By Beth Buehler
When I attend meetings in desirable destinations, there is nothing more discouraging than not having time to explore or enjoy activities distinctive to the place. Colorado excels at offering unique things to do when free time is built into a meeting agenda, which in my opinion should be always! With miles and miles of Gold Medal rivers and also a selection of Gold Medal lakes (check out the list in the Colorado Parks & Wildlife handy Colorado Fishing brochure, updated annually), fishing is a great option in almost any part of the state.
Just looking at the list of record-breaking catches—efficiently divided up by species and lists where they were caught—in CPW’s brochure moves my mind into reflecting on trout reeled in during group outings on the Roaring Fork River near Aspen, Taylor River south of Crested Butte, and the ponds at The Broadmoor’s gorgeous The Ranch at Emerald Valley close to Colorado Springs. Only a 75-minute drive away from the resort is The Broadmoor Fishing Camp, situated along a five-mile stretch of the Tarryall River in Park County and ideal for a day or overnight trip with accommodations, food and beverage available on-site.
Dude and Guest Ranches like C Lazy U Ranch near Granby and Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa near Tabernash offer an ideal combination of fly-fishing options, meeting space, exceptional food, a whole menu of activities, and most importantly peace and quiet for productive and memorable gatherings. Here are a few ideas about how to build fishing into a gathering.
- 1. Just as you would with skiing or snowboarding, divide the group by experience level. Everyone will be happier that way!
- 2. Make sure the outfitter hired or property booked can handle all levels of experience, from teaching newbies to men and women who remind you of the movie “A River Runs Through It,” which exposed many to the beauty of fly fishing for the first time.
- 3. Book a property that has fishing as part of its activity offerings or hire experienced outfitters. Contact the local convention and visitors bureau or Chamber of Commerce for recommendations or hire a destination management company to help make plans for your entire Colorado gathering.
- 4. Fly fishing and lake fishing are entirely different, so know your destination and provide attendees with good descriptions so they know what to expect and what types of clothes and accessories such as hats and sunglasses to bring.
- 5. Every fishing guide should have a smart phone or camera to document catches, and make sure to share the photos with attendees and perhaps create a slide show. Or if a photographer is hired for the gathering, make sure time on the river or lake is captured. Grinning with a large fish in hand (or even a small one) is one of those Colorado memories that keep on giving.
These are just a few tips for a successful fishing outing. It’s a fun individual and team-building activity that keeps conversation and storytelling going throughout the duration of a Colorado meeting.
Beth Buehler is editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, has planned numerous meetings and events, enjoys exploring Colorado in all seasons and enjoys fly fishing.