The 10 Things to do Pre-Fly-Fishing Season!

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10 things you need to do BEFORE you hit the river!

It is the end of winter, I would expect that you’re getting anxious for the up coming fly Fishing season. I have done this routine for over 25 years and it is a great way to get primed and ready.

Here is a checklist of things to do ahead of time that will make your spring, summer, fall adventure successful.

  1. Do a dry run with your waders and boots. It is a great time to see if you need to repair leaks in your waders from last year, the ones you forgot about that soaked your socks. Also, check your boots of delaminating, wear and condition. Make sure they’re good enough or still fit you well. Soak your boots and change your laces.
  2. Go through all your flies. At the end of the seasons we just put our flies in our boxes, close them up, that’s it. What people forget about is that the hook itself can rust. Check to see if they still are in good shape and also take the time, with the help of an adult beverage, organize your boxes. I have a separate box for nymphs and dries as well as each family; Mayflies, Caddis, midge and so on. You never need to carry ALL of your patterns with you at all times. Do your homework, or ask your favorite shop what’s hatching and stock that. (but also keep a few secret bugs with you just incase.)
  3. Set new goals. Where do you WANT to fish? Learn a new technique? Take a float or do the high country? Maybe a stretch of new water would be interesting? Should you try the salt?
  4. Make sure to throughly clean, lube and/or rebuild or replace your fly reels. Look at the line, flip it if a double taper. Clean and “lube” your line. Check the drag, lube the spindle. Make sure it’s not dented or out of round. Again, alleviate a problems before it’s a problem
  5. Be sure to inspect your rod for nicks and the ferrels are square, not bent out of wack. How’s the cork? Do you even like that rod anymore?
  6. If you need to buy or replace anything, now is a great time. Fly Shops have great deals on last years inventory, big companies like Orvis, Sage, Simms might have deals on their websites. It’s a good time to find a deal. (don’t get caught up in “newer is better” trap… Truth is, there can be upgrades or new tech out there but you have to be so incredibly sophisticated to realize the difference, so last years stuff is awesome. Remember, it was the ‘New Tech” not that long ago.
  7. Make sure your fishing license is up to date and what you need to get it. In Colorado the rules have change up and you HAVE to have a drivers license or passport on you to get it at the shop. Be prepared. You can also get it ahead of time through a state run website, which I fully recommend.
  8. Obviously, do your inventory of disposables and consumables. Leaders, tippet, floatant, strike indicators, so on. If any of this stuff is old, like over a year, think about replacing it. Nothing is worse that losing that state record fish due to line failure.
  9. Practice, practice and practice. It’s time to rig up that rod and start casting in the yard or park. Make it fun, set up hoops and cans to cast into or towards and master the feel of the rod (again) and judging your distances. It will pay off you when you see that sipping fish under that branch 30 feet up.
  10. Get out there, enjoy yourself and remember why you’re there. Please don’t make it about your Instagram, hunting for that big fish or filtered pic to share for “likes”. You’re out there to be part of the experience, not to think you’re the next fly fishing god or goddess, planning on becoming a fly fishing “influencer” to get free stuff from the big companies or magazine mentions, it’s a touch sad really…Last thing you want to do is disrespect the fly fishing pioneers before you and cheapen what they wholeheartedly loved to the core of their soul for a free hat.

 

I plan on doing a post on the Instagramination(TM) of fly fishing in another future post.

As we say;

Tight Lines

Guide Glenn Smith

A Nibble of My “For Kids of All Ages” Fly Fish’n Book!

This is a big thing for me to announce today but I feel it’s about time that I do! I have been working on a children’s fly fishing book called  Fly Fish’n Fly Fish’n! I have been working on it for quite a while.

I personally dislike most of the books about teaching fly fishing to kids for one main reason: they’re really not fun to read, they’re dry and geared for a very small window of ages. I wanted to write a book that would be fun for kids as well as adults. I believed I nailed it.

It was important to me to create something that was a bit more broad, smart and beautiful to look at. That means no cheesy illustrations, just great photos, line drawings, a fun to read layout with real examples of real places, real gear and a contemporary feel.

It is written in a verse style and fragmented by design.

So let me know your thoughts, I’m excited about it! Here is a sample page…

Guide Glenn Smith

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Be Safe Out There! 20 things to Expect and Un-expect while Fly Fishing.

MbJUSTf7RXCFN3KI7onWBwJust reading the title of this article, I know what you’re thinking, nothing will happen to me, It’s Fly fishing! That may be true for most of us to a point, but trust me when i say, some of the wildest things happen in the most unusual situations.

