Of all the different disciplines of fly fishing, Backcountry Angling delivers the broadest form of adventure on a budget. Adventurers who travel the world come to Colorado to experience the wilderness and beauty we have just out our back door.
Twenty years ago I climbed Mt. Quandary above Breckenridge. It was the last Fourteener that I had climbed. Sitting on top I began to make some observations after a dozen or more summits: in this harsh tundra environment there was little vegetation, few colors, rare wildlife, and lots of people on the trail.
Yet when I explore deep valleys where small streams cascade, I find abundant vegetation, immense colors, vast wildlife, and few trails and few people. Within this canvas painted and shaped by something greater than myself, I pursue my adventures and virgin trout.
Colorado has over six thousand miles of streams that are capable of holding trout. A vast majority of these miles are small streams. It has been suggested that the average angler will rarely walk one mile to fish. Less than five percent of anglers will hike three miles to fish. Looking to escape? Do the math.
In an era of catch and release becoming the dominant choice for sport-anglers, more and more fish become educated and familiar to the wading anglers. They feed in plain site and spook only if they feel threatened, but they also become very selective to the food they are willing eat. Trout found in small streams are often quite the opposite and spook at the very hint of your presence. These trout, often natives, rarely see anglers and six months of the year they live under a sheet of ice. Unlike fish stocked from fish hatcheries, these fish hold incredible beauty and vivid colors. They are very special and this is why I like to designate them as virgin trout.
They are innocent, naive, inexperienced and often have never been hooked by an adventurous angler.
You're not going to find trophy twenty-plus-inch fish in these small wonders, but the vivid beauty they hold far exceeds an old hag that has felt countless barbs and displays multiple battle scars.
Curious? Looking for an adventure? Want to explore wilderness and discover hidden treasure isolated off the beaten path?
Then consider exploring the backcountry of Colorado and experience a full angling adventure.