In search of high country trout
Ryan Summerlin July 17, 2014
It’s high season in the fly-fishing world, as the masses invade our beloved valley chasing our renowned green drake and pale morning dun hatches along our big four rivers: the Roaring Fork, Fryingpan, Colorado and Crystal.
I also look forward to chasing these hatches and occasionally even lose sleep pondering them.
But I must admit, after fishing these incredible hatches daily I begin to fish on auto-pilot.
I know by now where to go, what to use, what time to show up and what flies are effective.
In a sense, this is a good thing, but one of the allures of fly fishing for me is the unknown.
I enjoy the mental chess match of decoding the rivers, flies, hatches and fish.
When I want to challenge myself again, I avoid the crowds on the famous rivers and seek the solitude, tranquility and aquamarine waters of our overlooked high country.
It is here that I can have entire lakes, creeks and beaver ponds all to myself amongst breathtaking scenery.
The fish are often small (sometimes not), generally feed opportunistically (sometimes not, too) and mirror their stunning surroundings with brilliant shades of every color imaginable (always).
It is also here in the high country that I typically go fishing by myself.
It is often said that your own personal fishing style is defined by the fishing that you do when no one else is around or watching.
I can cover water at my own pace, take a midday nap if I so choose, or frantically rock-hop up and down the creeks.
For me, that likely translates to fishing dry flies to small, eager trout.
Just yesterday, I was fishing a small tributary of one of those more famous rivers and wanted to show it off to some friends of mine.
We arrived just after a summer rainstorm, where a misty fog blanketed the creek.
No fish were seen rising, but one of the beauties of high country freestone creeks is that the fish can be taken on a variety of flies, using a variety of methods.
In other words, you can fish how you want to fish.
If dries are your thing, use them. If you like throwing streamers, they’ll work, too.
We finished our session that night with the Colorado Grand Slam: catching at least one of each of brown, brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout.
This is ultimately one of the allures of fishing the high country.
As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.
So go ahead, take a hike!
— 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.