Guides and Staff
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Colorado Fly Fishing Guides

Our location on Yampa Street, provides us with over 2,200 square feet of display space for our premium selection of fine fly fishing equipment and great outdoor gear. Featuring products from Sage, Winston, Redington, Simms, Patagonia, Abel, Hatch, Ross, Waterworks/Lamson, Costa Del Mar and many others, we can outfit you for any angling adventure.The shop overlooks the Yampa River and provides customers with a great opportunity to try out rods and practice skills. Our knowledgeable pro-staff can answer technical questions as well as give tips on local waters and different techniques used to fish them. For those of you that are new to fly fishing, we offer premium entry level equipment offered at reasonable prices. For experienced fishermen, we offer the finest equipment and information as well as Northwest Colorado's most extensive selection of flies and fly tying material.

Johnny Spillane

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Johnny was born and raised in Steamboat Springs and was a successful Nordic Combined skier competing in the 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympic Games. In 2010, Johnny won 3 Silver medals in the Vancouver Olympics. Johnny has been a fly fisherman his whole life and has been guiding since 2001. In 2013, Johnny purchased Steamboat Flyfisher and is currently the owner with Rob Burden. “Our goal is to provide our customers with the best experience possible on the water. In the retail store, we sell equipment that we use ourselves and we cater to both the beginner and experienced angler alike. On our guided trips, we make sure that all of our guides are both experienced and personable. Give us a call and we will do our best to provide you with a fishing experience you will never forget.”

Rob Burden


Rob Burden has been guiding for Steamboat Flyfisher since 2007, when he moved to Steamboat Springs. Growing up in Northwest Pennsylvania, Rob has been an avid angler from a young age and his experience and knowledge are far beyond his years. Rob is a co-owner of Steamboat Flyfisher and spends almost every day on the water either guiding or fishing on his own. Rob is also a very accomplished fly tyer and spey caster and offers private lessons to both the beginner and expert alike.

Keith Hale

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Hailing from just outside of Detroit, Keith made the move to Steamboat in the 80's in pursuit of powder. However, he soon learned that the summers provided more activities and quickly picked up fly fishing. Keith has been guiding fly fishing trips for over 15 years now and is the most highly requested guide. Great with beginners, great with advanced anglers, Keith's goal on the river is to teach and have fun. With endorsements from Winston Rods and Scientific Anglers, Keith is an icon in the fishing industry.

Wes Fout

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Westley Fout, originally from Illinois, moved west when he was a young boy. He grew up on the Colorado River near Glenwood Springs. It was there that his great grand father first took him fishing and it has been his passion ever since. After fishing all over the Roaring Fork Valley, the watershed of the Colorado, Frying Pan, Crystal, Roaring Fork and countless high mountain lakes and streams, Wes moved to Steamboat Springs in 2004. In search of big trout and fresh powder, he found both and has been home ever since. Wes loves teaching and sharing his vast knowledge of Routt County’s world class waters. First time fishers, kids and even the experienced angler will enjoy his patience, knowledge, enthusiasm, and sense of humor. Wes is always up for adventure, if he isn't guiding or skiing he can be found summer or winter somewhere in Routt County knee deep in water with a fly rod in his hand and a smile on his face.

Paul Russell

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Paul Russell, aka "Pablo" has been a guide for the Steamboat Flyfisher and the Steamboat Fishing Company for the past 16 years. Formerly from Michigan, and a graduate of the University of Denver in Biology, Paul has a wealth of knowledge about the river and aquatics. He is a creative fly-tyer and has several patterns sold nationally through The Umpqua Feather Merchants. His most notable pattern is the Pablo's Cripple. Paul is the owner of Yampa River Outfitters and is on the water an average of 250 days a year. He brings a wealth of experience to each trip.

Tim Widmer

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Tim Widmer is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and dedicated to his customers, three qualities that have helped him become one of the most highly requested guides. Tim has fished extensively throughout Rocky Mountain National Park and Northwestern Colorado. Whether floating or walk-wading, Tim's customers leave the day feeling excited and passionate about fly-fishing. In addition to guiding, Tim is an accomplished fly tier. With four patterns (Timmy’s Hopindicator, Terresticator, Cicadicator, and Timmy’s Nymphinator) sold through California based Solitude Fly Company, Tim clearly understands insect behavior.

Andy Best

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Andy has been fly fishing for about 20 years now since he first started out in his home state of WI where he chased trout, salmon, and steelhead on spring creeks, freestone rivers and tributaries of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. He has now spent the last 12 years in Steamboat fishing one of his favorite rivers, the Yampa. Andy is a very patient and informative guide. He is eager to teach every angler ability from novice to expert and enjoys spending the day on the river helping people catch fish.

Matt Hartsel

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Matt's love of fishing began as a youngster where he grew up fishing the streams, rivers, and ponds of southwestern Ohio. His love of skiing brought him to Colorado in 1999, when he began his long career as a ski patroller. After spending countless summer hours fly fishing the waters of Colorado's high country, he began guiding professionally in 2005. He has extensive experience guiding on the Colorado, Arkansas, South Platte, Blue, and now the Yampa River since moving to Steamboat in 2013. Matt is especially busy during float season when he happily spends his days on the river behind the oars of his drift boat. Clients enjoy his unique brand of humor as well as his laid back guiding style. They especially appreciate the way his innovative fly designs, decades of experience, and technical knowledge help them land the fish of their dreams!