As a Fly Fishing Guide for over 2 decades, I have seen my share of the unexpected.

I thought it would be helpful to share with y’all what you can, or should do if something were to happen to you on your adventure or at least give you some food for thought before you head out into the wild unknown.

Also, as a disclaimer, I am not a medical professional, nor am I an expert in outdoor survival and I claim not to be… But what I can do is give you my “in the field and on the water” experiences that I have learned from and share that with you, So he we go!

  1. Before you even decide to drive to the river or your favorite run, make sure you have gas in the car, water to drink and let someone know where you’re going. You don’t need to be exact, but at least which river. This is not only for your safety but in case you need to be found for some other reasons.
  2. Be prepared for anything. In Colorado, my home sweet home, you never can underestimate the weather, it can change on a dime, from beautiful bluebird skies in the morning to thunder and lightning or even snow in the afternoon. Take warm clothes and good rain-gear. these things takes up little room and pays for itself the first downpour when the fish start rising.
  3. Make sure you do some research on the water you’re heading to: Such as, Is it a tailwater of freestone river? What’s the water temp? Is the bottom slick or mossy, rocky or silty? What’s the flow? Should I take a staff or have cleats? Do I need waders or can I wet wade? Is it buggy? (not our kind of bugs but the annoying kind)
  4. Bring a snack always! Trust me, you’re not going home sooner that you think especially if the hatch goin off.
  5. Have all your paperwork in order. License is up to date, both of them, fishing and drivers.
  6. Check that you have ALL your gear; waders, boots, vest, bags, nets, boxes, all the things you need or don’t, Just bring it. I have been with clients that refuse to get dressed up at the shop only to find out 10 miles up the river they are missing a boot that fell out in the hotel room when they were bragging about their new “killer pattern”to show their fishing buddies after a couple of beers. It happens. Also alway bring and use your net, period.
  7. When you are heading to your secret spot, don’t become road blind and just focus on the river and ignore others on the road, you would be surprised how may bicyclist, walkers or animals nearly get hit by fishermen NOT paying attention to the road.
  8. When you find your water, don’t get upset if someone else is in it. Don’t get territorial, don’t get all angry. If you are a well seasoned angler, find another spot, truthfully, there are fish everywhere if you know where to look.
  9. When wading through the water, be always cautious and walk flat-footed if possible. The riverbed is inconsistent at best, it can catch your toes of your boots and trip you up, rocks move and slide and are generally unstable. Another thing is branches drift and hit you in the shins, dangerous. You never know, so be respectful of the unknown.
  10. Never put yourself or others in danger because you want to get to “that killer hole over there” that happens to be across fast or uncertain currents. Trust me, IT IS NOT WORTH IT! I know a guy that took a terrifying A River Runs Through It sweep down the river, out of control, near fatal risk just because of a sipping trout out of his reach that wasn’t “all that”.
  11. In that same vein, if you do fall in the river, stay calm and in control, try to work towards the bank at all cost. You may get really wet, lose your stuff, break your rod…so what! Stay alive!
  12. Always keep a pretty good medical/first-aide kit with you. Again, more likely than not, nothing will happen but you do never know. I had a trip with a father and his 11-year-old daughter, it was going really well. We walked to the river through some brush and trees, we waded in the river and dropped a line, perfect, for a while. 20 minutes into our first stop, the young girls hands started to swell up and turn beet red, she was freaking out. I asked the dad if she had any allergies, he didn’t think so but, she obviously did. Luckily we had some Benadryl that the father administered, thank god and the trooper of a girl calmed down, all went beck to normal. It would have been a whole different story otherwise.
  13. This is going to sound harsh, make sure you only bite off what you can chew. What I mean by that is don’t try do more than you are capable or willing to do. If you are out of shape and a scenic overlook is your idea of a good hike, don’t go into the back country that can cause you injury of a heart-attack! Don’t try to be a hero unless you are prepared to do so. It is “just fishing” but it is also “just hiking” says the guy who climbs a 14er for fun.
  14. Put anything valuable in a safe place. Despite all of your high-tech gear is waterproof it is not impervious. Remember, there is one big hole in your waders, it’s at the top, think about it.
  15. Wear sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and always keep your shirt on. Save that for your Bass or cat fishing trip.
  16. If you hook yourself, what should you do. If its barbless, as it should be, pull it out, dress it and get back fishing. If it is in a vital are aka your eye, seek immediate attention and continuously ask yourself why wasn’t I wearing my sunglasses. If you are hooked with a barbed hook, there are tricks to getting it out. Go on YouTube check it out but I recommend getting your butt to a clinic have it removed then drink a beer.
  17. Lightning and adverse weather. Get over it, get out of the water with your 9 foot lightning rod, sit in the car, wait it out or head out. Your vacation is not ruined, drive around look for those spots that were packed with anglers and are now empty because there fair weather warriors are all gone, the river is yours!
  18. Your friend gets hurt: Help them, if they’re fine, suggest they take a break, give them a Snickers bar resume fishing. If they are really hurt, don’t be a dick, get them help and help them create a really good story.
  19. You get into a tiff with another fisherman: So imagine you’re working a run from the bottom and someone steps in right above you and screws up your entire plan and the run, what are you going to do? This happens a lot, knowingly and by accident. Yes it is rude, are you going to get in a fight over it? Have some choice words then flip then off? Just walk away and mutter under you breath? Well that’s up to you I guess but nothing changes the mood of fishing more than anger. So let it go, most the time, people who do that either don’t realize you’re there of they are newbies and need to be educated about river etiquette, so educate them. Other times they’re just A-holes and will never learn. (fact is, those people usually are fishing hacks, so move to the next hole, within the sight, catch fish while they’re not, all is good in the hood.)
  20. The fish aren’t eating and you’re frustrated: Get over it, enjoy being outside then try again another time. I have said to my clients for many, many years, “Remember that there are two living things on each end of the line, only one of them is in control”

