Trouts: 2016 has come and gone, what was your most memorable moment from the 2016 fishing/guiding season?
SD: 2016 was an awesome year on the water. One of my coolest moments from the season was helping 2 young clients with a school project. These guys are in middle school and they designed small strike indicators out of wine corks. They cut and carved them so they were easy to adjust, floated well, and didn’t mess with casting or mending. I enjoy seeing our future anglers being so creative and passionate about the sport I love. We fished their indicators on the Dream and they worked great.
Trouts: Scott it is no secret that sometimes guiding can be tough. However, you continue to get the job done with people of all skill levels. Not a lot of people can say that. What is your approach to teaching people at different levels about all the different aspects of fly fishing?
SD: Each client is different, so guiding/teaching is really based on skill sets. With beginners I start slow and once I see they're comfortable with one aspect I add something new. I’m a visual learner, so I’m most comfortable describing/showing clients what I want them to do. Throughout our time on the water I’m in their ear correcting and encouraging. It’s very satisfying watching someone improve throughout the day. Once we start putting fish in the net and seeing the results from our efforts, people start to see the “big picture” with all the different aspects involved. They start to understand the many nuances of fly fishing.
With the more experienced anglers I tend to watch and listen. Many anglers realize they have certain areas they need to work on and will ask for help. Everyone has room for improvement and I feel good when I can share little tips or hints that lead to getting better throughout the day. Being on the water is a great classroom and I find lots of days where I’m learning just as much from the clients as they are learning from me.
Trouts: What are the two most common mistakes you see from clients when on a trip and how do you correct them?
SD: By far the most common mistake from clients is targeting an area far away before working the water in front of them. Everyone loves to cast, but sometimes you have fish right in front of you. By casting over fish you run the risk of spooking them. If I’m spotting fish close I generally will try and position the client where they can see them. Many times, people just don’t realize that fish are so close.
Another common mistake is the hook set. Fish for the most part are always facing up stream. I want people to do a quick downstream hook-set. People get excited and when they get a strike, and react by setting the hook all over the place. I try to explain that if you’re not setting downstream you run the risk of pulling the flies right out of the fish's mouth.
Trouts: If you had to guide on one river for the rest of your life (I know… that’s a super long time) what river would it be? And why?
SD: I’d have to say the Colorado River. The Colorado is so diverse, it’s small and easy to wade up high, and the lower river is big water perfect for floating. Over a course of a day you may be nymphing, throwing dries, or stripping streamers. Fishing it from RMNP all the way down past Rifle would give me endless options if I only had one river
Trouts: When you aren’t guiding what is your favorite place to fish when you have a day to yourself?
SD: I love Cheeseman Canyon. It can be tough up there but can be very rewarding. I’ve had days hiking out feeling like a champ, but I’ve also had days where I’ve hiked out with my tail between my legs. It’s challenging, technical, picturesques, and has some solid fish. It’s an awesome place and will always have a special value to me.
Trouts: As we are in the slow season from a guides perspective, Do you have any trips planned during the winter/spring before your season cranks back up?
SD: I’ll be doing my annual Keys trip in April. It’s a few days of fishing for whatever will eat. Last year my buddies and I caught Tarpon, Barracuda, Sharks, Permit, and Jacks. The only time I wasn’t casting is when I was asleep.
Trouts: What are your goals for 2017? Anything that sticks out to you?
SD: A personal goal of mine for 2017 is to drink more water. Cruising rivers every day I often forget to stay hydrated. I’ve had a few too many dull headaches at the end of the day from being dehydrated. Another goal is to guide more of our Frisco waters. When we opened shop in Summit County last year it doubled the water we have access to. I love the Upper Colorado, the Ark, and Eagle and look forward to spending more time on those rivers.
Trouts: What is your favorite species to target on the fly?
SD: I like anything that pulls, but I have to say Tarpon are my favorite. I still have quite a few fish that I’ve never caught. I always like the challenge of targeting and trying to figure out what it’ll take to catch em.
Trouts: If you had to choose 1 fly to guide/fish with for the entire year, what would it be?
SD: A worm. They work well in almost every river I fish. I wish it was a hopper, but there aren’t many fish looking up for hoppers during the winter. If I’ve said it once I’ll say it a thousand times all fish love worms.
Trouts: When you aren’t guiding/fishing what are you most likely doing? What are some things you’d like us to know beyond the fly fishing world?
SD: When I’m not guiding I’ll be hanging out with the family. They’re the loves of my life. I have an amazing wife who helps me a ton. She juggles getting our boys( 9 and 7) to and from school and sports, makes sure we’re all set for lunches during the week, all while still working nonstop as a Realtor. We have lots of fun together. Travel, sports, games, biking, rafting, camping, fishing we generally do everything together.
Trouts: Everyone around the shop knows you’re a Seatle Seahawks fan in the middle of Broncos Country. Do you have a Super Bowl pick?
SD: Now that it’s just Atlanta and New England remaining the NFL in my eyes is done for the year. I’ll assume you’re talking about next year so I predict the Seattle Super Seahawks beat the Chiefs 63 to 9 in Super Bowl 52.