On the Fly: The fishing was cutthroat | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: The fishing was cutthroat

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

It’s not a competition.

Sadly, I’m sometimes forced to remind myself of this truism ” usually when I’m being outfished in a big way.

If I’m the one hauling in the big numbers, I tend to keep a tally and announce it frequently.

A hike Sunday to a mountain stream that shall go unnamed (c’mon folks, it’s always more satisfying to find them on your own) yielded enough native Colorado cutthroats to entice us into doing more fishing than hiking. Mostly we returned a bunch of 7-or-so-inchers to the cold water, but I admired one of 9 or 10 inches before slipping its shimmering form back into the creek.

It was one of those unassuming streams that gushed through dense underbrush in some sections, but widened to shallow, coffee-colored meanders in others. As it turned out, some of the pools were actually quite clear, and trout huddled above the silty bottom that gave the stream a murky cast.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

The deer flies bit more voraciously than the trout, but we did OK with a smattering of fly patterns, none of which proved absolutely irresistible to our finicky prey ” until my companion tied on a San Juan worm and watched the trout fight for it.

This development was particularly aggravating because, first off, I’d suggested it might be a good pattern to try, and second, it turned out I didn’t have one among the basic go-to patterns in the small flybox I keep for day hikes and backpack trips.

“Using a San Juan worm is cheating,” I reminded her at one point. It is, after all, not a fly at all, but a stretch of fabric tied to a hook ” it’s supposed to resemble a small worm.

She finally lost the “fly” in the tall grass after missing a strike (heh, heh) but not before reeling in the catch of the day ” a monster we guessed later would stretch the measuring tape to 13 inches. It self-released with a splash at the bank before we had a chance to snap a photo.

Fish like that one are best immortalized in one’s memory anyhow. They get bigger that way.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User