 

I know that this blog post may only have scratched the surface of the countless variables that doing an activity like fly fishing that takes place uncontrolled environs, but alway be careful, diligent and aware. It’s very similar to taking a vacation to New York City

Tight Lines as we say,

Guide Glenn Smith

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Living The Bright Side Of The Dark Side Of Fishing

7DF45826-6691-4449-9B03-7F7D80633B7CCrank Bait, live bait, power bait oh my. These are things that give me the willy’s. These are the things I avoid to even talk about…unless it’s the only option. Practicality over pride is a good measure of a well seasoned angular, adjusting endlessly.

Yesterday was a test for me and my holier than thou fly fishing approach to catching a fish. I went on a group fishing tour out of Cape Canaveral, FLA with my girl and a friend of hers that just wanted to be on a boat. The catch was, it was deep sea, drop bait trip with 30 other people and most of them smokers, waiting to catch and kill “The Big One”!

So not, will ever be me, just say’n,  despite my apprehension I thought, when in Rome…

So there I was, on a party boat with 1 trillion pound test, a top reel fiberglass rod and a lead weight the size of a fat golf ball what for the go ahead to “dropline!”  The crew aka fishing experts aka deck hands aka dead bait slingers were ready to help us all out, all 30 of us. It’s a full-time job, I wouldn’t want.
The boat comes to a halt and we get the green light to bait up and get fish”n. just for information purposes our choices of cut bait was sardines and calamari, which coincidently would be what I would order off a menu in an Italian restaurant in North Beach, San Fransisco. I chose the sardine as my bait. The deck hand shared his tried and true method of baiting this hook, which looked like something you’d hand a very heavy jacket on or a medium-sized gaffing hook, He said;

“First, stick the hook through both eyes, than bring the hook over the back and pierce under the dorsal fin just above the spine”

I am watching closely looking for any kind of finesse, the I ask, “and then what?”

“Drop it t the bottom and wait” he said, then followed it up with, “don’t move it or jig it, that doesn’t work”

This is so counter-everything to me, I said out loud, by accident, “this is going to be a long day, not sure I can take it, When do we head back?”

Serena, looks at me with that “Hey, we’re on a boat” look, so I re-centered again and said to myself, “when in Rome…”

So there I am, leaning over the rail with my line out, tip down waiting…for what I wasn’t sure. Nothing was happening and on top of it all, nothing I could do to alter my odds, except on thing, I can change my bait, that is it. So that’s what I did. I kept checking my bait, changing between calamari & sardine, sardine & calamari, then  stacking both in the line, the deadly sardine calamari combo, which I felt was a win/win, but to no avail.

I went back to tried and true, one sardine, hooked the way I was shown, dropped to the bottom and wait.

Bam! All of a sudden the line went taught, really taught. I was thinking that it was just a snag on the bottom like the girl next to me had hooked but no, it was moving, slow and heavy. The funny part of this is that I have preached to all of my clients that, “believe it’s a fish until proven otherwise”, I should really take my own advice.

“It’s a biggie!” shouted the guide, (he went from deck hand to guide the second that fish was on), so I have the tip of the rod low, cranking on the reel, pulling up, retrieving line, tip back down, rinse and repeat.

