The 2014 Fly Fishing Film Tour Features More Women Fly Fishermen

Starting this month, the The Fly Fishing Film Tour once again hits seedy rented theaters and clubs throughout the U.S. to the glee of merry beertotalers who want to experience “the drug in the tug” on the big screen.

The big draw of these films, I think, is the masterful film footage of beautiful takes and releases of insanely gorgeous, sometimes enormous, fish species from around the world. This year’s show delivers these same thrills.

However, if you have already attended this year’s film tour (runs February through May), you may have noticed something a little different.

Women fly fishermen, who are also knowledgeable professionals in the industry, were included on location and in interviews. More than I have seen in past film tours.

After the show, I was curious to learn more about them. Here is what I have discovered so far.

Film: NORTH OF WILD

The gal who fly fished with John Gierach…

Aimee Eaton, Freelance author, conservationist and blogger. Her blog is called Dry Side Notes.

Film: KINETIC LOOP

The gal who spoke on the past and present of fly fishing…

Chrissy Penn
, fly fishing instructor and writer for OrvisNews.com. Click here for her archives.

Film: LONG LIVE THE KING

The gal who spoke on the declining numbers of King Salmon…

Kate Taylor, guide service owner, fly fishing guide, conservationist, writer and blogger. Click on her guide business at Frigate Travel. Her blog is Rogue Angels.

Perhaps next year one of the short films will be dedicated to women fly fishermen. It doesn’t really matter. I loved how the women were portrayed not as unique because they were women; they were fly fishermen. Just as obsessed, tired, soaking wet and wild eyed for the next take, as the next guy on the river.

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The Perfect Last Minute Gift for Any Fly Fisherman: A Review of Fishpond’s Nomad Mid Length Landing Net

Still wondering what to get that favorite fly fisherman on your list? This season the choice is obvious.

fishpond pic

Five reasons I dig the Nomad Mid-Length Landing Net:

1. It looks cool with a snazzy, mod grey camo pattern Fishpond calls River Camo.

2. Made of an ultra lite carbon fiber material, the Nomad is perfect for when you want to hike or backpack up and away to a remote fly fishing spots.

Handling one, I found they are not light-as-air light, but lighter than an equivalent wooden landing net.

3. It’s waterproof and floats for a quick retrieve. This is important if you occasionally drop your landing net like I do, and have ever had to wade, row, or swim fast to capture your sinking net.

4. I love the long handle (making it a total of 37″) because it’s not too long…Not guide-net-long. Or float-guide-net-long. But long enough to lengthen my reach for the trout, yet still fits great tucked away between my shoulder blades and wader belt.

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5. It’s also easier on the fish. A longer handle in addition to rubber netting makes for a quicker and gentler catch and release.

I find it interesting, and good to know, that Fishpond offers a replacement rubber netting kit. (I was very interested in watching their tutorial on how to string the replacement net, but as of the date of this post, their online tutorial is not yet responding to my mouse click. Must be in the works.)

Whether new to the sport or advanced, they will love a Nomad. You can feel how light they are at my favorite fly shop Angler’s Covey. And River Camo is still in stock.

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Diehard Fly Fishermen Adopt Bait Fishermen Techniques to Expand Big Fish Possibilities

All fly fisherman have their personal preferences. For me, the greatest thrill of fly fishing is being able to aim at a rising fish and watch it take my fly off the surface of the water.

Who am I kidding; I also love to catch BIG trout! Actually, any big fish, be it trout, carp, pike, walleye, bass, you name it. I make no apologies; For this girl, size does matter. I love the take, but also to fight the big fight.

As a fly fisherman who has been waiving a stick for more than a few 24 hours, I was surprised when I felt that same, giddy, newbie feeling all over again after wandering into Colorado Tackle Pro, a small shop partnered with and autonomous from Angler’s Covey Fly Shop.

Afterward, I walked out fantasizing about new fishing spots to explore, less crowds, more fishing than tying this winter, and all with the end result of catching more big fish…What more could this girl want?

Let me explain. Manager Chris Spaulding translates, for the avid fly fisherman, alternative avenues to catch fish, using gear, timing, and tricks traditionally used by spinning rod/bait fisherman.

In other words, it’s an insider look at what “the other guys” are doing to catch those huge trout, pike, walleye etc.

