Fly Fishing Information from 8 River Rodeo!

8 River Rodeo is a fly fishing information turbo injection. The most fun you can have with your waders on and you WILL become a better angler. The promise; great company, breathtaking scenery, good hearted competition, exciting pace, and hoistin' a cool beverage with some of the wildest adventurers in the Rockies all while supporting two great causes ... and it delivered!

Fly Fishing Event

I arrived in Glenwood Springs Thursday night to receive my chest panel and meet my partner and the fly fishing information infusion began upon entry. I was introduced to my partner, Jim Lewis, lifetime angler and fly-fishing information guru at Gander Mountain, Thornton Colorado. Jim wasn't feeling well in the first place and was told he was fishing with a five-foot-one, 300 pound lovely. He couldn’t hide his disappointment.

I was simultaneously introduced to Joe Butler, the guy they charge quadruple donation fees to fish with due to his fishing acumen,(32 years of indexed fly fishing information shared in energetic stories), and I also met his fishing partner, another delightful, Jim. It was explained that we would basically be fishing as a group so I would benefit from triple your knowledge, triple your fun!

HOW IT WORKS: 2 person teams compete. Each of the team members must, individually, catch and release a fish in each river before moving to the next river... the goal being; to both catch a fish in each of 8 rivers in just TWO DAYS. We powwowed at the Village Inn at a later than I wanted 6:45 a.m. and I learned my first bit of fly fishing information:

Rule Number One - when an angler has a fish on do NOT yell, “Do you want me to get the camera?”, or the fish will break your line for spite. Rule number two - Joe Butler doesn’t typically hit the water until 10:00 a.m. We compromised and found ourselves on The Crystal River at about 9:00 a.m.

Imagine my sheer delight when I caught a 10” Brown on just my second cast! Imagine my internal debate to keep it or to take one more chance at a bigger fish. Imagine Jim’s surprise when I threw it back. The next hour on the Crystal went like this: Joe coached us to move downstream to some pocket water, Jim caught a nice size fish and by knee-jerk reaction I broke rule number one and yelled down to find out if he was ready for my camera and sealed the quick release of that fish.

Jim then caught a nice rainbow and we marked his chest panel, snapped a photo with my Olympus digital camera, Jim slipped on a boulder and bounced around like a Weeble, I slipped on the same boulder getting back to the hole and “plunk” – Olympus digital camera eaten by that same sadistic boulder. I finally marked and measured my 13” fish and we cut through 100 yards of thistles to hustle to Roaring Fork. The Fork was good to me – I landed a nice sized fish quickly, 15 inches, and got to coach my Pro on which fly I was using. Jim scored and we were off to the Colorado – in the heat of the day. We started at the Grizzly exit and waded through vacationing rafters to find some good water. We tried fishing deep where the trout would be cooler, we tried fishing shallow in hopes of an Emerger…we tried everything. For kicks I tied on a Stimulator and a Prince Nymph and had a fish hit the top bug! But apparently, as soon as he felt the heat he decided to let go and after a couple of hours, Jim progressed from slightly ill to mostly dead and we were ready to concede to the sun. We actually drove to Basalt to check out the Frying Pan and we DID catch fish… right off Butch’s Lobster Cart! One could say there are two types of people; those who believe in coincidence and those who believe in a divine plan. I’m big on that Divine intervention. We didn’t get to qualify for the competition – I should have been crushed. But I had a great new friend in Jim and he knew all about getting to Almont via Keebler Pass and a post-card village called RedStone . Had we fished into the night as the majority of our comrades did, we would have taken that drive in the dark and I would have missed the show. I put the top down on my little Spyder convertible and was blessed with such wildlife! Eagles flying overhead, marmots running along the roads, deer staring me down, dead skunk in the middle of the road, fat black heifers enjoying their fenceless graze, and a few prairie chickens contemplating the risk of crossing the road. The drive was invigorating, breathtaking, and the highlight of my day. Did you know Crested Butte has this gigantic... crested... butte!?

The next day Jim stayed in for some much needed rest and I headed out with Joe and the other delightful Jim. The pressure was off! I was introduced to the Taylor River and stood to the right of Joe Butler and had on-the-job coaching on how to catch the big ones in fast water. This is the river we didn't want to leave.

We caught little Brookies on the Slate and then trekked in to the East River. I had a blast! (Even though I got separated from my leaders and hollered, whistled, and worried like a child until we reconnected), and I caught two fish on a dry fly using a little sling-shot technique I learned watching Gary Borger at a fly-fishing show which allowed me to dance a Caddis across the water directly under a low-hanging tree where lesser-skilled anglers had lost many a tippet. I was fishing with the big guys. I was catching fish on dry flies while others were using nymphs. I felt like such a contender!

I didn’t win, place, or show – but I learned, laughed, and listened.

8 River Rodeo entry fee: $99

Rooms: $350

Food: $120

Adult beverages: $60

Fuel: $50

Impulse-buy fly shop expenditures: $40

Drowned digital camera: $300

Supporting Project Healing Waters and Samaritan's Purse ...PRICELESS!

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