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The "Non" Fishing Trip

Rainbow Trout

So you have a trip coming up, and you might have time to squeeze in some fishing. What will you do? Hire a guide or execute your best solo effort? What gear will you bring? How are you traveling? These are all just a few, but important questions to ask when prepping for a potential trip. And with a little forethought, you can execute a short fishing trip successfully. Finding time is crucial, and I’m going to help you break down the possibilities so you can make the best choice when it counts.

I recently went to Denver, Colorado for a business trip. Just like most trips, I am constantly thinking about how I can squeeze in even 1 cast into the itinerary. My business conference was a four-day event back in April. We flew in a day early to experience the city, take a hike, and visit a brewery (or two). So for this trip it really wasn’t a stretch to propose 20-30 minutes of casting time while in transit to already planned destinations. I instantly started Google searching water near our hike and brewery stop. As luck would have it, there was a fishable stocked pond along the hike, and there was also a creek that flowed parallel to the road our brewery stop was located. I also learned (via the internet) that the pond was last stocked in July of the previous year, the water color was darker than normal, and the primary species in both places was trout.

After I had figured out timing, and found a place to fish, the next step was figuring out the equipment. I was traveling from Madison, WI on a direct flight. When traveling on long trips my initial question is can I bring my own gear or do I want to hire a guide? For this trip I did not have time for a guide, and I did not own any travel (collapsible or carry on) conventional fishing gear. I also did not feel that a 20-30 minute window was a time frame conducive to effectively fish fly gear due to my inexperience with the location and local conditions. With time being the biggest concern, I needed a versatile, portable, reliable option that would remove at least one potential variable from my path to success.

I had never been to Colorado, and most people I had talked to in Wisconsin about fishing there had not done so in late winter/early spring. My thought was keep it simple. I am no stranger to quick trout outings in south central Wisconsin, where you can catch numbers of trout in a short period of time with a light action spinning rod and a panther martin. I planned to utilize this “run and gun” approach in Denver. Luckily fishing knowledge translates pretty well across the country. Fish exhibit some similar behavior regardless of locale. And if you know how to read streams, then you can predict where fish will hold, and more efficiently fish your target body of water.

Eagle Claw Fishing Rod

After stopping for a couple tasty beers and a lunch, I hit the stream located right under the brewery for 20 minutes. The water was pretty clear, but after making several casts from the shore upstream, I noticed a couple deeper holes and eddies created by a slight turn in the stream and the boulders lining the bank. I was confident something should be hanging in there. So I applied the vertical jigging spinner technique (see our YouTube video). After two quick short rips and flutters, a small rainbow trout darted out from the shadows and crushed my spinner! I was ecstatic, thinking to myself I just caught my first ever trout west of the Mississippi River. Ironically, I did not have the picturesque perfect fly cast and fly presentation with a mountainous sunset in the background when I caught the fish. I caught it on an Eagle Claw collapsible spinner rod set up and a panther martin spinner, which I had bought at Wal-Mart with my fishing license when I arrived in Denver. The feeling was still amazing because I had effectively planned and executed a 20-minute fishing trip in a new destination and produced a fish. So next time you are heading out of town, think about your fishing possibilities. And with a little planning and time management, you can catch fish on your next “non-fishing” trip!

Rainbow Trout

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