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Learning to fly-fish in Aspen’s rivers and ponds


Zach Lewis wrestles with his fly-caught trout near Aspen

Zach Lewis wrestles with his fly-caught trout near Aspen

DAY 4 – A morning of firsts in Aspen.

Eleven-year-old Zach Lewis comes to Aspen every summer with his family from Davenport, Iowa.  “This is the place for my family. We love to hike and bike,” said his dad Chad.

But until this morning, Zach Lewis hadn’t been fly fishing—a popular Aspen activity.  This morning at his first spot on the Roaring Creek River Zach caught a nice sized trout. It was all catch and release, but that’s not what this is about.

It’s about the take, explains our guide Will Hollister, who came here to ski for a season after college and has been here for eight years fly fishing in the summer.

“If you come here in summer and don’t fish, you are really miss out,” said Hollister.

We’re staying at The Little Nell  and also were out for our first morning of fly fishing with Fly Fishing Adventures guides  located at the hotel. (Fall packages include a thirdd night free AND a complimentary fly fishing excursion valued at $395.)

I loved that as Fly Fishing novices we didn’t have to do anything but show up.  They provided waders, boots, and gear and let’s not forget an amazing lunch that we ate in a pristine picnic spot in the White River National Forest not far from a secluded pond with the largest beaver lodge I’d ever seen—20 feet wide and at least six feet high!

Even if you are an experienced fisherman, it’s smart to go out with local guides who know where to go, I think.

All smiles as the trout is netted then released

All smiles as the trout is netted then released

Zach Lewis and his dad were fishing with a guide near where we were along the Roaring Fork River. “He’s hooked now, he’s going to want to keep fishing,” said our other guide, 26-year-old Trevor Clapper, a fourth generation Aspen resident.  

Trevor says fall is his favorite time in Aspen—great fishing, hiking, all the colors and not a lot of crowds.

I’m trying to understand the appeal of this sport since it is all catch and release.

It’s about the “take”  watching the fish take the intricately tied tiny flies that indeed look like the flies that might be in the water—bees, dragonflies, etc.  They are so small I can’t believe they are tied by hand!

You need to look for the fish in the water and then “trick” them to take the bait of the fly. The beauty here is it is all catch and release so the fish don’t die.

Kids, our guides say, love to put on the big rubber wader overalls and boots and tromp around the river edge and the ponds.  

Our fishing guides Will and Trevor serve up a great lunch

Our fishing guides Will and Trevor serve up a great lunch

We go to two other crystal clear ponds to fish too—the second a hidden wilderness spot with the mountain range in the background. Spectacular!

While we’re tromping around the pond admiring the work of the industrious beavers, Will is spreading out our picnic—fried chicken and trout, assorted salads, cookies and wine. Nice!

The beauty of fly fishing, our guides say,  is that “you learn something new every day. “

I don’t think Zach Lewis cares about that. He just thinks it’s fun.


Destinations, Families & Groups, Lodging, Parks & Outdoors, Travel Diary | , , , , | 1 Comment

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  1. Pingback: FOURTEEN FAVORITE FALL GETAWAYS | Taking the Kids

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