His shop epitomizes a new way of thinking about fly fishing vs bait fishing. It’s not about what type of rod you are using, or what type of fisherman you are; It’s more about what species of fish you are going after, what experience you’d like to have, and all ways you can get there.

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“Like flies, these imitate naturals too,” he says as he shows me rows of colorful packaged plastic minnows.

He does have a point there.

He uses terms like “expanding as a fisherman”, to know and use “all the avenues out there” and to become an “all around” fisherman. It’s about targeting what you need to do to get to that fish, regardless of the type of rod you typically use.

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Chris shows me LED lit bobbers for night fishing.

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Next he shows me the “Zara Puppy” (which to me, looks like a clear plastic hot dog) that when jerked across the the top of the water catches trout like crazy.

“Yep,” I heard from another voice in the back room,“We were killin ‘em on Spinney reservoir with the Zara Puppy last week.”

Another fun gray area with lots of possibility—Ultra lite spinning rods and reels. This way, while hiking or backpacking, you can still send get a lot of line out there on a lake, as an alternative to using an ultra lite fly rod.

Want to expand your thinking about how to get into big fish? With winter around the corner, how about ice fishing?

No. Really.

Look at it this way, Chris says, ”Ice fishing allows you to fish anywhere on a lake, even if you don’t have a boat. And it’s beautiful…like looking into an aquarium.”

Investing in an ice fishing experience can be virtually painless. Colorado Tackle Pro, partnered with Pikes Peak Outfitter offers all the rental equipment necessary to try it out first, including huts, augers, sleds, and even cook stoves and jet boils for the perfect cup of coffee. This November he is offering an Ice Fishing 101 course and a starter rig for 15 dollars (rod, jigs and bait.) Put on your warmest clothing, and you are set for a new experience.

Sources Chris recommends to broaden your thinking about fly fishing and bait fishing combined:
Read In Fisherman Magazine
You Tube and Google Searches on fishing for specific fish species.

Here my tip of the month on fly fishing outside the box: It is great fun this time of year to fish for arctic grayling in northern Colorado.
arctic grayling

Grayling is a beautiful peacock blue fish (imagine a beautiful Chinese fighting fish, super sized). This beautiful and fierce fish can be caught in late Sept – October at Joe Wright reservoir in northern Colorado.Using a spinning rod and hare’s ear, you will have great luck. For details, send me an email and I will share the rig set up that works for me.

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Fly Fishing Guide Tip: How to Tie on a Fly—Fast!

I love this tip. Every fly fisherman I show it to, both beginner and advanced, can’t believe it. It’s like I have performed a magic trick, and they want to see it done again. It’s great fun to show a fly fisherman how fast they can tie a clinch knot using their hemostats. And then watch how fast they teach their buddies.

I have created a short video to share this tip and posted it on You Tube.

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With minimal practice, soon you will be rapidly tying on flies. It’s dry fly season! Now go enjoy!

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It’s Not about Me: Or Frankly, the Sport of Fly Fishing Either

Recently I took a back country tour of Ireland. There I encountered a variety of tourist guides assigned to our schedule. One of the most memorable was the jaunting car horsemen in Killarney. (Jaunting car is the Irish term for horse drawn carriage.)

Now that I am titled a “professional fly fishing guide” by some, I observed Irish tour guides and their techniques with fresh eyes. Because like them, I am now responsible for showing the public a new, unique and memorable experience.

Killarney jaunting cars

Here’s some video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpAPjLZq4wU

Our bus tour guide warned us before we drove in to Killarney…

He said, “Now then, the boys of Killarney are known far and wide, because they can charm the leaves off a tree. Ladies, they are known for it. So heed my warning, they have thick accents these Killarney boys. For instance, when I say Waterford, I say “Wawhterfaerd”. They say “Whaaaerrrterfaaerd” My point is, whenever they ask you a question, if you don’t understand, always answer…No”.

Sure enough, they were just as he had described. They quickly called over and gathered up the prettiest young women first to the front of their cars and seated themselves next to them. This was not only for the fun of it, but there was a little competition between the drivers as well, for who had the farest lass, while “ajaunting” past their fellow horsemen.

