A lot of anglers are looking for the fish of lifetime, even on their first trip. While it is wonderful to fool a large educated fish we shouldn’t overlook the little guys. With a lot of anglers coming into the sport of fly fishing, smaller fish are excellent fish to learn with. I like to consider them a building block in the foundation of fly fishing. Smaller fish are easier to land, which is extremely important for newbie anglers. It keeps you engaged and provides the feeling of success. Imagine if you took your child fly fishing and were only after 20+ inch fish. They would get pretty bored and loose interest very quickly. Am I suggesting that smaller fish are easier to catch? No. but, my experience suggests that smaller fish tend to be a little more aggressive thus allowing us more opportunities to hook them.
Remember the first 12 inch trout you first caught? I do and I remember how I caught it on the far bank nymphing with a Copper John. I was so proud of that fish, I picked out the fly, made the drift, hooked and landed a beautiful Brown Trout, In my eyes that was a trophy. These moments are the ones that I see anglers not taking advantage of and often hear them say ” it’s just a little one.” Well I am here to say that we cannot all catch giant fish on every drift and if we did the sport would not be as fun as it is.
As a fly fishing guide I am happy with every fish that we put in the net. While I strive to get people on the larger trout that swim in many of our Colorado Rivers, they do not always make it into the basket. Larger fish are hard to land and if you are new to fly fishing so please do not expect to land a 26″ trout on your first trip. Enjoy the learning process, take your time and be fortunate that your are standing in a river and not at a desk.
If you are a fly fishing guide you certainly understand that there can be extremely difficult days on the water. So be sure to take the time and point out the beauty that each trout possesses; the colors, the spots, the fins..etc. Educate rookie anglers that it is not always about size and that we should not take any fish that we land for granted. Small fish can make a trip and the big one that gets away leads to a great fishing story which can keep new anglers wanting to fish more.