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How does a Midwest girl end up in the Southwest? Well, because of trout of course. Amanda fell in love with the mountains and deserts of the Southwest and now calls Durango home. She ... moreis a biologist working for a Durango based company called Ecosphere.

She has her undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management, Master of Science in Sustainable Community Development and Wildlife Recreation, Nature Tourism. She currently serves as a biologist studying federally listed threatened and endangered species in New Mexico and Colorado. She has 10-plus years of experience teaching, evaluating and developing management plans for wildlife habitat. She also spends a lot of time in the field; hooting at owls or calling in mountain lions (unintentionally).

Amanda will be leading wildlife/bird watching hikes for AVA guests as well as teaching and helping with our ladies workshops.

Amanda's down time consists of fishing, hiking and running with her dogs Kispa and Chloe, her fun lovin' labs. She is also on the go chasing her toddler, Ben. Ben was born in December 2000 and loves spending time in the outdoors with mom and dad. Amanda, Will and Ben also enjoy spending time in British Columbia chasing trout, salmon and steelhead. She also enjoys cooking, running dog sleds, travel and steelheading.
Chip enjoys all the diverse fisheries the Southwest has to offer. Be it mountain creeks to the tricky San Juan below Navajo Dam Chip has put in his time. He has gained a fantastic ... morereputation for being easy going and incredibly patient. He is wonderful with kids and veteran anglers alike. Chip splits his time between teaching at Bayfield Elementary and guiding fly fishing trips for AVA.

Guide Waters:

Mountain Creeks


San Juan Quality Waters float or wade trips

Animas wade Trips

When Chip is not teaching or guiding he loves being outdoors exploring, camping and chasing trout.
Rick is one of the most genuine guys you will ever come across. Rick has nearly the most guide and angling experience in the history of the San Juan River below Navajo Dam. He is the ... moreowner of Rocky Mountain Anglers and has been a big part of the growth of Animas Valley Anglers in the early years. With the San Juan being just one fishery in a region loaded with diverse angling options, Rick is now offering Colorado guide trips to his long-time San Juan clients through AVA. He also offers guide trips on the San Juan for his return clients and friends. He is a great guy to work with and is a tremendous guide. His patience is unmatched.

Guide Waters

San Juan Quality Waters - wade and float

San Juan Lower River floats

Mountain Creeks

Root Pond

When Not Guiding

Just because he might have a rare dayoff from guiding does not mean this vetran angler will not get out there on the water for some "me" time. Off the water Rick spends time traveling the Southwest with his family. Rick is also an accomplished bow hunter. He spends countless hours in pursuit of elk and other big game in southwest Colorado, northern New Mexico and the world.
Nate and Will Blanchard meet on the banks of the Animas River in 1990 or 91. It was a long time ago. They fished extensively for days on end on the local waters as well as the remote ... morelocations of Mexico and Belize. They also explored the wilds of British Columbia for weeks on end in search of world-class steelhead.

Nate is one of the "fishiest guys" you'll come across and has an uncanny way of passing that along to his clients. Nate knows all the waters of the region like the back of his hand. He grew up in Mancos Colorado, 25 minutes to the west of Durango, were he spent his childhood chasing trout on the small creeks.

Nate began his guide career at Duranglers Flies and Supplies as the shop manager. He then branched out with Will in 2000 and helped start two independent guide services, Animas Valley Anglers and his own project Nate took a break from guiding, but not fishing, and started a successful construction business. Missing the water and guiding Nate is back in the picture and the AVA crew is excited to have him in the mix.

When not guiding...
Nate can be found exploring steelhead streams in Idaho, Oregon or British Columbia. International travel and some competitive fishing also keeps him busy when he is not guiding, spending time with the family or swinging a hammer..

Nate lives in Durango with his wife Tammy and two children Chase and Annie. The Bronson family loves spending time in the great outdoors, playing hockey, rafting, camping and fishing.
Josh bases his guiding and fishing out of Pagosa Springs Colorado. His home waters are Hatcher Lake, Upper San Juan and Piedra River. Josh loves cranking on the oars; be it the Upper ... moreJuan, Rio or the local lakes around Pagosa. Josh is a hard working guide that prides himself on putting clients on lots of fish.

He is one of the most innovative fly tyers out there and is more than willing to share his secret fly patterns. He knows it takes more than the fly to get fish in the net. He is well versed in all the new styles and techniques; be it "loch style" lake rigs as well as the fast paced Czech and Polish style of nymphing. But he also likes watching reckless browns smash big dries.

Josh spends his free time fishing, fishing and fishing. He competes on the national level and has been a Team USA member for a number of years. He has competed at the highest levels.

Josh also spends a large part of his guide season on the Conjos River system. Drop us a line for more info and booking Josh on that fantastic river system.
Chris hails from the Denver Colorado area, and now calls Durango Colorado home. Chris is not only a great guide, but also one heck of a nice guy to fish with. Chris has been one of ... morethe head guides at AVA for a number of years now and has earned himself a fantastic reputation.

