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On the Fly column: Don’t worry, be happy

Christian Hill with a local brown trout. Scott Spooner/Courtesy Photo

A fly-fisher has plenty of relationships outside of the human realm — they also exist between us and our rods, rivers, flies and fish. Fly-fishers can reach a love/hate point with their gear, their cast, let alone hard-to-fool trout. More often than not, this crisis of faith stems from attitudes and expectations. I’ve known fly-fishers much more skillful than myself to come into the shop once a blue moon with that “deer in the headlights” look. But don’t despair.

When I used to play a fair amount of golf, playing and practicing with advanced players always raised my game. The same principle applies here. Find someone who is next level and get on the water with them. Make inroads with guides, join a club or simply stop flailing about when you’re in the struggle box and closely watch an angler who is whacking fish. A thinly veiled compliment (and an offer of a cold one after the hatch ends) goes a long way towards gaining valuable advice and fly recommendations from strangers on the water.

When it comes to attitudes and expectations, my best advice is to loosen up. Fish are wild and weather is random. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to get upset if the hatch doesn’t happen exactly when that guide from the fly shop says it will. It’s no one’s fault if the fish are slamming size 22 baetis when you expected them to be on size 10 drakes. Fish without a plan, be adaptable and see where the day takes you. My prescription is to go with the flow, and don’t put your human hang-ups on the fish or the river.



If your cast is giving you trouble or you never seem to have the right fly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are probably more casting instructors around here than real estate agents. Every fly shop has an entomology nut willing to spill their guts about bugs and their imitations — all you need to do is ask. Take a deep breath, remember why this sport called to you in the first place, and take what Mother Nature gives you.

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.

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