On the fly: Giving thanks on the river

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – For many of us, the Thanksgiving holiday equates to overeating, overdrinking, watching some football and enjoying the company of friends and family. Then there’s the fly fisherman’s version of Thanksgiving.

Most of my friends don’t have family members who live nearby, hence why I can thankfully depend on a few of the boys to join me on the river and pay thanks to the river gods for the day. There’s no need to plan ahead, as just a few text messages and phone calls are all that’s needed to round up the troops on the morning of the holiday.

In years past, we’ve always fished on the Roaring Fork if the day is warm and on the Fryingpan if the day is cold. Looking at the upcoming weather forecast it looks as if we’ll be floating the Roaring Fork this year. Beer will be packed in the boat, along with some streamers, midges and egg patterns. We’ll catch some fish, talk trash to each other and enjoy the beauty and solitude of the river.

A big brown trout will be the icing on the cake, or in our case, the bourbon in the eggnog. The brown trout is the perfect Thanksgiving specimen, maybe even more so than the turkey. Their warm, vibrant colors perfectly parallel the yellows, oranges, reds and greens of the surrounding fall foliage. Brown trout are the working man’s trout. They don’t get the glory that the rainbow trout does, but we give thanks to each and every one of them that we catch, especially on Thanksgiving.

As the sun finally sets, we pull the boats out of the river and gather with our significant others and celebrate with the usual hunter-gatherer feast of fresh elk, deer, goose and the obligatory turkey. We drink, watch the late football game, tell fishing and hunting tales and then pass out on the couch exhausted from rowing, fishing and overeating.

Our girlfriends put up with our fishing shenanigans every Thanksgiving holiday and for that, we thank you. It’s not easy having a fly fisherman as your significant other, especially when the same routine makes another appearance during Christmas.