DIVERSI-FLY YOUR FISHING PORTFOLIO – Maximize your Fly Fishing Returns!

Diversi-fly Your Portfolio

This beast of a ‘bow was taken at Boxwood Gulch using a streamer!

By Tom Caprio – Professional 5280 Angler Fly Fishing Guide

Just like diversifying your financial portfolio reaps rewards in the long run, learning new fly fishing skills, techniques and locations will help you become a better angler.


Many anglers go to the same place and fish the same way every time. It’s natural to want to feel comfortable and repeat previous success. And though it’s always great to get out fishing, regularly repeating locations, skills, and techniques each outing won’t do much to improve your skills or learn new water.  If you really want to become a better angler – try new things.  The more comfortable you are using several various techniques, the better fisherman you will become and the more success you’ll have in the long run.

One thing I really enjoy about guiding for 5280 Angler is that we fish a wide variety of public water and private ranches within 2.5 hours of Denver, everything from larger rivers to small creeks, and lakes. We fish for native cutthroats in Rocky Mountain National Park, wild browns on the Front Range creeks and Tarryall Creek, and hefty rainbows on the South Platte. Fishing different waters will offer some engaging new challenges as you figure out where the fish are located, and how they are feeding. Some folks may shy away from uncharted territory, but I encourage you to embrace the adventure – the diversity will make you a better angler, and you’ll likely have a ton of fun along the way!


Euro-nymphing on the San Juan River!

Fish various river techniques: Nymph with and without an indicator, try euro-nymphing, dry and dry droppers, as well as throw some streamers. Learn to high stick & fish close to where you are wading, and also practice making a longer cast and drift across the river. Have you considered tenkara?

Fish Lakes: Try various nymphing retrieves, depending upon what you’re imitating, indicator rigs, stripping streamers/leeches, dry flies.  Learn how to ‘read’ lakes.

Casting:  Learn and practice casts for various fishing situations: reach, tuck, wiggle, puddle, curve, double haul.

Fish various destinations and try new water: Tailwaters, freestones, small creeks, larger rivers, lakes, beaver ponds. Within 2 hours of Denver there is an amazing amount of public water!

Various species: Try fishing for other species than rainbows and browns: cutthroats (Colorado has 4 types), grayling, tiger trout, lake trout, golden trout (there are some in Colorado and southern Wyoming), bass, pan fish, carp, northern pike.

Fish different seasons: Low water, high water, summer, winter.

Get on top of the water: Do a river float trip or belly boat a lake.


Backcountry cutthroat on a dry fly!

Don’t be afraid to fail and to get out of comfort zone  – Chances are you will struggle a bit on new water or trying new techniques but if you stick with it then success will come! Fail forward.

Fish with a friend – Trade local knowledge of new water. Let them show you what they do. Then try it, and have them watch your technique and help you until you get comfortable with it.

Carry multiple rods rigged for different techniques – an easy and quick way to try different methods vs having to switch out entire rigs.

Try new water   – Learn how to figure out which flies are likely to be working so you can fish anywhere, along with reading new water.

Work on fundamental skills  – Invest in your skills and knowledge vs buying more equipment and flies. Work on using all your ‘stuff’ to the best of your ability. That will make the biggest difference in your success.

Check fishing reports – Local fly shops will have ideas on what to use and where to fish. Books are available describing most locations and suggestions for flies. Google search the location to which you’re headed.

Practice casting – Head to the back yard or a nearby park (ideally, look for a nearby pond or body of water to protect your fly line). You can find tutorials on YouTube or hire a casting instructor.

Hire a guide – The investment of a day on the water with a professional is a great way to learn new water and learn proper skills/ techniques.  Be sure to tell your guide if you want to work on a specific technique as you are setting up the trip.

One of the things that makes fly fishing a great sport is that you can learn something new every time you fish.  Try diversi-fly-ing your portfolio to build your long term fly fishing wealth.  It’s a lot of fun to be able to fish different ways, different locations, and for different species of fish!

Guide Tom Caprio is on the water during tax season and every other season – point out a blueline on a map of the West, and there’s a good chance he’s fished it.

If you’d like to book a guided fly fishing trip with Tom or any of our professional fly fishing guides, CONTACT US today!