He is very technical, yet has a laid back approach to fishing and guiding. His no-pressure guide style has made him one of the most popular guides in the region. His passion for the sport of fly fishing is unmatched.

Chris enjoys fishing with seasoned veterans or with a youngster on their first fly fishing trip and everyone in between. Regardless of the adventure, Chris is the man for a safe and rewarding day on the water. Be it floating the Animas, Rio, upper San Juan, San Juan or stalking brookies on a high-country stream Chris enjoys sharing all the various angling experiences the region has to offer.

Chris spends his winters, building, teaching, guiding, fishing, snowboarding, playing hockey and tying flies in the Durango area. Adventure travel is another passion that finds him hooking up steelhead in British Columbia, working the flats in search of bonefish in Belize, a safari in Africa or cliff jumping in Australia.

Chris and his wife Serra love to travel internationally in search of adventure and sandy beaches. They were married on a long flat in Belize. They also have their hands full with a very young and energetic Golden Retriever puppy named Mason. Like many of the AVA guides, they also welcomed a new baby into the world this past year. They are the proud parents of sweet little girl named Payton. She was born December 20th, 2010.
Tim lives just outside of Durango Colorado with his wife Kelly. Tim is with out a doubt one of the most technical anglers and guides on the water. His guide style is fun and technical ... morewith plenty of humor to keep things light. He is known for his ability to teach anyone with patience and passion.

Tim has been guiding the Southwest since the mid 90's and brings a ton of knowledge, fun and humor to AVA. Being an accomplished fly tier and angler makes Tim an outstanding guide and friend on the water.

Tim is very much at home on the San Juan in northern New Mexico or looking for brookies and cuts on the mountain creeks. However, the highlight to Tim's guide season is the time spent guiding on the Rio Grande and at Man Camp. Be it wade fishing or cranking on the oars on a float trip, you are in good hands with Tim.

Off the water Tim works on countless home projects, works as a finish carpenter for Jarvis Construction, ties flies and can be found at the local hockey rink. Will and Tim have played a lot of hockey together over the years. In 2005 they both had the fortune of drinking cheap beer from the Championship Cup after winning the Durango Adult Hockey League's A1 division.
Ralph was settling nicely into retirement when Will pulled him out to join the AvA crew. Ralph is the glue of AVA working as GM and booking agent. At times he also fills in as a shuttle ... moredriver.

Ralph, along with wife Jan they made Colorado home in 2000. Ralph's long Naval career that had them living and exploring all corners of the globe. Captain Ralph Blanchard is the friendliest person you'll ever meet. He is a absolute pleasure to talk with. When booking a guide trip he'll cover all the details and have you laughing through the entire conversation.

Ralph's free time is spent writing, skiing and being Grandpa to Ila Grace Graham. Beth Graham gave birth to Ila on September 20, 2006 making Ralph a Grandfather. This also makes Will an uncle!
Josh is a Durango local who grew up fishing and hunting throughout the Southwest. Josh is a pleasure to fish with due to his sense of humor and years of experience as a guide. Float ... morefishing may be Josh's forte, but he also enjoys small creeks and stalking monster trout on the Animas.

Josh began his guide career on the South Platte near Saratoga Wyoming. He also spent many Durango winters in New Zealand exploring, fishing and guiding. Josh's travel company is Globe Trouters operated down-under from December through April. Contact Animas Valley Anglers for more info on Josh's amazing NZ trips.

Josh is also an accomplished builder. His company, Jarvis Construction keeps him very busy when he is not guiding.

His family life in Bayfield Colorado also keeps him very busy. Josh, his wife Katie and their three children enjoy camping, rafting and fishing throughout the Southwest.
Aaron Hyder is one heck of a guide, plus he just happens to be one of the nicest ones out there on the water. His laid back no-pressure style, (like so many AVA guides) has earned ... morehim a great reputation from the San Juan to Alaska and all waters in between. He can get rookies into fish in no-time and tune up veteran anglers like no other.

His guide career put him in Alaska on the Togiak River from 2000-2005 (all salmon species on both single-handed fly rods and spey). He has lived in Durango since '98, but has been fishing the Juan and the other great waters of the Southwest since he was 12-years old. He started guiding on the Juan professionally in 2005.

All of Aaron's clients and friends would say he is an ace on the Juan. They are all starting to say the same for all the water he is sharing north of the San Juan. From the Rio Grande, Animas and Upper San Juan to all the mountain streams around Durango Aaron's becoming a hot commodity in the guide world.

Aaron has a fantastic guide style, but his ability to teach new anglers is uncanny. He can also help accomplished anglers reach personal angling goals quickly. A day on the water with Aaron will leave you feeling like you accomplished something. Like big fish? Well, Aaron is the guy for the job. Big fish just fall in his net.

When not guiding...

Aaron loves spending time with his family, teaching, playing golf, snow and water skiing, baseball games and drinking cold PBR.

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