Adventure of the week: Casting a line | SteamboatToday.com

Adventure of the week: Casting a line

Fly fishing an easy habit to catch

— Sun beaming, river gleaming, stillness resounds.

Far from the pandemonium of daily life lies a river, one that holds anticipation, excitement and tranquility.

Wading into the rushing water, feeling the coolness breeze past with my fly rod in hand, was something I had never experienced. To stand as witness to the grandeur of a river with its unexpected revelations was something I’d only read or heard about. It's a vantage point fly fishermen and women live for, and last Friday, I had the incredible opportunity to go fly fishing with local guide Andy Radzavich, from Brooklyn Outfitters.

Having never enthusiastically yearned to fly fish, that day on the Little Snake River changed my outlook on the sport and culture of fly fishing tremendously.

Step by step

Fly fishing, I quickly learned, is "simply complicated," a term Radzavich used often, but something I didn't understand until I started casting.

In fly casting, timing, not strength, is everything. The weight and flexibility of the line carries the fly to the fish, and a good cast will have the correct stroking and stopping of the fly rod.

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After 20 minutes learning the basics, it was time to choose our fly, gear up and go "crushin' fish" — another catchy term used by Radzavich that I was soon to discover the meaning of.

"There are thousands of different aquatic flies that trout feed on that are active at different times of the year," Radzavich explained.

We tested a hopper dropper fly early, then a dry fly nymph, a combination of two flies that resembled a stonefly under a grasshopper.

"The goal is to figure out which insect that is and to mimic it with the fly,” Radzavich said.

While I was trying my best not to slip on a rock and fall into the water, Radzavich explained how to read the water and recognize areas laden with fish, such as the outside bend of a river, rock and boulder pockets and merging currents.

After awhile, I became comfortable with the false casting and casting to a point at which it became rhythmic and natural.

Then, I felt a fish bite. "Set! Set! Set!" Radzavich said, hopeful that I had caught my first fish. "Point the rod in the air, keep the line taunt. Woohoo! You got one!"

And there was my first fish, a rainbow trout … a very small rainbow trout.

As he caught the fish in the net, we removed the hook and took a look. I had never seen or touched a fish, and there I was, with its scales glimmering in the sunlight; my adrenaline pumping, and grinning with disbelief, it took me a few minutes to wrap my head around it all.

Life lessons on a river

Although this was my only catch of the day — Radzavich caught one later in the afternoon — I was more encouraged than discouraged. I realized fly fishing requires an immense amount of patience and finesse. It's a progression that cannot be taught on a first trip, or even in one year, but is instead acquired over a lifetime.

"I've been doing this my whole life, and am still learning new things,” Radzavich said. “There is certainly an art to it. It constantly renews itself."

Acquiring new techniques or creating new flies is a major component of fly fishing, but so is experiencing those subtle nuances of life, finding solitude within that peaceful rhythm of the cast and hearing the water rush past.

Now, I've got trout fever and can't wait to get back out on the water to release my next cast.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

Tips for Fly Fishing

-Take it step by step

-Go fly fishing with a guide or someone better than you for your first time and to watch and learn

-Do your research before going to a new fishing spot

-Learn how to start tying your own flies because it becomes part of the experience to help you understand what you are doing out there

-Don’t fish mad or frustrated

Local Guides

Yampa Valley Anglers

Bucking Rainbow Outfittters

Steamboat Fly Fishers

Straightline

Brooklyn Outfitters

Brooklyn Outfitters

Fishing trips offered:

-Wade Trips half day and full day offered with all equipment and tackle provided

-Still Water or Boat Trips full day trip, all equipment and tackle is provided

Contact Andy Radzavich or one of the other guides to plan and book a trip

Phone: (970) 819-8562

Email: http://brooklynou…