For small river fishing in the Colorado backcountry, I like a 8-9 foot, 3 weight rod. These rods are fun to fish in smaller waters and make it easy to make accurate casts. Some prefer an even lighter weight rod (0-2 weight). However, I feel a 3 weight (or even a 4 weight) is a better fit as it does handle the wind much better which is the norm generally in the afternoon.
For high mountain lake fishing, I like a 10 foot, 5-6 weight rod which still allows for a reasonably delicate presentation if fishing dry flies but enough backbone to fight the wind. High mountain lakes at tree line and above have some wind more days than not! Additionally tight shores lines can make casting challenging. The long rod enables you to make effortless roll casts!
Fly fishing the backcountry can be easier than water which receives a ton of fishing pressure. Fish tend to be more opportunistic too! Below, I've outlined some basic patterns which work most everywhere depending on the time of year and size can make a difference too.
Beaded and non-beaded sizes 12-16.
I use small sizes for small rivers, larger for lakes as a norm.
Fishing in the backcountry requires a good pack system to carry all your clothing, food, drink gear and net comfortably! Organization is also key so you can bring only what's needed and can easily find it within your pack. The following packs work well for me whether hiking in on foot or riding my mules including for all trips I guide too!
Fishing the Colorado backcountry means the weather can change any time! Warm layers, quality rain gear and sun protection are essential! Layers needed can vary based on the season and forecast so be prepared as appropriate. During warmer months, I prefer wet wading as this allows me to leave the waders home and hike in my wading shoes.
Don't skimp on quality sunglasses for the backcountry! The sun is strong at altitude. Your sunglasses are also essential safety equipment for your eyes both from the sun and getting a potential hook in the eye! Buy something comfortable you can wear all day (so not too dark a lenses) that is polarized and provides UV protection!
Comfortable hiking shorts / pants are also important if hiking in on foot and ones that dry quickly once wet!
When I do use waders, full waders are not necessary in the backcountry so I use half waders.
Within this section, I cover nets I use for both small river fishing and lake fishing (both in and out of my inflatable boats) as well tools and the boats I like for backcountry lakes.
The nets are light in weight and pack well on a backpack. They are also easy on fish and hooks will not get hung up in them.
The boats listed below are packable and weigh 40 pounds so they can easily be packed on your back or on pack stock. They inflate with a foot pump in minutes, are extremely safe and can carry plenty of weight (i.e. you plus gear). For mountain lakes, they can be a game changer!