My name is April Ferzoco- all my friends call me Apes or A.P.
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I’m currently located in northern Colorado and this year I will be fishing waters all over the country and internationally! So far, I have fished Colorado, Wyoming and Belize. I have several trips planned already to go fish Arizona, Maine and my home state Massachusetts.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
There are so many amazing rivers and alpine lakes out here in Colorado. You will most likely see me out on the Cache La Poudre river, as well as the Blue and Big Thompson rivers. These waters are extremely challenging to fish, which makes this sport so much fun!
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I have not fly fished very long, only about the last year or so. Which goes to show how addicting this sport can be! The second I set the hook on my first fish, I just had to keep coming back for more.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
I first got into fly fishing when I moved to Colorado for college. My boyfriend Cole, an avid fisherman, was always out on the water and I had no choice but to go watch him from the river banks. I started practicing photography and observing nature around me while he constantly casted for trout. I was quite intimidated by snagging on branches or even hooking myself. So, I never picked up a rod. I was genuinely scared and too shy to start playing in the water. I finally agreed to let Cole show me how to cast. We went to a field on the CSU campus and practiced casting and hauling line. Which was very embarrassing, because many other college students were watching me! It was like a mix between role play and target practice, with Cole playing the role of a trout. It was probably a very interesting site for a non-angler. Eventually that day, I did pick up the casting rhythm and was ready to get in the river!
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
I fly fish because it takes me out of reality. All the stress, pain and anger in my life leaves my mind when I’m in the river. Being a college student, it’s hard to find ways to escape the pressure you're under. When I leave town to fish I can finally relax and clear my head. So far it has actually improved my grades and emotional well-being. I’ve never felt better or happier about myself too. Fishing makes me feel as if I can accomplish anything and I set goals to keep myself challenged. I write down anything new I want to learn, techniques from videos, and most importantly the species of fish I want to catch! Having these challenges not only makes learning fun but keeps things interesting. Writing these memos down, makes me eager to go out and try it in real life. With fly fishing you need a “Can Do” attitude, or you’re just going to be miserable. I have had countless fishing trips where I would get so flustered, with my line, rod or myself. From that I have learned you cannot drag yourself in the mud for making mistakes or knots in your line. Fly fishing teaches you to stay calm and focus the goal- Get the fish in the Net! Fly fishing has taught me to try again and again, even when you think you're done for the day. I think the lessons of fly fishing are so much more valuable than just catching fish, because you can apply them anywhere. That is why I fly fish!
If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault?
I personally use the Rod Vault 4. It is amazing for when you go fishing with friends or by yourself. When I go on fishing trips it’s nice to have a selection of rods to choose from, mainly because they are all rigged differently. So, it saves me time from having to tie on new flies, which I struggle with constantly! The Rod Vault 4 has been a game changer for Cole and me, because we can bring our rods everywhere. We used to place them in the bed of the truck with the risk of them getting damaged, stolen or tangled. Now we can safely lock them inside the vault, eliminating the risks and stress of leaving them out in the open. My favorite feature of the Rod Vault 4 is the magnetic reel strip, it keeps the rods all the way in the vault, so they don’t shift to the back after driving up to the mountains. That way when I open the vault, they don’t all slide out and hit me! Having the ability to transport four expensive rods at all times makes fishing so much easier. Cole and I are out constantly searching for new waters to fish on and having the ability to take several rods with us wherever we go is incredible! Having our rods secure and safe, keeps the stress away from this sport! That’s why I invested in a Denver Outfitters Rod Vault.
As a woman guide/angler, you're definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
I decided to become an angler, because of my passion for nature. The challenges, the fish, and conservation keep me active in the fishing community. Becoming an angler opened many doors, allowing me to be a part of a group that cares about the quality of life we give these beautiful creatures. I felt included in a community of people I had never even met before. I made many friends very fast, sharing essential knowledge with each other that would keep my lines tight! I became an angler because there was no pressure of joining, I was welcomed with open arms. There is no competition with fly fishing, we're all out there to have a good time. And that made becoming an angler so much easier!
Has the fact you’re a female ever been an issue with a client or other angler (such as them hitting on you or maybe talking down to you?) If so how did you manage it/them?
