Welcome to our series called “Trout Bum of the Week,” in which we highlight some of the guys 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.
Alan Peak is a fly-fishing guide at South Platte Fly Shop in Woodland Park, Colorado. Alan works all around Colorado, but you’ll find him on the water mostly in the South Platte Drainage. He also maintains a cool blog, (719) Fly and hangs out with former TBotW, Jon Hill.
1. When did you start fly fishing?
I started fly fishing when I was in 5th grade, when my parents bought me my first fly rod. Soon after, I got a fly-tying kit, which I spent many evenings playing around with.
2. What’s your favorite water?
It has to be the South Platte. From top to bottom it has such diversity. On any given day, I can wake up and think to myself “What sort of fly fishing do I want to do.” and pick a part of the South Platte and fish it. We have great dry fly fishing up in Tomahawk for browns and rainbows; big fish can be found in the Dream Stream portion, as well as Cheeseman Canyon area; Eleven Mile Canyon has a beautiful setting and big numbers of willing fish; and I can even stroll up to Denver and try my luck at carp on the fly.
3. What’s your most memorable fly-fishing moment?
My most memorable moment has got to be when my daughter started catching fish on a fly rod. She gave away her princess rod and picked up her fly rod. After each photo was taken, she always insisted on letting the fish go herself. Not bad for a four-year-old.
4. What’s your most forgettable fly-fishing moment?
As hard as I try to forget, I still look back on it and laugh a little bit. I had a few guys out from India. There was a small language barrier, but I was chipping away at getting my point across. Well, I hooked a giant cutbow and handed it over to the father. Before I handed it off to him, I explained how to keep the rod tip up and let the fish pull out line if he needed to (something that had been already explained a few times). Well, I gave the rod over to Dad, and I went for my net. As soon as I passed off the rod I looked down at the giant fish I heard a POW! Dad had reset the hook as if he was setting a rubber worm on a Texas largemouth bass. Not exactly sure to this day how that got lost in translation.
5. What do you love most about fly fishing?
Everything. No, really. From the moment I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night, I am thinking about fly fishing. There is always something new: a new material to tie a fly with, or a new location or technique.
6. What’s your favorite piece of gear and why?
My wife. I bet that wasn’t the answer you were looking for! But seriously. She is my rock and keeps me together. Since I have served two deployments overseas, she keeps track of me sometimes and lets me know when I am getting a bit out of line. Without her I would not be able to spend as much time on the river as I do. No piece of gear can do that.
7. What’s your go-to fly when nothing else is working?
My go-to fly is Black Pheasant Tail Nymph, size 20. It works!
8. What was your favorite fly-fishing trip?
Recently, I took out a couple of really cool kids. Lukas was my favorite. I have never seen anyone with so much interest in the sport, and he was only seven years old. We tied flies the night before the trip and then met on the water, where he rocked a few great fish. He never got impatient. I think someday we will see him nominated as a Trout Bum of the Week.
10. What’s your next dream destination?
I grew up in Milwaukee. Something that has bothered me is that I don’t get back to my old hometown enough. I really want to go fish the harbor and river there. I did as a kid and have rarely been home since I left. Shame too, Milwaukee is one of the coolest towns in the country.