Them my guide says “that’s how I like to bring ‘um in. I need a net for this one!”

I got a bit of a pride boost, I don’t deep-sea fish, but I’m doing like a pro would, and he needs a net. Again it’s a win/win.

After what felt like 20 minutes or more, but in reality was much less, I got this big ass Red Snapper to the boat, netted, photo documented and Instagrammed hashtaged #Bigass #Snapper. It was a pretty exciting event, not that I would admit that freely, amongst my fly fishing ‘elitist’ but man o’ man it was cool.

Truth is, I love to fly fish, I prefer to fly fish, but if you keep an open mind, there can be light within the darkness, Now I only wish our elected officials could learn from this lesson, but that’s another blog…

P.S.

In Florida, you have to return this specific fish back to the water…my catch and release values are upheld!

Guide Glenn

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Please, Try to “Act” Like An Angler

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Explaining the “act” of fly fishing

If you ask a seasoned angler, not necessarily the gray-haired weathered old dude you might imagine sitting at the local small-town bar, drinking his third, second cheapest beer,  with an air of deep-seeded river knowhow. His conversation with whomever is next to him riddled with “dead drift this and Trico that”, you know he speaks fluent trout. This is not what I mean by seasoned. Seasoned to me is understanding. Understanding what the “Act” of fly fishing means. 

It may be a counterintuitive statement to claim, that catching a fish, or shall I say, netting a fish is not the endgame, it’s an added benefit. Most Fly Fishing diehards that I know and respect are throwing a fly line for a very different reason; that reason is to recognize, address, and solve the riddle. 

The “riddle” is exactly that, unpredictable ever-changing problems, the riddle is about difficulty, the riddle may be “What the hell are they eating?” or “How will I possibly land this fish if I hook one?” or “How do I even cast to that lunker under the brush?” They stopped feeding, Why? Was it because of that temperature change? The bright sunlight? Did the hatch end? Are they on emergers? The riddle changes every day, hour by hour, minute by minute, be it on the river or not. 

Let me take a moment and attempt to approach this for a different angle. Why do you fish? Why did you choose the way you chose to catch fish; be it spin casting, fly rod, Tenkara, dynamite, bait, lure or fly? 

Why are you out there? Is it to catch as many fish as possible, hook the BIG one? Get away from the family for a day or week? Is it to spend quality time with the kids or alone? Is it a reason to see the world? or just a great reason to drink beer with your buddies? Truthfully, It’s almost a trick question, i’ve been out there for all the reasons I just listed. Some good and some not so much. But we all have our reasons. But with that said, most seasoned fly fisherman will say the reason they are out there is “just because.” I understand that answer completely. 

Wherever I go to try to catch a fish, I choose to fly fish 95% of the time. The other 5% I have fished with lures, even garlic scented rubber worms and that nasty neon orange eggs that just plain feels like cheating, but I have done it. But I prefer to tie a fly on any day of the week. I prefer the “act” or ceremony of fishing with a fly. 

Do I believe I’m a fishing snob or elitist? Maybe. In contrast if you excel at bass fishing with crank bait because you like that action, it’s your first choice, you too can be considered a snob and that’s ok. I just enjoy all the process of fly fishing over other techniques.  

This brings me to the original point of my musings, What do I mean by the term of “act”? There is a book on Zen that is called “Chop Wood, Carry Water” that can easily be translated to the actions, processes and methods of fly fishing from start to finish. It basically states that do whatever you’re doing, no matter how simplistic or complicated the task may be, treat it with perfection efforts. If you mop a floor, mop it perfectly, If you build a wooden box, build it with full attention. This is what the act of fly fishing is. I want to give you some things to think about:

  1. When you first get to the river, don’t rush to the water, take time to notice the trees, the sky, the birds, the smells, take it all in.
  2. Never or minimally have your rod rigged up ahead of time. Try not to have a predestined idea of what you might think is hatching. Trust me, you wont know until you step foot near the water.
  3. Always treat your equipment with respect and awareness. Take stock of everything you need, like tippet, floatant, leaders, clippers and so on either before or after your day out on the water. Nothing is more frustrating than 4” of fluorocarbon when you need a foot.
  4. Do treat your time on the river as, your time on the river. Think about your friends that have to work, or the people that will never have the opportunity to fish that stretch of water. never that the experience for granted.
  5. ALWAYS take time to admire and that the fish for eating your fly. Remember, it had a lot of choices, it chose yours. (and also remember that you also messed up their day, what they thought was food was a trap. just say’n)
  6. When you talk about your success of your day at the local watering hole, be humble about it. Nothing is worse that a braggart that thinks he a big dog when truthfully, someone else in that bar caught a much bigger or more then you did and is sitting cool like just waiting to call you out.
  7. Listen. Listen to the guys is the fly shop. Listen to the guys picking out flys or talking about the day before.Listen to the water, listen to the silence of the forrest.
  8. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s. You don’t need to have the latest and greatest. use what you got the very best you can. Having new stuff is nice and treat yourself if you want to, but don’t think you need it to have a great day out on the water.
  9. Arrogance and Ego should never be part of an anglers game. The fish don’t care who you are. If you are that good, actions scream much louder that words. Remember that Fly fishing   is inherently a “quiet” sport. Its the only group activity you do by yourself
  10. When you cast, treat it like poetry or music, great fly casting has a beautiful cadence, practice and make it fluid.

