Best Fishing Guide: Mitch Melichar, Cutthroat Anglers |

Best Fishing Guide: Mitch Melichar, Cutthroat Anglers

Cutthroat Anglers fly-fishing guide Mitch Melichar is pictured after a catch on the Colorado River below Glenwood Springs on Sept. 14, 2020.
Photo from Mitch Melichar

During a break between college and graduate school in 1984, Minnesota native Mitch Melichar made his way to Summit County with his brother. He never left.

He came for the skiing, and more than 35 years later, you’re most likely to find him angling on local waters.

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This story previously published in the 2020 Best of Summit magazine. A full list of the winners can be found here.

Melichar’s been at Cutthroat Anglers for years, working for the acclaimed Silverthorne shop back when it was known as Columbine Outfitters and Arapahoe Anglers. He also has guided for a couple of other shops that no longer exist: Gold Medal Fly Shop and Summit Guides.

After growing up spin-fishing on Minnesota’s lakes, Melichar took up fly-fishing in the early ’90s. He started working as a guide a few years later, when his passion for fishing evolved from doing it for the solitude to embracing the challenge of figuring out the best insects to succeed out on the water.

“Nothing against spin-fishing, but once I started fly-fishing, I fell in love with it,” Melichar said.

Melichar was pushed along to guiding after he hired one of the owners of Gold Medal Fly Shop for one of his personal businesses. It plugged Melichar into the world of professional fishing. When Gold Medal asked him to guide, he said he wasn’t ready.

“And they said, ‘No one’s ready to guide,'” Melichar said.

Melichar soon learned how to fish in local rivers within the mountain ecosystem, finding success at different places at different times of the year. He began to appreciate the diversity of the waters in the greater Summit County area. Some of his favorite spots include wade-fishing behind the Cutthroat shop in Silverthorne, the South Platte, the Roaring Fork, the Colorado River, the Yampa River — the list goes on and on.

These days, Melichar particularly enjoys float-fishing.

“Quite candidly, because I’m now over 60, it’s much easier on my body,” Melichar said. “But I think for most anglers, it provides a legitimate chance that they are going to have a very successful day on the water, even if it’s their first time.”

In terms of what makes for a good fishing guide in Summit County, Melichar said it comes down to providing the experience customers want rather than an experience he’d like to give.

“There’s a lot of great guides in the county, and the best ones provide the experience of meeting the anglers needs and trying to give them a day that’s memorable,” Melichar said. “That doesn’t always work, but that’s the goal. It’s about giving the client the best day possible given their fishing abilities and their expectations for the day.”

Cutthroat Anglers is at 400 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne.

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