Steamboat Springs Entrants in Saturday night's One-fly Competition and Barbecue at Fetcher Pond will have to make some careful decisions. First, there is the question of whether to douse one's hot dog with ketchup, or mustard or both. Even more important is choosing the single trout fly that promises to catch the most and biggest fish during the evening.
At stake are some attractive prizes including a fly rod, reel and other equipment provided by local fishing stores.
The One-Fly Competition will be hosted by the Yampa Valley Fly Fishers 4-8 p.m. Saturday at Fetcher Park. The public is invited. There is limited parking, so carpooling, or using the Yampa Core Trail is encouraged.
The event will benefit the club's ongoing efforts to fund stream improvement projects on the Yampa River
The next big project on the Fly Fishers' agenda is stream rehabilitation in the new Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area near the intersection of Colorado 131 and Country Road14F.
Admission to the contest is free to members of the Yampa Valley Fly Fishers. Other people interested in taking part may purchase a membership for $25, which includes the barbecue as well as a total of 10 casts in the competition. Additional sets of five casts may be purchased for $5.
In addition to prizes for the biggest fish, most fish and smallest fish at the end of the evening, there will be attractive raffle prizes awarded throughout the evening. The biggest of them all will be a two-person pontoon fishing raft donated by Creek Company Ltd. The raft will also serve as one of the six casting stations.
The rules of the one-fly are straightforward. Each entrant ties a single wet fly onto the end of the tippet. They may not change flies or patterns. And if a contestant is unfortunate enough to lose the fly, the contestant is out of luck.
The initial entry fee allows the contestant to visit two of six different stations around Fetchers Pond where they are allowed to make five casts at each station.
Contestants are not allowed to leave flies in the water for inordinate lengths of time on each cast. But nobody is running a stopwatch either.
Jeff Ruff of Steamboat Fishing Company said Saturday night's event is intended to be more of a social event than a cutthroat competition. But he offered up some strategy just the same.
Ruff brings a stout rod to one-fly competitions.
"I use an 8-weight rod so I can cast the entire fly line and get it to turn over," Ruff said.
By making as long a cast as his line and reel will allow, ruff covers more water with each cast. In theory, that allows him to drag his wet fly in front of more fish than someone making a shorter cast.
Another important piece of advice Ruff has to offer is to attach that single fly to heavier tippet than you would in normal fishing. Anglers cannot afford to lose their flies in a one-fly competition.
The biggest decision is the fly pattern to be used. Experienced one-fly contestants say, often, it is not a case of matching the hatch in such a contest.
And standard "probing" flies like a woolly bugger, or some other streamer, aren't always the answer.
Often, it's safe to assume that the trout being pursued in a competition have just been weaned from a steady diet of Purina trout chow at a rearing pond.
When this is the case, a light-colored, chubby nymph that resembles a small pellet, often catches the most fish.
Just something to consider.