Sunshine and warm temperatures descended on Fort Collins this weekend, and Dustin and I took advantage like any angler would, by spending time on the water.  Lucky for me, Midgeman met us Saturday to give me some instruction.  I’ve only been fly fishing for a year, and there is so much I don’t know how to do, or skills that I definitely need to refine.  Lucky for me, I’ve got a fantastic instructor right here in town.

Wanting to see how I worked, MM put me in a spot that he knows produces fish.  I get in, get wet, and prepare for instruction.  He helps with my mend, my cast and gives me a few tips on how to get my flies back up river.  He showed me a fancy cast, and a casting regimen I need to add to my bag of tricks.  Each cast he made, put his flies right where they needed to be, and I am not exaggerating when I a say EVERY CAST.  Can I just say, my mind was totally blown?!  I tried to absorb every word he said, and watched intently as he gave me instruction.  There is no doubt in my mind I am learning from the best.   Don’t let MM’s post fool you, I still have a long way to come, but he’s definitely put me in a good place to continue developing skills. 


Did I mention that I caught a few fish?  Oh yeah, I did do that too.  In fact, it was my best day on the Poudre yet.  All fish, save for one, took that fantastic little invention of Tak’s, the Go-2 Prince.  Dustin didn’t fair as well, but to be honest, I was in the better spot, and I also had a small advantage with MM watching and teaching. 


I’m going to brag just a bit, because I know he never will.  In a truly unselfish manner, MM focused on me and what I was doing a great majority of the day.  However, when he did get in the water, the man caught fish, and caught fish quick.  Everything looked 100% effortless for him, and that little indicator floated right on the feeding line every time.  I tried not to stare, but I was impressed, and I wanted to imitate everything he did.  He would get in the water, maybe drift one or two times and catch a fish.  Then he would watch and help me some more, and then get back in and catch a fish.  Dustin said he did the same when he came down to help out him.  Pretty awesome. 


Another tool to add to the bag – a rod with a stiff butt.  Dustin and I cast like “candy asses” – I have no idea where we picked this up, but both of us do it.  Perhaps we think we are going to break our rod , who knows.  I will say, if you try to give our 3wts too much oomph, they tend to vibrate a bit.  That particular rod is definitely built for times when a delicate presentation is necessary.  My 5wt is built much in the same manner as its specialty is flinging dry flies.  MM had a rod that he wanted me to try, and try it I did.  With minimal effort I could get my line way back upstream and prepare myself for a better ride through the feeding zone.  That particular model was something I definitely wanted to add to our collection. 


After hitting the water pretty hard, MM decided to call it a day.  Dustin and I got back in for a bit to see if we could coax in a few more trout.  As we fished, Dustin kept saying to me that we needed to get home to tend to our adult responsibilities.  The house needed to be cleaned, laundry needed washed, flies needed tied, and studying needed to be done.  He was right on all accounts, but we just kept fishing.  Finally, Dustin hooks into a ‘bow that gives him a heck of a time.  He releases the plump gal and says, “It’s time to go.  Now.”  I dutifully get out the water, and pack up.  All the way home we talk about what we learned, and all the things we need to work on to become better anglers.

Dustin2 005

Once home, I come inside and start putting things away, fully preparing to tidy the house and start studying.  Next thing I know, Dustin is on the phone with Cabela’s.  I hear, “What time do you close?”  Suddenly, all adult responsibilities are thrown out the door and we are driving to freaking Nebraska at 445 in the afternoon!   When Dustin gets his mind made up, there is no point in arguing to convince him otherwise.  It is best to just go along for the ride and keep your mouth shut.  Which is what I did for the most part, although I let out a few “you are completely irrational” remarks.  We stride through the doors of Cabela’s and pick up our new rods (the last two models in the store – which is why this was a necessary trip in Dustin’s mind).  Before purchasing, we cast them in the lawn of the store.  One rod handled like a dream for me, and Dustin preferred another.  At around 730 we head back to Fort Collins with our purchases, and with me shaking my head.  Who in the heck spends all day on the water, and then drives over 2 hours to buy a fly rod?!  Dustin, that is who, and by defect, also myself.  Sacrifices will need to be made to offset the purchase, but that’s what happen when you live with Dustin.  Borderline insanity, no?  


