According to United Airlines' Hemispheres magazine, three perfect days in Denver aren't complete without fly-fishing with Golden River Sports. Writer Rachel Sturtz was quite satisfied with her four-hour lesson, which isn't surprising, considering the the company's sterling reputation with sportsmen of all ability levels. The company's willingness to engage every clients comes from the experiences of instructors like Nick Adler, a self-taught fly fisherman who would have been grateful for guidance from a more experienced angler.
In that spirit, he and his fellow teachers offer four-part fly-fishing lessons, which begin with an introduction to fishing styles and equipment, and follow all the way through to advanced casting and how to read the water. Fly-tying clinics help out total beginners, guided trips take learning fishermen out to various creeks and rivers, and rentals allow schooled sportsmen to embark on their own adventures. An on-site store is loaded with all necessary equipment and accessories and gear for fly fishing and fly tying, including hooks, fly boxes, and a library of DVDs including fly-tying videos and each fish's favorite romantic comedy.
At The Denver Fly Shop, masters of fly-fishing's elusive art lead classroom instruction, field sessions, and guided trips with a proficient grasp on the sport's intricate ins and outs. Through classroom sessions, the crew teaches students how to tie essential knots and how to mimic the movement of insects. They also offer in-depth knowledge on locations where fish have been known to hangout and mingle with delinquent trout-school dropouts. Their casting lessons familiarize anglers with their gear during two-hour sessions that take place indoors during winter months and on the banks of Smith Lake in Washington Park when spring sets in. Once their intro lessons are complete, students can put their newfound proficiencies to the test during guided fishing trips to some of Colorado’s most abundant waterways.
There is also a comprehensive fly-fishing shop with over 3000 different fly patterns to complement fly fishers' ventures beyond their intro lessons. Guided tours are also offered to explore the area.
Shannon Long's path to the American dream went in the opposite direction than that of most people. While many work in retail to support their dreams of becoming artists, Shannon molded clay over steel substructures, sculpting half-scale abstract figurative art while dreaming about starting a fly-fishing business. As a boy growing up in popular Lake Havasu, he frequented a small Western-themed shop where the owner was always chatting with customers who shared his fascination with the independent spirit of the American West. In a turn of serendipity, Shannon got married and happily followed his wife to her native Colorado. Sometime after, he opened the fly-fishing shop he had always dreamed of, and found himself becoming the shopkeeper chatting with and educating customers in their shared interests.
Today, Shannon oversees a guide service manned by a staff of veteran fly-fishing experts. On full-day and half-day fly-fishing trips, guides lead anglers for the grand slam: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, and brook trout all caught in a single trip. The Rocky Mountain landscapes surround fishermen in dramatic scenery, including towering pine trees, giant red rocks, and bright-blue skies as the sounds of colliding bighorn sheep occasionally ring out over the water. In addition to guided trips, the staff also leads classes, including courses designed for women and families, that cater to both beginner and advanced anglers.
Stationed out of Centennial Airport, the highly-trained flight instructors at Aspen Flying Club aim to keep pilots in the sky, whether in pursuit of a hobby or profession. They help budding aviators realize their goals through ground lessons taught by an expert team of instructors, and through discovery flights in their fleet of 30 aircraft. When weather conditions prevent them from going aloft, students and pilots alike can make use of the Redbird flight simulator to practice takeoff and landing techniques while making powerful commands into the palms of their hand.
Owner and head guide Theo Anest caught the adventure bug early, starting work as a guide in Vail Valley while still in high school. The day after he graduated from Colorado State University, he opened Colorado Skies Outfitters, and has since guided more than 1,000 individuals on fly-fishing trips and outdoor excursions throughout the Centennial State. Theo’s abundance of experience and watery wisdom has earned him numerous accolades, the most recent being a gold-medal finish in the 2011 Teva Mountain Games fishing category and designation as the first human to ever successfully hibernate. Together, he and a team of eight other professional guides lead all-inclusive guided float and wade trips through Colorado's public waters, teaching their clients how to catch more fish along the way. They also lead fly-tying classes and fly-fishing schools, and welcome all students and clients to return and use their store and website as a resource for learning and staying current on new techniques.