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April 19, 2023 3 min read 0 Comments

      Although there is truly nothing quite like an empty river in the Winter surrounded by a blanket of snow and freshly dusted trees, I am over-the-moon excited that Spring is finally here! After a long 5 months of fishing primarily tailwaters I headed to one of my favorite Colorado freestone rivers in anticipation of the Golden Stonefly molt that happens each Spring.

Colorado freestone river view

       This is usually the first “big bug” fishing of the year for me as these insects become more prevalent and move back to being a staple food source for trout. It is also one of the most exciting times all year as hungry trout, who have survived off tiny midges all Winter, are eagerly looking for quick large meals. These calorie packed bugs grow quickly, wiggle like a juicy helpless snack, and provide amazing fishing opportunities like this particular day where the Golden Stones were like cheeseburgers coming off conveyor belts as they dropped off deep shelves where willing trout proceeded to inhale one after the next, getting some of the most aggressive eats I have experienced so far this year!

Brown Trout with TFO Blue Ribbon Fly Rod

       I used my go-to 5wt, Temple Fork Outfitter’s Blue Ribbon, a rod that gets the job done all day, fish after fish. There is a reason it’s my #1, from casting accuracy and sensitivity of the rod tip to the strong backbone and lightweight feel. The Blue Ribbon is versatile and capable of throwing dries, nymph rigs, heavy nymph rigs, and streamers, all while experiencing low fatigue. It features impeccable precision when casting at short and long distances; I can lay down a dry fly with perfect presentation every time and I can thread a nymph rig into a tight pocket or along the shore without any hesitation. The way this rod shoots line makes it more accurate at farther distances than what you’d expect for a moderate-fast action rod, and it is near flawless when it comes casts under 40 feet. In terms of power, the power curve and backbone on the Blue Ribbon is comparable to the strength I have seen with higher priced rods- you can feel the rod putting in the work, which allows quicker fights and more fish to the net compared to other 5wts I have used.

Blue Ribbon Fly Rod with Golden Stonefly

     I love being able to accurately cast all day long without my arm getting tired but one of the most significant characteristics of the Blue Ribbon that really sets it apart from other rods is the sensitivity of the rod tip. Sensitivity - not only can you feel subtle takes which lead to more hook ups, the rod tip is also soft enough to confidently use 6x tippet with size 22 and 24 flies without having to worry about the fish popping off, even when battling larger fish. 

 I have used several 5wt fly rods that were great with light tackle but didn’t have much of a backbone for fighting, causing excess stress on the fish. I have also used rods that were too stiff for light tippet and light tackle and lead to a lot of lost fish– that is not the case with TFO’s Blue Ribbon Series.Anna with a nice Brown Trout

      No matter the size of the tippet or the fish I have 100% confidence in this rod when there is a trout on the end of the line. I have used several rods, varying in price from $100 to $600, and TFO’s Blue Ribbon is hands down the best all-around 5wt rod I have found, with a retail price of $269.95.

Check it out along with all the other TFO rods here!: Temple Fork Outfitters Fly Rods


Anna Wallingford is an Aventuron Ambassador and featured writer. Check her other content out on IG and TikTok : @anna_on_the_fly