When you ask folks for fly fishing-themed photos, you can expect a couple things right off the bat. First, you’re going to get a wide range of great photos! From “grip and grin” pictures of “fish of a lifetime” to scenic shots to cool angles of even cooler anglers, the photos are going to reveal the beauty of this great sport. Second of all, the decision is going to be a tough one! We received over 90 entries for our first photo contest and here are your top three photos. And the winners are ....
Before we sat down to make our picks, we thought of the criteria we would use during the selection process. We decided we wanted the winning photos to capture the spirit of fly fishing and to have an appealing aesthetic quality [effective colors (even if it’s black and white), composition, mood]. Pretty basic stuff – until our panel of four judges sorted through the outstanding submissions!
Kaitlyn Boyer / First Place: “Anticipation." We liked the composition of Kaitlyn's photo -- that sense of anticipation comes through. The setting captures autumn in Colorado. The stillness of the pond reveals a different quality that we don't always experience! We asked Kaitlyn for the story behind the photo.
The Story behind the photo: “Every fall I take a camping trip with a group of friends near Buena Vista. There’s great off-roading trails, so we bring ATV’s and dirt bikes and ride them up into the changing aspens. It’s a breathtaking area. I always noticed this little pond off one of the trails and one day I decided to throw my fly rod on the back of my dirt bike and check it out. I casted an Amy’s Ant out to the middle of the pond and pulled out a gorgeous 12-inch brookie.”
What is it that makes fall fly fishing so awesome: “There are so many things to love about fall fishing. For one, the weather is perfect. The air is crisp, it’s not too hot, not too chilly. I think the fish like that, too! The changing leaves really add a certain element to your time on the water. It’s vibrant, serene, and peaceful. I’m pretty sure any fly fisher on the Front Range can agree that we all love the hungry browns and kokanee run in the fall. It’s something we look forward to all year.”
More about Kaitlyn: “I remember when I initially started fly fishing, and I found it all very intimidating. There’s so much to learn, and it’s overwhelming. Some of the people I would meet at fly shops or on the river were just so arrogant and egotistical that it was hard to gain confidence in my own skills as an angler. That’s not what fly fishing is about. Like yoga, I had to make it a really personal practice. Then, once I started fishing with other women, everything changed for me. Through their support and encouragement, I grew as an angler in a positive way. I think women, at any age, bring many special qualities to the water, and that’s really empowering. Patience was another component that needed some growth. There are so many frustrating aspects of fly fishing- knots, losing flies, losing fish, harsh weather, getting skunked. As discouraging as those things can be, they are the lessons that teach you how to be patient with the sport and yourself. So, in a nutshell, my advice is, ignore all the big shots and don’t be intimidated, find your confidence by fishing with other women, and be patient with yourself. If you find that fly fishing is for you, be prepared: your life is going to change for the better!" (Kaitlyn posts over on Instagram at @pixiek8.)
Neil Kreysche / Runner Up: “Late Fall Color." Neil caught this big brown in November on the Blue River below Green Mountain Reservoir. “Tough fishery but the fish are beautiful. Been skunked there 6 times then it all came together.” Indeed it did. We loved his photo for the slash of color from the beautiful brown trout. The late fall greys, dark jacket, the white of the snow, and the dark river make for a great contrast to the markings on this fish.
Sam Fetzer / Runner Up: “Fall Fishing in Southern Utah.” This photo was taken in October on one of his favorite streams to visit in the fall. Pictured is Sam’s brother-in-law Mike, “who is also my go-to fishing buddy and fly-tying teacher. He's working a streamer through a deep pool. The sun was shining perfectly on the leaves above him illuminating the fall colors. I got down to take a low angle shot. We did end up catching a few nice browns that day. “ Sam Fetzer also enjoys tying his own flies and writing about his fishing experiences at http://tightlinepursuit.blogspot.com.
Thank you to all who submitted! Please know that the decision was not easy at all! Enjoy the fall season – on the water or simply by being present for all that it offers!
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