Heli-fly fishing with The Little Nell

Fly Fishing at its Best

All avid fly fisherman, my Dad, my brother-in-law and some family friends from Northern Michigan came to Aspen last Fall to pay me a visit and check out the foliage. Knowing that we had only one full day to fly fish, I decided to start at the top — The Little Nell Adventure Concierge — to ensure a seamless day of fun on the water. I am pretty sure we picked the prettiest autumn day in Colorado for this fly fishing adventure.

The morning was absolutely perfect – sunny, clear and warm with just a hint of fall chill in the air. We boarded the DBS helicopter at Sardy Field, eager and excited for our flight over the golden aspen groves to a secret fly fishing spot nestled in the Elk Mountain range. The expansive views were spectacular; the colors were ablaze and the ride was nice and smooth. High above the towering mountains and fiery foliage, we were able to view the 27 lakes we would soon be fishing, as we approached the private ranch landing in a field. We were greeted on the ground by the ranch owner and our three fly fishing guides. As we tried on our waders and tested out our fly fishing rods and reels, we enjoyed some coffee and breakfast treats by the side of the lake.

Throughout the day, the guides proved to be patient, helpful and thoughtful. You could tell they wanted, more than anything, for us to catch the biggest trout – and as many as possible during our time spent together. They helped hone our skills and gave helpful tips on our casts, where to land the fly and how to reel in the trout we caught.

After getting our feet wet and fishing around the various lakes, it was lunchtime. In a thicket of trees, we discovered a gourmet, catered feast awaiting us in a small wooden gazebo, complete with paired wines and white tablecloths. We dined on The Little Nell chef’s famed farm-raised chicken liver pate, crostini and local peach preserves, a fresh fruit salad, beef tenderloin, home-style fried chicken, and of course,  brownies and cookies for dessert. The Master Sommelier at The Little Nell even paired some amazing white wine to go along with our delectable lunch spread.

 In the afternoon session, my brother-in-law was reeling in trout faster than he could wipe the sweat from his brow. The rest of us quickly decided he would not be asked back on future fishing trips again – stealing all the good fish like that! Then, my Dad did the unthinkable – fishing with a nymph and a dry fly on one line; he caught two trout in one cast. No one in our crew had seen ‘the double hook’ before.

The heli ride back over the mountains was even more gorgeous. We saw wildlife running in the fields below, rolling mountains and hills and vast golden aspen groves. Fully sated after a full day of fly casting on a private ranch with no one else around and fat on a fine, gourmet lunch complete with chilled wine and cold beer to beat the afternoon heat… we were fat and happy.

After fishing with my Dad in some amazing locations around the world like his ranch in the hill country of Texas “home of the 13 pound bass,” angling for the elusive ‘hoax hatch’ on the Upper Manistee and Boardman River in Northern Michigan, reeling in more rainbow trout than we knew what to do with in Lake Taupo, New Zealand, and floating out in the middle of nowhere Patagonia, Argentina — we had never quite experienced a helicopter-inspired fishing trip quite like this one. Thanks to the amazing service at The Little Nell, their thoughtful guides and staff.

Thanks to Guest Blogger Lea Tucker for this great recap of her fly fishing adventure last September. Lea is an avid skier and food/wine enthusiast who also loves art, music and any adventure outdoors. Follow her fun on Twitter @LucyLeaTucker

Interested in booking your own trip? Contact the Adventure Concierge at 970-920-6315.