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Shyanne Orvis – Fly Fishing Guide, Colorado Angler Rep and a Mother

Stomping Grounds: Shyanne Orvis

Explore “Stomping Grounds,” the latest blog series from CHUMS, where we venture alongside CHUMS core ambassadors to discover the essence of their hometowns. Dive deep into what makes each place unique and how it fuels their outdoor adventures.

In this first episode of Stomping Grounds presented by CHUMS, we had the privilege to spend a day on the water with Shyanne Orvis to explore the world of fly fishing, her guiding, and motherhood against the backdrop of the Roaring Fork Valley, our own backyard.

Shyanne Orvis’ years were spent in the natural wonders of Flint, Michigan, where she roamed the woods and splashed through creeks–looking for adventure wherever she can find it. With an unwavering devotion to exploring the outdoors, her decision to relocate to Colorado at the age of 18 felt like a natural progression.

Where did you grow up?

Flint, MI but I spent a lot of time exploring up in Northern Michigan.

Venturing into the unfamiliar terrain of the mountains, Shyanne swiftly embraced all that Colorado had to offer. From snowboarding to hiking and fly fishing, she found herself captivated by the state’s breathtaking landscapes and abundant recreational opportunities. It wasn’t long before she delved into guiding, dedicating herself to mastering the art of angling and sharing her passion with others.

Her journey led her to immerse herself in the intricacies of river ecosystems, the behavior of trout, and the thrill of pursuing various species, both in freshwater and saltwater settings. For Shyanne, fishing isn’t just a pastime—it’s an integral part of her identity. She feels profoundly fortunate to have crafted a life centered around her greatest passion.

What brought you to Colorado? And why the Roaring Fork Valley?

I decided to move to Colorado when I was 18 years old as an alternative to college. I wasn’t entirely sure of what I wanted to study or the career path I wanted to take but I knew that I loved being outside. So, I got a one-way plane ticket and found a job as a lift operator at Snowmass Mountain in the Roaring Fork Valley. It was an awesome experience; I went snowboarding everyday in the winter and in the summer I was introduced to the amazing fly fishing around Roaring Fork Valley. I ended up never leaving because there is so much access to the outdoors, an incredible outdoor community, and this valley just feels like home to me.

What species of fish are you catching in your area?

The fish population in Roaring Fork Valley primarily consists of various trout species from rainbow trout to cutthroat trout. Although, you can also target pike, carp, or bass depending on the fishery that you are exploring.

How would you describe your style as an angler?

I really thrive in sight fishing settings. I prefer to wade fish and seek out and stalk particular fish especially in pocket water, high alpine fisheries, and lakes. There’s just something very fun and interactive about spotting the fish, assessing their feeding pattern, and targeting a specific fish.

Do you have a fish that stands out as the one you have been most memorable to catch in your local waters?

The most memorable fish that I caught in the Roaring Fork Valley was the first fish I caught with my son by my side. The fish was a 28 inch rainbow trout, but this catch wasn’t memorable because of the size or the species of the fish. It was memorable because it was the first fish that my son had ever seen up close. Actually, I almost wish the fish would have been smaller because Colter was a little bit afraid of it at first. Once he had a second to warm up to this living creature he was very excited, curious, and a bit confused. Seeing him experience all those emotions with something so close to my heart was very cool. This catch has made for one of the most memorable videos in my phone that I will always look back on and cherish.

What advice might you give to an angler who is just starting out?

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and utilize your resources. In this industry, a lot of people want to skip ahead to being this “dialed, accomplished angler” and they don’t fully enjoy the process of learning and being a beginner. The people around you are excited to share the knowledge they have built in fly fishing so use them as a resource to build your own library of knowledge in the space.

What advice might you give someone who is looking to have a healthy work/play balance?

In order for me to find time for both, I need to let go of perfectionism. Basically, I need to force myself to temporarily let go of my non-essential to-do list that would’ve made things “perfect”. By doing this, I’ll free up some time to do something for myself, which will actually recharge me to revisit those “non-essential” tasks later. If having a toddler around has taught me anything, it’s that not everything can or will be perfect all the time. It’s essential to prioritize your responsibilities and strike a healthy balance in work/play to avoid burnout.

How are you introducing Colter to your life as an angler or to fly fishing in general?

Since day one I’ve been integrating this world into his life whether that be watching fishing youtube videos, reading fishing books, playing with fishing toys, or just spending time on the river. The most impactful way I’ve been introducing him to my life in fly fishing and the outdoors is just ensuring the whole experience is centered around him just being on the river and understanding his environment. My goal is to create a really positive experience that will result in him having positive feelings about fly fishing, being on the river, and being outside in general. At such a young age, I also have to remind myself to introduce him to the outdoors and fly fishing at his own pace and definitely never push any agenda I might have on him. Our day on the river might be 15 mins or 2 hours. It all depends on how he’s feeling and I’m more than okay with that.

What do you like to do in the winter?

In the winter I do a lot of hosted travel with clients to various destinations around the world. We’ll go to Mexico or Belize and target Saltwater species like permit, tarpon, and bonefish. There’s something very cool about the contrast in energy between trout fly fishing and saltwater fly fishing. Saltwater fishing is sunny, exhilarating, and upbeat with beers, people, and music, while trout fishing is much more cloudy, grounding, and meditative. Both are amazing and I’m so grateful I can experience both depending on the season, it’s really a game changer with this job.

What’s your favorite local spot to eat or grab a beer?

Definitely the Tipsy trout in Basalt, CO. It’s a cool spot with great food.

Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you?

I recently published a children’s book called “To The River We Go” in dedication to my son. Of course, this is a children’s book about fly fishing but my hope behind the book was to foster a curiosity for outdoor exploration in kids and parents who pick up this book. If you are interested in getting your hands on that book go to shyanneorvis.com.