Our fly-fishing series has walked you through the basics of picking fly-fishing gear and making the correct fly selection. So now it’s time to put it all together and learn some basic casting techniques. In this segment, Howard Horton, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Angler Outreach Coordinator, demonstrates basic casting techniques that you can practice and perfect in the backyard and then use on the majority of Colorado’s waters.
Other Fly Fishing Basics Videos
Picking the right flies for your first fishing trip can be an intimidating experience. And while most local fly fishing shops will be happy to guide you through your first purchase, there’s something to be said about being an informed buyer. Howard Horton, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Angler Outreach Coordinator, takes the mystery out of filling your fly box by revealing a combination of flies that will work in a range of waters, from Colorado’s mountain streams to the reservoirs. Howard discusses basic fly selections, including dry flies, nymphs and streamers – walking you through setups like the dry-dropper that are sure to increase your confidence and success on your next outdoor fishing adventure.
Fly Fishing resources mentioned in the video:
For more fly fishing information, watch Fly Fishing Basics – Part I: Gearing Up and learn exactly what you’ll need to get out on the water without breaking the bank.
Fishing is often a solitary endeavor, but it’s more fun when it’s not. Photos © by Wayne D. Lewis.
In the early 80s, for a group of gangly, basketball-loving young men in Golden, Colo., Pat Sanner was The Guy. He had the backyard basketball court, the basement sports cave, close access to a park for football and a mom who tolerated our group better than most. Sanner was genetically wired for sports: His father was Lynn Sanner, the sports director for KBTV (now KUSA) and host of “The Broncos with Red Miller,” the weekly Denver Broncos recap. I never met Lynn; Pat had lost his father right around the time my family moved to Golden, but you could see the impact the father had on the son. Read more
Article and Photos by Scott Willoughby
Spawning kokanee by © Scott Willoughby
In a state that pretty much has it all, the most glaring gap in Colorado’s vast menu of outdoor options becomes obvious at its borders. The ability to walk across state lines almost anywhere without getting your feet wet serves as evidence of a basic reality: We’re landlocked. High and dry.
For a large chunk of the fishing world, that could be considered a problem. There are plenty of fish in the sea, as they say, and the opportunity to chase a wide variety of them is what drives many an angler to wet a line. But in the network of rivers and lakes draining from the mountainous spine of the nation to oceans east and west, well, the species selection falls a bit short by comparison. Sure, we’ve got a respectable assortment of more than 40 types of cold-, cool- and warm-water fish species statewide in Colorado, but it seems like the grass can always get a little greener. Read more
Urad Lake. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW.
If you are looking to either fish, hike, see the aspens change, wildlife watch or all of the above, you can do far worse than a trip to Urad Lake.
Urad Lake is in the Urad Lake State Wildlife Area, the newest SWA in Colorado. Located off of Jones Pass and Berthoud Pass in Clear Creek County, it is the result of a cooperative effort between the Climax Molybdenum Company (Henderson Mine), the City of Golden and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).
The property was historically open to the public for several decades, even though privately owned by the mine. In 2011, the property closed to the public as Henderson Mine did a massive, multimillion dollar mitigation project in the Woods Creek Valley.
During the closure, the mine, City of Golden (which owns the water and reservoir) and CPW were able to work out a long-term lease to turn over the management of the property to Colorado Parks and Wildlife which reopened the area in 2014. During that time, CPW stocked the lake with 6,000 10- to 12-inch cutbow trout. The lake is full of small brook trout, recently stocked rainbow trout and plenty of the cutbows. Read more
Article & Photos By Scott Willoughby
Jason Lieverst. Photo by © Scott Willoughby
Jason Lieverst is performing a magic trick. Or so it would seem. With just a few flicks of his 11-foot wand, the former captain of the British national fly-fishing team plucks trout after trout from a seemingly shallow pool in the Eagle River like some overgrown Harry Potter pulling a litter of rabbits out of a hat.
“What was that, about 14?” Lieverst estimates in a proper English accent as we hike back up the bank toward the truck before the engine had time to completely cool. “Not bad for an hour or so of fishing.”
