Although there was no explicit theme for Saturday’s Colorado Springs Fishing Show, one theme did emerge through the day: grow your fly fishing experience. From Kirk Deeter’s presentation at 9:30 in the morning to the Guide’s talk that ended the day, the idea of branching out and taking on different angling challenges was a recurring thread.
Kirk Deeter’s talk was focused on the statement “Why We Live Here.” Kirk has traveled the world to fish exotic places — think Patagonia, Alaska, New Zealand — and then he returns to his home in Colorado. His home. This is where he takes up residence to take advantage of the 9,000 miles of rivers and over 2,000 lakes and reservoirs to fish. From the brook trout of our small streams to the big browns hugging the banks of our larger rivers to the carp pulled from urban waters, our opportunities for adventure are plentiful, rich, and varied.
What was Kirk’s challenge to those of us attending his presentation? Branch out. Try something new. At one point in his talk, he said “make a point to abandon using the strike indicator for at least a part of the day.” The point being that we can continue to grow our fly fishing experience by abandoning some old behaviors and techniques even for a part of our time on the water.
At the Guides’ session at the end of the day, Kenny Romero, our resident stillwater expert, made a statement that we all know is true — but his clarity really got my attention in the midst of this day: “We’re not getting any more water to fish — but we’re getting more fisherman.” The popularity of fly fishing means that familiar and accessible water is getting pressured more.
What’s the antidote? Expand our horizons and grow our experience.
Dave Leinweber’s presentation emphasized the different environments in which fly fishing can happen: rivers and streams, backcountry, and stillwater. Rather than drive the hour to Elevenmile Canyon, why not drive the same hour to one of the three or four small streams that are in the surrounding Pikes Peak region? Or in just about that same amount of driving time, why not fish Rampart or Antero Reservoir? For the angler that’s willing to hike a little bit, the backcountry offers him or her the chance to cast to fish that have never seen an artificial fly.
Angler’s Covey’s panel of Guides — Greg Blessing, David Carragher, Jon Easdon, Steve Gossage, Kenny Romero and Scott Turrant — capped off this theme of growing your experience. One attendee asked about fishing with a mouse pattern — part of his “summer buckler list”: fish on a night with a full moon. This is not delicate fishing at all. There won’t be any “oh, did he hit it?” because fish tend to slam the mouse pattern.
One person who may have been in attendance at Deeter’s presentation asked how to move away from the habit of using a strike indicator. Of course, if you take off the indicator, you also have to make some other changes. The Guides pointed out that you can watch the end of your fly line for the same type of motion you’ll get from a strike indicator. Keep a straighter line and shorten your drift. Broaden your circle of focus so you are looking at more of the water than the 1/2 inch ball of plastic floating on the surface. Abandoning the strike indicator may mean that you see the flash of fish as he takes your nymph because you widen your field of vision.
And with that question, we sort of came full circle with the Fishing Show. Six hours later, we were still exploring the idea of abandoning — even for a part of the day — the familiar and branching out to the new. From techniques to territory, the message throughout the day was broaden your experience.
What will make your fly fishing adventure new in 2014?
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Early season stillwater Fundamentals-Classroom