May 18, 2011
Author: Trouts Staff
Scott Willoughby, outdoor collumnist for the Denver Post, had a very well though out article in todays paper. Entitled, River Guides Need Training, Mr. Willoughby stresses the importance of being properly prepared before venturing out on our states swollen rivers, particulalry if you're novice oarsman.
So what do you call a guy with two fly rods and a raft? A guide.
If you'll pardon the ripoff of an old snowboarding joke — What do you call a snowboarder after one week? Instructor. — the parallel among a growing number of boat owners in Colorado can be just as funny. Or scary, depending on your perspective.
It doesn't take much more than a credit card to become a boater in Colorado. There's no license or registration for river rafting, no insurance or expertise required. And based on a glimpse of the rivers these days, you would never know the economy was in the tank.
Whether it's reformed river guides such as myself or merely those interested in improving their access to fish by floating over them, private boaters are increasingly evident on local waters. And many of them have the dubious distinction of being self-taught.
That's all well and good, if you can get away with it. But a river is a place where bad things happen in a hurry. And the closest substitute for experience is training. You're always better off with both.
With snowmelt-swollen rivers quickly rising in the high country, it's time for the annual assessment of gear, skills and fitness.