Snake River Cutthroat

9 New Year’s Resolutions for Anglers

Winter is the time of year of colder temps and shorter days. Many of us spend less time on the water and more time preparing for the fly fishing adventures that lie ahead. Since the new year is often a time for goal setting and preparing for the upcoming year, here are 9 new years resolutions for anglers in 2019.

Conservation Group

1. Join a conservation group

No better time than the beginning of year join your favorite conservation group. These groups are integral to the protection and conservation of our fisheries. They play such an important role in fly fishing and need our help.  Whether you just sign up for a monthly newsletter, donate for the annual membership or volunteer, any participation will be appreciated. Here in Eagle County you can get involved with the Eagle River Water Shed Council or Eagle County Trout Unlimited. Be sure to check out this blog to learn more about conservation groups.

Bahamas Flats
A trip to the saltwater flats is never a bad idea!

2. Plan a fishing trip

Travelling to a new fishery is a great way to experience fly fishing in another area. Whether it is a saltwater trip to try to get the grand slam in Belize or a week long road trip across Montana. Or it may just be a backpacking trip here in Colorado. Get a jump start on preparing for the trip so you can be sure to have a good time.

Snake River Cutty
Have you ever caught a Snake River cutthroat like this one?

3. Catch a new species on the fly rod

This goes hand and hand with the previous resolution. Targeting and catching a new species on a fly rod is an accomplishment as some solid planning is usually mandatory. Sometimes it takes some new gear or new tactics. Here in Colorado, there are a variety of different species to target, including all the different strains of cutthroat trout like the one pictured above. Or check out this previous blog about some of the options. Or if you are feeling more adventurous hop on a plane to go on a saltwater fishing trip and you can definitely check some new species off the list. One way to really cut down that learning curve to catch a new species is to hire a guide that specializing in that species.

Line Dressing

4. Clean or Update your Flyline

In my opinion fly lines are by far the most important part of the fly fishing setup. Using a old or dirty fly line on your premium rod will be the reason why the setup will fail. With the new year upon us its a great idea to take a look at your current fly line and see if it needs to be cleaned or updated. I recommend having a backup line in your gear bag as well, a cracked or broken fly line can ruin a day of fishing.

How do you know if you need a new fly line or need to clean it? The biggest indicator is if the fly line is sinking when your fishing it. Or the fly line is cracking and the color of the fly line has changed. This all means it may be time for a quick cleaning. There are a variety of products that will do the trick to clean your fly line, check out those products here. Cleaning a fly line will get all that dirt and grime out of the line that can help it float again. And sometimes if the line has been used to a point where cleaning will do nothing a new line should be bought. Check out the recent blog about the new Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth series fly lines. Hands down best all around trout line in the market right now.

How VVA guide Justin Carr likes to organize his flies

5. Organize your Fly Boxes

Once the summertime comes around it seems like I’m fishing hard whenever I get a chance. My fly boxes usually take a beating and become unorganized. There is usually an assortment of flies all over the place with clinch knots in the eyelets and tippet dangling on the bend of the hook. One way to stay on top of this is enter into this next year with a nicely organized fly collection. This entails cleaning up and organizing all your current patterns. Then, potentially getting some new boxes to separate the different categories of flies. As we all know we can never have enough flies so keeping them organized is key to utilizing all the patterns. Check out the recent blog about how to organize your fly boxes. There are a variety of different boxes that work great with the different styles of patterns, check out the selection on our website.

6. Learn to Tie Flies or Spend Some Time at the Vice

Fly Tying goes hand and hand with fly fishing. And like fly fishing, fly tying takes some education and basic techniques. Wintertime is a great time to pick it up and spend some time learning the basics to stock up on some of your go to fly patterns. Vail Valley Anglers offers beginner courses as well as beginner setups.

If you already are a fly tyer. There’s not a better time of year to tie flies than the winter. So get that vice out and start to get that box filled in for fly fishing season ahead! The retail and online store is fully stocked with fly tying supplies, so start tying up those secret patterns.

Loon Wader Repair

7. Repair/Clean your Waders

Waders are essential to anglers and unfortunately most of us know the reality is that they often leak and don’t smell the best. So what better time than the winter to clean and repair them. A quick rinse in the bathtub or quick cycle in the washer should clean them up. If they do need some repair, some aquaseal or Loon UV Wader Repair should fix the pinhole leaks. If your waders are beyond your repair they still might be under warranty. Stop by the shop and we can send them back to the manufacturer to see what they can do (only manufactures we carry Simms, Patagonia, Redington). Or buy a new pair, nothing is worse tha cold feet.

Sal Stripping Lines
VVA Guide Mike “Sal” Salomone and his organized fly fishing vest

8. Organize your Fly Fishing Pack, Vest or Boat Bag

Having your fly fishing pack or vest organized with your nippers, forceps and tippet at your fingertips is a great feeling. So take the time to think out your organization of your fishing pack/vest. Purchasing some new accessories like tippet holders, net holders, zingers are great tools to keep your setup organized.

VVA Guide Rigs

9. Dial in Your Car for Fly Fishing Adventures

Some simple steps to make your car more fishing friendly is a great way to keep your gear and setup organized. A rod rack is a great addition. The new RiverSmith Rod Racks are the perfect tool for anglers looking to have their rods securely ready for use. Or getting some Rubbermaid bins or waterproof floor mats is a great addition to keep things tidy and organized. I also recommend adding some fly patches inside the car to put some flies on when derigging rods. It’s great to have a secret stash of flies just in case there are rising trout at that roadside hole. Check out this blog to really get your car fishing friendly.

These 9 resolutions are just the beginning of what you might have in store for the new year. Fly fishing is a challenging sport and making these resolutions or goals is a great way to keep up with all your fishy adventures. Happy new year!

Patrick Perry Content Contributor and Former Guide @patperry