Action County: Mark Boyd
Picturing a fly fisherman in their ideal environment is easy. A peaceful scene comes to mind, highlighted by a person in a secluded river with waders and vest on; the fluid motion of the fly rod and line overhead.Snow and wind never enters the picture for most people, but it does for Mark Boyd, one of the few year-round fly fishing guides in Summit County. Not only does Boyd brave the elements two or three times a week to catch the ever-soughtafter and elusive trout, but he doesn’t even consider the weather an issue.”I’m gonna fish no matter what, it’s just a matter of where,” Boyd said. “The fish are cold and wet anyway so it doesn’t really matter.”
Because most rivers are frozen during the colder months in Summit County, winter fly fishermen have to stick to tail waters, or rivers that come out of a dam. Boyd, 37, is the prototypical fly fisherman and has been for more than 20 years.”When I was 13, I caught my first fish on fly,” Boyd said. “I think everyone around that day knew I was hooked.”Boyd works for Mountain Anglers in Breckenridge and enjoys Nordic and tele skiing as well as an occasional day on a snowboard. But even though skiing is a big part of his life, Boyd is here for the fishing. “Summit County is one of the better places to live if you like to fly fish,” Boyd said. “There are four great rivers all within an hour.”
And although Boyd puts his waders on year round, he’s not completely nuts. He would prefer to fish in a warmer environment most often than not.”It’s nice to get your shorts and T-shirt on once in a while.”What’s your biggest or best fish tale?”I caught an Atlantic salmon in Nova Scotia. I had a five-weight fly rod, which is way too light for these fish. I met up with some guys who had been fishing for Atlantic salmon and they told me if I was the first person on this particular run the next morning, I’d have a good chance to catch one. “It was about a two-mile mountain bike ride before another mile hike to get there, and I was riding my bike up there with my head lamp on at 3 in the morning.
“I got up there just as it was beginning to be light enough to see. I got lucky, and this six-or-seven pound salmon came up and took one of my dry flies. One of the guys told me he had spent two weeks fishing all day, every day, and never got a strike.”Does winter fly fishing have a dangerous element?”It can be very dangerous. The rocks are very slippery, so you have to take caution right now because you don’t want to get wet in the winter.”- Andy Frame
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