Colorado – Fly Fishing in Carbondale

Colorado has been calling to me for more years than I can remember.  I think now, after visiting almost every state, I would probably choose here if I had to pick only one state to spend the rest of my life in.  It would be tough, California, Utah, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Wyoming all fascinate me.  But the juxtaposition of flatland with instant mountains rising to the west, filled with lakes and some of the best fishing streams, it just does me in.

I really do love Colorado.

We were all so happy to see green again.  Don’t get me wrong, you should know by now how fascinated I am with rocks, especially dusty red ones, but damn it’s good to see green.

Our first order of business to get some fly-fishing done.  I have wanted to take the boys to do this since Justin dirtied his first diaper.  BUT, since I have never tossed a fly in my life it was time to find a guide.

Dave, the owner of the Crystal Fly Shop (  in Carbondale set us up with our guide, Glenn Melus and and all the gear we needed for a day of long lines and tall tales.  By the time we walked out of Dave’s shop, we looked the part and Robin couldn’t stop laughing.  I thought I presented a pretty legit look with my skintight waders and beer belly!

Glenn was fantastic.  He modified his pace perfectly for me and the boys and as we caught on kept giving us more and more coaching and information.

Fly fishing has always been a mystical black art to me, but Glenn showed us how “read the river”.  Basically, if you just stand still, close your mouth, open your ears and eyes, the river will tell you everything you need to know about what’s going on there and how to catch fish.

We started by looking at the surface of the water to see what bugs were skittering about, paying attention to what the fish’s food supply was in each location and time of day.  Next it was into the water to turn over rocks and examine what’s crawling around.  It makes sense that if you present a fish with a tasty little morsel that matches what he’s expecting to find that he’ll latch right on.

Once you know what’s flying around, you need to find where the fish are hanging out.  This proved to be pretty straightforward, look for calm spots near areas of rapids.  The fish don’t to fight the tough water any more than we do.  They will hang out in the calm areas and need to eat plenty of bugs to keep up the strength to tackle the whitewater.  This is where we found them.

Before the day was out we had tried three different spots on the Roaring Fork River, all caught multiple fish and had a damned good time.  The boys were perfect gentlemen, respectful and attentive as Glenn walked us through the paces and turned us “city boys” into fisherman.

Now we’ll have to see how we do on the streams in NH and Maine…


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