The crystal ball has fallen, ushering in a new year 2022. As fly fishermen, we can use this good start to spur growth, discovery and opportunity. Making a few fly fishing resolutions at the start of a New Year is one way to set goals and meet expectations.
Pick a favorite from the following list or use it as ideas to create your own fly fishing resolution for 2022. Fly fishing resolutions can be fun goals to achieve. They can be the motivation for learning new skills or the reason for going on a fishing trip.
1. Introduce fly fishing to someone new, preferably a child. Take the time to teach someone fly casting, and they’ll want to apply their new skills on the water. Children are eager to learn and achieve goals. Share your knowledge and give the gift of fly fishing to someone else.
2. Fish a dry fly. Quite simple and straightforward but difficult for fishermen who revel in the number. Fly fishermen who struggle with a dry fly often fall back into the strike indicator and nymph approach. Stick to it; the dry fly will increase your fun factor.
3. Join a conservation organization that represents your interests. The organization could be local, like the Eagle River Watershed Council, or a national association, like Trout Unlimited. Whatever the group, join and participate. The friends, information and pride received from membership is a year-round reward.
4. Highland streams are an abundant resource in Colorado. Find a map and draw a thin blue line in the mountains. Now go and see – does it contain fish? You may have just discovered a new treasure. Even if the water was without fish, you can still make it a memorable adventure.
5. Colorado High Country anglers may need to work a bit for this one, but for most anglers it should be a fun yet challenging day. Catching a hot water fish on the fly opens the door to a whole new group of target species. Bluegill, largemouth bass, carp, and northern pike all have challenges that fly fishermen must overcome. Carp is one of my favorites and will convert any “trout addict” into a carp fan. Northern pike are voracious fish and provide spectacular visual food.
6. Plan a trip to a fly fishing destination. Something that takes work to achieve. Research, ask questions, and collect specialized equipment or flies. Plan your accommodation. Choices vary, anglers can choose to camp, stay in a cabin, or relax in a lodge. Get together with old friends and go on a trip.
7. Learn to throw with your “off” hand. Casting with your free hand allows anglers to open their casting window while fishing. Any angle or cast is now more easily achieved. Difficult positions become easy throws when you learn to throw with both hands.
8. Avoid stressful water conditions. Commit to finding alternative fishing grounds. As the water temperature rises in the Eagle and Colorado Rivers, remember your New Year’s fly fishing resolution and avoid overly stressed water. Look for places that have desirable water conditions, such as downstream waters, High Country lakes, or alpine beaver ponds.
9. Learn to fly fish in calm waters. Specialized approaches to fishing lakes, ponds or reservoirs expand the skill set of a fisherman. Anglers can approach the water from the shore by kayak, stand-up paddle board or canoe. Fly fishing from a small boat is fun. Learning new insects that fly fishermen can emulate is a challenge.
10. Collect litter and put it away each time you fish. The river is constantly picking up debris. Use your net and take a box or two and throw them in your net. From the wandering tippet caught in the bushes of the riverbank to the fly goblets thrown at the launching ramp, fly fishermen are not without their guilt.
Goals help anglers stay focused throughout the year. Skills, destinations or conditions to be kept sacred, the resolutions you take now will guide the year. Fly fishing resolutions are the ones you’ll want to stick with.