As it stands now, my brain in still on overload and I’m going over the things MM taught me in my head. Yesterday afternoon, Dustin and I had a few hours to spend fishing, and I spent a lot of time practicing a few things, getting to know my new rod, and spent just a bit of time fishing.  Dustin caught a beauty of a wild rainbow, and I lost a nice brownie right in front of me.  Bad hookset, on my part, I think.  The river was up quite a bit on Sunday, it was running at 146 CFS, compared to 85 CFS on Saturday.  The water was starting to get a bit off color.  A lot of algal debris was flowing down the river as well.  Thanks to MM, Dustin and I have a handy water thermometer.  Dustin let me do the honors of taking the first temp.  The temperature reading was 60º, which was quite surprising.  It sure didn’t feel that warm when my arm was stuck in the water while getting the temperature.   

Finals for me this week – it’s going to be a long week, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  If all goes well, Dustin and I have a Frying Pan trip planned for the weekend.  Also, I hope to make just a bit of time this week to get to a pond and practice, or maybe spend a few hours on the river to get some balance going on, in what I fear will be a very unbalanced week!


Written by Stephanie Mullins


Colorado Angler

Awesome. Fishing during the day, and then heading out to buy rods. In another state. That kicks major ass.

Rod is da' man, isn't he? He knows his stuff, backwards, forwards, inside and out.

Frying Pan weekend? Nice. That is a great fishery with some really nice targets to aim at. Look forward to reading about that adventure.


I love "irrational" when it comes to buying fly rods…heehee. Dang…My "B" game is going to have to be worked on now!!! 🙂 What a great weekend you both had…so jealous!


Crazy? Yes. But crazy good! Looks like it was an awesome day. I totally hear you on the trying to soak up as much as I can from the older and the wiser. So much to learn!

Stephanie, the best of luck to you this week with your finals, and I hope you get some mid-week "casting yoga" as my dad calls it. 😉


Awesome day and pics. You guys are like natives already.

And just think of what's ahead for you: the Pan, Platte, Big T, little brookie / cut streams for your 3 wt, … Then, whe you get "bored" with that, you get 'toons and pop over to the North Park and Delaney Buttes, …

Of course, that's about 10 lifetimes of fishing in the previous short paragraph



Sounds like y'all need to find a place to buy gear that's a little closer to home. That being said, I'm always down for an impulsive fishing trip or rod purchase. Dustin isn't that crazy. I would say he's "focused."


Absolutely awesome…Hats off to MM! Dustin your man card is renewed for another 5 years. Only a crazy guy would do what you guys did. I know, I've done it myself.

Midge Man

The coolest part of all of this was to set and watch what really is a mirror image of Lisa and I some thirty odd years ago. These guys love to be outdoors and love to be butt deep in a river together!
Yeah, maybe they're a little nuts for heading for Nebraska just in time to beat closing time, but I can't tell you how many times Lisa has said "Just buy it, we'll figure out the budget when we get home" so it's much the same there as well.
What a first summer in Colorado they are going to have!


Well, This is turning out to be a beautiful little fly fishing storie…
Steph- you look studly out there, and the intensity shows brightly in the one photo even though your back is to the camera. Sounds like you could have used a netguy. Super glad you guys are doing it big…

P.s. An old guy from Ft. Collins talked to me about a rod with some added length, a strong but and a soft tip. Said you can use it for things other that what it was designed for… I too was at Cabelas in a flash!

The Sowbug

Very Cool On Many Levels!!!

One, that y'all made a fish trip and rod run and back.. Maybe Colorado does that to us who live here but we'd think nothing of trekking 2 hours anywhere for skiing, fishing, hiking and whatnot just for the day.

Two, I agree with MidgeMan. The best part of fly fishing sometimes is just hanging back and taking in what's happening. Which for me has happened many times taking newbies out. Note to self take more newbies… especially the young ones.

Finally, it's awesome to see how these folks realize they're all part of the same tribe and share the chasing of the dream.


Crazy! It seemed to all work out despite, glad the fishing gods smiled upon you again. Nice fish and can't wait to hear more stories, or better yet, what happens next!


Great job sounds like you found a great teacher. Being self taught for 2 years in the fly fishing game I'm a bit jealous.


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