Shannon Outing is a fly fishing guide and photographer in Colorado. A guide for Taylor Creek Fly Shops, she’s also a pro for companies including Loon Outdoors, Sage, Boulder Boat Works, and Umpqua. Outing recently took on an interview with The Venturing Angler:
Why do you guide where you do?
When I was in college I didn’t have the intention of becoming a guide, but happened upon it as a career out of luck, really. Most of my childhood was spent in Colorado, but I moved to Bozeman, Montana, for school. That’s where I immersed myself in fishing and found it to be something that I really loved. Later, I moved back to Colorado to finish my college education, studying professional photography at Colorado Mountain College in the Roaring Fork Valley. Looking for a summer job, I identified Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt as the best fly shop in the valley and a great place to work, and I had become close to the folks there. They weren’t hiring shop employees then, but they saw my potential before I did and pushed me to become a guide. Now six years later, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else! Colorado and the Roaring Fork Valley have always had a big part in my life – when I was a kid my grandparents owned a home in Aspen that I visited often – and I have grown and learned so much as an angler, oarsman and guide here. Although I am still early in my career as a guide, I hope this journey takes me on many adventures guiding around the world!
What is your favorite fish species?
This is not an easy question for me, but an obvious answer has to be trout. I’ve grown up chasing these fish and have grown into the angler I am because of them. Still, redfish and bass are close contenders. It’s tough to identify one “favorite” because there are so many places on this earth I have yet to explore and different species of fish to catch.
What is your favorite thing about guiding?
I love guiding because I’m able to be outside every day teaching people what I know about fly fishing, and sharing my love for the outdoors with them. I have met so many wonderful people and made some incredible friendships, both with clients and other guides. Most of these friendships wouldn’t exist without me having met so many incredible people through guiding.
What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?
I’ve had so many amazing trips with some amazing clients. It’s difficult to cite one trip as being the most memorable, because so many of them have been great. The best feelings I’ve had in guiding have been getting beginners on their first fish and seeing their excitement, and teaching small tricks to clients that help them succeed in the future (watching the lightbulb go off in their heads).
What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?
That most people don’t know what to do when they need to go to the bathroom out in nature! They often look at me funny when I point out a tree or bush! I also had a client who had no clue how to use bug spray.
What makes your guide service great?
We are always going to have a good day with smiles on our faces. I love to teach beginners as well as experienced anglers. (You never know what us young folk can teach ya!) And I always try to rub off some of my fishing habits onto people. One of my favorite clients told me that when he is out fishing on his own and is struggling, he asks himself, “What would Shannon do in this situation?” I love to hear that what I teach may stay with someone and help them succeed down the road.
If you have only one day off all year, where would you fish and what fish would you target?
I would definitely head to the saltwater, since I’m surrounded by mountains year-round. I love chasing redfish, so that is what I would target, but really anywhere on the coast on a boat would make me happy!
What are your favorite three flies?
This is a tough one for sure, but I’d have to go with a few amazing local patterns. Let’s say the Autumn Splendor tied by Tim Heng, and The Roy Boy by Roy Palm. These flies and people hold a special place in my heart, and I love how effective these patterns can be for some of my favorite local fishing.
What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?
Polarized sunglasses and a hat. I don’t see how people can fish at all without these essential pieces of gear!
Do you have any other passions?
I am a professional photographer, so you can guarantee on our trips that you’ll be getting some sweet shots of fish! I mostly photograph the fishing lifestyle, since that’s my main passion, but I also love to shoot landscapes and fly my drone to get different photographic perspectives. You can always count on me to have a camera by my side!
To check out more from Shannon Outing, please click here.
And you can also follow her on Instagram here.