Matt McCannel of RIGS Adventure CO is a guide who takes on the waters of Southern Colorado. Employing a number of strategies, McCannel is well-known for carrying a ladder along the river to get a good view of big browns holding in deep holes. McCannel recently sat down to take on some questions for the Venturing Angler:
Why do you guide where you do?
Because it is a challenge. Getting clients into very selective and spooky fish is not an easy task, and that is why I guide at PACO (Pa-Co-Chu-Puk State Park on the Uncompahgre River). The thrill of the hunt is what keeps me going.
What is your favorite fish species?
Tough one, but I would have to say trout. That is my passion and what I know but permit would be a very close second.
What is your favorite thing about guiding?
Being outside every day, learning new things about fish and the places they live, and sharing my knowledge of the sport with my great clients.
What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?
I have had a lot of clients land great fish, but a good client by the name of Gene S. and I hunted a fish for a few years. One day we finally found her in a great spot. It only took three cast, the first one was my bad as I didn’t have the weight correct. The second drift was a foot to the left, but the third was perfect. The moment that we both saw her mouth open that you could have fit a soft ball in was amazing. The battle lasted for twenty one minutes. But it ended with a 21 pound wild brown in the net.
What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?
A client and I had been watching a 15 pounder for the better part of the day when he finally moved into the right seam line for a shot. I told my client, “OK it’s time put the fly were we talked about”. He slowly crawled a few feet away and threw up everything he had eaten that day. Then he came back over and said he was good to go.
What makes your guide service great?
Well my program for hunting these giants is unique. I get strange looks when carrying a ladder up and down the river. It is not for everyone. It will test the nerves, patience and skill of even the most accomplished angler. I don’t guarantee anything, but even to see a 15 pound trout is something most people will only dream about.
If you had only one day off all year, where would you fish and what fish would you target?
Palometa Club in Ascension Bay for permit
What are your favorite three flies?
Hell Razor Leech, Hell Razor Crawdad, and the Neon Nightmare Midge.
What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?
My Fishpond mid-length boat net. It is the perfect size for walk wading and you can put a big ass fish in it.
Do you have any other passions?
Nope, just getting people in to the fish of a life time.
To check out more from Matt McCannel and RIGS Adventure CO, please click here.