On the water: Old-school fishing | AspenTimes.com

On the water: Old-school fishing

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

BASALT – Drive this summer to midvalley areas adjacent to the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan rivers, and you’ll see several expensive sport utility vehicles parked precariously along the sides of the highways.

Take a closer look, and there’s people standing knee or waist deep wearing trendy outdoor clothing, holding a long light pole and moving their arms around in a silly manner.

They call it “fly fishing,” and I admit, I’ve never tried it. Still, it doesn’t seem like my idea of a good time. That’s just me, and if you’re an avid fly-fisherperson, so be it.

My idea of fishing is straight out of “The Andy Griffith Show.” I have rods with closed- and open-faced reels, but a cane pole will do. Get a stick, some string or fishing line, a cork, a hook and a worm, and you can catch a fish just as easily as these millionaires sporting poses straight out of the L.L. Bean catalog.

Lately I’ve been going to the far end of Ruedi Reservoir, east of Basalt and way past the dam on the other side of the Aspen Yacht Club. The actual spot is the bridge area next to Meredith Campground. It’s not a great fishing area – anything you are likely to catch is pretty small – but unless you’re completely inept, you’re going to land something.

It’s lazy-man fishing unless you’re with people (or their kids) who need help. Just sit on one of the large boulders near the bank, find an area of moving water that’s surrounded on three sides by rocks, and there’s your honey hole. You don’t have to cast far; you don’t have to fish deep. Toss the worm into the hole or let it sit in on the bottom of the stream or on a rock, and the baby trout will bite.

Note: Sometimes they swallow the hook, and you’ve got to pull out the needle-nose pliers and do your best Marcus Welby imitation to save the fish.

The campground hosts will want $20 if you park in one of the sweet overnight spots that give you better access to the stream leading to the reservoir. The man is a jerk; the woman is nice. Unless you plan to stay the night, don’t be suckered! Better to park for free in the day area and work your way along the bank.

Lazy-man fishing: It makes for a relaxing day, and the whole trip – gas, worms, beer and fried chicken included – will cost you less than $40. If you’ve got the $4 orange or yellow rooster-tail lures, they’ll hit those too; just be careful not to stop reeling in the line or you’ll get snagged for certain.

Now compare that with the pricey fly-fishing excursions offered by Aspen vendors, and tell me what you’d rather do.


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