Growing up as a young angler, the vast majority of my fishing time was spent chasing warmwater species of fish like bluegill, sunfish, bullheads and bass.
I had great fun toying around with these eagerly hungry fish, but they were small.
Often times I'd see glimpses of fish that at the time seemed so big that I thought that they would eat my leg off if I dipped my toes in the water.
But naturally, being the fisherman that I am, the internal, primal urge to constantly find bigger and meaner fish pulled strong with me.
I'd see huge copper and brown shadows the size of submarines cruise in and out of sight.
I stopped fishing for sunfish and concentrated on casting my bait and lures to these massive shadows.
Occasionally, I'd hook into one of these submarines until they would sound to the depths and finally break off of my inexpensive and vastly outgunned light, kids' tackle.
Once, while reeling in a small bluegill, I had a large pike attack and inhale my helpless bluegill.
All hell broke loose in an instant as the large pike crashed on the surface and broke me off, leaving me in sheer awe as the waves subsided.
And so my infatuation with carp and pike fishing began.
Fast-forward to the present, and my love affair with big freshwater fish continues.
During the month of April, the lowland reservoirs thaw out and anglers begin prowling the shallows looking for their own submarines.
Northern pike are the big spring time draw for fly rodders on both the Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap reservoirs located just outside of Rifle.
Pike of over 40 inches are landed yearly on these two lakes.
Heavier 7- and 8-weight rods are needed to cast the large streamer flies that pike prefer.
Red and yellow, black and purple and blue and white colored flies often fish best.
Due to the pike's numerous and sharp teeth, hard monofilament or fluorocarbon tippets of 20- to 30-pound test are needed.
I feel that wire tippets are an unnecessary evil and hinder the fly's movement and spook wary pike.
I love carp, too. I'm a carp junkie.
I rarely drive over an hour to go fish trout anymore but I'll drive for days to catch what others consider a "junk" or "trash" fish.
The Colorado River near Rifle is one of my favorite carp stomping grounds.
The backwater sloughs hold plenty of carp between 5 and 15 pounds.
They love shallow water and eat flies fairly readily.
Now that carp are slowly breaking the barrier as the "cool" fish in freshwater fly fishing, most fly shops now carry carp specific flies.
Go check them out and try fishing for a new quarry this spring.
- This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.