Okay… I know I’ll raise a few hackles with this one. I live in Colorado. I moved here for a reason (namely the fabulous trout fishing, and the 300-plus days of sunny, angler-friendly weather we have in the Centennial state on an average annual basis). But I grew up in Pennsylvania, and truth be told, my “home river” is the upper Delaware. It’s beautiful place, and as trout fishing goes, I think the Upper D is both the perfect “elementary school” and “grad school” for anyone who wants to be a bona-fide fly angler.

Truth be told (and this is where the “hackles” part comes up) any ol’ fly spanker can come to the Bighorn, or the Colorado River, or the Frying Pan, and when it lines up just right (and they’re with the right guide), they can catch the trout of a lifetime. But the upper “D” is special, and sacred… you can get hooked here… and you can catch a “life” trout here… but you need an A-game to score big, regardless of the season. The Delaware is arguably where it all comes together best… from making the cast, to matching hatches, to presenting flies perfectly.

Don’t agree? You tell me a better all-around fly river, and why. Or why not. I’ll send a Scientific Anglers GPX fly line of the winner’s choice to the best stated argument.

And another prize: I was more than happy to learn from my guide friend Joe Demalderis ( about the 3rd Annual ONE BUG fundraiser tournament to benefit preservation efforts on the Upper D. Any of you who follow FlyTalk know I’m not a big advocate of competitive fly fishing except in situations where a worthy cause is involved. This is the worthiest of causes. See this link ( for more information.

If anyone here pays the fee to sign up a team (and establishes that they are entered on the Fly Talk comment thread below before the tournament starts), actually fishes the event, and then wins it, I’ll throw in two more lines for good measure.

Good luck,