Spend a few minutes chatting with Steven Armijo and you quickly learn some of the qualities that make up this young man: valuing family, respecting nature, and connecting with people (even though he also loves his solo trips to get up to some cutthroats in the high alpine lakes).
Steven was born in California but grew up on the plains just east of Colorado Springs in Falcon, Colorado. When he reminisces about fishing with his dad and grandfather, he recalls how they both nurtured in him the “soul of an angler.” The old photos he has on his cell phone of fishing Elevenmile Canyon with his grandfather are evidene of his roots in fly fishing and family. He has searched out those same streamside boulders, right there at Messenger Gulch, where the photos were taken. He learned to tie flies when he was 12 years old — and has the first fly he tied kept safe in a fly box (a fly he retired after catching a handful of fish on it). The roots run deep.
Over breakfast, Steven talked about the “angling values” that his father and grandfather instilled in him: treat wildlife with respect, be respectful of others on the river, practice the “simple niceties” when out in nature. He brings these same values into the world with him — whether he is fishing with other veterans (Steven served in the Air Force) or helping customers get started in this adventure of fly fishing. One of the reasons he wanted to work at Angler’s Covey is because it’s not just a fly shop -- but a learning center. And learning isn’t just about casting techniques or reading the river. Part of being a learning center, Steven says, “is to instill good values from the start” when it comes to fly fishing.
When it comes to getting people started in fly fishing or helping them grow as anglers, Steven says his role is to help others enjoy and learn from each experience at the river.
“You can never perfect everything in fly fishing.” Some days, those double-digit fish days, you might feel like this is “so easy.” The next day, fly fishing is a humbling experience. “I like those humbling days,” he says. "It’s kind of like you’re striving for perfection that you will never achieve."
When he talks with customers in the shop, Steven wants them to have a unique experience. “When you fly fish, you are very focused: choosing a fly pattern, making the cast, getting the drift right. I want people to have that same focused, personalized experience even when they are in the shop.”
So if you’re new to the sport or looking to expand your experience, come on in and say hello to Steven. Or more likely — he’ll be greeting you when you first walk into the Shop.
301 Fly Tying with Greg Blessing: Colorado Guide flies, Part 1
Fy Tying with Juan Ramirez. Caddis