DiscoverThe Orvis Fly-Fishing PodcastFly-fishing for alternative species in the Rocky Mountains, with Davis James
Fly-fishing for alternative species in the Rocky Mountains, with Davis James

Fly-fishing for alternative species in the Rocky Mountains, with Davis James

Update: 2024-06-03
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This episode of the Orvis Live Fishing Podcast features Davis James, the Orvis community leader for Colorado's Front Range, who discusses alternative fly fishing species in the Rocky Mountain West. He emphasizes that there are many other species besides trout that can be caught with a fly rod, and that these species often offer less crowded waters and more fun fishing experiences. James provides tips for finding alternative species, including using Google Maps to identify potential fishing spots, looking for shallow areas and structures along the shoreline, and talking to local fly shop employees who are familiar with urban fisheries. He also discusses the "25 on the Fly" event, which he runs, where teams of anglers try to catch 25 different species of fish in Colorado in two days. The event highlights the diversity of fly fishing in the Denver area and encourages anglers to explore beyond traditional trout streams. James also answers listener questions about fly fishing techniques, fly tying, and gear selection.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces the host, Tom Fysmar, and his guest, Davis James, the Orvis community leader for Colorado's Front Range. The topic of the episode is alternative species in the Rocky Mountain West, focusing on the abundance of fish beyond trout and the benefits of pursuing these alternative species.

00:35:40
Alternative Fly Fishing Species in the Rocky Mountain West

This Chapter delves into the challenges of crowded trout streams in Colorado and the benefits of exploring alternative species. Davis James, an experienced angler who started fly fishing for bass and panfish, shares his insights on finding new fishing spots, identifying promising locations, and choosing the right gear for urban fisheries. He emphasizes the importance of exploring diverse waters and structures, and suggests using a five or six weight rod as a versatile option for various species.

00:49:22
The "25 on the Fly" Event

This Chapter introduces the "25 on the Fly" event, a two-day competition where teams of anglers try to catch 25 different species of fish in Colorado. Davis James, the event organizer, explains the rules, scoring system, and the diverse species list, which includes everything from tiger musky to sunfish. He highlights the event's focus on urban fisheries and its goal of promoting diversity in fly fishing.

01:04:03
Fly Fishing Tips and Techniques

This Chapter features a Q&A segment where Tom Fysmar and Davis James answer listener questions about fly fishing techniques, fly tying, and gear selection. They discuss topics such as dry dropper rigs, fly organization, and the use of sinking lines for deeper water fishing. They also share tips for dealing with challenging situations, such as fishing in crowded waters and finding the right fly patterns for specific species.

Keywords

Fly Fishing
Fly fishing is a method of angling that uses an artificial lure, called a fly, to catch fish. It involves casting the fly with a fly rod and line, and retrieving it in a way that imitates the natural movement of insects or other prey.

Alternative Species
Alternative species in fly fishing refer to fish other than trout that can be caught with a fly rod. These species often include panfish, bass, carp, pike, and other freshwater fish that are found in lakes, ponds, and rivers.

Urban Fly Fishing
Urban fly fishing is the practice of fly fishing in urban areas, often targeting alternative species in lakes, ponds, and rivers that are located within or near cities. It offers a convenient and accessible way to enjoy fly fishing without having to travel long distances.

Rocky Mountain West
The Rocky Mountain West is a region in the western United States that encompasses the Rocky Mountains and surrounding areas. It is known for its diverse landscapes, including mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes, and is a popular destination for fly fishing.

25 on the Fly
The "25 on the Fly" event is a two-day competition organized by Davis James in Colorado, where teams of anglers try to catch 25 different species of fish in the Denver area. The event promotes diversity in fly fishing and encourages anglers to explore urban fisheries.

Denver
Denver is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. It is located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and is known for its vibrant culture, outdoor recreation opportunities, and proximity to numerous fly fishing destinations.

Front Range
The Front Range is a region in Colorado that encompasses the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It is home to numerous cities and towns, including Denver, and is known for its diverse landscapes, including mountains, plains, and rivers.

Carp
Carp are a species of fish that are native to Asia and have been introduced to many parts of the world, including Europe and North America. They are often considered a nuisance species in some areas, but they are also a popular target for anglers, particularly fly anglers.

