VIDEO: COLORADO | Tales From The Craft EP - 06 | Fly fishing with Landon Mayer and Riversmith

VIDEO: COLORADO | Tales From The Craft EP - 06 | Fly fishing with Landon Mayer and Riversmith

In this episode of Tales From The Craft, we join Kevin on his first solo filming trip with Flycraft. We venture up into Colorado to meet with Landon Mayer and the team from Riversmith.

Check it out:


Hello and welcome back to Tail From the Craft. My name's Kevin Landren. I'm the photographer here at Flycraft. This is episode six, Colorado, and in this series we take a look back at some of the amazing fishing trips that I've been able to do with a few of our pros here at Flycraft.

Today's episode is a little bit different. Today's episode is filled with a whole bunch of chaos and mistakes and I end up in some places that I absolutely did not expect because this was my first solo trip with Flycraft. Obviously things didn't go according to plan pretty much at all. What happened first is I left on this trip from Salt Lake City and drove probably about nine hours up into northern Colorado area to meet up with Landon. By the time I got there, I had a voicemail from Landon saying this"

"Hey, Kevin, Landon here. I hate to say man, but I've got some bad news. Looks like we've got a storm from moving into the valley with high winds and heavy rain. We're going to have to postpone getting out on the water for at least a few days until it passes. Then after that, we'll crush it."

Thankfully, I heard from Landon just in time to avoid running into all of these huge storms. I drove another six or seven hours down south to Ouray, Colorado.

Ended up spending the next three days while the storm was raging up north, goofing off with Caden and playing with film cameras. I had recently gotten into shooting film photography and trying to bring old analog film cameras with me on all of my Flycraft trips just to learn how to use them while I'm also using my regular cameras. And so it was really fun to hang out with Caden and he took me through some really incredible slot canyons and some really beautiful, just pristine mountains with these amazing red rocks and rushing rivers that you get to repel through over waterfalls and stuff. And he actually had me come out and guide some of his clients, even though I have basically no knowledge at all about canyoneering, but it was a really fun way to spend the few days that I had off from fishing to just goof off and see what I could do with these film cameras.

And it was really fun because I brought a waterproof film camera that we were able to take through the canyons with us. I'm really happy with how these images came out. We then took a tour through the Million Dollar Highway. I was able to shoot with my dad's old camera that he had in college, brought some film in Caden, took me to this really incredible, but also very Gross River called the Amp Pare, and it's got a whole bunch of mining chemicals and old metals that rush through it, and so I think Amp pare in whatever language it's in means dirty water or something like that, and it's just this crazy looking vibrant orange River, but super beautiful and super fun to photograph. We went out and wandered through the Red Mountains and I really got to see some amazing parts of Colorado that honestly I didn't even know existed, and it was really fun to be able to be out there and just shoot it on film and see what kind of images I could create with it.

Finally, after the storm had passed, I was able to head back up north and meet up with Landon. Once I was able to make it back up north, I realized just how cold Colorado can be. I woke up with Frost completely covering everything, all of the batteries and my cameras were way dead and I had to recharge them in the middle of the morning. But then I met up with Landon and fishing with Landon is probably the most unique experience of fishing that I've had so far.

Landon is, how do I put this? Landon is the most incredibly passionate angler and guide that I think I've ever worked with. When he sets out to guide his clients into fish, it's like he is on the one yard line, fourth in goal. He's so dialed in that there's really nothing else in his mind other than "how can I get my clients to have the best possible fishing experience that I can give them today with the tools that I have at my disposal?"

He looks at and analyzes everything. He's always just so present with what's going on in the boat, what's going on around him, what the water's doing, what the wind is doing, what every single tiny aspect of his world is, what cues he's getting from the environment about where to be, when to be there, what they need to do with their rigging, and it's such an incredible experience to watch him work and I was basically just in an inner tube being towed behind him while he was guiding his clients on the river, and it was so fun to be able to just sit back kind of in the passenger seat and watch Landon just go through his routine of how he gets his clients into fish. He makes it such a unique experience to see what it is when a guide is truly dedicated into providing the absolute best service that he can, you just know that he loves it.

