Preparing, and packing, for guided fishing trips

Feb 02, 2012

Author: Tucker Ladd

Professionally guided fly fishing trips offer the novice and the experienced angler alike an opportunity to take fly fishing to a whole new level, but you have to be prepared.

A fly fishing trip with a professional guide is often cited by novice and experienced anglers alike as among the most memorable experiences of their lives. To help ensure that the memory is a lasting and favorable one, Trout’s Fly Fishing of Denver has asked some veterans for ideas on what to pack to be fully prepared for your trip, and some ideas on what to expect along the way.

The experienced fly fisher already knows the ins and outs of fly fishing – what gear to bring, how to cast, what to expect on the river – but utilizes a guide service to introduce him- or herself to a new spot, or as a forum to help introduce the wonders of fly fishing to uninitiated friends without having to play teacher all day.

The novice fly fisher goes with the experienced guide to be introduced to the whole thing: where to go, what gear and tackle is involved, and an education on everything from setting up the gear to learning how to cast. An experienced guide service is a fully hosted, educational experience that leaves guests counting the days until the next great adventure. Signing up with an experienced guide is the perfect way to go because they handle everything.

What to expect

Guides will set up each participant with the proper gear and tackle for the location and time of year, and offer as much – or as little – instruction that the guest requires. Guests, of course, can bring their own gear if they have it, rent what they need, and can tap the expertise of the guide for the proper flies to catch some beautiful fish. Guests will need a Colorado fishing license, which they can buy from the Colorado Division of Wildlife online (click here) or they can purchase on at the shop.

What’s usually included

Transportation from and back to the shop, lunch and drinks (base: cold sandwiches; hot lunches by request), terminal tackle (flies, leaders, tippets, etc.), and any necessary rental equipment – rods, reels, waders, etc. Fees like entrance into Rocky Mountain National Park are usually included in the base rate too.

What you need

As for packing for the trip, obviously the time of year will dictate the kind of clothes to wear and such accessories as gloves, hats, etc. But remember, this is Colorado and even on the most beautiful, warm day the weather can and often does throw a curve ball, so do the Boy Scout thing and BE PREPARED. It could be 85 degrees with bright sun in Denver, and up in a canyon an hour away it could rain, sleet, snow, blow, or otherwise change in an instant. It could also be very hot.

So here’s a handy checklist of what to bring:

  • Polarized sunglasses. Your eyes will appreciate the protection from the strong Colorado sun and the glare off the water, and polarized lens also help in spotting the fish in the water.

  • Really good, high SPF sunscreen.

  • Insect repellant, with DEET.

  • A camera. There will be plenty of Kodak – or Nikon, or Smartphone – Moments out there. Plus a picture of the fish is usually the only fishy thing that comes back, and it will back up your story-telling.

  • A billed hat or cap. A ball cap is good, but many anglers like a wide-brimmed hat, both for sun protection and glare reduction. If it’s cold, also bring a stocking cap for ear warmth.

  • A waterproof jacket – weight appropriate for the time of year or location (it gets pretty cold at high elevations even in the summer).

  • Lightweight, breathable pants – waders are hard to get over jeans, and wet jeans you don’t want.

  • Breathable thermal underwear and long johns – weather appropriate.

  • Layers. Wear the thermal underwear, and a nice fleece – stuff that can be warm, but can be removed if the weather turns warm.

  • A lightweight backpack for your stuff, with enough room to put the removed layers in, if necessary.

  • Heavy socks to wear in the waders – even in summer, the mountain stream water is quite cold.

  • Gloves in cooler/cold weather, and best to go with flip-up mittens or half-finger gloves because fishing requires some dexterity even when it’s cold.

With all of this, you should be good to go. Happy fly fishing.

For all of your fly fishing needs, including gear, flies, tackle, apparel, instruction, camaraderie, and, of course, guided fly fishing trips, look no further that Trout’s Fly Fishing, conveniently located in the heart of Denver. Call 877-464-0034 for complete details.

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