On the Fly: Back in action
On the Fly
March in the Roaring Fork Valley exemplifies the meaning of spring awakening, especially for the local fishing contingent. Our heralded “fifth” fishing season is fully underway now. All of our major rivers and streams are fishable again, including the big four: Colorado, Roaring Fork, Crystal and Fryingpan. Midges, winter stoneflies and blue-wing olives are hatching again, and with that comes the return of rising fish.
When I began fly fishing, anglers would sit on the bank and studiously watch the water for insect hatches and then, shortly thereafter, hope for the fish to materialize before ever making a cast. Sometimes, neither would ever come to fruition. Sitting on the stream bank allowed me to take note of the outside world around me, noticing subtle, little nuances that would go unnoticed otherwise when you’re in-the-zone fishing. Things like migrating songbirds and the ever-changing details of the landscapes and the rivers, for instance. It also allowed me time to think about whatever seemed relevant at the time: ideas for tying a new fly pattern or maybe even what I actually should be doing instead of going fishing again.
One of the advantages of age is that I have finally built up my own list of lesser-known, local hatches and areas to fish. From serratellas to aphids, tricos to March browns, or my own personal favorite, midge hatches on the Colorado River.
Over the past three weeks or so, I’ve been spending every evening possible driving down below Glenwood Springs on the Colorado River in hopes of finding some midges hatching and then hopefully a fish or two on the surface rising. This evening hatch is inconsistent at best, though when it all comes together it can be mind-blowingly good. It took me several unsuccessful trips before I ever even saw one rising fish. I’d sit on a rock, let the snow build on my cap, wait through heavy wind and watch the sun set over the horizon. For me, it seems that these quiet moments of silence are when I often think most profoundly. That’s when it hit me: The more I suffer, the greater my reward. Fly anglers often overlook the importance of being mentally tough when going through their required skill sets. To me, this is perhaps the most important quality of being successful on the water.
So when it finally all came together — the right weather, the right water, the midges dancing on the surface and the rising fish — I was finally in my own personal heaven, where I could forget all of those so-called profound thoughts that I have when the fishing is slow and just simply fish to fish. I love being in my element.
“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
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