Soon after arriving in Denver, I went ahead and booked a class (three actually) with Denver Fly Shop, so that I could learn how to do this fly fishing thing. I chose their “Learn to Fly Fish” special ($195), after coming across them in Google (searching for “denver fly fishing classes”). It’s a 3-part class that covers the basics of knots, casting, flies, some river tactics (working with the current, where to cast etc), and also includes the basics to get started (rod, reel, some flies, a small fly box, nippers; see image).
The classes weren’t comprehensive, and through a scheduling snafu, I still haven’t actually taken the casting class, although at this point I probably won’t bother. The intended class plan is something like this:
- Classroom Session: Learn all the names of things (rod, reel, leader, tippet, line, etc etc) and how they all fit together. Learn about some basic rigs, and the knots required to tie them. Familiarization with some of the ideas around how different rigs work, how fish behave, which flies are imitating what, and other things along those lines. This is done in a back room at the Denver Fly Shop, and in my case there were only 2 of us being taught, so we got a lot of direct instruction which was good. We received a handout during this class which summarizes a lot of the content and provides some good background as well.
- Casting Class: This is the one that I still haven’t done because of some scheduling issues. My understanding is that you go to Washington Park in the middle of Denver, and learn/practice the traditional fly fishing cast.
- River Tactics/On The Water: The third class (which I took as my second class) involved heading to the South Platte River (within Denver metro area) and practicing on a moving body of water. It was really fun to get a feel for fishing on moving water, and to have to work with the current, try to place the fly, etc. Because we were standing on the bank, we were mainly using a roll-cast, where you cast upstream, let the fly travel with the current (dead drift style), and once it’s downstream behind you, cock your rod and cast back upstream to do it again. There were three of us at this class, and none of us hooked anything.
Overall, I think doing these classes was a good way to get started. It gave me a basic vocabulary, some conversation with a seasoned angler, basic knots, and a basic kit (rod, reel etc); enough to get out on the water on my own, even if I still basically had no idea what I was doing.