Stream Explorers is offered in partnership by Collegiate Peaks Anglers and Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA).

Today was the last session of this four-week program, and fly fishing was the main topic. We met at the Scout Hut at 9am and proceeded to assemble their casting outfits.

For starters, we used wooden 3/8″ dowels of varying lengths, with various lengths of string attached to them, and a colorful chunk of yarn at the end. We cast over the grass and the sand in Riverside Park, trying to land the yarn inside round targets. It felt very different than fly rods of course, but the idea was to get the general movement and timing. We talked about how different lengths of rod and rope, and maybe even dowel flex, would affect the results.

Once the students started losing focus, we got on the bikes and rode down Sackett Ave and on the new trail along the river to Sand Lake. Once there, we started with learning the clinch knot. The students started with a green paracord, then graduated to 3X monofilament. Once everybody knew how to tie the fly on, it was time to…

…get their new fly fishing rod outfits! Though a grant secured by GARNA, we were able to outfit each student with a Redington Path 5wt 9′ rod, reel, line, leader, and tube. It’s a really a pretty sweet outfit. We discussed the parts of the rod, how to put it together, how to string it up. From that point on, the students tied on their own flies and headed out to fish around the lake.

The conditions were challenging — cold 10-15mph headwind does not make for great casting lessons. Some students were underdressed and complained of cold fingers. Some persevered, others moved down the lake to more protected areas, and some took refuge in the back of a car :) But over the hour and a half that we were there, all got out and fished.

No fish were caught — but we did have three hookups!

After fishing we had a pizza lunch, and then rode back to the Scout Hut.

A big thanks to today’s volunteers: John Doughty, Keith Krebs, Dominique Naccarato, Alihah Trujillo, and Wendell Winger!