Scott Fairbanks has been fishing the Rocky Mountain West for 35 years and has lived in Mesa County for nearly 20. Scott’s grandfather instilled in him an interest in fly fishing and tying as a child, when the two often spent whole days fishing together in Idaho. Influenced by his “do-it-yourself” upbringing, Scott began tying his own flies in 1995 and enjoys the sense of satisfaction he gets from catching fish on something he made himself. Scott, who has learned from several mentors throughout the years, is always grateful and appreciative to learn more about fly fishing and tying and enjoys passing that knowledge on to others. He still fishes at least once a month.
Art has been an important part of Bill Fenstermaker’s life since he was a child, and when he was eight, his grandfather decided to challenge his creativity by introducing him to fly fishing and fly tying. These two pursuits ran side by side for several years, throughout the mid 80s, when Bill worked as a guide and commercial fly tyer for various shops in the Denver metro area.
Bill moved to the Western Slope in 1995 and took the position of plant manager at Whiting Farms, a national hackle producer and distributor based in Delta. During his five-year tenure there, he helped institute the Whiting Farms Pro Team, of which he is still a proud member. Currently, Bill is self-employed as a wildlife artist and custom fly tyer and also serves as president of Grand Valley Anglers in Grand Junction.
Dawn Gwin grew up in Manitou Springs and joined the U.S. Navy Reserves in 1988, moving into active duty in 1990. For the next several years, she served as a corpsman, traveling the world and serving in combat. In light of those experiences, Dawn became active in Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Recreation Therapy at the Grand Junction VA in 2010. Since then, she has taken on the roles of co-lead in 2012 and program lead in 2013 for Project Healing Waters Grand Junction. She has taught fly tying for four years at the annual competition and fundraiser, Battle of Boxwood, and placed fourth in 2013 and second in 2014 at the Project Healing Waters Fly Tying Competition for the International Fly Tying Symposium. On any given day, Dawn can be found on the local waters fishing with flies she has personally tied.
Jim Patton, a native of Boulder who has tied flies for 40 years, began doing so when he was 12 years old, inspired by his mother who tied flies commercially from home. Jim spent his youth learning from her and eventually began designing his own patterns to teach, including the triple spotted strip weave pattern featured in this show. He has been fly fishing in the Grand Junction area since 1975 and, since 2010, has volunteered with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, a nonprofit which seeks to rehabilitate disabled veterans through fly fishing and related activities.
John Trammell, a Grand Junction resident since 1977, has been fly fishing for 65 years and has tied his own flies for the past 35. John has a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences, which has taken him into the fields of mining, exploration, research, and teaching. A Trout Unlimited member since 1978 and an activist during most of that time, John is also a Navy veteran, pilot, amateur trout biologist, and photographer (“But isn’t everybody?” he says).
Phil Trimm, born in Illinois and raised in Grand Junction, was introduced to fly fishing as a child. However, Phil didn’t take much interest in the sport until he was in his early 20s, when he discovered for himself how much he loved fly fishing. Not long after that, he began tying his own flies.
In search of fly tying materials and “the other necessities,” Phil began making regular trips to the Western Anglers fishing shop in downtown Grand Junction, where he became immersed in the local fly fishing community. Phil jumped at the chance to work at Western Anglers, where he worked more than nine years, six of those as manager. Currently, Phil is a sales consultant for Whiting Farms, a national hackle producer and distributor based in Delta. His hobbies are fly fishing, fly tying, and more fly fishing.
Tim Witsman moved to Colorado in 1978 and began tying flies in 1979. He was determined to create more realistic and durable flies using insect identification. Although he worked as a full-time pharmacist, Tim also guided fly anglers in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and taught tying classes and demonstrations in local fly fishing shops. He also participated for years in the Trout Unlimited/Fly Fishing Federation Annual Expo in Grand Junction, as well as other expos in the western states. Tim works with Project Healing Waters, teaching fly tying to veterans.