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Dragonfly Anglers

Fishing the Wild West
September 9, 2014

Last week, I had an opportunity to get into the West Elk Wilderness, one of five wilderness areas within a 30-minute drive of Crested Butte, Colorado.  It is not hard to get away from humans anywhere near Crested Butte, and our wilderness areas are certainly no exception. With no road access and no mechanized vehicles allowed, all access is by foot and some of the best spots require off-trail navigation and sometimes tricky bushwhacking.  

I fished two streams in complete solitude, one named, the other an unnamed tributary of the first stream. Both were full of native cutthroat, many of which have never seen an artificial fly in their lives. It’s usually pretty easy to tell because when you set the hook on a fish that has never been caught, there is that second or two of pure shock after the fly bites back before they realize something is wrong and put up the fight of their lives to get free. For me there is nothing like catching fish in a spot that I saw the week before while studying maps and google Earth and thinking, “that looks hard to get to, I bet the fishing is good”. There is a lifetime of water just like this spot, from small streams and tributaries to larger streams and high alpine lakes, all of which can be accessed on foot, by car, or by a 4X4 vehicle.

If you want to experience a truly unique experience in the middle of the most remote mountains in Colorado, whether it is a hike into one of the wilderness areas or a hair-raising, expert 4X4 drive to cutthroat-filled beaver ponds near treeline, let myself or one of our other backcountry experts put together a trip for you! Please call the shop at (970) 349-1228for more information. 
Posted by Zach Kinler

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Offseason Explorations: Part 2
May 22, 2014

My girlfriend Elsa and I always take some time each fall to visit family in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Similar to this area, it can be cool there that time of year; however, fall seems to hang around a bit longer in that area than in the mountains. While on one such visit last fall around Halloween, Elsa’s dad Rockie and I decided to take the boat out on Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior for perhaps one last fish before the snow started falling. I brought my fly rod along as I always do if I’m around water; however, we were trolling with big Raps and spoons, which is a great way to cover water and figure out where the fish might be holding. We started picking up very nice sized browns, Coho Salmon, and Steelhead. We were both surprised to see such great action this time of year when Rockie pointed out to me that we were picking these fish up in less than 15 feet of water with relatively shallow lures. I immediately thought about my fly rod and the possibility of getting a few on the fly. We decided to finish the day trolling and trying to locate exactly where the fish were and ended the day landing several more large fish. Before we were off the water, a return trip for the next day had already been planned with Elsa’s brother Luke, and it would be done with fly rods. 

The next morning after Luke and I made a brief stop at some sand flats looking for smallmouth bass that were not there, we went right back to the area we had worked the day before. We fished a variety of water from shallow, sandy bottom river inlets, where we found the Coho Salmon to rocky shorelines with lots of structure where the steelhead and browns were cruising. This was not a trip where we boated 50 fish but every fish hooked was quality and the fact that we were able to sight fish for several different species made this a very unique experience for both of us. There we were alone on Lake Superior in late fall hooking fish in beautiful water from a flats skiff, it was perfect. It really does not matter what time of year it is, there are so many opportunities to explore, and I will always travel with my fly rod close at hand.
Posted by Zach Kinler
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