Montrose-area Guide Offers Tips for Female Fly-fisherman, the Fastest-growing Segment of the Sport

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Fly-fishing isn’t just a sport for the guys in a travel group, according to the Montrose Association of Commerce and Tourism, where fly-fishing is a year-round activity. In fact, women anglers – the fastest growing segment of the fly-fishing population – tend to pick up fly-fishing more quickly than their male counterparts, according to Tim Patterson, owner of RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service in nearby Ridgway, Colo.

Fly-fishing near Montrose, Colo.

Fly-fishing near Montrose, Colo.

Women just seem to have a knack for fly-fishing. Using your brain more than your brawn is what makes the difference.

Fly-fishing isn’t just a sport for the guys in a travel group, according to the Montrose Association of Commerce and Tourism, where fly-fishing is a year-round activity. In fact, women anglers – the fastest growing segment of the fly-fishing population – tend to pick up fly-fishing more quickly than their male counterparts, according to Tim Patterson, owner of RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service in nearby Ridgway, Colo.

“Women just seem to have a knack for it,” says Patterson. “Using your brain more than your brawn is what makes the difference.”

The Montrose area has some superb fly-fishing spots that are available year-round. The Uncompaghre River offers excellent fishing opportunities right in the town of Montrose. The Gold Medal waters of the Gunnison River are one of Colorado’s premier angling destinations with lots of rainbow and brown trout. Cimarron River is a lesser-known fishery that provides excellent dry fly-fishing throughout the year.

Patterson says whatever fishing hole chosen to cast into, the best way to learn how to fly-fish is just to get out and do it. “Just being there and being part of the process is where the learning begins.”

So how does one get started? Patterson offers these tips.

  •     Choose a Guide Carefully. A good guide can help nip bad habits in the bud, says Patterson. When selecting a guide (which Patterson says will likely cost about $200-$300 for a half- to full-day excursion), choose a local shop with knowledge of the area where you’ll be fishing. Also, Patterson advises, talk to the guide about what you want to accomplish on the trip—whether that’s learning the skills to fly-fish on your own or simply catching a fish on your outing.
  •     Do Your Homework. Before you even get to the river, Patterson suggests learning how to tie basic knots. Another tip – do research on the types of insects native to the area you’ll be fishing. Finally, you can practice basic casting at home in a wide open space.
  •     Equipment Matters. Typically on a guided trip the equipment is included, offering the opportunity to sample different types of fishing gear. A guide will also be a good resource for the type of gear you should purchase. When it is time to buy equipment, Patterson recommends thinking long-term. “It can be expensive, but equipment is a huge factor in your ability to succeed. Quality fishing gear can be handed down from generation to generation.”
  •     Keep Simplicity in Mind. “Don’t be overwhelmed by the information you’re getting,” notes Patterson. “At the end of the day it’s all about the fly on the end of the line.” Patterson suggests focusing on what’s occurring naturally on the river between the insects and the fish and trying to mimic that.

About Montrose
Montrose, the gateway to the Black Canyon, is a uniquely-authentic town that has carved out a place for itself in the landscape and culture of Colorado. Montrose was recently named to Outdoor Life magazine’s annual list of the 200 best towns in America for outdoorsmen. Seventy-three percent of the land surrounding the city is public land, making Montrose a Mecca for all kinds of outdoor activities, including: hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, road biking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. A multi-faceted community, Montrose serves up layer upon layer of discoveries, each more unique than the last. Whether visitors are looking for adventure, agritourism, history, culture, shopping, fine dining or anything in between, Montrose has a little something for everyone.

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Christy Nielson

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