33 Things Every Coloradan Should Know How To Do

March 2014


The five steps to tying a fly fisherman’s “improved clinch knot” (aka, the knot you’ll need to tie a fly on your line).

flies[ step 1 ] Thread the line—or in fly-fishing parlance, tippet—through the eye of the hook. Double back and make five or six turns around the standing line. Quick tip: It’s usually easier to spin the fly to produce the coils.

[ step 2 ] Holding the coils in place, thread the loose end through the loop of the first coil (above the hook’s eye), then back through the big loop that you just created.

[ step 3 ]  Hold the loose end and standing line while pushing the coils toward the hook. Make sure the coils stay in a spiral and don’t overlap one another. Slide against the eye. Quick tip: Sometimes it helps if you grab the loose end with your teeth, hold the standing line with one hand and the fly with the other hand, and then pull tight.

[ step 4 ]  Cut the loose end as close to the knot as possible without compromising it.

[ step 5 ]  Tug on the fly and line to make sure the knot will hold that monster rainbow trout you’re (hopefully!) about to land.



If we Coloradans are going to fancy ourselves outdoorsmen and -women, we should be able to decipher the outdoorsiest of maps—the topographic kind. Josh Dalton of LoHi’s Wilderness Exchange Unlimited explains the four keys to making any topography map legible. 

topoFamiliarize Yourself With The Map
Check your map’s legend, as symbols and illustrations for things like roads, fee stations, and hiking trails may vary from map to map. Pay attention to indicators for private property and roads, as some may not be open to the public.

Understand Contour Lines (those squiggly continuous ones that never cross)
These lines represent changes in elevation. The elevation is the same wherever each individual line is on the map, and the space between each line indicates a 40-foot elevation change. The closer together the lines are, the steeper the terrain is. Watch for areas with dense sections of contour lines, which could indicate a cliff. 

Recognize Trails
Trails are generally indicated by dotted lines, and along each, there are small numbers that represent that section’s length, typically in miles. 

Decipher Terrain
A green-hued area is heavily wooded; brown shading means the terrain is above treeline (11,000 feet); and white usually means open area with no trees or a valley. Contour lines that form a “V” or “U” often represent a stream or valley, with the tip of the V or belly of the U pointing toward lower elevation.



“Colorado fly-fishing is better than ever because of habitat conservation efforts, water-quality improvements, and catch-and-release practices. Those of us at Front Range Anglers in Boulder encourage catch and release, but we also understand that harvesting trout for a shore lunch is part of the Colorado lifestyle. 〈the ideal size for a harvest-worthy trout ranges from about nine to 14 inches. To clean your trout, place the fish in your hand tailfirst and start by splaying the fish belly open with a sharp knife, from the anus past the pectoral fins to where the gills meet the throat. With the edge of a knife, or your fingers, cut and/or tear out the entrails and the gills and dispose of them in a trash bin—not back into the water system, which can cause disease. rinse the fish with water. Then, using your thumb or finger, clear the membrane out of the blood line along the inner spine. The head can either be removed or can remain attached during cooking. Trout bones are delicate and much easier to remove after the fish is cooked, which is why trout are generally not filleted. Instead, put the fish in a pan for frying over a flame or bake it in foil over hot coals. When the flesh flakes easily, take it off the heat. Butterfly the cooked fish, taking care to remove the bones before eating. Bon appétit!” —Steve McLaughlin, Front Range Anglers; 2344 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-494-1357, frontrangeanglers.com


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