DAY 5 — It’s fishing, not catching!
I’m standing on a rock in the Roaring Fork River in Aspen early in the morning wishing for a cup of coffee—where there is supposed to be some of the best fly fishing in Colorado but I’m not catching anything.
Sure I’m a novice. I’m certain my casting leaves a lot to be desired. It is beautiful—no one but us, the water crystal clear, mountains around us. We had to slide down on our butts to get to this fishing spot, suited up in waders with neoprene booties and waterproof boots.That’s part of the adventure I’m told—clamoring down the steep incline to the river, over rocks, holding on to tree roots for support.
But no fish. “It’s about the experience,” says our guide Trevor Clapper from the Little Nell Adventure Shop, which offers trips that end in Basalt, about 20 miles downriver. Clapper says of everything people want to do in the summer or fall when they come to Aspen—off road jeep tours, guided hiking trips, white river rafting—fly fishing is the most popular. “It’s something different,” he explains. “And something you can only do certain places.”
Like here. The Roaring Fork Valley is considered one of the best fly fishing destinations in Colorado. You can also practice casting in stocked ponds—we did that last summer and finished the morning with a picnic lunch.
But it’s not about the fish. It’s about the experience—just being in the River. “Kids love the river…they get to wade and feel the moving water and slip and slide,” Trevor says.
Patience is rule number one, says our other guide Mark Welgos, who like Trevor grew up fly fishing with his dad here. He takes out many novices, he tells me
I have three grown kids with me—my two daughters, both in their 20s and a friend and they certainly are loving the experience. “It w as really pretty and relaxing,” my 27 year old daughter Reggie said.
“It’s always fun to try something new,” she added.
Clapper said more and more women are embracing fly fishing. “This is a real finesse sport,” he said. “The women take their time.”
“It’s totally about the experience…people are all about the hustle, hustle all the time. On the river, you just chill and enjoy.”
But no fish. Lots of pretty pictures though.
And a rare morning with my daughters. That’s better than any fish, I think.
That night, we head up to the top of Snowmass Mountain –great views from the gondola—to Valhalla Nights at Elk Camp, modeled after the Ulr Nights that were so successful last winter on Friday nights where kids could ice skate, snow bike and sled as a DJ entertained the crowd.
Here there were hula hoop lessons, a mini-climbing wall, lawn games and s’mores with a local band playing as the little kids danced. There was plenty of good eats—everything from pizza and Caesar salad to roast chicken, roast beef and smashed potatoes.
My 20-something daughters were hula hooping along with all the little kids. A great way to end the day, we all agreed.