By: Ryan Lokteff
Owner – Divide Environmental and Mapping

We are very excited to partner with our friend and Grand County resident, Ryan Lokteff, to offer unique fly fishing tours this summer. For groups of 3 or fewer, these trips are less about the trophy fish and more about the trophy experience. Here he shares his take on what makes a great fly fishing experience. Consider adding one of his special tours to your stay this season!

It is no secret that Grand County is a destination for people who enjoy fishing. Whether it be sitting by the lake dangling bobbers, pursuing trophy trout, or hiking to remote areas to access rarely fished streams, it can be almost as hard to find a bad spot at the headwaters of the Colorado River. My passion for fly fishing stems from learning about fish and their habitats, living in the moment in our beautiful mountain streams, and fishing with my 6 year old son. I am very excited by the opportunity to work with Shadowcliff Lodge to provide guided fly fishing in the 2018 season.  

My approach to fly fishing may differ from most other guides. My main goal is to make a fishing trip a learning opportunity as much as a fun day of fishing. My first step is to teach people of various ages how to fly fish. Whether a person is a beginner who has never held a rod or an experienced angler, there is always more that can be learned about fly fishing. Fly fishing knowledge and experience can cover many topics including equipment (rod, reel, line, leader, tippet, flies, etc.), fly selection, casting, presentation, and landing fish.  

Something that I am always excited to learn more about is the life of a fish. Another aim of mine is to teach people about a fish’s habitat, food, and life strategies. I also enjoy learning about a fish’s role in the larger watershed. Another fun discussion topic (fun for me anyway) is stream ecology which includes fish, aquatic bugs, stream habitat, stream flows, and larger landscape level factors.  

Last but not least, I would like to share my appreciation for our upper Colorado River watershed. Many times, we get so wrapped up in trying to find fish that we forget where we are. I try to remind myself when I am in a stream, to look up and realize where I am. I also try to appreciate that we have these amazing experiences available to us right here in and around Grand Lake. I love sharing these experiences with my son and watching him learn about fish, bugs, and our waters. I look forward to the opportunity to share these experiences with others as well.