Unlike most modern magic, Lieverst’s wizardry is no illusion. Rather, it’s a systematic technique originating in Europe and honed over nearly 30 years before making its way to the banks of the Eagle River near Avon, where it’s now being put on display on an increasingly routine basis. Read more
The author’s hand-tied Gray Ugly flies. Photo by Wayne Lewis/CPW.
In the modern era of overly complex, match-the-hatch fly patterns, adding a few simple, traditional flies to your fly box can be effective weapons in your fly-fishing arsenal.
The Gray Ugly is a vintage fly that surpasses many of its modern-day brethren in its amazing ability to catch trout. An oldie but a goodie, I was first introduced to this pattern in the late 1970s by my grandfather who spent most of his life trout fishing in Colorado and Montana. The Gray Ugly was one of his favorite patterns because of its versatility and effectiveness. Over the years, I also saw my dad and uncle use this fly with great success, catching everything from small brook trout at Monarch Lake to bruiser brown trout at North Delaney Buttes.
The fly works especially well with a fly-and-bubble rig and a spinning rod, which is how my grandfather, dad and uncle fished this pattern. For fly-fishing purists, the Gray Ugly also performs just fine at the end of a 5-weight fly rod, fished either wet or dry. Read more
Article & Photos by Scott Willoughby
Floating a scenic slice of the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon. Photo by © Scott Willoughby.
When it comes to their favorite places to wet a line, fishermen are pretty tight-lipped by nature. So it comes as no surprise that the one-year anniversary of the designation of Browns Canyon National Monument came and went last February with little fanfare among Colorado’s angling community.
Besides, nothing has really changed along the scenic slice of the Arkansas River that qualifies among the nation’s premier public trout fisheries. And that’s precisely the point.
“I grew up in big, wide-open spaces in Nevada, and there’s been enormous change to the landscapes — transmission lines, oil and gas coming in, major hard-rock mines and other projects,” U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director Neil Kornze said while rafting through the newly minted monument last July. “So I love it when I see a community come together and say: ‘Let’s not just trust that this will always be the way we love it. Let’s do something about it.’ It’s not necessarily about changing something in a dramatic way. Sometimes it’s about keeping what you’ve got and what you love.” Read more
DID YOU KNOW? Fishing in Colorado contributes roughly $1.9 billion to the economy. Become an angler today and be an active participant in wildlife management and help our local economies. Photo by © Wayne D. Lewis/CPW
Why Learn to Fly Fish?
Fly fisherman by © Howard Horton/CPW
When most people think of fishing in Colorado, fly fishing is one of the first techniques that come to mind. Like all types of fishing, it can be a fun group or family activity or it can be your way to find peace and tranquility — an escape from our busy lives.
Learning to fly fish does not have to be intimidating, difficult or expensive. There are lots of opportunites for classes with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), local fly shops and fly-fishing organizations around Colorado.
People in Colorado love to fish. Colorado sells more than 900,000 fishing licenses each year! There are so many fishing choices in Colorado with 9,500 miles of streams 2,000 natural lakes and 800 reservoirs. Your new favorite fishing spot may be just around the corner. Read more
A fly-and-bubble angler fishes in Pearl Lake State Park.
It’s not often that someone hates the title of your story before you write it, but that is the case with this piece. Last fall, while fishing with a good buddy (who prefers to remain nameless) we were discussing the merits of the angling method we’d been using for the last few trout-fishing expeditions — fly and bubble. He really liked how far he could throw a fly when the bubble was filled more than halfway with water which got me thinking. “Throwing Bubbles — that’s what I’ll call my article,” I said.
My enthusiasm was met with much manly scorn. And he had a good point. Something that can, at times, be brutally effective shouldn’t be described so frivolously. But it’s my title, and I’m sticking with it.
Many people, like my buddy and I, can only afford so much equipment and devote only so much time to their recreational endeavors. Learning how to fly fish, and getting geared up to do so, is out of the question for many spin anglers. But when the fish are ignoring spoons and spinners, and hitting flies instead, then something must be done to level the playing field. Read more