When you talk with Greg Blessing about fly fishing and guiding in Colorado, it’s like talking with a neighbor you run into at the grocery store. The conversation comes so easy and you realize that the man has a huge history. He has definitely seen some changes over the 25 or so years he has been doing this. And like the neighbor who has been firmly rooted in the area over all that time, you can’t help but hear the passion in his voice.
Greg started guiding in 1986 and went full-time with it in 1990. When I asked him about the changes over those 25 years with guiding, he said that the clients can come to a trip now with so much more knowledge than in 1990. “They can find out so much now from the internet – about casting, about the local area … even about the guides they’ll have.”
And things have evolved for the better in some of our local fisheries. Although the Dream Stream has changed with more fishing pressure, upper Elevenmile Canyon is holding bigger and more fish than in the past. And Deckers has turned the corner and is fishing really well again after the 2002 Hayman Fire.
As the popularity of the sport has increased, other changes have happened out on the rivers, too. “it’s more crowded, for sure, and we have to share the water differently.” Greg says that guides have learned how to share knowledge and be better stewards when they’re out.
The challenge is still on for the guide, though, to make the trip a great experience and to provide an opportunity to learn. “We all get into fly fishing for the challenge, right? Same for guiding. I want people to get the passion for fly fishing that I had when I first picked up a rod.” Greg’s first rod and fly tying kit was a Christmas present he received in 1966. “Now, my passion is for teaching.”
Greg spends a lot of time talking with clients about presentation. With dry fly fishing, it’s relatively easy to know if the drift is right. It’s not quite as easy with nymphing, and part of the guide’s role is to teach the client about where to position him or herself, casting strategies, and the physics of a two- or three-fly rig drifting under water. “This is a life long learning type of thing,” Greg says. “But that’s part of the beauty.”
Greg Blessing is the senior guide at Angler’s Covey and conversations with him are like talking to the guy on your block who has been in the neighborhood from the start. Oh, and Happy Birthday to Sage, Greg's awesome dog, who turns 10 years old today. Sage doesn't go anywhere without Greg.
If you’d like to schedule a trip with Greg, check our Guide’s website or call the shop at (719) 471-2984.
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Orvis 201 Streamside