If you don’t have your own equipment, or choose not to bring it along, we will provide all the “essentials” (Rod, Reel, Waders) at no charge. If you’re bringing your own gear, we suggest 4 to 6 weight, moderate- to fast-action graphite rods and disk-drag reels loaded with floating fly lines. A fast sink-tip line (or interchangable fast-sinking leaders) are occassionally useful for fishing streamers on our float trips, but your guide will usually have a “streamer rod” ready to go for these situations.
Dress in layers! Even in mid-summer temperatures in Vail or Frisco can vary from barely above freezing when we leave the shop into the 80’s by mid-afternoon, and back down to 50 or so by the time we get home. A T-shirt and a heavy jacket will guarantee you’ll be either too cold or too hot all day long. Several light layers will allow you to add or subtract as conditions change. — Better to have too much than get caught short.
Our suggestions are:
- Long Pants: For full-day trips, we will set you up with waist-high Gore-Tex waders or standard hip-boots on half-day or lesson trips. — Shorts may be O.K. on hot days if you have tough skin that can take the chafing of bare legs against canvas hip-boots or cold Gore-tex next to your skin
- Long-sleeved Shirt: Partly for warmth, partly for sun-protection, partly to discourage biting insects. While we don’t have major “bug problems” at this altitude, mosquitos and deerflies can sometimes be a nuisance. If it gets too hot, you can always roll the sleeves up, but in short-sleeves, you’re exposed to everything, all day long.
- Hat: Baseball caps are fine to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your face. Brimmed hats (“Cowboy” or “Indiana Jones” style) are even better, as they will also protect your ears and neck.
- Socks: Bare feet inside wading boots are NOT comfortable. Mid- or heavy-weight wool, polypro, or Capilene (best) socks will provide both warmth and cushioning. While you’re at it, throw in an extra pair. — They can be used to improve the fit of a slightly over-sized boot, and will be very welcome if you happen to fall in or rip your waders (accidents DO happen).
- Extra Layers: A light sweater, fleece pull-over, or fleece vest is usually sufficient for the morning chill or cloudy afternoons and can be tied around you waist or stuffed into the back of your fishing vest when not needed. A light wind-breaker can fill the same needs, and if water-resistant will also offer protection from our mid-afternoon showers. Bring both (or substitute a “real” rain coat) and you’ll be prepared for most anything. Remember, the weather can change quickly (and radically) up here.
While we don’t expect everyone to have or carry all these items, they can each help make your day a little more pleasant. This list is in order of priority.
- Sunglasses(preferably polarized). While any sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the intense high-altitude sun, polarized lenses will cut much of the reflected glare from the water, making it easier to see you fly, and sometimes allow you to spot otherwise “invisible” fish. Most of our guides carry an extra pair, but you’ll eventually want to have your own.
- Water (and a way to carry it). Your guide will have plenty for everyone, but it’s tough to carry even a pint bottle stuffed in your hip pocket. A half-liter “sports bottle” with a holster is a simple solution.
- Sunscreen At these altitudes, the sun’s U.V. rays are very intense and you can get burned even through light cloud cover. Although there are many theories regarding sun protection, the concensus (and our experience) is that frequent applications throughout the day are at least as important as a high SPF.
- Camera Don’t forget that there’s more to fishing than just catching fish. One of the nicest things about trout is that they generally don’t live in ugly places!