Fly Fishing in Colorado Springs

Professional Trout
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Instructor Mark announced that we would start fishing with nymphs. This didn't do much in the way of explanation because neither Libby, Carol, or myself would have been able to pick a nymph out of a police line-up, even if everyone but the nymph was wearing a police uniform. Quite simply, Instructor Mark explained, a nymph stays underwater, not on top of it, and nymphs should definitely not be confused with streamers, emergers, wet flies, or dry flies (whatever those were).

To determine exactly what sort of nymph we needed, Mark took a ping-pong net, or something that looked like a ping-pong net but probably cost 10 times as much, and used it as a strainer to collect some debris floating in the river. He pulled up a couple of squirmy critters the size of head lice and studied them with more interest than you'd expect a grown man to display when looking at aquatic larvae. This, he explained (as if it weren't evident), was part of the fun of fly fishing.

Antonio baited his line accordingly and caught a trout to show us how it's done. More impressive than the catch, which took him about a minute, was how gentle he was with the fish once he had caught it. He wet his hands before touching it so he wouldn't damage its scales, and extracted the fly like a thoracic surgeon. Then he held the trout in the water and stroked it while it regained its strength. All of this would have been quite touching if Antonio hadn't just jerked the fish to shore by its mouth with a hook.

The whole process seemed a bit like lassoing a bird flying south for the winter and yanking it to the ground, then fluffing up its feathers and letting it go. It just didn't look like that much fun for the trout, some of which, Instructor Mark explained, had been caught upwards of 40 times.

I must have caught one of these professional trout. The moment I got him on the line, he swam straight to shore and beached himself. He knew the drill. He didn't even blink when we took a flash photo of me holding him. Possibly because he didn't have eyelids.

I caught two trout and myself three times (twice on my shirt and one once on my hat). Libby and Carol each caught two trout, plus each other. And even Signe, who put down her camera for 20 minutes, caught two fish, plus Libby's shirt. Mark the student was having bad luck, probably because he jinxed himself by telling everyone he had experience.

I have to admit, it felt good to pull in a fish; to see the line jerk and the trout jump out of the water. I felt a bit like Brad Pitt in the movie "A River Runs Through It" (except, of course, that I'm a little taller). But when I had to reach down to get the hook out of the trout, it didn't quite seem worth the fish's discomfort. Especially when he wriggled out of my hands and fell on a rock. I can certainly understand the appeal of fishing, though, particularly when extremely expensive speed boats are involved.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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