Welcome to our series called “Trout Bum of the Week,” in which we highlight some of the folks living the good life. . .of a sort. (See the bottom of this post for a link to the previous installments.) Most of the subjects are guides who have turned their passion into a vocation, spending their time in an outdoor “office” that may include a drift boat, gorgeous mountain scenery, and crystal clear water. Others do have day jobs but manage to spend every other available minute on the water with a fly rod in hand. Whether you aspire to one lifestyle or the other, it’s illuminating to explore the different paths these men and women have taken on their way to achieving “trout bum” status.
Drew Rodden is a Midwesterner, from St. Louis, who made the journey west to become a senior guide at North Park Anglers in Walden, Colorado. According to shop manager, Scott Graham, Drew is always trying to figure out new ways to catch fish–whether it’s fishing dry flies on a calm flat or European nymphing fast pocket water. When he’s not fishing Drew can be found at the fly shop twisting up new ties for his next excursion on the water.
1. When did you start fly fishing?
I started fly fishing after my grandpa gave me a fly rod when I graduated from elementary school. I was 11 years old, and my first fish were bluegills, bass, and carp, in local warmwater ponds. I still remember making my first few casts in the front yard!
2. What’s your favorite water?
My favorite waters are the North Platte and its headwaters, in and around Jackson County, Colorado.
3. What’s your favorite species to chase with a fly rod?
I have a serious sweet spot for brown trout. Their fall colors amaze me, and I love how elusive and reclusive they are. I fish rivers full of big, wild, browns. I don’t see them every day, but I know they’re there, and it keeps me coming back
4. What’s your most memorable fly fishing moment?
My most memorable fly fishing moment is setting the hook on my first big brown. There’s a different feel when you hook a truly big fish. They don’t move much, at first, but somehow you still know it’s not a snag.
5. What’s your most forgettable fly fishing moment?
I’ve definitely been swimming a few times. The few times in front of guests were pretty embarrassing.
6. What do you love most about fly fishing?
Fly fishing is my escape from the stress of the real world. I can have a rough few days and everything is right as soon as my boots hit the water.
7. What is your favorite piece of gear?
I love my Orvis Guide Sling Pack. I carry way too much gear on the river, and my sling pack carries everything with ease.
8. What’s your go-to fly when nothing else is working?
If I had only one fly, it would have to be an Olive Woolly Bugger. It’s just so versatile. I can strip it or nymph it, and it works for just about any species I’ve fished for.
9. What was your favorite fly fishing trip?
I’ve really only taken short weekend trips. I’ve got a redfish trip planned for December. I can’t wait! I’ve never fished the salt with a fly rod.
10. How do you define the difference between someone who loves fly fishing and a true trout bum?
I think a true trout bum makes sacrifices to fish for trout. I miss good meals, lots of sleep, and a social life just to put in that extra time on the water. Grocery store closing early? I guess I’ll be eating frozen pizza again tonight.