The majority of anglers around here are boat-less and fishing on foot by wading. It may be lack of storage opportunities, insufficient funds, or new to the sport – but regardless of the reason, anglers need to re-create their vehicles into land vessels. Car fishing is a common approach and if done right, can be extremely effective. Turning your car into an angling adventure mobile is a convenient and easy way for anglers to practice a wide variety of fishing techniques and to see a tremendous amount of water.
The list of benefits of fishing by car is diverse and long. For one, you are able to safely carry a quiver of fly rods, rigged for a variety of approaches. Knowing you have a dry fly rod rigged and ready while driving and scouting the river builds confidence. The ability to jump out of a vehicle with nymphs on one rod and dry flies on the other gives an angler a lot of versatility.
Vehicles equipped with rod racks or some type of traveling rod holder are not necessities, but luxuries. Roof top boxes can hold rods that are collapsed in half yet still rigged with flies. Giant storage tubs can hold gear and organize equipment as well as keep muddy boots and sandy waders in check.
The opportunity to carry multiple rods in a vehicle is a great advantage for the angler who primarily fishes on foot. When you find a little trickle of a stream flowing into a tea colored river, a well equipped car angler will pull out their little dry fly 3wt Scott F2 or Echo fiberglass rod and a select box of dry flies for some more intimate fly fishing action. The road-vessel allows for over the top packing and preparing when space is not an issue.
Boat bags are typically used to organize fly gear for rafts and drift boats, but can easily be accommodated for car fishing. The back of the car becomes the working deck for roadside rigging and refreshments. Car fishing allows anglers to carry lunch, drinks and even small grills to riverside locals for lunches immersed in nature. You don’t have to catch your lunch necessarily, but a simple hot dog grilled riverside just tastes better.
No matter if it is for your car BBQ set or simply an addition to your Yeti cooler, the Umpqua cooler gaiter ZS organizer aids any car fishing adventure. Able to hold multiple fly boxes, necessary tools and a stable pocket for spillproof drink holders – the Umpqua cooler gaiter is a car anglers’ companion.
Back ups on back ups
The easiest way to ruin a good day car fishing is to break a tip in the electric window. A benefit of car fishing is the ability to carry a repair kit in your road vessel. It takes no strength to carry when you keep it on hand in the car, so why not toss in a tip repair kit. Mine has saved the mood of a few anglers while on fly fishing road trips out of state and accidents happened.
Places to look
Access can be a serious issue in any state but here in Colorado you want to know where you are standing because your feet might be on private property. Fly fishing access maps from local shops are good keys to locating riverside roads. Smartphone apps like OnX are great assets for determining land or river ownership when questions arise. Most riverside roads are well-marked for fishing access but do not rely on signage to keep you on public water, know where you go.
Limiting yourself to rivers and streams with roadside access can prevent you from some really good fly fishing. The driving angler can often reach good fishing by driving up to lakes and ponds. Colorado has a huge amount of still water to explore by car-bound anglers. High altitude lakes, massive reservoirs and public ponds all provide the opportunity to drive up to your fly fishing.
Climb aboard your land-vessel. Drive a riverside road and see what kind of fly fishing your might encounter. Organize your gear for maximum time on the water. And bring a variety of rods for different techniques and water conditions. The car bound angler creates a new adventure every time the car is parked.
Michael Salomone, Guide and Content Writer