Stillwater Fly Fishing: Colorado

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It's cool to be still.

For those of us that fish all year long on the rivers this mud season poop can be a real downer. I mean the last few months of fishing came with all the goodies including the boats and dry fly rods and in some cases people think run off puts an end to all the fun for 6 weeks. “Not so fast my friend” there is no reason to sulk, there is incredible fishing to be had you just have to stop looking down your nose at it. It’s called Stillwater Fly Fishing and for some reason a lot of avid fly fishermen would rather sit home than spend any time in lakes or ponds. Most people treated Carp water the same way at one point too. Trust me, it’s time to be brave, The Stillwater Game is cool. Fishing from a drift boat is a fantastic way to liven up the adventure. Wading most lakes or ponds can be a pain when the jungle that often surrounds the best puddles can make getting your junk out there far enough a challenge and the fish in front of the open casting lanes are perpetually freaked out. Besides being able to hunt the tougher spots effectively, taking the drift boat offers an Ace caster the room to be beautiful and a novice or beginner caster the ability to get better at their own pace. Instead of timing casts with the river, another dude and your guide’s directions; the pace of this game is much more relaxed. Without current, drift and drag; TSG often becomes a cast and wait game but it is a real fun one. Not to mention we ditch the waders and water bottles for flip flops and wine glasses and in some cases, a civil bathroom. Buff up and take your best shot, anywhere, cast as many times as you want.

Not happy with that last “pile cast”?


Tee up another, we have an unlimited bucket of balls and no score card on the lakes.

It’s a great way to become a better caster because distance, not accuracy, becomes the goal. I see everybody, from all experience levels become better casters fishing TSG from the boat. Take the complications of moving water, moving boat, accuracy, line control, timing, drag and drift off a person’s mind and minor things like casting become fun not work.

Going to Permit Alley next month?


A trip in the boat someplace like Sylvan Lake will help your line management and casting about 3 million times more than going on a walk wade trip in the bush. Just sayin’.


Besides pulling off the Hero Cast, the only other “job” a fisher person is responsible for would be paying attention. Just like their river cousins these fish are quick and they apparently hate the taste of metal as well. Long leaders and long distance plays into one’s percentage of successful hook sets, you must be quick while in a deep state of relaxation.


So that’s it; you get to hurl as many 60 footers as you like and then you put your feet up, tell me a story, and eat my snacks while you watch your junk like an Osprey. My motors move the boat less on these trips so I very often sit shoeless on an anchor and set up the buffet next to the mixology station for something to do besides letting fish go. The laid-back nature of being still benefits everybody. My boat even appreciates TSG.



My all-time favorite local water to guide is Sylvan Lake south of Eagle Colorado. This gorgeous high mountain lake has Rainbow, Brookies and Cutt-Throats that love to eat flies enough to be a venue for the 2016 World Championships of Fly Fishing. May and June offer great fishing all day long but early mornings and the power hour around sunset offer incredible dry fly action this time of year. Deep streamer fishing and nymphing with 3 flies on a 20’ leader is super effective almost always. Sylvan is a State Park and has everything you need to comfortably spend a night or two at a camp site or a cabin. I recommend staying night at the lake if you want to fish multiple days and take advantage of the early or late set and maybe a sloppy hot guide breakfast or dinner. Great way to mix a nap into the middle of a day of fishing also.

Be brave enough to be still this year. Book a trip during Mud Season.