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26 Jul 2010
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Aspen Snowmass Vacation Blog

This week, we sit down with Frias Properties of Aspen’s own Cameron Murray, our resident in-house fishing expert. Cameron has been with the company for three years and is originally from Columbus, Mississippi. He’s been living in the valley since 2005 and has come to love all that Aspen has to offer - especially the fishing.

Q: Cam, thanks for talking with us. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to Aspen. A: “I worked my first winter in the valley during the 2000-2001 ski season. I immediately fell in love with everything the area had to offer, moved back home, finished college and moved back in 2005. I have been at Frias since 2007.”

Q: Tell us a little about your role at Frias Properties of Aspen. A: “I am the owner services manager, where I serve as the liaison between our company and all of our owners.”  

Q: What is your earliest fishing memory? A: “I have been fishing since I can remember. No one in my immediate family fishes, but my grandmother and grandfather had me fishing since I could walk. I remember fishing in ditches with a line and a hook and a worm, and catching bluegill at a very young age, as well as fishing from a pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Before moving here, I spent years chasing bass, crappie and catfish on various rivers and lakes in Mississippi.”

Q: What’s the best time of year to go fishing in the valley? A: “I think the most productive time of year is the winter, which catches many off guard. There are really no bug hatches in the winter, except maybe a few isolated midge hatches in warmer areas downvalley. This tends to make the fish much less selective when feeding. On top of that, it is obviously cold, so very few people are out, and I also find the majority of big fish I catch are in the winter as they seem to be active when smaller fish may not be. BUT, each and every season has something different to offer and that what makes the sport so special to me.”

Q: Sounds like you really enjoy it. How often do you get out? A: I would say 75-100 days a year.

Q: Wow, that’s 1-2 times per week. What types of fish do you mainly catch? A: Rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, greenback cutts (up in the high country), white fish, sucker fish, some lake trout in Ruedi.

Q: Break down your equipment for us. What pole do you use? What’s inside your tackle box? A: I use a 9-foot, 5-weight Scott rod. I carry two poles this time of year: one for dry flies and one for nymphs and streamers. I like Scott rods because they are local out, of Montrose, and have a lifetime warranty. In fly-fishing, your “tackle box” is your vest. My vest contains various dry and wet flies, streamers, hemostats, tippet, clippers, dry fly floatant, extra leaders, strike indicators, line straightener/fly dryer, net, knife, rain jacket, head lamp, and sometimes a couple of beers.

Q: What’s the one important thing that everyone forgets to bring when they go fishing? A: Probably a camera or a rain jacket.

Q: How is fishing in the valley different from other places you’ve fished? What makes it special? A: There are a few reasons. The main reason to me is just the beauty you are surrounded with fishing here. I could go out to the places I fish and not even wet a line and just be content to watch everything around you and absorb the magnificence of the place I am blessed to call home. Another big thing is the various opportunities: you can float big water like the Colorado or Lower Roaring Fork, wade the Middle Fork, Frying Pan, Crystal or Upper Fork, or fish various high-country streams and lakes.

Q: Tell us about some of your favorite valley fishing spots. A: The Upper Roaring Fork is what I would call my “home” stretch since that is what is closest to me. I think the Upper Roaring Fork through the Canyon is the prettiest stretch of the entire river and has the healthiest fish. I like fishing dry flies on the Frying Pan when it is less crowded in the fall or spring. Other than that, I absolutely love fishing high-country lakes and streams. You don’t catch as big of fish for the most part, but you really put numbers on the board - literally hundreds of fish in a day without even trying hard.

Q: Everyone has a “secret” fishing hole. What’s yours? A: Let’s just say I have multiple secret fishing holes and not even my closest fishing buddies know where those are.

Q: Sounds like you’re not in a hurry to give away ALL your secrets. So, tell us about your best catch … ever. A: Too many to name just one. I would say anytime you catch a fish that really makes you work to land it. There have been times I have hooked a fish in one place and ended up landing it over a hundred yards downstream. If you can fight a fish for that long around rocks, rapids, trees, etc., and still land it - that really makes you feel like you have honed your skills. I guess the most recent “best catch” story would be up at Snowmass Lake. My buddy and I spotted a 20+ inch rainbow. I said to my buddy, ‘See that fish, I’m about to catch it.’ Of course, he just kind of laughs. Two casts later it was on my hook, and several minutes later in my hands.

Q: I’m coming to Aspen to fish. Where should I stay? A: Most places around here you are going to have to drive to the destination either way, so don’t think it’s a huge deal where exactly you stay. Although, I would try to stay somewhere on or close to the river as you can definitely pull fish on the Roaring Fork through town, and that is probably the least fished section of the entire river.

Q: Everyone’s got a “one-that-got-away” story. What’s yours? A: Kind of like the best catch - too many to name. The one that stands out most recently in my memory is a big rainbow that got off on the Frying Pan back in March. It was probably 22-24 inches; popped the fly out of its mouth right when I was bending down to scoop it.

Q: Fill in the blank: Fishing in the valley makes me feel … A: … At home.

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