2015 will go into the books as the year of water. Water. Annnnd … more water. We saw flows like we had never seen before in our major fisheries – freestone and tailwaters – as a result of snowpack, late season snowstorms, and springtime rains that dumped even more water into the run-off. But it was more than just a soggy year. The Guides at Angler’s Covey reflected on 2015 – and this is what they found memorable.
Lifelong Learners – You can never learn it all.
Our classes at Angler’s Covey were unsurpassed in enriching the adventure of flyfishing for newcomers to the sport and to those who have been doing this for awhile. A new offering was the Colorado Fly Fishing Guide Academy that Robert Younghanz and Neil Luehring conducted in association with Angler's Covey. Neil called it “one of the most memorable teaching experiences ever for me.” As he and Robert planned and developed the course, “there were times that I wanted to pull out what little hair I have left as we identified the essential information for the program. We put a lot of thought and time into building the curriculum, recruiting the instructors, writing the handbook, and promoting the school.”
The time and effort paid off. Jon Easdon, Angler’s Director of Services, said “Neil and Robert knocked it out of the park and brought a sweet class of Guides up the ranks. I’m proud to say that all of the Academy grads did a trip of some type as well. They are a great group of guides and fit in well with the Covey.”
Neil agrees. “Their passion was evident in the entire process. Perhaps the greatest reward was watching the students on their journey to becoming fly fishing guides.
I am definitely looking forward to the 2016 CFFGA sessions!”
The Academy was not the only highlight, though. Janine Young’s highlight was “teaching casting during Orvis 101. I was flying back from Florida in October and met a guy at baggage claim that recognized me and shook my hand saying that I helped him and his daughter learn to cast. Very cool!”
Fishing Conditions: The Year of Water…Too Much Water…A Whole Lotta Watta
Every guide had something to say about the amount of water we had in 2015.
Sharon Wright, Guide and one of the leaders (she might not ever say that!) of Pikes Peak Women Anglers, recalls “heading up to 11 mile with Jon Easdon and Karbo a day or two after the canyon opened post flood. 900+ cfs. The entire river was transformed into raging rapids and huge water. Apparently, any nymphs trying to emerge were immediately shredded upon emerging ... wow! We found some pools in the upper stretches of the canyon holding some of the largest fish I've ever seen in the canyon, holding in the slowest water. Spectacular...humbling....respecting the force of mother nature!”
The raging rivers posed new challenges, new opportunities, for guides, too. Jon Easdon said that “the blessing of the insanely high water” was that it pushed the Guides to “think outside of the box and guide locations they weren't used to guiding.” The Guides came together, shared fishing reports, techniques, and tips in fishing new locations and in fishing the high water.
Trips with Clients: Into the Adventure
The reason why guides guide, though, “come Hell or high water,” is to bring newcomers into the adventure and to enrich the flyfishing adventure for people who have fished for awhile.
Julie Sprinkles recalled the “two never-ever-fly-fished” clients she led at Rosemont. They spent “an utterly beautiful half-day pulling in dazzling brookies and Rainbows a-plenty, laughing and giggling all the while.”
Julie’s runner-up for most memorable moment? “Guiding a young Army MD sneaking out from her assignment at the AFA for a day to learn to use the Tenkara rod her husband had given her. She didn't land a thing (missing some strikes in the process), but was so thoroughly entranced by watching the fish, playing with the flies. and drinking in the scenery that she said she finally ‘got’ why it was such an addiction ... and that she would be working on her technique so that she could do better next time when fishing with her husband and four sons.”
Veteran Guide, Dave Herber, said “during the high flows I did several guided trips to North Catamount. Clients had a blast, sight casting dry flies to cruising trout in gin clear, snow melt water, in the shadow of Pikes Peak. (Isn’t that a great phrase, although a little run-on.) When the South Platte was closed, or too dangerous, what a redeeming place the North Slope of Pikes Peak was for me to guide in.”
Sharon Wright reflected on the first "Couples on the River" trip she led with Jon Easdon and chef Scott Voyles. It was like “seeing pure joy from this group of four anglers. First- time anglers all! A daughter and husband arranged a special anniversary celebration for her parents. Several nice fish were caught, and they enjoyed a fabulous meal on the river prepared by Scott! Helping to be a catalyst to seeing people celebrate and experience an amazing time on the river is what guiding is all about for me!”
Kenny Romero’s highlight was about the “friendships gained and strengthened with clients and fellow guides. I wasblessed to be part of a couples engagement during a guide trip. What an honor!”
Jamie Roth, one of our newer Guides and graduates of the Academy, said that he was “more ecstatic over some 12-14 inchers landed this summer than some of the biggest fish I've seen caught! I loved those ‘first fish ever’ moments.”
And so it goes ...
So, 2015 may have been the year of the high water. But it was also the year of new guides sharing the adventure. It was the year of “couples on the river” – celebrations, anniversaries, memorable moments. 2015 was the year of first casts in new water and first fish taken on a fly rod.
Happy New Year! And tight lines in 2016.
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Orvis 201 Streamside