Steamboat Flyfisher has traversed several storefront locations over its more than a decade long morphology. From its Old Town Square digs to its newer, plusher location on Yampa Street, the shop today sits a rollcast away from the Yampa River, where across the street you can peer over the bridge railing, break out your rod, and fish more than 6 miles of bike-accessible public water through Steamboat’s meandering core.
Shop co-owners Steve Henderson and Tim Kirkpatrick have ran Steamboat Flyfisher since spring 2005. Henderson says the new 2,000+ square foot retail space, with bar-style counter space and a wall-mounted flatscreen blaring the latest scores and highlights, was designed with “inviting” elements in mind.
“Anyone can come in, sit down, and we can talk about the vast amounts of fishing in the area—both public as well as guided trips on private water,” Henderson says.
Private access. Shudder. Yes, the Yampa Valley is rife with it, but if you have the means to play the shop has prime leases in the area.
“People are always wondering why there is so much private access, or private water on the Yampa,” Henderson says. “But if you look at Colorado as a whole, and the history of what makes land private vs. what makes it public, it stems way back to the landgrab days. If you could grow a cow on anything, somebody wanted it and they homesteaded it.”
Contemporary homesteaders seem less concerned with cows, however, and more set on planting “rustic summer cabins” on some of the best real estate in town. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options, Henderson says. Within an hour of Steamboat proper you have the Routt National Forest, Mount Zirkel Wilderness, the Flat Tops Wilderness, and myriad high-alpine lakes and streams loaded with wild brookies and cutts.
As for the Yampa and its deserved private, pay-to-play stigma, there’s plenty of open water to be found. Just grab a map, do your homework, and pop in the shop to say hello. Steamboat Flyfisher comes equipped with the recommended flies, as well info on where to fish them.
“Fish a Hair’s Ear. It always works,” Henderson quips.
For more information on kids and adults fishing schools, fly tying clinics—and more—see steamboatflyfisher.com