On the Fly: Thanks, Dad
On the Fly
If aspiring to be a quasi-trout bum is your life’s ambition, some of us were dealt better hands than others from the get-go. Despite a busy career, dad taught me to fish once realizing there was no athletic ability to be cultivated. It wasn’t with a fly rod, but nobody’s perfect despite the pedestals we put them on. We also went deer and turkey hunting, he dragged me to those first Cub Scout meetings and took us to Colorado on vacation, unknowingly urging me westward and beyond in search of fish. I certainly wouldn’t be living in this place or doing what I’ve found inspiring to “do” if it weren’t for his guidance, whether intentional or not.
Crappie, perch and catfish are a gateway drug, by the way. He didn’t churn out a doctor or lawyer, but I know he’s OK with my life choices and the distances (geographical ones) now between us. This week is a chance for me to give him — in addition to my longtime step mother and sister — a fleeting taste of this life of ours. And just like you invariably do when special people come here to visit and fish, I sweat those little details like weather, hatches and river flows, making a Plan B through F too.
Hopefully the fish help out a bit and do what they’re supposed to do. If they do it when, where, why and how they’re supposed to do it, that will be nice too. The plan is to fish some ponds the first day, river the next. Interestingly, this is a good way to introduce or refresh anyone when you’re the “guide.” Teach them to front and back cast (as well as roll cast) where there is actual room to do it, plus they learn (or are reminded how) to fight and play a trout. The bonus is they’ll know how to quickly get that fish to the net in moving water. Which ain’t that easy.
With this being penned this earlier this week, Tom, Sandra, Tara and myself might just be sitting somewhere this morning having coffee and breakfast reading the paper, reflecting on how those fish (and, ahem, their guide) did (or didn’t) do their job and stumble upon this article. Either outcome is fine with me: the time will have been cherished and the memories banked. I’m not a doctor or lawyer, but a proud Eagle Scout and aspiring trout bum nonetheless.
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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The Roaring Fork Valley has, by-and-large, avoided the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations that have decimated parts of the state. However, a 2019 aerial survey showed the Roaring Fork watershed has an outbreak of Douglas-fir and western balsam beetles.