As days warm and spring hatches of midges, caddis and baetis begin to appear, I am reminded again of how much I love fly fishing near Denver. (Of course, my friends say it doesn’t take much of an excuse for me to start telling fish stories!) While I have given up trying to decide which is most important, I enjoy reviewing the different aspects that have held my interest at one time or other, often even within the same fishing trip.
Start with a constantly changing panorama of vibrant waters, shimmering vegetation, ponderosa forest, granite lined canyons, house sized boulders and a backdrop of majestic Colorado Mountains. The fish we love to catch live in the most beautiful places. Pick a spot that offers solitude and encourages communion with your inner self and your surroundings. Tie this in with equipment you have specially selected, with judgements made to provide the perfect fly that will entice the most savvy freshwater fish, and with skills you have honed over the years that will allow you to place your fly in that just perfect position.
Of course, there’s an occasional downside. Chapped hands, leaking waders, heat and frostbite, hooked body parts, sore muscles, stale sandwiches and fishless days are only a few of the challenges the avid Denver fly fishing enthusiast faces. Yet facing such punishment simply makes the reward so much more satisfying. Every fishing trip is different, each offering the opportunity to learn and experience more.
Fly fishing means testing yourself against the wiles of local fish (mainly trout). This means knowing where to find them in the river, and knowing what they will be looking for. Success means being able to choose a steel hook with attached feathers or other material that will entice that fish to bite it. Success means being able to cast that fly to where the fish are located.
When all parts of the complete puzzle come together, when the day is perfect and a dazzling Colorado fish is working you on a fly that was presented just right, there is nothing better than that feeling of pride and accomplishment. For whatever reasons, fly fishing offers enjoyment over a lifetime, and is a lifestyle more than simply a sport!