About the Author:
John Merwin lives in Vermont, where, when he's not tying flies, building lures, or digging up worms with his backhoe, he writes the monthly Fishing Column for Field & Stream magazine.

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December 05, 2008

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Merwin: Upscale Trout

I ran across this Internet ad for Fairmont Residences, a  luxury real-estate development planned along Colorado's Blue River near Breckenridge. There will  be some 60 units starting at $900,000 each where one of the main  attractions will be flyfishing for trout. Here's an artist's  rendering, taken from their ad.          
This brought to mind a couple of things. First, maybe I  should sign up for a couple of units as a clubhouse for The Honest  Angler. Then you guys could come out and play.

More seriously, I was struck by the absurdity of the whole  thing. Luxury real-estate development is a big deal these days, and  there are those who can still afford it. It just seems as if putting  something like this along a river turns trout fishing into a kind of  golf. Personally, I'd rather fish the backcountry out of a $200 tent.


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John, I have to agree with you. I always wanted to live on a trout stream, but ... I do support the rules that require long setbacks from the river ... both for aesthetics and protection of the banks. I am lucky enough to fish the rivers in
upper Michigan. There are miles of river without any buildings, but there are also prime trout waters with homes right on the banks. I appreciate the remote areas more and more.

The best fishing I experienced in Colorado and Wyoming, based on actual fish caught, was on the Yampa River right in downtown Steamboat Springs. But the experience of being alone in the remote areas along the North Platte were much more memorable, even though I caught less fish.


I think you have said it well here, John. Somehow it's like the elite having to schedule a casting time to be on the river for trout. Utter nonsense too me!


I dunno. I also limit my trout fishing to Michigan's U.P. The last thing I want to see is a riverbank development. Trout fishing means being away!


Oh, I don't know, John... I've always done my best river work casting downstream over waterfalls as people (some on horseback) watch from the back deck of the condo... throw in a little John Denver music on the Bose system...

That's the Rocky Mountain flyfishing experience, isn't it?


I never really liked fly fishing for the amount of fish I caught. Obviously catching fish makes it a hell of a lot better but I just enjoyed being out in nature and seeing the wildlife



I think this type of thing is going to be the death of trout flyfishing in this country. Maybe not the death, but a very chronic disease. Especially east of the Mississippi where there is far less Federal land. Much like my beloved quail hunting, the real experience will be slowly replaced with souless, faux experiences (stocked trout ponds and put and take quail hunting). The only folks who can get a shot at a psuedo genuine experience will be those who can afford it (like the private streams or managed plantations). Makes it hard to see how a guy can get his children to be interested.