On The Fly: Rain, snow, sleet nor gloom of night can’t keep me away
On The Fly
I’ve been in kind of a funk recently.
After an endless summer of fishing and working long hours and long days, winter is finally here. I love winter fly fishing and the lack of crowds, but to be perfectly honest, it’s still just winter fly fishing.
Now that the days are lengthening and overall slowly warming, the fishing is just now beginning to make the shift from first gear into second and third gears. Most of my friends are starting to get that nervous itch that becomes apparent after a few months of tuning skis, melting P-Tex and wishing for more big spring snow. I can tell in both their tone of voice and in their disposition that they are ready to spend more and more time on the river, only skiing when snow conditions are good. Some of my friends even have winter rules: On days when the temps climb above freezing, they go fishing, while on snowy days when the temps stay below the freezing mark, they opt to ski.
Hard decisions, I know — cue the violin.
Not being a skier, I’ve always just spent my time fishing. Last week, I took a spill out on some ice in a shaded parking lot and hurt my foot. Being the typical simple-minded man that I am, I toughed it out for a day hoping that the pain would subside. When I woke up the following morning, my foot turned black and blue and it I couldn’t bear any weight on it. So, off I went to the doc, where I was asked over and over again if I broke it skiing. I remembered a 30-year-old John Gierach quote about one of our Taylor Creek guides, Koke Winter, in which he replied to the same question, “I don’t go in for sissy sports. I’m a trout fisherman.”
I made it 35 years without breaking a single bone in body, so I guess that I had a pretty good, long run. With a cast on my foot for the next 4 to 6 weeks, I began to feel a bit lost and out of sorts a little bit. To fulfill my own curiosity and try out my bum leg on the river, I went and looked for rising fish one evening on the Colorado River. I hobbled and slithered down to river, saw two fish rise and made the realization that I can’t wade, let alone even walk, down to the river.
On the drive home that night, I figured it out. I went ice fishing my next day off (I know it’s not fly fishing but by God, it gets me out of the house and allows me to fish) and then floated the Roaring Fork the following day. I was ultimately just happy to be rowing a boat, sitting down to fish, resting my foot and enjoying our recently beautiful, warm weather with a good friend. As an added bonus, the fishing was even fairly good too.
I don’t know how to stop fishing, but I’m creative and willing enough to change my fishing style to allow me to continue fishing.
Plus, I don’t go in for sissy sports anyhow.
This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.
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New hiking and biking trail at Sutey Ranch could ease pressure at main Red Hill trailhead later this summer.