Their attention to the road was at times suspect. Grins, smooth talk, flirtation, and perfectly delivered jokes while their whips flicked there and about, sometimes barely missing the windshields of passing Mercedes and BMWs, so close the other passengers would wince with each near miss.

I realized then, I seriously need to come up with some great fly fishing jokes for my clients. I didn’t know one good fly fishing joke.

These guys were good.

Yes the countryside was beautiful, yes the lake and castle divine, yes Killarney was an absolute treasure of the Emerald Isle. But the guides personalities were a big part of the overall experience, and were photographed as much as the castle ruins enveloped in wildflowers.

I realized I have another task as a fly fishing guide. I better have a damn great personality.

I have always taught fly fishing to people who were introducted to me via word of mouth within trout head circles, and they have come to me already serious students of the sport. Personality was not a necessary requirement. Guiding is a different story.

We are a part of the scenery, along with the dewy woods, paddling goslings, rising trout, and sizzling bacon. The whole experience.

For the fly fishing temperament, this can be more than a little intimidating. After all, avid fly fisherman are alone a lot. And some of us like it that way.

As a new guide, my small sampling so far, of clients: fathers and sons, wives and husbands, young, supportive lovers, and people who want to finally use the new gear they bought six months ago at the fly shop.

As soon as fish are caught, I jump into action with my camera, recording every moment. Clients are so grateful for our shop’s diligence at this. The joy when fish is caught, and the way they communicate with each other…It’s truly an honor to witness people so happy, and to see them experiencing something so special together.

I miss it now, when I am on the water solo, or with another hardcore trout head working a fish down the river.

I have been taking more than a few days off from writing and guiding to re prioritize this summer. I have had several unexpected opportunities that require my time and commitment this year, all of which are dreams come true, but are going to entail many months of hard work. Alone.

Alone. I am not sure I am okay with that.

My clients want to know more about me, and why I fly fish. And how I started. And do I tie my own flies too. (For some reason I get that one a lot.) And luckily so far, no one has expected a great fly fishing joke.

I have no real tips this time, just gratitude to my clients for teaching me a valuable lesson. It’s not about the right fly or the right cast, or the size of the fish, or the career move. Its about who you are fishing with and the experience you are sharing together. Whether or not any fly fishing skills will come of it, is not the point.

I’ve decided to change direction again and head down another stream. One that is more focused on more time with those I love. I will still write and guide when time allows. I guess the rest will just have to work itself out.

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My First Rite of Passage as a Professional Fly Fishing Guide: Wilderness First Aid

Recently I was asked by Angler’s Covey Fly Shop, Colorado Springs to work with them as an Orvis endorsed, independent fly fishing guide. One of the first requirements for this position is that I need to be certified in first aid.

Curiosity led me to take it one step further. I signed up for a National Safety Council’s wilderness advanced first aid/CPR certification course offered in Loveland, CO.

I knew that not only did I want to be prepared for any accidents on rivers and streams, but after the bombings in Boston, I wanted to be one of those people who could step in to help during an accident, with no hesitation.

The class was full of mainly scout leaders, some in uniform. And a few outdoor guides and male nurses. I was the only woman. And the only fly fishing guide.

Almost immediately, there was a lot of touching and feeling. We were asked to find each others pulses.

We carefully took turns checking wrists, throats, upper arms, and then turned to another and practiced all over again.

Soon, we were folding each others limp bodies into various positions, this lesson for the purpose of leaving someone to lie safely, semiconscious, and still be able to vomit to the ground.

Then the subject matter became more real.

The videos were graphic. Many were actual accidents caught on film. Impalements, severed limbs, deep knife wounds, head traumas, legs and elbows broken and barely hanging on, and electrocutions by lightning.

Next it was CPR training. The instructor handed us our dummies, pale, white and plastic with their mouths agape. Then they handed us barrier masks (to prevent vomit “backflow”) gloves, and a mat.

We all put the mats under our dummies and waited for the next instruction.

“No, the mat is for YOU…For your kneeees people.”

Blushes and a lot of reshuffling. Then we began to pump.

Apparently studies show that people can identify whether or not someone is breathing. Listening for a breath is no longer required, and is in fact a time waster. The brain dies too fast from lack of oxygen.