Above are just a few examples is how I define and think the word “Act”. 

I also think of getting lost in something. I feel as if I’m fully engulfed. This is what I believe that people that are deeply involve in yoga, meditation, art, or even fully focused accountant is when working on an Excel spread sheet. Fly fishing is what you are not what you do.

Tight Lines

Glenn

Aspen Press Is The Best!

 

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Summer is over and fall is defiantly in the air. There is no question that winter is right around the corner and godspeed to that! We need the snow, we need the snow pack and we need the water (desperately) to bring the river and water levels back up to it glory.

The fact is, trout need water, period. So do your rain/snow/moisture dance to entice the weather gods to do their thing.

Enough about that, lets talk about me! LOL

This spring I was asked by Aspen Sojourner to be part of the summer issue featuring stories about fly fishing in the Roaring Fork Valley from a guides POV. Also included in the article was the legendary Tim Heng and the master “guidess” Shannon Outing.

It was a ton of fun to do, the photos are great and is so well written, click the link below!

Thank you Sojourner!

Best

Guide Glenn Smith

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Here is the link: Aspen Sojourner Aspen Fly Fishing

What a crazy summer!

Now that September has come and fall is very much in the air, it is time to catch a breath and reflect on what a crazy summer it has been.

First and foremost, the fishing has been great all summer long. Don’t believe what social media tells you… If you keep up with what’s happening in our little hamlet, the Roaring Fork Valley and the quaint town of Basalt, you may be aware of all the excitment that has happened here; we had the Lake Christine Fire that happened on the 4th of July and thereafter burned for over a month. I provided a link to the stats as well click here and it will direct you to the photosIMG_1308

 

We also had a terrible winter last year which in turn made our water levels in the Roaring Fork critically low which forced the DOW to regulate the times in which we could fish due to the water temperature. At 66 degrees and above, the stress on the trout can kill them (and we don’t want that) so all the valleys guides did their best to “keep’m wet”, honor the request of the experts and take great care. Bravo to all who did their part.

But we persevered!

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From my POV, I had a great summer and a very interesting one to say the least. Due to the challenges the fish was great but different. What I found day in and day out was that it felt that all the hatches were somewhat off. It seemed to be a month ahead of schedule as well as thin. We didn’t get that chocking caddis hatch, nor the full on “steak and potato” Green Drake hatch in August like normal. But you know what? It still all worked out. The PMD’s were strong, the BWO’s were off the hook, Hoppers are falling in the river  like candy and a prince nymph is always money…

Another super cool thing that happened is that I was featured in The Aspen Sojourner Magazine with a sweet photo spread about fly fishing. I will post more about the article but want to share some of the photos they used. Online

 

Now the part some of you have been waiting for, the 2018 season of badass photos of fish and awesome clients, so here we go!

 

And last but not least, as not only a Fly Fishing Guide at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt I am also a producing artist, which makes this next photo even more amazing. I had the opportunity to fish with some of the top Artist, Curators and critics! Here is me with Heidi Zuckerman, Director of the Aspen Art Museum,  Hans Ulrich Obrist and wonderful fly fisherman and world renowned conceptual artist Joseph Grigely

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Now that it has become a bit more quiet, I am planning on making Guide Tip videos about shortcuts, affective techniques, fly selections, drift tips and much more.

 

So that all I got to say about that!

 

Tight-lines

Glenn

 

 

Pre-Game Pre-Trip Checklist!

Hello Trout Hunters, Anglers, and soon to be Hooked on fly fishing!

This is a great bit of great information about what you NEED to do before you show up for a guided fly fishing trip. We use this at my shop Taylor Creek in Basalt and it makes everyones life a bit easier as well as getting you on the water that much quicker!

Follow this link and Give it a read: Pre Trip Check List!

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Tight Lines!

Guide Glenn Smith