There's always a smile on his face. There's always a huge grin. He's always giving high fives. He's always just so excited about everything he does because you can tell that he absolutely loves it. This is where he's the happiest. This is why he makes such a good guide because he's just as excited about getting you into fish as if he was getting them for himself. Honestly, I think he probably enjoys getting his clients into fish more than he enjoys catching fish himself, and that's why he's such an incredible guy, and I was so excited to be able to get out and learn from him and see his whole process and being able to have the opportunity to shoot out in this wilderness of Colorado where obviously I got completely distracted by all the amazing birds that were around. I know that it's my job to go out and film fly fishing and our boats, but every time that there's a bird, honestly, I just can't help myself. I want to take pictures of the birds,

But once I got off the water with Landon, I had a day or so to just burn essentially, and so I wandered into the closest little town of Selita and once again, just wandered around with my dad's old film camera and kind of shot the city of Selita. It's not really a city, it's a very small town, but it's a really beautiful town and honestly, I would love to live there someday, but these are a few of the images that I shot while I was just kind of essentially wasting time out there in Colorado. It's never a waste of time in Colorado. It's always so beautiful out there. Eventually I was able to link up with Mike O'Shaughnessy, who is the sales manager down at River Smith. I drove up north again, I think by this time I had spent well over 36 hours of just driving time, and I was getting pretty tired behind the wheel, but I then made my way out to Denver to meet up with Mike and he had a buddy that he wanted to introduce me to.

So I rolled into his place around three or four in the morning, crashed on his couch, and then bright and early the very next day, we went out and started fishing again. Mike introduced me to his friend and guide that they'd been fishing together for a few years and neither of them had ever rode the Flycraft, and so we kind of wanted to just give them the boat completely blind and see how they felt about it, get their true and honest opinion. So after knowing Mike and his friend for a grand total of three or four hours, we loaded up the boats, drove 'em out, and they took me on a really beautiful stretch of the Colorado River where this felt like it was not truly work. This was almost more just me having an incredibly fun time with some new friends out on the river, seeing what kind of trouble we could get into.

I shot some really fun images and it was a really fun experience to be able to fly the drone while I was filming with them. They were really, really comfortable rowing the boat and getting it into the exact position that I needed, and so I felt super confident just being able to fly the drone along the line of the river, and honestly, this cheap little drone that I'm shooting with this day is so much fun. It gives these really beautiful light flares where you get this sweep of color kind of rainbowy cast that gets shot across the images, and it's just so much fun. It's a tiny little $200 drone that honestly, it almost gets blown away in the wind every time I put it up. I think this trip out in Colorado, I was able to really learn a lot more about how to slow down and how to take your time when you're photographing or videoing fly fishing in finding those angles that make the rock in the river just as beautiful as they can be.

That's honestly my favorite part about this job is being able to slow down and just look at the scenes around me and witness the amazing anglers that we get to spend time with out on the river because they always teach me so much and they always show me such a new, beautiful area that I've never been to, and it's such an incredible opportunity to be able to photograph that and try and distill that experience down into a video that you guys get to see here on YouTube or just whatever comes of it, whatever pictures we can create or whatever memories can come of it. I'm so stoked that this trip to Colorado ended up happening the way it did because there were so many problems that were so many roadblocks that I ran into. Nothing went the way that it was originally planned, and we always just kind of had to make the best out of whatever situation came up. I think because of that, these images and the videos that were created from Colorado are some of my absolute favorites.

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Tales from the Craft. We've got a few more of these episodes coming out, going over a number of other trips that I've been on. We're going to go up to Montana, we're going to go down to Mexico. We've got a whole bunch of these that are going to be coming out over the next few months, and so I'm really excited to share 'em with you guys.