John Livingston

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John grew up in Dallas, TX chasing bass at an early age. At the age of 10 he was exposed to fly fishing in the small town of Saratoga, WY on the North Platte River and has been an avid fly fishermen ever since. He decided to make guiding a full time gig in early 2013 when he moved to the natural state of Arkansas, where he guided for an outfitter and spent any spare time in his boat floating the White River. In search of a wild western river and the overall western experience, he made the move to Steamboat in the spring of 2015 to work for Steamboat Flyfisher. Since the move west, he has not looked back and continues to explore the valley whenever possible, and never without a fly rod in hand.

Doug Garber

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Doug grew up in Ohio and has lived in Steamboat for 25 years. He started fly fishing in the early 90's and has been guiding with Steamboat Flyfisher for 8 years. Doug loves being outside and being on the water. He enjoys taking people fishing of all ages and all skill levels. His biggest joy is seeing the smiles on clients faces at the end of each day.

Daniel Daffer

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Daniel came to the Yampa valley ten years ago, since then Daniel has spent almost all of his time fishing on our local waters. 
Raised in Tennessee, Daniel spent his summers working at North Lake outside of Memphis. Running lines for catfish, cutting his own cane poles and working in a bait shop. Fly Fishing isn't a hobby or pastime for Daniel, its just part of the day. The best part.

Damian Wells

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Damian grew up in Denver and learned to fly fish on the South Platte when he was about 10 years old, After learning to fish with nothing larger than a size 18 Brassie, Damian fell in love with dry fly fishing and still is always looking for a way to get fish to eat on top. When he moved to Steamboat to ski freestyle, he found the hidden gem of the Yampa. He loved being able to fish after work and workouts. He has worked on and off with the Steamboat Flyfisher as it evolved over the years in Steamboat. Continually coming back to work at the shop after guiding at lodges, ski coaching, college, and travels. Currently living and teaching school in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, enjoying the mountains and driving to the coast to chase redfish in the marshes. Damian comes back each summer to guide and fish the hidden gems of Steamboat.

Collin Hickey

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Colin was born and raised in Denver and grew up fishing the South Platte. He moved to Steamboat back in 2011 in search of good snow and good times but stayed for the fishing. When he’s not chasing trout or pike in the Yampa valley you can bet he’s on his next fishing adventure whether it be chasing steel head or exploring new trout waters. Colin is a patient, knowledgeable, and passionate guide who enjoys helping people hook into their next fish as much as he enjoys catching them himself.

Jesse Rapp

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Jesse was born and raised here in Steamboat Springs and grew up with the Yampa River steps from his door. Jesse's knowledge of local water and insects provide for exceptional days of fishing. Always quick with a couple of jokes and a bit of local history. Jesse's enthusiasm for fishing and the outdoors makes him a sure bet for a great day on the river. Fishing is Jesse's first passion, though an accomplished chef Jesse is eager to educate fellow anglers on the waters of Routt County, bring your appetite and you may find yourself picking wild berries and mushrooms for an afternoon snack.

Matt Moline

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Matt, born in Denver, grew up hunting and fishing the mountains of Colorado. After catching the fishing fever on the warm water fisheries of the front range, Matt moved to the mountains chasing bugling elk and hungry trout in the fall of 2008. He began his guiding career chasing elk, deer and antelope. After 5 years of guiding fly fishing on several rivers around the state including the Colorado, Eagle, Roaring Fork and Arkansas rivers, he settled in the Yampa valley in 2015. "I love everything this valley has to offer year round, from the outstanding fishing and hunting, to the unbelievable snow in the winter!" Guest service is a top priority with Matt. While on the water, you can expect a courteous knowledgeable guide and an exciting day, whether in a boat or wading from shore.

Nate Birdseye

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Nate Birdseye was raised in the small town of Tabernash and has been chasing trout in the streams and rivers of North Western Colorado since he was a young boy. He moved to Steamboat in the winter of 2012 to pursue fly fishing, elk hunting, and skiing. Whether it’s teaching a first time fly fisher or guiding an experienced angler, Nate loves sharing his passion for the sport with others. He is a patient, enthusiastic instructor and loves seeing others succeed in fly fishing.

Hunter Thompson

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Hunter grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Since moving to Steamboat in 2011, he has been devoting his time to the rivers and mountains we are so fortunate to have in our back yard. He has a deep knowledge of the sport and his clear and concise teaching techniques enable him to work well with anglers of all skill levels. He enjoys the challenge and reward of guiding. His clients often remark on his patience and kindness. When he’s not guiding you can find him down in the canyon running whitewater on his raft or skiing Steamboat’s champagne powder. Nothing makes Hunter happier than the smile of a client after a successful day on the water.

Alice Tesar

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Alice grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes (she'll tell you there are actually 11,842 of them). She spent her summers guiding wilderness canoe trips in Northern Ontario and Quebec where she learned to fly fish. Returning to Minneapolis for a brief stint in advertising she heard the call of western trout streams and moved to Steamboat Springs in 2015. When she isn't guiding or working in the shop she’s fishing or skiing in the high country with her husband and young son. You may also recognize Alice from her monthly articles on Gink and Gasoline. When you’re on the water with Alice you can expect stories, patience, and attention to detail in all aspects of the guided experience.