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2023 in the Rear View Mirror

In this final blog of 2023, several of our Guides take a minute to reflect on the past year.  From family adventures, to memorable clients, to collaborative efforts in sharing this sport, to appreciating the natural environment, they capture the essence of fly fishing in this collective reflection.

Just ‘wow.’
Photo credit: Juan Ramirez

Juan Ramirez

2023 was another great year to be on the water. Starting in the winter with midges and cold, low water and progressing into the spring with some great BWO hatches, the fish did what they were supposed to do – they ate! Summer brought out more hatches and hoppers!  Tricos and PMDs kept fish happy well into the fall on some rivers and kept smiles on people’s faces.  Looking forward towards 2024, I am expecting the same as long as we get normal amounts of snow. 

Ben Wren

One trip that really stood out as I reflect on the year was the first group guided trip of the season on March 16th 2023. This trip was filled with below-freezing temperatures, heavy wind, and snow. The fishing was extremely productive yet discouraging to some due to weather and numbness. Two clients had gone home due to the extreme conditions. By the end of the day, I had 1 client left. His perseverance paid off!

Ben’s client hung in there during early spring conditions, and his efforts paid off.

Ted Demetriou

2023 was a fantastic year! There is no place I’d rather have been than out slinging bugs and making memories. I met some awesome new people that I look forward to fishing with again in 2024. Sure, there were plenty of great fish but it’s the relationships I’ve made that I remember most. I had some pretty great days out there with Gary and Pam that I won’t forget anytime soon!

Kenny Romero

I’ve developed many special friendships with clients over my eleven years of guiding with Anglers Covey.  And two of my favorite friends/clients are Sheila and Pat!  Each year we spend a few days exploring different waters around Colorado.  In 2023 we shared many laughs, shared stories about our children and grandchildren, caught wonderful fish and ate delicious food.  We share a love for family, Colorado, our majestic rivers and our beloved trout.  I’m looking forward to spending more wonderful days on the water with Shelia and Pat and creating many more special memories.    

Relationships are built on the river. Kenny has become good friends with his clients, Sheila and Pat, over the years.

Kevin “Bo” Bolinsky

I am so grateful for each opportunity I had this year to help teach and expose some really awesome people to the sport of fly fishing. As I reflect on my first year as a guide, I learned so much and met some great people from all over the country. My highlight by far was the 2023 Pikes Peak Fishing Derby. Seeing all the kid’s faces light up as they caught fish really made our day, and I was happy to be there for it. The young lady in the picture below did an amazing job at the Derby especially at our fly fishing station. I loved seeing her smile when we announced she was the winner of the Orvis Encounter rod and reel combo. 

Jon Easdon (in the photo) joined up with Bo in a collaborative effort during the Pikes Peak Fishing derby to get this young lady hooked on the adventure of fly fishing. So great!

Jon Easdon

First off, I can’t believe I am already reflecting on 2023. This year flew by. I met so many great people and had some of my very best clients return to fish this year. I had not seen some of them since before Covid. It was good to see people returning to a more normal life and living their adventures after the pandemic. 

For me, all of the collaborative efforts we had this year really stood out. From our annual Professional Guide School, to our annual showing of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, to the various river cleanups and conservation efforts, to participating in the Pikes Peak Youth fishing derby. Giving back has become one of the most rewarding aspects of fly fishing for me. I’m so excited for more of these types of events we have planned for 2024!

We’re all in it together when it comes to conservation and stewardship of our fisheries and our public lands.

Hans Mylant

One of my most fond memories as I reflect on this past season was fishing with a gentleman named Larry who takes part in many of the activities offered through Project Healing Waters. We fished together for 3 days straight and watching his progression during that time was inspiring. Hopefully, we get to do it again one day. 

Flop happens.

Greg Blessing

Fishing with my grandchildren was one of the highlights of my summer! 

Wylder is going to be 7 in January!

Neil Luehring

The Guide School was awesome this year. Great students, great instructors, and the program continues to improve with each session. Thanks to everybody involved for their hard work and support.

Getting to be a part of the Bug of the Month tying videos has been a blast. I hope to do more of those in the future!

My most interesting client of the year was a young man who has autism. His thing is fishing and he is quite adept at it. It was great fun to watch him have a killer day on the water.

My grandkids took an interest in fly tying this year. They had a great time tearing my fly room apart.

Vince Puzick

As I reflect on 2023, two things stand out for me this year.

As a Guide, I really enjoyed teaching our 201 Streamside classes. I love watching students move from “I have never held a fly rod before” to feeling confident that they could go out on their own. It’s exciting to see them gain a sense of independence and excitement to take on the challenge by themselves. At the end of one class, one of the students stopped me on the bank as we headed back to the cars. He handed me his phone and gestured for his adult son to stand next to him. The father spoke to his son in Japanese and the son relayed the message to me: “He would like to take a picture for this memory.” I do not have the picture, of course, but I do have the story!

On a more personal, I faced a little bout with vertigo at the end of August. I stopped guiding a month earlier than I usually do because of it, and then had to really cut back on my own fishing. By the end of November, after some physical therapy and other treatments, I had far fewer and less intense flare-ups and returned to fishing. I share this because I was reminded to not take anything for granted – tying on a hopper, standing in the river, spotting fish from the bank – none of it.  On a larger scale, don’t take for granted our health, our relationships with people, our connection with the physical world around us. None of it. (Sorry to get sort of philosophically “heavy” here – but a few months of having unsteady footing will do that to a guy.)

Malcomb Vrecenar

When I am guiding, it is easy for me to focus on landing fish, but there’s a bigger picture: the stunning world around us. I strive to take a moment, pause, and really drink in the scenery – the flowing rivers, the towering mountains, all of it. 

My goal as a guide isn’t just to help clients catch fish, but to leave them with a lasting appreciation for our lands and water.

Even if we were to remove fishing from the equation entirely, the importance of taking in the nature and scenery shouldn’t be overlooked. That’s the essence of what I try to share – a connection with nature that goes beyond the rod and reel.

It All Comes Full Circle

I purposefully began this blog with Juan’s nature picture and ended the blog with Malcomb’s photograph that shows our relative human smallness in the bigger picture. I think that’s why I value reflection — as we consider where we traveled, our place in the world, and our relationships with both the natural element and our fellow human beings.

Best wishes to you as we head into 2024.

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