While compressing away on my foam dummy, 2” deep, between the nipples, locked fingers, 100 beats per minute, 30 compressions and two breaths, I could see I was getting the hang of this.

Then the guy next to me leans over and says, “The real thing is a lot harder…”

The instructor played Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” as we fiercely performed our compressions. He said studies have shown that if practice is done to a beat, its easy to remember the pace later. Sure enough, whenever I pass an accident now, “dunt dunt dunt, another one bites the…” comes to mind.

I was sweating after just a few minutes. I observed some of the men in the room, noting their large size. I thought to myself how difficult it would be for me administer CPR because of my 5′-6” 140 pound frame. The instructor said I would just have to the best I can, or grab a bigger guy and quick study him.

Then, we learned how to carry a body as a team. With six people and the proper gear, carrying a body was still surprisingly heavy and difficult.

When the class was complete, I felt empowered to respond to every type of common situation until EMS arrives. From snake bites to strokes, I felt confident about first aid the first time in my life.

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A few things to pass along to my fly fishing readers.

1. If going on a guide trip, please please please be honest about the medications you must take? And if you forgot them, please tell your guide. We need to know.

2. Please wear eye wear at all times while fly fishing. I know we guides constantly harp on this. This is why. Cause if you get a hook in your eye, I have to be sure that hook stays in place (by constructing a frame of bandages around it) until EMS arrives to transport you to qualified eye surgeon. Then it will be removed.

3. Carrying a body is next to impossible. Keep it simple. Rental satellite phones are the way to go if you plan a remote fly fishing trip.

4. Broken ankles, shins and knees are common fly fishing injuries. Good rule of thumb I teach all my beginners. YOU ARE EITHER WADING or YOU ARE FISHING. NEVER BOTH. I discovered my forte is splints and wraps; however, I hope I never have to do this new found superpower if I don’t have to.

Fly fishing continues to take me down paths I would never expect…Wilderness medicine is another new and empowering aspect of the sport I did not anticipate I’d like so much.

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10 Tips to Get the Most out of a Caddis Hatch

Caddis hatches are ON in Southern Colorado! If you are new to fly fishing, these hatches can be a great way to experience dry fly fishing for the first time. Trout feed aggressively on the surface of the water for these very easy to see, easy to tie, and fun to fish insects!

Here are 10 simple tips to improve your success at fly fishing a caddis hatch.

Try Juan Ramirez's Royal Gorgeous. (It is truly gorgeous)

Try Juan Ramirez’s Royal Gorgeous. (It is truly gorgeous!)

1. Fish a caddis hatch on a sunny, warm day. If the weather is beautiful, that is when the fishing for caddis can be a great success. If its a snowy, wet day, I skip it and wait for the next beautiful day, tie caddis, get an oil change…take a nap…

2. Fish just ahead of the hatch. See swarming clouds of caddis? The trout ahead of the hatch are anticipating the event, so travel to and fish ahead of its direction. That way your caddis fly will stand out ahead of the game!

3. If you are fishing a caddis hatch on a small stream or tail water, first treat yourself to one of the new, ultra lite fly lines like Orvis’s Hydros Superfine Fly Line. (This floating line is so weightless, I thought the package was empty.) You will be surprised how this will turn your rod into a delicate presentation machine unlike what you may have experienced out of your rod before.

4. Also when fly fishing on a small stream or tailwater, try a CDC caddis instead of an elk or deer hair caddis. CDC stands for cul de cunard (the feathers near the preening gland of a duck, and one of the lightest, durable, and most versatile high floating feathers available.)

I am convinced CDC caddis flies have superpowers...

A CDC caddis from The Fly Stop. I am convinced CDC caddis flies have superpowers…

I am obsessed with CDC flies lately, because I have experienced many times how I catch more fishing using cdc flies instead of deer/elk hair. I am not sure why this is, but I do know they allow me to present a more delicate and weightless fly to hungry trout.

5. Carry amadou with you. This fungi is your friend. Native to Africa, this material works great at drying your flies, especially fragile cdc flies. This material will last for years. And its a great partner to your Frog’s Fanny for keeping your dry flies dry.

6. Fish two flies at once. This is often called a “hopper dropper” rig, invented by John Barr. The concept is simple. You will reach the rising insect in the pupa stage and the adult stage with each cast. Tie a caddis nymph to your caddis dry fly of choice.

