Fear not, aspiring Summit County fly fishers | SummitDaily.com

Fear not, aspiring Summit County fly fishers

Johannah Richards fishes the Blue River near Tiger Run in Breckenridge.
Leo Wolfson / Special to the Daily |

Fun Fly Fishing Tidbits

• A bare-bones reel and line, gaiters, and bait can be purchased for around $100-250. A set-up for more experienced fly-fishermen or women starts at about $500 for most shops.

• Fish do not like fast currents, and often hang out in “pools” of slow moving water.

• Before purchasing bait or tying it on your own, research what kind of bugs are common during the time of year you are fishing. Most fish will be able to spot an unrealistic bug.

• It’s often possible to fly fish in Summit 365 days a year. Just look for the open water, and dress appropriately.

Local Fly Fishing Shops

• Cutthroat Anglers, Silverthorne

• Colorado Anglers, Silverthorne

• Sports Authority, Dillon

• Mountain Anglers, Breckenridge

• Blue River Anglers, Frisco

Check out cpw.state.co.us for information on fish limits and legal fishing zones.

Fly-fishing is a sport of tranquility. The feeling of tossing a line while standing waist deep in a babbling brook is indescribable.

“It makes me stop, slow down, become aware of my surroundings, and I appreciate nature a thousand times more,” said Johannah Richards of Breckenridge.

However, that peaceful, easy feeling can be punctuated in an instant by the exhilaration felt from landing a fish. What many people don’t know is that some of the best fly-fishing in Colorado is only a cast away, right here in Summit County.

The Summit County area boasts a number of rivers and watersheds that can provide wonderful fly-fishing for all levels of experience.

For beginners, Lake Dillon, North Pond (behind Silverthorne Elementary), and Officers Gulch are good places to get a feel for the sport.

More experienced fly fishers should check out the Blue River. The river as a whole boasts a solid variety of quality fly-fishing, but one spot to look out for in particular is the entry point between the Blue River and Green Mountain Reservoir. The Ten Mile Creek is also another great body of water as well, with a strong fish population.

It may look complicated to try, but the sport is actually very accessible and easy to learn.

Many fly-fishing aficionados like Richards suggest learning basics from friends, and then refining more advanced skills when going out with fly-fishing guides.

Guide shops can be some of the best sources for information. Be sure to check the shops listed for tips on seasonal baits and a strong knowledge of where good fishing exists.

Fly-fishing is a very delicate sport, and one small mistake can mean the difference between catching a fish and getting your line tangled in a tree. According to local fly fisherman Scott Schuler, the biggest mistake many beginners make is not having a proper back-cast.

“Back-casting is the most important factor on whether you will catch a fish or not. I learned to cast for years on grass before ever taking it to a lake,” said Schuler. “If you start out trying to cast on a rough river with a lot of branches and stones, there’s going to be failure and frustration.”

I was taken fly-fishing by Richards and quickly learned that patience is key. Developing proper back-casting form was harder than it looked, but with time I progressed, and felt enjoyment instead of my original fury. I was still a far cry from catching any fish, but I gained an appreciation for the technicality of a proper cast.

Catch and release is also an important concept to remember. Cutthroat Anglers guide Matt Weiler said he will never eat the trout that he catches.

“It would be like eating one of my co-workers,” he said. “These rivers are sensitive habitats and a small change can make all the difference.”

Fly-fishing may seem like a daunting endeavor, but with time and practice, it can become well worth it.

“It’s a sport of a lifetime … a lot of people just do it for the solitude, being one with nature; just casting,” said Weiler.

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