On the Fly column: Local kids hit the rivers | PostIndependent.com

On the Fly column: Local kids hit the rivers

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Local angler Ruthie L.shows off a Roaring Fork brown trout.
Roaring Fork Conservancy

Do local kids realize how good they’ve got it? Growing up in America’s only town with two gold medal streams is akin to winning the fishing lottery, let alone the world-class skiing, biking, hiking and other distractions around here. The grass is always greener when you’re young, but there are plenty of local youths cashing in on a terrific fishing education at their fingertips. In this valley, many consider their go-to “handheld wireless device” to be their beloved spin cast or five weight fly rod. Their “X Box” has a Plano sticker on top and is full of fishing trinkets and a stringer.

This is a very good thing. There are plenty of generous people, clubs and nonprofits contributing their time and resources to ensure all local youth, regardless of background, have the opportunity to get some exposure to our watershed and its slippery inhabitants. No two children are alike. For some, entomology is what grabs their attention. For others, it’s learning to tie a fish-catching fly or learning to identify the abundant wildlife in our riparian habitats. But for most, the “tug is the drug.” Once that line comes tight to a fish, they get it.

Many local youngsters have better fishing instincts and finely-honed skills than many of the “professional anglers” you’ll see on Instagram and other social media platforms with tens of thousands of followers. Everyone chases “likes,” and many share their reality, which is inspiring. Many others are trying to create an artificial one, though. In this look-at-me world, spending time with open-minded young anglers always resets my headspace to where it needs to be. Somehow, these kids catch plenty of fish with no “sponsors” and their grandpa’s 30 year old fly rod. Usually on flies they tied themselves. The stuff of dreams.

I heard somewhere that “youth is wasted on the young,” but most locals jump at the opportunity to “waste” time teaching younger anglers the way of the trout. Someone did this for most of us, so paying it forward to the next fishing generation is a no-brainer. The next Roy Palm or Tim Heng is surely plying our local waters right now, and catching more fish than I ever could.

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.