Kirk Webb
On The Fly

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February 26, 2014
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Mental toughness key to successful fly-fishing

March in the Roaring Fork Valley exemplifies the meaning of spring awakening, especially for the local fishing contingent.

Our heralded “fifth” fishing season is fully under way now.

All of our major rivers and streams are fishable again including the big four: Colorado, Roaring Fork, Crystal and Fryingpan.

Midges, winter stoneflies and blue-winged olives are hatching again, and with that come the return of rising fish.

When I began fly-fishing, anglers would sit on the bank and studiously watch the water for insect hatches and then, shortly thereafter, for the fish to materialize before ever making a cast.

Sometimes neither of which ever come to fruition.

Sitting on the stream bank allows me to take note of the outside world around me, noticing subtle, small nuances that would otherwise go unnoticed when you’re in-the-zone fishing.

Things like migrating songbirds and the ever-changing details of the landscapes and the rivers, for instance.

It also allows me time to think about whatever seemed relevant at the time — ideas for tying a new fly pattern or maybe even what I actually should be doing instead of going fishing again.

One of the advantages of age is that I have finally built up my own list of lesser known, local hatches and areas to fish — from serratellas to aphids, tricos to March browns, or my own personal favorite, midge hatches on the Colorado River.

Over the past three weeks or so, I’ve been spending every evening possible driving down below Glenwood Springs on the Colorado River in hopes of finding some midges hatching, and then hopefully a fish or two on the surface rising. The evening hatch is inconsistent at best, though when it all comes together it can be mind-blowingly good.

It took me several unsuccessful trips before I saw even one fish rise.

I’d sit on a rock, let the snow build on my cap, wait through gale forces of wind and watch the sun set over the horizon.

For me, it seems that during these quiet moments of silence is when I often think most profoundly.

That’s when it hit me; the more I suffer, the greater my reward.

Fly anglers often overlook the importance of being mentally tough when going through their required skill sets.

To me, this is perhaps the most important quality of being successful on the water.

So when it finally all came together, the right weather, the right water, the midges dancing on the surface, and the rising fish, I was finally in my own personal heaven where I could forget all of those so-called profound thoughts that I have when the fishing is slow, and just simply fish.

I love being in my element.

— This column 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.


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The Post Independent Updated Feb 26, 2014 10:08PM Published Feb 27, 2014 04:31PM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.