Fly Tying – A Chore or a Joy?

Today marks a milestone in my annual pre-seaon fly tying binge.  I have just reached the halfway mark on my list of flies to tie.  But let’s back up a bit and explain how I even got to the point of having a list.

I have been tying flies for about 5 years now.  The fact that I tie is not unique as most of my fly fishing friends tie as well.  It just seems to be a fact of life for the dedicated (read obsessed) fly fisher.  For most though, they talk about tying as if it is a chore or a job.  Maybe I started with that opinion, but can now freely admit that I find it relaxing, satisfying and a joy.   Besides, it is one thing to catch a fish on a fly and quite another to catch a fish on a fly that YOU tied.  Very organic!

As the seasons have progressed, so have my skills and the number of patterns I can tie.  What started off as a quest to tie my staple flies has morphed into a quest to tie the majority of flies that I rely on during the season.  But as I have progressed from 5 or 6 patterns, to dozens of patterns with multiples of variations, the confusion of knowing what I needed to tie and how many started to mount.

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The joys of Licensing

I am starting the process of purchasing all new licenses for the upcoming season.

Officially, my Nevada license does not expire until the 28th of February.  Since they are normally available for sale on Feb 1, I grab it at that time.  At $41 for the season, it is the least expensive of the annual licenses and can be done online.  There will be no gap in my legal fishing status in NV.

California is a bit different.  Since I have to purchase a non-resident license, it is both costly and a pain to get.  More on that in a moment.

What started this thought process was the hoops that i just went through in Colorado for a simple day tag for my day on the South Platte.  When I arrived in Deckers and went into the fly shop, they only accepted cash for licenses.  Having just spent some good cash the night before, I was paperless in a paper only store.  But no fear, you can order your license over the phone…yes…phone.  After a fairly quick and simple info gathering process, the phone agents reads you an EXTREMELY long (27 digit) code and you are supposed to write that code on a piece of paper and carry that as your license.  Wow!  A fishing license on a post-it note!  My question on this system – how does the warden verify that the code is valid and not just some long 27-digit code someone wrote on a piece of paper?

Back to California, my most expensive annual tag.  Not only is the state that brought us Silicon Valley still using an antiquated paper system, but they do not allow licensing agents to charge appropriate fees, making it a loosing proposition for them to sell licenses.  Getting a license becomes a cash only transaction.  I know that they have a new online system this season, but you still can only print a temporary and they still mail you an official paper license, and they tack on extra convenience fees (which agents are not allowed to charge) making an expensive license that much more expensive.  No thanks on the electronic system at this time.  I go give some cash to my local fly shop and get some additional supplies at that time as well.

In contrast, my annual Utah license is half that of California, all electronic, and they allow me to print my own.  They even have me saved in the system from previous purchases, so typing in my DL number brought up my info for a quick verification.  Easy and simple is my opinion of their process.  Why get an annual UT you ask – well I fish there enough days each season to justify the expense, and in most years it saves me a few ducats over paying for days a la carte.

Who knows what other licenses I will acquire in 2010, but so far I have three in the pouch and we are barely into the second month of the year.

Starting off the 2010 fly fishing season

I finally got the chance to start off my 2010 season.  I was in Denver for the SIA Snow Show and while many of my peers rallied up to Winter Park to get in a day or two of skiing with the Show crowd, I headed in a different direction.  I hooked up with a friend of mine and we headed to the infamous South Platte (Deckers section) River.

The day was shaping up to be a warm, bright and cloudless day.  It was in the mid-40’s for most of the day.  The water was crystal clear and about 200 CFS.  A perfect COMFORTABLE day to fish in Colorado.  We planned our trip so that we would be on the water around 10am and back off around 3pm.  Those are pretty much the winter sweet spots.

One valuable lesson which I keep forgetting to learn – bring cash to the mountains and rivers.  When I stopped by the fly shop to get my license, I was told they only take cash…doh!  Fortunately, I was able to call in my license over the phone and they issue a 27 digit number that you write down and keep on your person to proxy as your license.  Note to self – always have spare cash in the fishing bag.

It is true what they say about this section.  We saw fish feeding in almost all holes that we scouted.  Hooking them was the tough part.  I flailed at the water all day and came up a big fat zero.  My buddy noticed a single rising 10″ rainbow, tied on a #22 Midge, and proceeded to hook the only fish of the day.  Great job!

All-in-all, I had a great day and it felt good to get outside and have some peace and solitude.