Turtle Fur: Fly Fishing Essentials

written by elizabetha cochran

The best days of my life have been spent on and in the water – boating, swimming, fishing on the banks with my father, and now fly fishing all over Colorado. Through fly fishing, I have gained a whole new appreciation for rivers and lakes, and with the help of others I have learned how to be a cautious hiker and how to do my part in protecting these amazing habitats. When I see trash on the ground (or if I have some), I shove it in my pack and bring it back with me. When I’m walking in the river in the spring and fall seasons, I am cautious of walking on spawning redds and I definitely don’t disturb them while they are doing their thing (making babies). I love seeing the new life of every species throughout the year. No matter what type of wildlife I encounter, I keep my distance and admire – without disturbing them.

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What makes fly fishing such an amazing activity is that you can do it all year long. I was very skeptical when I first started fly fishing in the winter. Never enjoying winter sports very much as a child, I quickly realized that having gear and being prepared are the most important things when planning a trip any time of year. Whether I’m planning a trip in the warmer months, or colder months, I always make sure to check the weather beforehand. New challenges are presented in these conditions, and you need to be adequately prepared. Below, I’ve outlined some of the basics I’ve deemed necessary to have an enjoyable experience on the water.


The sun is out, the snow has thawed and the bugs are constantly hatching. It’s the perfect time to take a hike to an alpine lake to catch brook trout and cutthroat trout, or walk the river banks in hopes of finding some fish in pocket water. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to take care of your body. The best way to avoid dehydration, sunburn and burning out is to have all of the right gear and to take plenty of breaks throughout the day. After getting weird burns all over and struggling from dehydration, I have learned what to pack and how to dress. This is what I bring, but you may need to make some changes to fit your personal needs.

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