Pike
Pike are a species of fish that are native to North America and Europe. They are known for their sharp teeth and aggressive feeding habits, and are a popular target for anglers, including fly anglers.

Bass
Bass are a group of fish that are native to North America. They are known for their fighting spirit and are a popular target for anglers, including fly anglers. There are many different species of bass, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass.

Q&A

  • What are some alternative fly fishing species in the Rocky Mountain West?

    Davis James mentions a variety of alternative species, including carp, pike, bass, panfish, suckers, and even tiger musky. He emphasizes that these species offer less crowded waters and more fun fishing experiences.

  • How can I find new fly fishing spots in my area?

    Davis James suggests using Google Maps to identify potential fishing spots, looking for shallow areas and structures along the shoreline, and talking to local fly shop employees who are familiar with urban fisheries.

  • What kind of rod should I use for urban fly fishing?

    Davis James recommends a five or six weight rod as a versatile option for various species. He notes that a seven weight rod can be fun for panfish and larger species, but a five or six weight is a good starting point.

  • What are some good flies to start with for urban fly fishing?

    Davis James suggests starting with a bead head woolly bugger or a tungsten thin mint as a searching pattern. He also recommends trying a white baitfish imitation if the initial fly doesn't produce results.

  • What is the "25 on the Fly" event?

    The "25 on the Fly" event is a two-day competition where teams of anglers try to catch 25 different species of fish in Colorado. The event highlights the diversity of fly fishing in the Denver area and encourages anglers to explore urban fisheries.

  • What are some tips for fly fishing for carp?

    Davis James suggests using a bead head woolly bugger or a tungsten thin mint as a searching pattern for carp. He also recommends fishing in shallow areas and structures along the shoreline.

  • What is the best time of day to target alternative species?

    Davis James recommends fishing in the morning or evening when the water is cooler and there is more activity. He notes that carp can sometimes be more active in the late morning or early afternoon.

  • What are some tips for fly fishing in crowded waters?

    Davis James suggests exploring diverse waters and structures to find less crowded areas. He also recommends talking to local fly shop employees who are familiar with urban fisheries.

  • What are some tips for fly tying?

    Davis James and Tom Fysmar answer listener questions about fly tying, including tips for tying egg flies and using gloss head cement to prevent super glue white film.

  • What are some tips for fly fishing with a dry dropper rig?

    Davis James and Tom Fysmar discuss the use of dry dropper rigs and how to present the flies effectively. They emphasize the importance of casting upstream and letting the flies drift naturally.

Show Notes

It's no secret that the more popular trout rivers in the Rocky Mountains have gotten more crowded in the past few years.  Yet there are so many species of fish that are fun with a fly rod, closer to home, and that live in places that are far less crowded.  Davis James shares his experience with the "25 On the Fly" event, where anglers in the Front Range try to catch 25 different species of fish on the fly rod in two days (no one has ever done it).  He share his tips for what species are available, how to find them, what tackle to use, and what fly patterns to try.  We all need to embrace these wonderful fish to have fun closer to home and to take pressure off our more productive trout streams.
 
In the Fly Box this week, we have some great questions and tips from listeners, including:
  • What percentage of the time do you use a dry dropper or double dry rig?
  • What weight fly rod is best for panfish?  And what flies should I use?
  • How do we ensure our fly fishing traditions are passed on to the younger generation?
  • How can I make my dry dropper rig drift tight to the opposite bank?
  • Is fly fishing for carp popular in Europe?
  • How do I organize and carry my wide assortment of trout flies?  How does Tom do it?
  • How can I fish for panfish and largemouth bass in an old gravel pit that drops off steeply?
  • A great tip from a listener about how to tie a more durable egg pattern
  • I was fishing a double dry rig for fish rising to small mayflies and my imitation was perfect but I didn't fool as many fish as I should have.  What should I have done differently?
  • I have trouble threading my tippet onto a small dry fly.  Can I tie the tippet to the bend of the hook instead?
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Fly-fishing for alternative species in the Rocky Mountains, with Davis James

Fly-fishing for alternative species in the Rocky Mountains, with Davis James