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Trouts Journal

10 Items You Should Always Take To The River

Ivan Orsic / Nov 5, 2015

Walk into our shop and you'll see exactly what I mean. The walls are literally covered. This can undoubtedly be intimidating to the beginning angler and the question of 'what do I need?' is certainly something everyone in this category will find themselves asking. Moreover, depending on who they ask a wide variety of answers is sure to come flowing foward- possibly muddying the waters even further.

In sticking with our recent theme on this Blog of focusing on the beginning angler, here are 10 items I personally recommend never heading to the river without.

1. Floatant- You never want to be caught without some floatant in the event the fish start looking towards the surface while you're out on the weather. While opinions may vary on which works best, I personally think they all do their job pretty well. You'll see me using Gink, Loon Aquel or Umpqua Bug Butter most often. Use this when you first tie on your dry fly, and then again after incorporating some dry shake once the fly has gotten soaked (hopefully from a trout greedily taking it under)

2. Dry Shake- Nothing works better for cleaning off a water/fish slime soaked dry fly than some dry shake. If you need a refresher on why you need dry shake, click HERE for an article I recently wrote.

3. Split Shot- I say it alot and I still firmly believe it, one of the primary reasons people don't catch as many fish as they should when nymphing is they don't use enough weight. Particularly though these next 5 months, most of the fish are going to be hugging the bottom. If you're not getting down to them, you're not going to catch them. Make sure you're ticking the bottom with regularity and you'll be good to go. The multi-packs made by Super-Doux will ensure your bases are covered.

4. Forceps- Whether you prefer the top of the line Abel's or the bulk cheap-o's, having some forceps handy will make your life (and most importantly the trout's) alot easier. Also, if you don't already do so, tuck a back up pair into your pack. You'll thank me eventually for this advice.

5. Net- As is the case with forceps, always having a net along is going your and the trout's life much easier. We carry both the Fishpond Nomad Series, as well as the new Rising Nets. Both feature fish-friendly rubber bags and will get the job done.

6. Polarized Sunglasses- In case you're curious, 'Yes' there is a difference between cheap and expensive polarized sunglasses. From cutting down on glare, to reducing eye fatigue, to enhancing colors and contrast, a good pair of polarized sunglasses are just as important as a having a fly tied on the end of your line. We here around the shop never need to look further than a pair of Costa Del Mar or Smith. I recommend getting the best ones you can afford. Your eyes will thank you.

7. Leader/Tippet- Whether you like Umpqua, Trouthunter, Rio, Orvis or Scientific Anglers, we've got a wide variety of leader and tippet to have you covered. For recreational fishing around Denver, my recommendation is to carry some 9ft. 4x and 5x leaders, along with some 4x, 5x and (I can't believe I'm going to say it) 6x tippet. Spend the money for some flourocarbon as well. This will never go bad (as monofiliment will) and is much stronger and more abrasian resistent- which can come in mighty handy when you tie into that two-footer you've been searching all season for.

8. Strike Indicators- I realize there is definite 'personal preference' factor associated with strike indicators, and if you've never tried anything but a Thingamabobber I'd recomend doing so. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with the trusty Thinga's but I also heavily rely on yarn indicators (such as the New Zealand Strike Indicator) for technical and/or spooky fish. The sensativity of yarn is unmatched and lands much softer on the water.

9. Nippers- Like the forceps, nippers come in a wide variety of price ranges and I highly recommend having a back up pair stashed in your pack. And I know it'll sound strange, but spending the coin on some Abel or Hatch Nippers really will make your time on the water more enjoyable. Don't believe me? Just ask anyone who owns a pair.

10. Retractor(s)- Keeping items such as forceps, nippers and fly floatant close at hand (and securely attached) will add to your overall efficiency on the water. We offer a wide variety of retractors which will allow you to completely customize your fishing pack/vest to your personal liking.

Looking for more beginner focused articles? Read below for a few of our other recent topics of conversation.

Know The Flow- a discussion on CFS

Your First Fly Rod- how to get the most bang for your buck when purchasing a fly rod/reel.

Fly Selection Made Simple- choosing the 'right' fly shouldn't be hard!

The Loop-To-Loop Connection- how to attach your leader to your fly line.

My 5 Step Strategy For Covering Water- how to work the river thoroughly and efficiently

How To Clean A Fly Line- maximize the life of your fly line

What's With The Numbers?- a brief explanation of the 'numbers' side of fly fishing gear

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