I have had amazing luck with John Barr's Graphic Caddis. See his book Barr Flies or check out his pattern at Charlie's Fly Box

I have had amazing luck with John Barr’s Graphic Caddis. See his book Barr Flies or check out his pattern at Charlie’s Fly Box

If you want to dive deeper into John Barr’s concept, listen to the online radio interview with John Barr on Ask About Fly Fishing Radio, or read one of his books on the subject.

7. Fish a totally random fly! Show them something different! While the trout are gorging themselves on caddis, sometimes your surprise fly is the only fly that works! Try an Adams fly, or nymph a San Juan worm. Use your imagination, or ask your local fly shop to make a suggestion.

8. Avoid the caddis hatch all together! I am serious! Many experienced anglers do. This is because you have all summer to fish using caddis flies, and the crowds of anglers during popular hatches can be intense.

9. Take advantage of a float trip. This is an amazing way to enjoy a hatch. A guide will float you through the hatch for miles, and you can cast all day on private waters away from the crowds. Don’t be surprised if you have a great fishing day on a float trip, using a fly other than a caddis fly. It happens all the time!

10. Fish your fly on the swing. If you are nymphing, remove your weight and let your rig just swing on its own with the help of your floating line. This video by Orvis is a good presentation of the technique. www.howtoflyfish.orvis.com/321-swinging-wets-and-nymphs

This looks fun! I am going to try the Arkansas Egg Layer this caddis hatch! Get it at Angler's Covey

This looks fun! I am going to try the Arkansas Egg Layer this caddis hatch! Get it at Angler’s Covey

Thank yous go to Angler’s Covey guides Gene Rea and Tim Hannan for all your help with this article!

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Want to Catch More Fish? Add a Wig to Your Fly Box

Keith Coursey, a local Colorado Springs photographer and I decided to have a little fun on the water this week.

One thing we noticed while studying fly fishing media, is the dire necessity for a fly fishing woman to have long, flowing locks in order to get clicks and subscribers.

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Afterall, covered in waders and gear, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to express one’s feminine side; Thus, the long (and I mean REALLY long..Like, get caught in your reel long) hair seems to be the ticket that separates the wheat from the chaff for viewer attention.

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That of course, and holding a giant steelhead or a big beast of a brown trout. That IS as it should be, in my humble opinion! Fishing for steelhead is physically and mentally challenging stuff, usually fished in lousy weather…for hours, even days and weeks, without one contact with a fish. These women have paid their dues before these beautiful fish were caught.

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Women of all ages, shapes and sizes are entering this sport. I delight in seeing women feel confident they do not have to look like a man in order to catch fish.

I, on the other hand, when not wearing this 25 dollar “Eve” wig I got at Zeezo’s Costume Shop, do in fact, look, well…pretty much like a dude (and a 46 year old dude at that) when I am fishing. Just being real here.

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Although I was blessed with a few curves, I cover my short, curly locks under my cap. With maturity, my hair does not grow to the lengths it once did.

I once heard a retired fly fishing guide say, “I retired because it was time. It was a young man’s game.” That is how I feel about social media. Its a young womans’ game.

As I pursue my interest fly fishing instruction, looks don’t seem to be a factor. In fact, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that I think the age thing helps me establish credibility, which may, or may not be, well deserved.

Would I love to get more people to my blog because I am young and beautiful? Who wouldn’t? Am I a little jealous? Perhaps. But in truth, I am far more envious of the steelhead catch they are holding, and how much I’d love to fish their location.

These women challenge me to constantly strive to be a better fly fisherman, better instructor, to travel more, and to fish often. And not to take myself or the sport too seriously.

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Here is the real me.

No fish were caught. Perhaps that was karma for my spoof on fly fishing media. Big fish will be caught later when there is no camera present. I welcome the distance.

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New Fly Fishing Women Beware! Warning Signs You May Have Trout Fever

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If you are new to fly fishing, and start to exhibit these symptoms, beware! You are in the early stages of trout fever…

Its difficult for you to maintain focus on a conversation when passing flowing pocket water–even if the guy talking is cute.

“Wait! Can you show me that again?” becomes a constant phrase in your vocabulary around other fly fisherman.

