Colorado, and the Front Range in particular, has a unique advantage when it comes to fly fishing. With year-round flows—thanks to our nearby tailwaters—and an abundance of nearby lakes, ponds and creeks, it’s not hard for Coloradans to get lots of fishing in close to home. Plus, the cost of entry for fly fishing is far less than most adventure sports. Compared to the bills you can run up skiing, kayaking or biking, a basic fly rod, line, waders and a few flies will only set you back about $450, and that includes your $36 Colorado fishing license (of course, you can also spend five times that or more).
We sat down with Randy Hicks, new owner of Rocky Mountain Anglers (rockymountainanglers.com) in Boulder, and asked about the best ways to get hooked.
Why do you think more people should consider fly fishing?
For me it’s not “why?” it’s “why not?” We have access to some of the most amazing water and fish in the country and there are lots of anglers who would love to have what we have right in our backyard. Especially here on the Front Range where lots of creeks are flowing and they are so easy to get to. We also have lots of flat water. Most people probably don’t realize how close they live to some sort of fishing hole and how easy it would be for them to pop out before or after work or even on a lunch break to get some quality time outside and away from the office.
What, do you think, is the best way to start fly fishing?
Lots of fishing shops like ours rent gear and offer free clinics so beginners don’t have to drop a bunch of cash to see if the sport is right for them. And even if someone is keen to buy a rod early on, we’ll take them out back to practice some casting and get a feel for different rods. This basically turns into a free 30-minute casting lesson to be sure they don’t develop bad habits, which would just need to be broken later. We respect different learning styles. Some people like to hire a guide and be shown what to do while others like to learn on their own. We encourage those keen to go on their own to come into the shop and chat us up with what they’re seeing, wondering and discovering. We love to talk fishing and are happy to share.
What do you think about the idea of keeping “secret fishing holes”?
Yeah, I don’t really worry about secret spots. Some people are into that, but I share information. Just check my blog: rockymtanglers.com. Most everything that can be fished has been fished so the locations aren’t so secret and it has more to do with when the fish are striking. Basically, if you want to keep a secret, don’t tell me about it. We’ve developed a very open community around the fishing here and I like to let people know where the fishing is good. There’s plenty to go around.