The New Year is upon us and I, for one, am looking forward to another outstanding year of fishing. Colorado is an angler’s paradise, plus we have numerous waters to explore within a day’s drive in surrounding states.
I hear complaints about there being too many anglers, people in general, and ruined fisheries here in Colorado. Truth is, Colorado is awash with fishing opportunities, both cold and warm water, with several dozen species to pursue. The master angler list is forty-three species, and I can assure you there are many fish not on the list that are catchable with sporting gear. As to places to fish, there are over 100 public waters within sixty minutes of Fort Collins, granted, many are small, local ponds. However, you shouldn’t be lulled into thinking these local waters don’t hold quality fish. Over half my master angler fish have come from these waters. When you expand that statewide, there are literally thousands of places to fish.
So when you hear there’s no good fishing in Colorado, don’t believe it. However, if you’re in the habit of fishing the same places using the same techniques for the same species on a regular basis, you may not agree with me. Success is greatly increased if you spend a bit of time exploring waters not regularly frequented. It also pays to be an opportunist and fish for those species most active when you’re fishing.
For me, the key to successful fishing is knowledge. Lots of knowledge. Time spent learning about fish biology, the biology of fish’s food, area waters (any water you fish) and the species they hold, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s management and stocking, fishing techniques . . . the list is endless. When it comes to fishing, be a sponge and soak up all the information you can. That’s one of the things I love about fishing, its continuing education program.
There are unlimited sources of fishing information, online searches, books, magazines, newspapers, fellow anglers, fishing forums, Facebook groups, and shows are but a few. It’s the fishing shows that interest me this time of year. While “fishing” related shows occur throughout the year across the country, when there’s open water to be fished, I prefer hands on “education” waterside over the show’s offerings. However, when the shows are local, yes, I consider Denver “local”, and during the winter, I like to attend them.
The next couple weekends, Denver is sporting two of the season’s best. First is the Denver Fly Fishing Show
, held at the Denver Mart, 451 East 58th, Denver, January 6th through the 8th. With a couple friends in tow, I’m planning on attending the 7th. There are numerous booths to visit, demonstrations to watch, and seminars to attend, as well as chance encounters with fellow anglers.
The other show, the International Sportsmen’s Expo
, is January 12th through the 15th at the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, Denver. Like the Fly Fishing Show, the ISE has booths, demonstrations, and seminars to attend. The biggest difference is, it’s far more inclusive, offering something of interest to all hunters and anglers. I’ll be tying flies at the show Friday evening, and probably Saturday and Sunday.
Neither show is free, costing $15 or better per day, although discounts are readily available. For me, admission is often the least expensive part of the visits, as it’s rare I don’t find something to pry a few more dollars from my wallet, typically books, hooks, and tying materials.
Consider joining me at the upcoming shows. It’s a great way to beat the cold and maybe learn something new.
First published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan January 1, 2017