Of course, I deal with this issue regularly. I think some people get intimidated when they see a female angler on the water. They probably think I have no idea what I’m doing, I try to ignore that factor because obviously everyone fishes differently. I get criticized often for the size and quantity of fish I catch on a regular basis. I’m not sure why people choose to bully on the small fish, I personally think they are the fun ones to catch. There is no shame in catching a small fish, I’m proud of every fish I have been able to land in my net. With that being said I try to not let ego consume me or get in the way of a fun fishing trip. The men I have fished with think I cannot handle the strong currents, or the long hikes cause I’m a small little girl. But that doesn’t stop me from pushing through and reaching my fullest potential as an angler. It is tough being a girl on the water, I do struggle with the currents, but I can easily fish from the shore or change my position. I push myself to be as tough and strong as the guys I fish with by trying to keep up with them. But over the last year I have learned to just do what is right for me. I’ve realized I just need to do my own thing and so do they. I’m here and now I need to maximize my time and pleasure on the water. I choose to focus on the present time rather than being on someone else’s time. If they say something that bothers me really badly, I will speak up. I’m not afraid to use my voice and stand up for myself. I have no tolerance for people who are just there to judge and criticize, it just ruins the fun. Even after that happens, I take it upon myself to change the mood of the situation. We are a community after all and to keep us together we must be able to communicate through these issues.
What is a piece of advice you want to give to other anglers or a tip/trick that has helped you grow as an angler?
One piece of advice I want to give to anyone who fishes or looking to fly fish is to constantly practice and continually learn. I’m not just talking about on the water - I practice in fields, my house and my yard. Anywhere, anytime I am constantly finding new methods and techniques to apply to fly fishing. There are so many amazing resources to help guide you into fly fishing like; books, podcasts and YouTube. Since there are so many components to fly fishing- tying flies, casting methods, matching the hatch, etc. It’s not something you learn overnight, fly fishing is a process and that must be respected.
Best catch of all time?
My favorite catch of all time was a fish on the Blue River. Anyone who fishes the Blue, knows how skittish the fish are! It’s a tough river because the water is very clear, so sight fishing is essential. Back in October, I went up to the Silverthorne and found a good section of water to fish up. I saw this one larger fish about 5 feet of the shoreline, constantly rising for dries. I basically tried every fly I had in my box, which was not many. (this being my 5th fishing excursion) Whatever I had he was just not interested in. I probably spent close to 1 hour trying to get this fish! I was very determined being a novice fisher lady. I finally was ready to give up, then I laid one cast out with perfect presentation and it was like magic. You know when it just feels right, I think I even said to myself that’s the one! BAM! Fish on! I felt so accomplished and it was a beautiful rainbow. I worked so hard for that moment and not to mention I was the only one to catch a fish that day. The group of boys I was with were happy for me, but I could tell they got jealous. It was an amazing catch and fight; I will say I learned a ton from that one fish- Presentation, timing and perspective were key in this scenario, it felt good to get him in the net. After a few pics he was back into the water after a successful release! I can still feel that adrenaline rushing through me to this day, that’s why I continue to fly fish.
What's your "Dream Trip"?
My dream trip, like many other anglers is New Zealand! I probably watch too much ‘Jensen Fly Fishing’ but yes, I would love to fish those waters some day! I know so many guides out here who travel constantly to those islands and catch nothing but huge fish. It would be such a dream to go out there and try it for myself.
What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?
I recently got back from fishing the flats of Belize! Just such an incredible experience to get some Permit and Bonefish. Salt water fishing is such an exciting challenge. Standing out in the middle of the ocean on a sandbar surrounded by sharks, urchins and manta rays. There was a rush of excitement and anxiety at the same time. When the tides were right, and the permit were digging for crabs the pressure was on! Seeing fish like permit in real life is just breathtaking, they are such beautiful creatures. I learned quickly that Bonefish may be small, but they are mighty! Needless to say, we caught tons of saltwater fish it was such a thrill to fish that area. My guide was an incredible local fly fisher, he showed me the ropes and had me hooked on within the first few casts.
How do people follow you on social media or reach you?
I’m on Instagram as @ap.fair and you can always DM or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m also a student year round at Colorado State University, so you can also find me there!
Tight Lines!!- A.P.