hatch every day, whether it is hot or cold. I would argue that the fish have to eat even more in the winter, since the insects are on the small side and don't offer the nutritional benefits of huge summertime bugs. Midges hatch every day of the year, and in the summer months they act as an appetizer before the main meal. In winter, the trout simply load up on the appetizers and forgo the non-existent big bug main course.

Giving fishing a try is easy for visitors to the valley in the winter; all equipment is included with most fly shops and you can layer up with the same clothing you wear when you ski. Many families feel the need to break up their vacation a bit activity-wise, and spending a day on the river with a professional guide is quite fun! Fishing has been best lately mid-day, with warm and cloudy days offering up the best bug activity.

Whether you have fished all over the world or have never held a fly rod in your hand, hitting a gold-medal river in the winter is a sure bet for a great time. Keep an eye on the weather and choose a day that is on the warm side, and opting to ski early and fish late is quite common around here. Fly fishing is fun for kids, adults, grandparents and anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Have fun in the powder stashes and maybe we'll see you out on the river, too!

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

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