Fly Fishing for
Colorado Walleye!?!
Walleye Fly Fishing:
It is hard to explain the feeling of excitement that fishing brings to
those who love the sport.  This is a story about a bizarre
afternoon of fly fishing that reminded me of how exciting,
unpredictable, and just plain fun our sport can be.

When my guide trip cancelled the night before I was disappointed
not to be fishing, but figured I had work to catch up on and should
probably get started on my taxes (lots of fun).  When one of my
fellow guides and good fishing buddy called with news that he had
caught a nice walleye fly fishing a local stream, I was instantly
intrigued.  

I have been fishing since I could walk and fly fishing since the age
of 12, but I have never caught a walleye with traditional gear or
fly, so the prospect of trying to catch one with a fly rod seemed
especially appealing.

I called Jake Goin who is a tremendous fly fisherman and guide
who had incidentally caught walleye in this area fly fishing in the
past.  He snuck out of his day job early this Friday afternoon and
we were off.

At the river, the flows were incredibly high and off color due to
water releases from a dam upstream.  There were a few other
fisherman around as we rigged up, and the anticipation was
starting to build.

Since we are both far from experts when it comes to walleye we
decided to set up double streamer rigs as this would allow for the
possibility of a trout, smallmouth bass, or hopefully a walleye on
the fly.

When we stepped into the raging current I instantly realized a sink
tip line and a rod heavier than my 5wt would have been beneficial
for the conditions, but we made the most of it.

Roll casting heavily weighted streamers we began to probe the
depths.  We both had a couple suspicious bumps when my line
went tight.  I instantly thought WALLEYE!!  As I maneuvered the
feisty fish into the shallows I got a look at a beautiful rainbow trout
just shy of 20 inches.  Nice fish, plus I am not home doing taxes
and I just caught a beautiful fish - the smile grew.

As we moved up stream and had some more suspicious bumps
Jake stepped into the top of a run.  On his first cast I heard a yell
and looked up in time to see a very large fish roll on the surface.  
As I walked up, the speculation began.  Was it a huge walleye, a
big trout, a monster bass?  We had no idea and actually changed
theories a couple times during the fight.  When the fish came to
the bank we were both amazed to see a monster brown trout
attached to Jake's cone head streamer.  It was a total surprise
and had us snapping pictures and shaking our heads.

After heading up stream we found an area to cross and began
working down the river.  There were no anglers fishing a likely
looking slow area so we gave it a try.  After about 5 minutes my
line went tight, and there was a very solid fish at the end.  I saw a
flash of brown and again thought WALLEYE!  As I pulled the 20
inch fish closer I realized I had caught a big sucker while bouncing
my streamers on the bottom.  After releasing the fish I was
contemplating switching tactics when the line tightened again.  
This time is was a walleye--and a nice one at that!  As I drew the
fish in and examined its large eyes, big teeth, and rough fins, I felt
a sense of jubilation combined with a sense of accomplishment.  
After releasing the fish, Jake and I took a few more casts, but the
afternoon was a success.  We had accomplished what we came
for and then some.  We had landed and released 4 species of
fish, and most importantly, we had caught up with each other after
a long winter and shared an experience that will be with us both
for years to come.

The most important part of fishing and a key factor of success is
showing up.  There are always 100 reasons not to go fishing,
other things to do, the weather isn't perfect, or the stream is
muddy, but if you don't make it to the river you may be missing
out on the experience of a lifetime.  

Look forward to seeing you on the river!
-
Tad Howard
Colorado Trout Hunters
Big spring brown trout in Denver
Close up broun trout fly fishing photo caught on a cone head streamer.
Walleye caught fly fishing in Colorado.
Big brown trout caught streamer fishing for walleye in the Denver area.
Caught by Colorado Trout Hunter guide
Jake Goin.
Close up shot of a big brown trout caught on a cone head streamer
fly.  Notice the amount of weight required to get the fly into the strike
zone.
Tad Howard with a nice Colorado walleye caught and released on a streamer.
Walleye picture caught fly fishing in Colorado.