On the Fly: Keep it simple, stupid
On the Fly
I often feel that fly-fishing intimidates many newcomers to our wonderful sport. Anglers who are familiar with conventional or spinning equipment often feel that fly-fishing is too intricate of a sport with too many nuances.
There’s no denying that many seasoned fly-fishers initially gravitated to the sport due to the wealth of equipment that we seemingly possess. If you’re a gear junkie, fly-fishing is the ultimate sport. There are waders, boots, rods, reels, nets, lines, flies, tools, apparel and much, much more. It’s no wonder that newcomers are often intimated!
Like golf, fly-fishers never attain absolute perfection; we are constantly learning and improving.
The flipside of this coin is that I often see anglers who seemingly have all the tools and toys but struggle when it comes down to the whole goal of actually catching a fish. Keeping fly-fishing simple is what many guides preach to their clients. A basic 9-foot 5-weight fly rod is widely considered the do-all Western trout rod. Pairing it with a matching 5-weight reel and fly-line is our basic setup. A leader is then attached to the end of the fly-line, which is simply a piece of clear, tapered, nylon monofilament. We then add a small section of fishing line (tippet) to the end of the leader on which a fly is attached.
Day in and day out, nymph fishing accounts for the majority of the fish caught here in the valley. Nymph fishing is essentially using flies that imitate immature insects that are fished on or near the bottom of the river. We can accomplish this by adding weight in the form of split shot above our flies. A strike indicator, or bobber if you will, is placed on our leader above our flies and weight to aid in detecting strikes, at a distance of roughly 11/2 times the depth of water. At this time of year, focus on fishing the deeper pools and seams, where the majority of fish congregate. Hot flies should include the following: 20-inchers, flashtail hot eggs, and zebra midges on the Roaring Fork, with eggs, BTS baetis and RS2s along the Fryingpan River.
You don’t need to carry the entire kitchen sink at this time of year to be successful. Simpler is often better. We encourage you to give fly-fishing a try this winter.
“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
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The X Games Aspen 2022 medals — including the knuckle huck rings and Rocket League awards — were again created by Colorado artist Lisa Issenberg. The owner of Kiitella studio — a Finnish word meaning “to thank, applaud or praise” — in Ridgway, Issenberg first made the X Games medals in 2020.