Kirk Bien takes us into a season in Rocky Mt National Park. We find out how they deal with bears, moose, and other critters. We talk about what the fishing is like up there, what flies are the most effective, and what type of fish you can actually catch and cook. Kirk tells us what we need to bring for the camp, the policies we should be aware of, and how the Bearvault helps in a lot of ways during camping. We also talk about what they have going with their fly shops – Llama-packed trips, guiding classes, and rafting.


Click below and listen to the Podcast about Mt National Park with Kirk Bien:

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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rocky mt national park

Mt National Park Show Notes with Kirk Bien

03:05 – Kirk’s Fly Shop was opened in 2002. They now have 3 branches – one in Grand Lake, and one in Estes Park. They have a shop on both sides of the park – Thompson river and Colorado coming through Grand Lakes

rocky mt national park

04:30 – In the summertime, they are dry fly fishing; and dry-dropper in small streams up in the park. Spring and Fall are mostly nymphing in lower rivers

05:55 – Kirk’s Fly Shop provide everything for campers – sleeping bag, fishing gear, meals, etc.

07:38 – Average fish they catch in the smaller tributaries are 8 to 12 inches but on the high mountain lakes, they get up to 18 inches

07:55 – The rods they use are usually 4 wt or 3 wt

08:18 – Kirk tells us what to prepare for – bring 1 article of clothing, a warm jacket, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, quick-dry pants, and wool socks. Maybe an extra socks and an underwear

09:25 – Some people camp in the Rocky Mt National Park for as long as 5 to 7 days. But the park doesn’t allow campers to camp for more than 7 days


09:55 – They do Llama pack trips where the Llama can carry all the gear up for you

rocky mt national park


11:15 – You can’t leave your poop in the park so bring a poop bucket and take it with you as you go

12:50 – We talk about the Bearvault – how you can use it to seal your food and then contain your trash and poop going down the camp

rocky mt national park

13:00 – The smell still comes out of the Bear Vault but the bears can’t get into your food

17:25 – They use Bearvault as a camp stool and a cook station

26:00 – The main flies they use up in high mountain streams are ants and beetles – Foam Ant and Monster Beetle patterns work great

rocky mt national park
Photo courtesy of Pacific Fly Fishers
rocky mt national park
Photo courtesy of Fly Fish Food

28:25 – Bearvault keeps the raccoons and marmots away from your food as well

30:20 – Mountain House brand is Kirk’s favorite outdoor food, especially the beef stroganoff, spaghetti meatballs, and mac & cheese

31:30 – Kirk talks about that Scandinavian pizza bread that his mom makes but I can’t find anything on Google spelled as “stewyat” or “sdewyat”

33:25 – We talk about the greenback cutthroat, which is a threatened species – how they’re being conserved. They encourage backpackers to keep some of the brookies to make room for the greenback cutthroats

34:50 – You can call the backcountry office to get more info on the park policies

39:30 – You got to watch out for the moose up in the mountains – they either run over you or run away

rocky mt national park

42:50 – Kirk recommends just a 7 and 1/2 foot leader setup

44:25 – Click here to learn about the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace for outdoor practices

45:20 – Kirk tells the story of when he flipped a boat twice on the same day

46:15 – Kirk’s Fly Shop teaches rafting through their guiding class

49:05 – Kirk’s Fly Shop’s got a new spot to take people fishing – North flats on the boulder of Colorado and Wyoming


You can find Kirk’s Fly Shop on Instagram @kirksflyshop

Facebook at Kirks Fly Shop & Mountain Adventures

Website at

rocky mt national park


Resources Noted in the Show


Videos Noted in the Show


Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below


rocky mt national park

Mt National Park Conclusion with Kirk Bien

We learned what it’s like to camp up in the Rocky Mt National Park. I definitely have noted the things that I need to prepare for before heading up there. Don’t ever forget to bring two Bearvaults. They will make your camping experience much more enjoyable with its versatility. You don’t want to be a person that hikes down sooner because a bear or some other critter took your food. You want to hike according to plan.

As for the fishing, I think this is where that Reyr Gear telescoping fly rods comes handy. You don’t want to overpack then have a hard time carrying all your stuff. Reyr Gear rod fits into the pocket of your backpack. No need to worry too much about setup and storage. Just start casting and enjoy camping and fishing.