Spending a day on the river with a fly fishing guide who not only knows the river inside and out, but also has extensive fly fishing knowledge, is an incredibly valuable experience. Understanding that not everyone has had the opportunity to spend a day with a guide, we decided to sit down with our good friend Danny Frank, owner and head guide at Colorado Trout Hunters, to pick his brain about Colorado Fly Fishing as well as his favorite tips and tricks. We hope you enjoy the Q&A and if you have any questions, feel free to email us or reach out to Danny directly on his website.
1. How long have you been fly fishing and guiding? I have been fly fishing as long as I can remember. I started working in a fly shop in Ohio when I was 15. Did a little guiding in high school. Then started guiding Colorado in 2008.
2. What is your favorite thing about guiding? This is a hard one because there are so many different things I enjoy. I have heard from many of my guests that I get just as excited as they do when they experience success and a landed fish. I like helping people achieve their goals on the water and I also really enjoy sharing this sport that means so much to me. I will also say that I love spending most every day on the water and seeing how much of a better angler I become helping others catch fish.
3. Tell us about Colorado Trout Hunters (CTH) and what clients can expect from a day on the water with your guides. At CTH we take great pride in showing you a day on the water that you wont forget. One of the first questions I ask potential clients is for them to tell me their goals and expectations for the day. I then do my best to create a plan to match it! Whether it is trying to catch your first fish on a fly or to hunt a trophy, we want you to achieve your goal for the day. I only use guides who are qualified and as dedicated to customer satisfaction as myself. We believe in the quality of guide trips versus trying to run as many trips as possible.
4. What is your favorite Colorado river to fish and why? I love the diversity of the South Platte. From throwing dry flies on its headwaters to sight fishing trophies on its tailwaters.
5. What is your favorite river that FlyCast currently reports on? My two favorite stretches of the South Platte are Cheesman Canyon and Deckers. We are very lucky to have such an incredible fishery so close to a major metropolitan area. Sure it can get a little crowded but the fish still have to eat! They can both be fished year around and if you can catch fish there, you really can catch trout anywhere!
6. What tips would you give someone who is having a tough day and can’t seem to get the trout to bite?Add more split shot!
7. What’s the biggest mistake you see most anglers make whether they’re beginners or seasoned anglers? Following up to question 6, I would say it is them not fishing enough weight. People think just because they have weeds on their flies or because they hit bottom at the end of their drift it that means their flies are in the zone. Instead of setting up a deep indicator rig to get your flies down, I prefer a lot of weight and a shorter indicator rig. This will ensure your flies are deep throughout the entire drift, not just at the end. The other thing I consistently see beginners doing is spending tons of time trying to untangle rigs. Just cut it and re-tie! When I hear people say “but it takes forever for me to re rig”, I say that is the best way to practice!
8. What’s your best tip for winter fly fishing? Find the smallest fly in your box and tie that on!
9. What are your favorite/go-to sub-surface flies for the fall and winter? Smaller BWO and midge patterns. I tie a variation of the Barr’s Emerger that I really like. I tie it thin and sparse and in the smaller sizes it imitates midges and blue wings. A simple black beauty is also a great one.
10. I think we agree that reporting is important. Why do you feel that it is also important? Conditions are always changing out here and that not only influences what rivers are fishing best, but also where the fish are in the river and what food source they are keying in on. I am lucky to spend most everyday on the water but for those who can only get out a couple times a month or year, having a good report is crucial to make sure they can find success and make the most of the time they get to spend on the water.