I have hiked to my fair share of high country creeks and along blue blaze trails to forgotten fishy warm water ponds. If you’re looking to experience another side of fly fishing, find the closest national forest or local park map, look for blue, and grab your gear; it’s time to change things up a bit.
Expand your skill
Fishing the same stretch of water time and time again likely means you have your tactics dialed in. It might also be time to switch it up and expand your skills, don’t you think? Taking a hike (literally) means exposure to new water and even new species. In Colorado, it’s easy to find massive browns and rainbow trout in rivers tossing massive streamers. Hiking high country creeks and throwing tiny purple zebra midges, on the other hand, yield something even more colorful.
Hiking boots are just as comfortable as wading boots.
This time of year, I tend to pull my sandals on (Chaco Z’s are my footwear of choice thanks to their grip) and skip booting up. But, if you’re headed for technical terrain, boots are a solid option (with sandals in your pack, just in case wet wading ensues). Of course, if you want the ultimate backcountry kit, check out the most packable and ultralight waders, (Patagonia’s Swiftcurrent Packable Waders) paired with the Patagonia/Danner collaboration boot, the River Salt, and you’ll be comfortably prepared and unstoppable.
Less competition means less spooky fish
There’s something really special about coming up on a piece of water that hasn’t had another person wade it in or float on it some time (or ever!). We have hiked paddle boards to lakes loaded with cutthroat that weren’t the least bit spooky. We’ve loaded our packs for a day of bushwhacking for native brookies at the base of forgotten waterfalls. And no matter where the destination ended up being, after cast, fish after fish, following the blue lines on our map never disappointed.
Based in southern Colorado, Ryan is a photographer, outdoorswoman, fish chaser, and proud mama to two wild Outdoors-loving kiddos. When not wrangling little ones or cattle dogs, you’ll find her on the water, on a trail or on the road looking for the next piece of water and (hopefully) high country trout.