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Fish Tales: Cast Like a Pro

BY Lisa Blake | April 24, 2018 | Feature Features

Aspen native Jarrod Hollinger grew up fishing the Roaring Fork River with his dad, Jonathan, founder of Aspen Outfitting Company and one of the area's original fishing guides. Jonathan retired a few years back, selling the company—and a deeply rooted passion for the sport—down to his son.
Aspen Outfitting Company owner Jarrod Hollinger is willing to share some of his fly-fishing secrets.

Ask Jarrod to handpick his most memorable day on the river, and he promptly plucks a recent summer evening. He and his dad were out during the green drake hatch on the Old Snowmass section of the upper Roaring Fork River. Casting into golden light on a favored piece of water they’ve known to hold fish year after year, Jarrod felt a vivid flash.
“I remembered being 10 years old and my dad teaching me dry fly-fishing at this exact spot,” he says. “This time around, I was tying his flies on and netting the fish for him. And it was so great to return the favor. He’s 73 and still a passionate fly-fisherman. That’s what it’s all about.”
Here, Jarrod shares a few tips on how to manifest your perfect day on the river. 315 E. Dean St., 970.925.3406,

Where’s your favorite local fishing hole?
We lease several sections of private water on the upper Roaring Fork River for our guests to use. It’s one of my favorite places to fish in the world. There are some pieces of public access that aren’t as well-known. I like Jaffee Park, upstream from the bridge headed to the Woody Creek Tavern.

Which flies are you using each season?
Fly-fishing has a great history and tradition. There are some older flies that have fallen out of popularity because they’re not the newfangled thing. One of those that I love to fish year-round, and my dad continues to fish with, is called the Western Coachman. Trout respond really well to that one. It looks tasty, buggy, like the trout Big Mac.

What techniques do you recommend for optimum fly-fishing on the Roaring Fork?
We’re all wade fishing. Wading is a great way to learn about a river. Walk upstream a little bit and you’ve got a fresh start. Float trips can add a little complication to the presentation.

What types of fish are you typically pulling each season?
You’ll have rainbow and brown trout primarily. Cutthroat and brook trout as well. People love rainbow trout—they’re so evocative and sound pretty. But I really love catching brown trout. I have a lot of respect for predators. They’re wily, and a lot of times, the big brown trout fill that niche in the river ecosystem.

Top piece of casting advice for beginner anglers?
Keep it simple. The great thing about our location is our rivers
hold a consistent trout habitat. There’s lots of opportunity—and room for mistakes. It doesn’t have to be an art or a science. With just a few pointers, you can get into some fish.

Photography Courtesy Of: