Halloween is around the corner and it seems that everywhere you look you can’t escape the color orange. While changing leaves, pumpkin patches, and snack-sized peanut butter cups abound, for fly fisherman, the color orange presents a different appeal—one that triggers a ferocious take, the arching bend of the rod, and the screeching sound of line peeling from the reel. Everyone’s go-to fall color is universally appealing for both humans and fish alike.
Four nights and four rivers. That was the plan. My Dad and I were going to head out on our Harleys, with all our fishing gear, and take a tour of Colorado rivers. Since it was the middle of July, we knew we’d hit a little a rain, but we ended up riding through a lot more than we bargained for. The first day was going to be the longest day of riding. We left Denver at a decent time, and the plan was to try and outrun the rain, making it over Wolf Creek Pass while it was still dry.
Half the fun for the trip though, started long before we ever left. After we had decided where and when we were going, there was still the pretty big task of trying to figure out how to fit everything for a trip like that on a motorcycle. There were a few fishing things that were a must; waders, boots, 7 piece rod to fit in the saddlebags (and a Tenkara rod for good measure since they don’t take up any space), and my new Patagonia Stealth Atom Sling Pack. Of course, there were also some motorcycle things that were a must; a cover, helmet, jacket, gloves, chaps, and enough clothes that I wouldn’t be able to smell myself too much on the last day while heading down the road at 80 mph. Continue reading “Four Nights Four Rivers”
If you’re anything like me, walking into the local fly shop and throwing down $3.00 for a fly is just painful. I remember purchasing a big hopper in Eastern Idaho for a specific stretch of water. Given the cost, I “wisely” opted to buy only one. Three casts later, a large brown took it off the surface as soon as the bug hit. After what seemed like a few seconds he broke me off, and my hopper was never seen again, at least, not by me. It is experiences like this that have led me to tie my own flies, as well as times I’ve fished waters with zero luck, only to notice the hatches and make mental notes. After some time at the vise and a little creativity, I’ve come back with my own fly and left with success. But, if your Grandpa didn’t teach you to tie and you’re new to the sport, where should you start? Below are a few of the essential tools of the fly tying trade. All recommendations are items that I personally own and tie flies with.
To state the obvious: there are many ways to get to Yellowstone National Park. It is a huge tract of land (over 3,472 square miles) lying at an odd-shaped joining of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Most guide books recommend that if you have time, and trust me, you will want to set aside a bit of time, then plan to spend a few days in the different parts of the park with accommodation nearby. This will cut down on travel time and allow you to immerse yourself in the experience a whole lot more.
After much research, our plans took us from LAX through Denver and on to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This has to be one of the most breathtaking airports in the world, with a backdrop of the Grand Tetons and the Snake River only a short hike away. Touching down we knew our adventure had begun.
I have a friend who makes beautiful time-lapse videos of New York Harbor. He takes them from his tugboat with his GoPro action camera, and we have all probably seen what a dedicated skier or surfer can do with one of those.
I stand knee-deep in moderate current, eyeing the grassy bank across and slightly downstream from me. I’ve walked to the end of my street to access a shallow, rocky reach of the river that runs through my backyard.
I strip some line and make a false cast; strip some more and make another. I surprise myself when the size 12 foam spider I tied 30 minutes before lands softly in an eddy. I am delighted when it disappears in a boil of water.
I slow the line with my rod hand and begin retrieving with my stripping hand. My rod bends nearly double as the fish at the end of my line makes a run for a submerged tree branch.
I’m grinning like a kid on Christmas morning by now. I’ll admit, I may even have let out a little “whoop!”
I bring the fish to hand and crouch to admire the brightly-colored 8 inches of fury that I have captured.