“You are so motivated to make sure the trip goes smoothly, because you know that the organs of these two kids are now going to save the lives of more than just a handful of other kids.”
Reeling in the biggest trout you've ever seen
Stand in a trout stream holding a fly rod for as many hours and days as the patience of your partner back home and the indulgence of your boss, employees or stockholders will permit. Sooner or later, you'll catch a spotted porpoise of a fish so improbably outsized for the shallow confines of the freshwater creek where it swims that you won't believe it.
Neither would Landon Mayer, if he were with you. Still, he'd probably ask, "Dude, what took you so long?" Not that he wouldn't share your exuberance. No, what this 30-something wunderkind fly-fishing guide would mean is that there really wasn't much luck involved at all. You were in the right place at the right time and you made all the right moves. The monster brown or rainbow trout you're holding into the clear current so it can catch its breath before you release it is proof-even if you're not entirely sure what you did to deserve it.
"I think of large trout almost as a different species," said Mayer, who calls Colorado's South Platte River in Pike National Forest his home water. "They move differently. They behave differently. To catch them, you have to understand all this."
Big trout are Mayer's specialty. He haunts hard-pressed public rivers and a few secret spots of his own with a remarkable ability to see, approach stealthily and hook huge fish. He does it routinely. He doesn't even talk about all the five-pounders; it takes a 10-pounder to really get his attention. Landon has a knack for figuring out what the big trout in a favorite stretch of stream are guaranteed to be feeding on during which season. He even reads their body language. And he has developed a special method of casting his flies to the fish called the "dotted-line" technique that he swears by.
"To catch giants," Mayer said, "you have to hunt them. There's no greater adrenaline rush than sighting one of these monsters holding in clear water, and then watching it turn to eat your fly."
Longest runway: 10,002 ft
FBOs: Denver jetCenter, (303) 790-4321;
Signature Flight Support, (303) 799-8388;
TACAir, (303) 790-2575
Denver International (DEN)
Longest runway: 16,000 ft
FBO: Signature Flight Support, (303) 342-5600
Front Range (FTG)
Longest runway: 8,000 ft
FBO: Front Range Airport, (800) 654-9136
Rocky Mountain Metropolitan (BJC)
Longest runway: 9,000 ft
FBOs: Denver Air Center, (800) 525-8139;
Colorado Springs-area Airports
Stevens Aviation, (800) 824-1938
Colorado Springs East (A50)
Longest runway: 4,500 ft
FBO: Ellicott Flying Service, (719) 683-2701
Colorado Springs Municipal (COS)
Longest runway: 13,501 ft
FBOs: Colorado Jet Center, (877) 853-7523;
Cutter Aviation, (719) 591-2065
Meadow Lake (00V)
Longest runway: 6,000 ft
FBOs: American Aviation, (719) 683-2547;
Blue Sky Aviation, (719) 683-5997;
Classic Air, (719) 683-2202
Flyfisher's Guide to Colorado,
by Marty Bartholomew,
Wilderness Adventures Press (
Booking a Trip
Landon Mayer Fly Fishing (