The Front Range is full of creeks full of trout. The problem is usually getting to the best spots. Take note of this gear to get there to make fishing an adventure.
1. Tenkara Set
Tenkara, a Japanese style of fly fishing without a reel is not only an art form that has been whole-heartedly adopted by soulful Patagonia founder Yvon Choinard. It’s also a very effective way to catch fish, especially on small streams, where a reel is frankly overkill. You’ll appreciate the simplicity on difficult-to-access streams. This kit includes a 12-foot rod, line and three flies.
2. Umpqua Ledges 650
This roomy, 650-cubic-inch waist pack hauls all the fly fishing paraphernalia you will need down on the stream, but stays out of your way when you are scrambling down steep banks or under low willow tangles. When it’s time to switch flies, just flip it over to the front and access your box and tippet.
3. 5.10 Canyoneer
Yes, this shoe was designed for technical canyoneering and its Stealth rubber sole and self-draining mesh upper make it ideal for romping through pools and rocks in slot canyons. But those same qualities also make it ideal for scrambling over wet rocks in tricky trout streams—and it’s more comfortable to hike in than wading boots.
4. Native Eyewear Bigfork
Stylish-yet-technical, these interchangeable lens frames provide lots of coverage and polarization to spot spooky trout mid-stream. N3 lenses reduce blue light, cutting river glare and filter out infrared radiation.
5. Headsweats Everywhere Hat
This simple hat will block the sun and survive a dunk in the stream. Stuff it in a pack when you don’t need it and don’t worry if you sit on it.
6. Patagonia Gunnison Gorge Wading Pants
Full waders can be overkill when you’re bushwhacking to small streams. But these wading pants give just enough protection for standing in cold water and busting through the underbrush.
7. Gerber Bear Grylls Ultra Compact Fixed Blade
The mighty Bear Grylls had a hand in designing this do-it-all blade, so it should be more than enough for your needs stalking 6-inch rainbows on the Front Range.
8. Jackson Kayak Superfishal
Simpler than a kayak, this standup paddle board will take you wherever fish go—be that in the quiet reeds of the local reservoir or rapids and riffles of fast-moving streams. It’s super stable and tracks straight so you can focus on your cast. The deck is designed with angling in mind, including netting to hold down supplies.
9. Simms Guide Short
When it’s warm enough to ditch the waders, these 9-ounce nylon shorts save the day. A bevy of pockets hold gear so you can strip down to the bare essentials and clamber into tough spots.
10. Fishpond Westwater Backpack
True romps into lesser-fished waters require hauling a bit more gear than your fly box. This water-resistant bag complete with water-resistant zippers will protect your warm clothes from a nipple-deep wet wade session. Rod holders make it easy to pack down and hike with both hands free.
11. Leopold Brothers Maryland Style Rye
A good day on the river should include a bit of celebration. Denver distillers Leopold Brothers impressed us with this powerful rye, which seems the ideal drink for adventure anglers looking to meld pre-Prohibition cool with hipster tastes.