Salomone: 10 fly-fishing resolutions for the new year
Vail Valley Anglers
The crystal ball has dropped, ushering in a fresh 2022. As fly anglers we can use this clean start to provide the impetus for growth, discovery and opportunity. Setting a few fly-fishing resolutions at the beginning of a new year is a way of defining goals and achieving expectations.
Choose a favorite from the following list, or use them as ideas for creating your own fly-fishing resolution for 2022. Fly-fishing resolutions can be fun goals to achieve. They can be the drive for learning new skills or the reason to take a fishing trip.
1. Introduce fly-fishing to someone new, preferably a kid. Take the time to teach fly casting to someone, and they will want to apply their new skill on the water. Kids are eager to learn and accomplish goals. Share your knowledge and present the gift of fly-fishing to someone else.
2. Fish a dry fly. Pretty plain and simple but difficult for anglers who revel in numbers. Fly anglers who struggle with a dry fly often fall back into the strike indicator and nymph approach. Stick with it; the dry fly will increase your enjoyment factor.
3. Join a conservation organization that represents your interests. The organization could be local, like the Eagle River Watershed Council, or a national association, like Trout Unlimited. Whatever the group, join and participate. The friends, information and pride received from membership is a reward that lasts all year.
Support Local Journalism
4. High country streams are a plentiful resource in Colorado. Find a map and pick a thin blue line in the mountains. Now go see — does it hold fish? You may have just found a new treasure. Even if the water was fishless, you can still make it a memorable adventure.
5. Fly anglers in the Colorado High Country may have to work a little for this one, but for most anglers this should be a fun-yet-challenging day. Catching a warmwater fish on the fly opens the door to a whole new group of target species. Bluegill, largemouth bass, carp, northern pike all have challenges that require fly anglers to overcome. Carp are a favorite of mine and will convert any “trout-aholic” into a carp fan. Northern pike are voracious fish and provide some spectacular visual eats.
6. Plan a trip to a fly-fishing destination. Something that takes some work to make happen. Do the research, ask questions and gather specialized gear or flies. Plan your accommodations. The choices vary, anglers can choose to camp, stay in a cabin or kick back in a lodge. Get together with some old friends and take a trip.
7. Learn to cast with your “off” hand. Casting with your off hand allows anglers to open up their casting window when fishing. Any angle or cast is now more easily achieved. Difficult positions become easy casts when you learn to cast with both hands.
8. Avoid stressful water conditions. Commit yourself to finding alternative fishing locations. When the water temperatures rise in the Eagle and Colorado rivers, remember your fly-fishing resolution from the new year and avoid the over-stressed water. Seek out places that have desirable water conditions, such as tailwaters, High Country lakes or Alpine beaver ponds.
9. Learn how to fly fish in still waters. The specialized approaches to fishing lakes, ponds or reservoirs broaden an angler’s skill set. Anglers can approach the water from the bank by kayak, stand-up paddleboard or canoe. Fly-fishing from a small watercraft is a joy. Learning new bugs that fly anglers can imitate is a challenge.
10. Pick up trash and pack it out every time you fish. The river gathers debris constantly. Use your net and grab a can or two and toss them in your net. From errant tippet caught up in the riverbank bushes to discarded fly cups at the boat ramp, fly anglers are not without guilt.
Goals help anglers keep focused throughout the year. Skills, destinations or conditions to keep sacred, the resolutions you make now will steer the year along. Fly-fishing resolutions are ones you will want to keep.