With no shortage of lakes and rivers around Steamboat fly fishing is one of the most popular sports in the area, and while I had fished in the ocean several times and even tried ice-fishing in Finland earlier this year this was going to be my first time attempting to catch my lunch from a river- or so I thought.
We reached Steamboat Flyfishing early in the morning, a slight breeze making the trees sway and the first snow of the season to be seen in the distance. I know nothing about fishing in mountains, but after having watched countless documentaries about fly fishing in Alaska (all right, never fully) these seemed to be perfect conditions for all I knew. We were welcomed with big smiles, and Andy, our guide for the trip, explained that we needed to get our gear ready and make the most out of the four hours we had on this somewhat short fishing trip- we had more to do in the afternoon and could not spend as much time as we would have liked.
With the 1 day licenses purchased we hopped on the pick up truck and began the 20 minute drive to a nearby river with beautiful surroundings, running streams, and hopefully some inconspicuous trout dumb enough to eat my bait. I was wondering if local restaurants would be willing to cook whatever I caught, if I did at all?
“Oh no, we can’t take the fish back home. In this area all we can do is catch and release” commented Andy.
Bummer. So much for my fresh, out-of-the-river lunch.
Still, I was looking forward to being out in the mountains and enjoying the cool air and wonderful surroundings. Before making our way to the river Andy taught us some basics on fly fishing, particularly on how to release the line. Turned out that it appears to be easy, but is harder than what it seems. You have to sway the rod about 1/3 behind and above you, wait for the line to straighten out mid air and the throw it forward, letting is fall slowly on the water.
So out we went, happy trekkers with all the gear in place and, on to our first spot: a wide section of the river with a few bushes behind us and hopefully many trout under the water. I swung back my rod, let the line straighten…but when I threw it forward the line never bulged. It was already tangled with the bushes, strike one.
“No worries” Andy commented smiling, “it happens all the time”.
On my next attempt the line did follow the path it was supposed to and landed close to where Andy suggested I aim at. We were there for around fifteen minutes, and then shifted to a new location. Feet in water, posing like a pro, I threw the line again only to get it tangled once more, this time with a nearby tree. Crap.
We tried several locations along the river, without much luck when it came to catching fish but plenty of it when it came to getting it tangled with bushes and trees. Funny thing is I was actually liking it. Unlike sea fishing or ice fishing where all you do is stare at the ocean or inside the hole in the ice hoping some dumb fish will bite, with fly fishing you let the fake fly flow downstream until the line is almost straight, time at which you have to place it upstream again. With only five to ten seconds between throws you’re actually quite busy all the time, and with the sound of the river, the cool air and the lovely mountains around us I was not surprised people actually spend hours in the mountains enjoying this outdoor sport.
Unfortunately we were not lucky, nor was Andy himself. He mentioned that the rain from last night and colder temperatures had probably made the fish somewhat dormant, and water was not crystal clear for the same reason, not letting the fish sea the fly.
It was time to head back. Almost three hours had gone by and I had not been bored for an instant, and while I was happy with the experience I was bummed about not having caught anything (even though it wouldn’t have been my lunch anyway). Along the way we took a few more pictures, hopped on the truck and headed back to Steamboat. As I looked out the window I admired the views and thought about those fishermen I see in documentaries who travel to Alaska and spend days or weeks in pursuit of salmon and river fish; while I had always thought it was quite dumb to travel all the way there to remain all the time by a river I now understood the feeling and pictured myself doing it someday in the future, but with one condition: I must be allowed to eat my catch.
Steamboat Flyfisher Website http://www.steamboatflyfisher.com/
Have you ever tried fly fishing? Where at? Did you enjoy it? Catch anything? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below and this post too if you think others might like it!
My fly fishing tour was possible thanks to Steamboat Flyfisher during my recent fam trip to Steamboat Springs. This said all the fun I had and opinions shared in this post are entirely my own.