Nov 022005
Authors: Ryan Fedel

Fly-fishing may not be something that comes to mind when the word "art" is uttered, but there are a lot of aspects of fly-fishing that are aesthetically pleasing.

For starters, the act of casting is an elegant art form in itself.

"It is a form of meditation in the sense that it is very calming – rhythmic," said Zach Wilson, a fishing guide at St. Peter's Fly Shop. "It's just nice to watch a good fly fisherman. There are a lot of subtleties to it."

Another reason people like to fish is simply to be outside and enjoy the scenery.

"I think it's another good reason to get out into our beautiful surroundings. Hopefully you can catch fish, but I think for most people that is icing on the cake," Wilson said.

Some popular places to capitalize on the fishing opportunities Colorado offers include the Cache La Poudre and Big Thompson rivers; not to mention any of the public lakes in Fort Collins.

Fly-fishing is a different breed when compared to bait fishing. In fly-fishing there is constant movement, from the action of casting the rod to moving up and down the river to find a good spot; there is a lot to think about and a lot to learn.

"You are always doing something, always moving, trying to think about what the fish is doing and why they are doing it," Wilson said.

Bait fishing on the other hand offers a more stationary way to fish and is often easier to learn the basics.

"If you are bait fishing you can go out to the lake, pull up your lawn chair, have your picnic, have everything right there at your feet. You throw it out there, wait for the fish to bite and reel them in. For a lot of people that is a blast," Wilson said. "It's just as much fun sitting on the bank drinking beer as it is moving up and down the river."

As with many art forms, fly-fishing can be difficult to master. Casting a fly is significantly different than bait or spinner fishing where you simply cast out once and let the line sit.

"I think it can be very frustrating but anybody can do it. As long as you have the patience and drive to learn, then anybody can do it," Wilson said.

One way to aid the learning process is to take a class. St. Peter's Fly Shop, 202 Remington St., offers instructional classes that cover casting, type of flies, what flies to use, how to read the water and good places to fish.

Typically art is not cheap, especially good art. Fly fishing is no different. A lot of money can be spent on gear. However, cheap beginning setups are available and the cost should not deter anyone from the craft.

"You don't have to start out spending a lot of money just to learn," Wilson said. "You can still get a good decent setup for a decent price."

Fly fishing may not be the art form for everyone, but Wilson suggests giving it a chance.

"Just get out there and try it – whether it is friends doing it, getting a class or taking a guide trip. You are not going to know if you like it if you don't try it," Wilson said.

The imminent winter season can't be used as an excuse to not try fly fishing. According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), as days grow shorter, fishes' instincts tell them to prepare for winter by eating more.

Anyone going fishing needs to have a fishing license, which cost $20.25 for Colorado residents and is good throughout the year. Licenses are available at Gart Sports or Jax Outdoor Gear in town, or through the DOW Web site at

It is also important to know the rules for fishing in different areas. Some sections of the Poudre River are catch and release only, while other sections allow fishers to keep what they catch. The best way to learn about the regulations for a specific fishing area is to visit a local fishing shop and ask an employee.

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