January 04, 2016
Visit the Colorado high country this winter, and there's little doubt that the back of most Suburban's, mini-vans and pick-up trucks heading in that direction will be filled with a mountain of equipment for a few days of skiing and snowboarding action on the Ski Country USA slopes.
If you've ever taken a wintertime ski trip, you know the usual supply of skis, snowboards, boots, poles, bib pants, down-filled vests, ski parkas and thermal underwear.
But for fly fishing enthusiasts hoping to sneak in a day of action on a nearby Colorado trout country tailwater stream, the bevy of wintertime gear should also include some of the following pieces of select gear:
Gore-Tex waders (I personally like Simms' version of breathable waders the best, but there are plenty of others that will keep a wader dry from sweat worked up on the inside of a pair of waders and the chilly water flowing by on the outside of the wader material too).
Moisture wicking high-tech thermal underwear made by a number of companies including Under Armour and Patagonia. And when it's really cold, don't forget to add some Merino wool long johns too.
Insulating middle layer garments made of down, wool and fleece.
Waterproof/Windproof outer garments like the wading jackets made by Simms, Patagonia and Orvis to name a few.
Toss in sunscreen; a good pair of polarized sunglasses (to protect your eyes from sun exposure and to search into the flowing water for the flash of feeding trout); some Simms wind-stopper gloves; and a good wool or fleece watch-cap and an angler is almost ready to walk out the door.
But before they do so, they might want to dig a little deeper into the gear closet to search for a pair of snowshoes too.
Yes indeed, says Bill Edrington, once the longtime fly shop guru at Royal Gorge Anglers in Canon City before he turned the reins of the shop over to his son Taylor.
"If you’re fishing the upper end (of a river like the Frying Pan) where the snow gets deep, you need to wear some snowshoes along the bank," said Edrington.
“The snow will be nice and hard and crusty in the morning, but if you step out of the river in the afternoon when it softens up, you can go right up to your mustache.
"Especially on the upper end (of the Frying Pan) where the snow gets a little deeper, more than once, I’ve stepped off up to my armpits and had to try to get out of there while wearing waders and with a fly rod in one hand.
"Snowshoes solve that problem."
Which is why a visitor to Colorado's trout country should never leave home without a pair of them carefully tucked away with the rest of the mountain of wintertime fishing gear!
Unless, that is, you want to be digging snow out of your mustache!