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Plan that perfect fly-fishing vacation to Aspen, Colorado

Posted: 11 Apr 2013

BLOG NOTE: This blog post is from a previous season. To view our most recent blog posts, click here.

Aspen Snowmass offers prime fly-fishing spots with a beautiful backdrop, and is the perfect getaway for any angler looking for an adventurous challenge. Those who take to the local waters, namely the Frying Pan River and the Roaring Fork River, have the opportunity to catch a lot of trout, primarily brown and rainbow. Up in the high country, expect to reel in some cutthroat or brook trout. Also lurking in the waters of the Roaring Fork are some massive white fish and sucker fish.

Frias Properties Property Manager Cameron Murray is our resident fly-fishing guru. We also asked him to "tackle" (pun intended) a big request we had: Put together the ultimate fly-fishing vacation.

Q: How long have you been fly-fishing?

A: "Fly-fishing seven years; fishing for around 30 years."

Q: You have an unlimited budget and you want to plan that dream fly-fishing getaway to Aspen. When do you come, and how long do you stay?

A: "The fly-fishing here is great year-round. I am a dry fly junkie, so would recommend the late summer for the most top water action. People come around the world for the famous green drake hatch, going anywhere from early July to early September, depending on water conditions. The fishing is great all year, though, and I can't emphasize that enough. I went fishing on the Frying Pan the other day. It was around 10 degrees and I caught 15+ fish just fishing for a couple of hours."

Q: Where would you stay?

A: "Depends on where in the valley you want to fish. There is amazing fishing from Independence Pass to Glenwood Springs, so you need to make your decision based on where you will be spending most of your time.

Q: OK, let's get real. You don't have an unlimited budget. Give us some affordable lodging options that are close to where I can fish.

A: "I would stay at one of Frias' properties that is located directly on the Roaring Fork River: Chateau Roaring Fork, Chateau Eau Claire."

Q: I'm just going to fish, mostly. What amenities should I look for when booking my lodging?

A: "Access to the river, access to a good fly shop."

Q: How do I get to the rivers? Take the bus? Rent a car?

A: I recommend a car without a doubt. Most river access points don't have bus stops."

Q: Should I hire a guide or just wing it?

A: "If you aren't familiar with the area or new to fly-fishing I would recommend a guide. If you are a seasoned fisherman you could probably just go and talk to the guys at the local fly shop and they will put you on some good spots."

Q: Do I need to bring my own gear, or should I rent?

A: "How long will you be fishing? If a couple of days and you are never going to go again, maybe rent. Otherwise I would buy."

Q: Do I need a license?

A: "Yes."

Q: Is it catch-and-release or can I eat them?

A: "Primarily catch and release on the Roaring Fork. On the Frying Pan, you can keep two brown trout under 14 inches once you are past the bridge by the dam. You can keep as many whitefish as you want. If you are fishing in the high country you can keep just about anything. I never keep fish so am not 100% certain, you can always call the local fish and game department for details."

Q: Is the water cold?

A: "Yes, upper 30s to low 40s year round."

We asked Cameron to divulge all of his favorite fishing spots in a detailed list with directions and lure suggestions. In true fisherman style, he graciously declined.