Your girlfriends fill you in on their relationships, kids, and jobs over lunch. You are thinking about the hatch you are missing.

Teva sandals seem more and more like the best footwear option for almost all occasions.

You ask your fellows at the fly shop what they think of your recent boyfriend, and you consider their opinions, actually, seriously.

You study your dryer lint for good potential dubbing texture and color.

You have this constant nagging awareness when at work, “Now is the best time of the year to be fishing!” No matter what season it is.

Your waders, boots and gear are now a permanent part of your back seat. And its starting to spread to your front seat.

A man who can spot big fish for you to cast to, becomes the sexiest creature on the planet.

You secretly resent anything that prevents you from getting on the water: a guest who wants to linger over breakfast, someone in front of the coffee maker at the 7 Eleven, your spouse who wants you to put the garbage out before you go. Errrrg!

You search your cat’s white patches for good post material.

You get giddy over the realization that dubbing “color packs” exist.

Your alarm goes off so early, even your dog is mad at you.

You choose dogs, boyfriends, vehicles and jobs based on their potential for fly fishing “compatibility”.

Your fly shop has you on caller id.

You start eyeing headlamps at Walmart.

You are a little sheepish when discussing your fly fishing expenses with anyone, (as if its any of their damn business!).

You start to covet old trucks. Don’t have to worry about scrapes, enormo pot holes, muddy wading boots, and wet dogs anymore. Freedom!

You cram in a few fly fishing hours before work, or rush to fish a few hours after work.

Your doctor suggests shoulder surgery. You decide to say no because rehab will cut into your fly fishing summer. So he introduces you to the joys of a cortisone shots. OW!!!

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, by all means keep fishing. The only cure is to fish more.

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GoLite for Fly Fishermen?: I Am Finally Joining the Ultralite Revolution

Finally snow in Colorado! With a late, cold winter this year, I was left wondering if I was ever going to fly fish in the snow. This year, I want to tackle with more success…(and more warmth!) the art of fly fishing in February and March.

Although a huge fan of fly fishing brands like Patagonia, Simms and Redington, when I priced their insulated jackets and shells…

Holy cow! High price tags!

I recently read a great article at Trout Underground by Tom Chandler on winter layering. In it, he briefly mentions that the fly fishing industry is not quite yet on the bandwagon with ultralight gear.

This got me thinking. My brother, an avid backpacker, suggested I try GoLite for fly fishing winter layering.

Passing the new GoLite store here in Colorado Springs, I had made three assumptions. Expensive, pretentious, high price tag, and just another retail chain.

Actually, GoLite is a small, (rapidly growing) company founded in Boulder, CO. (Somewhat close to home, so I could justify giving it a chance. I like to buy local.)

GoLite specializes in extremely light, super warm, affordable layering for hiking and camping. Everything GoLite sells is virtually weightless, soft, puffy—And will bake you.

What was amazing to me—the price tags. The store manager said this is because they sell direct, so their prices are much lower than what you’d expect from a quality gear shop.

Here’s what I nabbed for layering—

Like a fly fishing shell, the Wind River Softshell has and “up and down” zipper (open from the bottom or the top) for controlling heat. Although not created for fly fishing, I was surprised to find discover it had two huge storage pockets perfect for fly boxes, a thumb hole lining, water tight velcro cuffs, and its nicely cut for a woman’s curves. Its stretchy—not “crunchy” like a lot of bulky shells.Its also wind proof and water proof.

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For underneath, I chose their 100% recycled poly Cady Synthetic Insulated jacket. A diehard goose down girl (I like to be warm—Reeally warm), I cannot believe how toasty yet breathable this jacket is—Its feather light but really cooks me. IMG_1940

Recycled poly will still keep me warm if it gets wet. And I have been known to fall into a river or two…

Grand total for both? $147.00 dollars. Not bad.

The jacket stores into a tiny pouch, small enough to go into a large fanny pack. Shown here next my favorite coffee mug, pike by Jeff Currier.

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One thing about GoLite jackets. I would not fish in one without a shell. The ultra thin jacket fabric looks and feels like its no match for a fly hook.

I am looking more seriously at the whole Ultralight concept now when shopping for gear. As an alternative to the top of the line gear, GoLite is a close second in my book for fly fishing winter layering.

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