Q & A with the professional guides of 5280 Angler

The nature of a Colorado fly fishing trip, from the booking process, to the flow of communication on the river, is naturally human. When you book a guided trip, you’re choosing to spend a day on the water with a real person who has chosen to make fly fishing their profession. In light of this fundamental truth, we’ve chosen to shine a little more (spot)light on the people who make the team at 5280 Angler. We’re proud of our well over 100 years of collective experience on the water, and we’re even more proud to say we’re the kind of people, that people like to fish with.


Colorado Fly Fishing Guide Geno

5280 Angler Lead Guide Gene Rea

Q. Where have you been fishing/guiding lately?
A. Lately, I’ve been spending time relearning the South Platte at Deckers. The abnormally high flows of last year altered the stream geology a bit. The river has been fishing well in spite of the changes. Seeing a lot of molts from the small brown stoneflies, lot’s of excellent baetis and midge hatches coming off the river. Top water action has been better than average for BWO’s.
Q. How many years have you been guiding professionally?
A. I’ve been guiding professionally for 11 years.
Q.What is your favorite part about guiding/the thing that keeps you coming back year after year or day in and day out all season long?
A. It’s definitely the clients! Yeah, of course we love to fish – otherwise we wouldn’t be out there, but it’s the friendships I have established with repeat clients and the new friendships I form with new clients that keeps me going!
Q. You have lots of shops and outfitters to chose from. What makes guiding for 5280 Angler special?
A. Well, I think the single most important feature that makes us a top notch guide service is that we are foremost; teachers! A day on the water with us is an educational experience. We are not only there to help you catch fish, but also to teach you all the details that go into catching those fish, such as; Rigging the rods, selecting flies (entomology), reading water, sighting fish, fighting fish, and giving you not only the knowledge, but also the confidence to repeat that success on your own.
Q. Have you been tying any flies lately? Which patterns and why?
A. Yes, for me, tying is a never ending process. I tie year-round. Lately, I have been tying a lot of baetis, midge, and Stonefly patterns because that is what the fish are primarily feeding on this time of the year. I am also tying more caddis as we are on the leading edge of the caddis season.
Q. How did you get your start into the profession? What do you find the most rewarding/challenging? Do you have any advice for the guy or girl reading this who is considering a leap into the profession?
A. Okay, let’s see – I just enjoyed hanging out at the fly shops in my area, getting to know the shop staff and the guides. Helping out with evening, and streamside classes, which eventually lead to an opportunity to shadowing a couple of guides on actual guided trips. I guess they liked my style, and the way I interacted with clients, because soon after – I got an opportunity to guide clients of my own. It’s been an awesome ride since then… What I find most rewarding is the joy I bring to my clients, helping them to catch and land their first trout on a fly rod. Also, solidifying the friendships I have made with clients over the years.  The most challenging aspect of my job is taking a bad day on the water and turning it into a success.  Sometimes the fish aren’t biting, it happens, but we can still make it an educational and fun experience.  For anyone wanting to become a professional fly fishing guide, I say this, go for it!  I have a rather diverse background, I’ve done a lot of things, but I wouldn’t give this up for all the tea in China.  You will love the view from your office, clients are wonderful people – I’ve had a lot of laughs with my clients!
Q. What is your favorite stretch of water to guide?
A. There is a lot of great water that we guide. If I had to pick one stretch, it would have to be the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. Man, I love taking clients in there in the summer with wet/wade gear, ultra-light fly rods, a box of dries and a ton of hungry trout that love a meadow hopper!
Q. What is the one trick you find yourself teaching guests on almost a trip-by-trip basis?
A. Hmmm…I guess it would be how to tie a clinch knot with my forceps in about three seconds. Awesome technique when you have cold, numb fingers!
Q. What is one word you would use to describe the current condition of your guide pack?
A. Ragged!!
Q. If you had to pick just one, would it be THE DRAKE or FLY FISHERMAN MAGAZINE. Why?
A. I am partial to Fly Fisherman Magazine. I like the features, they appeal more to what I enjoy reading. A lot of technique is presented in the articles.
Q. What are you most often listening to on the way to and from the water?
A. Either classical guitar, or country.

Gene has been with 5280 Angler since the very beginning. Check out GENO’S BIO!

5280 Angler Fishing Guide

Geno and guest Tommy on the hunt for big browns!

To book a trip with Gene Rea, CONTACT US today!

5280 Angler