Born to guide took time to understand | Free content

Guiding fly fishing trips has become the dream job I never knew I was looking for. I grew up in Summit County, the sixth generation of my family to live in Colorado.

After graduating with my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at CSU, I began collecting an interesting array of workplaces, including a county jail, an accredited zoo, and recently a college welcome office – all leading me somehow as a fishing guide in the heart of the Colorado Rockies.

I come from generations of fishermen, including my mother, my grandfather and my great-grandparents. My great-grandmother was a famous fisherwoman at a time when women were not common in the stream bed.

I treasure the few photos I have of her outfitted in her lucky fishing hat, waders, creel and bamboo pole ready to be thrown into a favorite high willow stream in search of water. a rainbow trout.

I started fishing very early with my sisters in a stocked pond with a yellow Snoopy spinning rod that we shared. We enjoyed the competition to see who could cast the farthest and catch fish.

It wasn’t until college that I decided to try my hand at fly fishing. I can’t remember a specific reason, but I asked for a rod for Christmas and Santa delivered.

He came up with a VHS of the casting basics, and my journey began.

I learned to tie my own fly and gained some freedom to explore the water while visiting my family in Taylor Park, where I fished the same small creeks and beaver ponds as my ancestors.

With the move to Chaffee County, I came across a review of a Fly Fishing 101 course being offered at ArkAnglers, taught by the one and only Stuart Andrews.

I took the course hoping to hone some skills and quickly realized how much I still had to learn.

I spent more and more time on the water, experiencing the gold medal waters of the Arkansas River, exploring local lakes and reservoirs, and falling in love with trout hunting in our upper Rockies.

Time at home included YouTube’s rabbit hole, practicing knots and studying maps in preparation for the next water trip.

I had spent quite a bit of time in the fly shop and contacted Stuart about the possibility of trying my hand at guiding.

I didn’t know if I would like it or not – some people tell you not to turn your hobby into a job. But with my school work, I had my summers free and I thought I would give it a try. If I didn’t like it, I would find something else.

Stuart took me under his guardianship and the next leg of my journey unfolded.

I followed several of ArkAnglers seasoned guides and then was assigned to my first solo trip.

I knew that day that I had found my vocation. Each trip is its own adventure with a unique set of variables – the people I meet, the weather we live in, the behavior of the fish, and the water we explore.

I love introducing people to fly fishing for the first time or helping more experienced anglers achieve their goals on the water.

One of the most important things I’ve learned from my own time on the water—and reinforced by my time as a guide—a day of fishing is rarely about catching fish.

The rush of the connection made on the hook may be what draws us to the water, but in the end, a day of fishing gives us so much more.

About Patricia Kilgore

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