Flylords caught up with Matt McCannel a full-time year-round fly fishing guide in Southern Colorado to learn a little more about how he rigs for success on Colorado trout streams. Check out the interview below with Matt to learn how to rig like a pro as Matt’s shows us his recipe for rigging for Colorado rivers.

*Tune in on Monday May 4th at 6:00 PM MST as we go live with Matt to discuss technical rigging and guiding in Southern Colorado.*

Flylords: Who is Matt McCannel?

Matt: I guide in the Gunnison Gorge and on the Uncompaghre River tailwater section “Paco” for RIGS Fly Shop in Ridgway, CO.  I have been guiding full time now for the past 15 years.  I have had my share of ups and downs in this game for sure, but guiding is what keeps me focused and pushing the envelope.  There is nothing I love more than spending hours pursuing double-digit trout with my great clients.

Flylords: How has COVID impacted you?

Matt: These past few months have hit all guides very hard. I have been very fortunate to have projects to keep my mind from completely going crazy.  With that said I have not taken a guide trip for almost two months.  The amount of income that I have lost is very scary. Clients that have had trips on the books for more than a year are now looking at dates for 2021, which is great but that will make this year a bit leaner.  My greatest fear moving forward is that -are people going to be traveling this summer?

Flylords: What are some of the river systems you fish?

Matt: I am fortunate to guide in the Gunnison Gorge. This place is wild and should be at the top of any angler’s list for an amazing multi-day adventure in the lower 48.  Yes, the Gorge is a great experience, but my passion is sight fishing to very large fish at Paco.  I absolutely love the game that is played out every day on the water there.  A client and I may sit down and watch a fish for hours making a plan before a cast is attempted.  This is a very intense game that really makes me think and it is hard as hell.  That is what makes is so fun for me personally.

Flylords: Number one rigging mistake new anglers make?

Matt: I would say that most anglers are very inconsistent with there rigging. Anglers need to be consistent when rigging say a multi fly nymphing rig.  I will always have my flies 14 inches apart most of the time.  By doing this and having my weight always 12 inches from my first fly I will always have a consistent sink rate.  If my weight is 14 inches from my first fly the flies won’t be where I need them.

Flylords: One rigging tip for anglers?

Matt: When it comes to rigging don’t be lazy. Check those knots and if something in the system is wrong, fix it.  The worst thing in our world is knowing you had a small knot in your tippet and the next cast you hook that monster but snap it off do to that one little saps of judgment.

Flylords: Can you share with us some of your rigging setups?

TailwatersTop to Bottom Extract: 

Tailwaters Top to Bottom Extract
SA Absolute Hard Monofilament, SA Micro Swivel, SA Absolute Fluorocarbon, SA Tippet Ring, SA Absolute Fluorocarbon.

Large Dry Fly Rigging Setup:

SA Absolute Mono Leader, SA Tippet Ring, SA Absolute Monofilament.
Large Dry Fly Rigging
SA Absolute Monofilament

Flylords: If you could only bring one spool of tippet on the water with you year-round what would it be?

Matt: Scientific Anglers Absolute Fluorocarbon in 5X.

If you are interested in booking a trip with Matt be sure to reach out to RIGS Fly Shop, which is the shop he guides out of in Ridgway, Colorado. Or go to his website, which is Be sure to check him out on Instagram at @mattmccannelflyfishing.

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