On the Fly: Four-legged angler | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Four-legged angler

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – I’m beginning to suspect the family dog is criticizing my fly-fishing skills.

She’s hardly one to talk, having only recent come to realize fish actually exist, but she’s suddenly quick to grow impatient with her humans whenever one of us fails to immediately catch one of those fascinating, squirming creatures lurking beneath the surface of lakes and streams.

It all started last month when she decided to mess around in those beaver ponds on the upper reaches of the Roaring Fork River on Independence Pass, southeast of Aspen. We’d taken a hike, but we had fishing gear in the truck, so we pulled off along the highway and peered down at what barely constitutes a river way up there. Little fish were flying out of the water everywhere, like popcorn in hot oil.

We put on waders, scrambled down to the river and mostly failed to catch brook trout so tiny, most of them couldn’t fit the fly in their mouths. Occasionally, though, I’d pull back my line and an itty-bitty fish would come sailing back at me.

At one point, the dog grabbed a trout dangling on the line. We managed to get it out of her mouth before she swallowed it, escaping the whole the-dog-just-swallowed-the-fish-and-the-hook-what-do-we-do-now dilemma. The trout, remarkably, was fine, though possibly traumatized. It swam off, anyway, The dog was hooked, so to speak.

Now, she peers into every body of water she ventures near, looking intently for fish. If we’re fishing, she watches as a trout’s reeled in and prefers to follow it into the water as it darts away upon release.

On her most recent outing, she whined softly while we fished. I figured she was just miffed about being leashed, but now I think she was taking stock of the situation and voicing her dissatisfaction with our performance. I think she was imploring us to stop waving the stupid sticks in the air and go get the fish.

When we were finished, we let her loose. She immediately swam out to where she saw another angler catch a fish and began zigzagging around in search of her quarry.

I was relieved to see she didn’t have any more luck than I did.


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