Salomone: Remember, renew, reset. Now, go.￼
Three tips to get the season started off right
Winter has lingered in the valley long enough. High hopes for dry-fly angling dance enticingly in memories formed during the warmth of last summer. Anglers need a little poke to get them going. Here are a few things for anglers at the start of the season: one to remember, one to renew and one to revisit.
Remember beds in spawning areas. Evidence is obvious to the educated eye. Learn about what to look for and where. On a recent outing to a local small water, I encountered a pair of spin-fishing anglers. I was cordial. I answered their question about if I was catching anything. I told them the truth about the couple small rainbows I had caught.
But, that dirty look from the trailing angler was because I caught you targeting spawning brown trout with huge rapalas, two or three treble hooks on each lure. Yeah, I know what you were doing and that is how we get feeder streams shut down during spawning season from unethical anglers targeting the spawning fish.
I doubt that their barbs were pinched down. Based on the Christmas tree-sparkle each lure was casting I know the treble hooks were intact, not cut back to a single hook. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with a spinning rod in my hand. There was not a lot of fly fishing going on in southern Ohio during my youth. A spinning rod is where I cultivated my insatiable hunger for fishing. It was in Colorado where I learned about the vulnerability of spawning trout and taught myself to veer away from hazards.
Renew your Colorado fishing license at your local fly shop, such as Vail Valley Anglers, online through the CPW website or even over the phone, 1-800-244-5613. April 1, 2023 is the day to remember. My suggestion for all Colorado residents is to purchase the combination hunting and fishing license.
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For under $57 Colorado residents have the option for purchasing the combination license whereas non-residents can not. After all, that will give you a reason for walking through the woods this fall for a combined angling and upland adventure. A Colorado high country grouse and trout dinner is guaranteed to be the most exciting culinary experience you’ve had in a while — a true field-to-table approach to eating local.
A Colorado resident annual license is under $40. Non-residents can purchase a five-day license for under $37, a one-day license for under $20 with additional single-day licenses costing only $7.50.
Included in the first license purchase of 2023 an individual makes, whether it is fishing, big game hunting or a combination hunting and fishing license is a habitat stamp. A habitat stamp is required of all anglers. The state-issued stamp is $11.50 for both residents and non-residents. If you are purchasing your first hunting or fishing license for the year in Colorado, the habitat stamp is an automatic charge that is non-negotiable.
Give your gear an assessment for low-quantity, consumable items. Leaders and tippet rank high on the list. Flies are another item frequently lost and in need of replenishing. Renewing those fly-fishing necessities now prepares anglers for the coming season.
The Fly-Fishing Film Tour passed through the valley last week. In need of a little resetting, my brother and I attended. We emerged with newfound angling motivation from a permit in Oman, a cheap belt buckle and a hobo. The cinema was full with anglers of all kinds — women, old men and young kids. The lineup of films covered a wide array of fly angling from far off saltwater pursuits to the golden trout of California my brother introduced me to years ago. It was a little bit of everything and just enough of the good stuff to lift everyone’s angling soul after a long ice-encrusted winter.
Remember to look out for signs of spawning. Rocks do not clean themselves. Any clean riverbed at this time of year is active spawning. The future trout to fill the Eagle River rely on ethical angling and cautious wading. Renew your fishing license. April 1 is the critical date. And if you get a chance to watch the fly-fishing films, they’ll reset the angling motivation we all have been looking for.
It’s been a long winter. Remember the beds, renew your license and reset your gear. Now, go.