The Lifelong Pursuit of Hog Johnson

Fly fishing is a serious addiction, it has consumed my life for 3 solid years. I fish 2-3 times a week in the winter and every day in the summer. When the weekend comes, it’s never a question if we’re fishing. The question is always where. I recently became addicted to large trout…who isn’t though right? Not only did I become addicted to the fish, I became addicted to “the chase”. For me, there is a ton of preparation that goes into a day on the river attempting to land trophy trout. Hours spent researching rivers about their bug life, flows, weather, access points and so much more. But what you really have to know is where these fish live. After a year of fishing these rivers and really learning about what they have to offer, I started to get better at it.

Fooling a big fish is one thing, landing it is another. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way. I’ve lost plenty of huge fish and been skunked countless times over the years. Cheesy or not, the fish I’ve lost are just as memorable as the ones I’ve had the pleasure of releasing. This time, I was fishing a river that was new to me. I was determined, and I knew I had the chance to hit the 30″ mark. That is something that really intrigued me, just the thought of seeing a fish that size and having a chance at catching it blew my mind. We packed the car up and we drove 7 hours to get to “the land of trophy trout”. We fished all day and finally I saw what looked to me like a fire hydrant in the water, my heart starting racing and I instantly started casting. After a battle up a waterfall and some intense head shakes we had him in the net! I was shaking when I finally realized that this fish was my personal best and was easily over 28″. Honestly, it was hard letting that one go I’ve never had that feeling from a fish before. Such short time with such an amazing fish!

About 2 weeks later I went back with a friend in hopes to find another one of these dinosaurs. It was windy and cloudy that day so it was a little harder to sight fish. Finally after a tough day, we made it happen and our day resulted in another great fish! This sport brings so much passion, purpose and joy to my life. I love (and hate) how challenging and empowering fly fishing can be!

At the end of the day I am driven by the 3am wake-up calls, long mountain drives and being the first person on the river.

Why do you fly fish?

Fishing plays a huge part in Noelle Coley’s life being from a family of serious fishermen. She is from the southern tip of Texas and was raised spin fishing on the beach. Her brother currently fishes for shark and practices catching, tagging for research purposes and releasing. She has been fly fishing steadily for 3 years and is dedicated to the sport, and active conservationist and a Trout Unlimited member in Colorado.

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