Never-ending king of the hill

Christian Hill
Christian and Colin Hill
Christian and Colin Hill |

Growing up in a fly-fishing family may be the best blessing I could have asked for. I nonetheless took the “request trip” to another level and got a fly-fishing twin brother. No matter how much we would bicker or tease each other, the river always would bring us back together.

Competing with each other came naturally to us, whether it was on the slopes or on the river. This, too, was a blessing because we would feed off each other’s hunger to catch the bigger fish, not knowing that that competitive attitude would make us sharper behind the fly rod. In the early 1990s, my dad, brother and I would compete in the Aurora Reservoir fishing tournament. My dad remembers me being “grimly determined to win the tournament” while my twin brother, Colin, was “out for a good time” throwing rocks and waking me with sticks. That day Colin won a $50 gift certificate and a loaded tackle box igniting a perpetual desire to destroy him in every angling facet imaginable for the remainder of my childhood. Nowadays, we look back at that day with big smiles as we share cold ones with our Dad along the banks of the Colorado River.

In 2006 we set off to college, and life’s road split us at the seams. Years went by as I spent countless hours on the Taylor and Gunnison rivers honing my craft with aspirations of becoming a professional fly-fishing guide. As I began to gain traction in the Roaring Fork Valley, my brother’s passion for fly-fishing was reignited as I would take him fishing on his days off. Eventually, he, too, became a guide for another fly shop in Summit County and began his own career in the fly-fishing industry.

I often ask my parents if they foresaw this lifestyle for us, and they reply, “We knew from the beginning that this life chose you.” Every morning Colin and I would get up at the crack of dawn to get elbows deep in the cereal box and watch Jose Wejebe on “The Spanish Fly” from just under two feet away from the TV. This is when my mother and father realized they had spawned a couple of obsessed fly-fishing junkies. My dad couldn’t be happier to have a couple of lifelong fishing buddies, while my mom is still trying to wrap her head around the concept of “fishing for a living.”

Rivers, like life, have many twists and turns. Regardless of the challenges and difficulties that come along, my family plans on forever casting to the soft pockets among turbulent water. Colin and I fish together regularly and still get into it often, but at the end of each adventure we share remarkable memories. As fly fishermen, we round the next turn in life, continuing to explore opportunities to out-fish each other.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt.