This afternoon, I had the pleasure of hosting Mary and her son Joe for an instructional fly fishing float trip.  Mary has successfully fished C & D and switch rod-laden fat lines with indicators with me and wished to grow her fly fishing skills.  I commend her for broadening her fly fishing expertise and avoiding becoming limited to one or two methods for the same species of fish, year after year.  Joe is a second year college student in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and is enrolled in a fly fishing class for credit this fall.  Now, that’s what I call an enlightened university!  Joe had never fly fished so it was Long Rod 101 for Joe.

With delightful weather and a river that had dropped over night, conditions were most pleasing to the senses and conducive to fly fishing.  By dinner time, Mary was laying out some pretty impressive casts with the 300 grain sinktip and Joe was beginning to make it happen on more casts than not.  He was rewarded with his first trout to the fly—a smaller streamer—much to his and mom’s delight.  Supper finished, we turned our attention to dry fly fishing since a few trout were rising, however irregularly.  Both Mary and Joe loved the light rods and soon were false casting, mending line, and making some pretty respectable presentations.  The #18 Caddis that the night before worked well, however, drew splashy refusal after splashy refusal with a couple of momentary hookups.  I wish I could report that I ultimetely figured the rise out, but I didn’t.  Clearly, I needed fellow RiverQuest guide and bug maven, Jay Allen, at my side to problem solve the rise.

Mary and Joe, though, got it right:  tonight wasn’t so much about catching trout as it was about learning how to cast and handle two fly fishing methods and tackle—both fundamental to one’s success as a trout fisherman (and woman).  Joe’s pumped for his class in the fall; he’s now armed with enough skills and knowledge to make his first few days in class ones in which he should feel pretty successful.  Would that we all could get college credit while standing in the Frying Pan River or some other such Blue Ribbon Colorado trout stream!  Best wishes, Joe.  We’re all envious!

Thanks, Mary and Joe, for including me in your making a special memory for the two of you.  What a mom!

Captain Tom Kuieck