So here we are just a few days after the conclusion of the 5th annual Mile High 25 and my heart is honestly full to the brim. This event is one of a kind and this year was truly something special.
2020 Tournament Recap
The Mile High 25 resembles a scavenger hunt on steroids but with a twist. The movie “Rat Race” comes to mind. Each year, teams of two anglers pair up for a non-stop fishing adventure that distributes participants all over the state. During the 48-hour timeframe, anglers search for and catch as many species on the fly as possible with a mission to CATCH-VIDEO-RELEASE each fish. Once the catches are caught, documented and submitted to a video hosting application, judges deliberate the accuracy of the fish ID and translate the results to the leaderboard.
Year after year the competition gets increasingly fierce. It’s not uncommon to see each of the top 10 teams put up 12-20 species during the two-day event.
With COVID looming around this spring, we were unsure about how many folks were interested in signing up or keeping the event on their calendar. But due to the “social distanced” nature of the event, we gave the Mile High 25 a green light once the governor of Colorado lifted the stay-at-home order. Instead of hosting the anglers for a kickoff and closing event, we turned to IG LIVE and a staggered registration process to keep our retail store at the suggested number of customers at any one time.
Despite Team Umpqua holding the lead throughout the majority of the tournament, young anglers Ethan Schnaphort, and Jake Fanale (Team On The Fly) competing in their 3rd year trailed the leader by just 1 fish after day 1! Day 2 always shakes things up, and in the end Robert Carter and Brett Muller (Team Mr. Steal Yo fish) managed to sneak up from behind a few other hard charging teams and come within 2 species of the upset, taking 2nd place. This tournament is setup as a Pro-AM entry for a reason. Local knowledge, and extreme preparation can truly upset the field and understanding Front Range ponds and lakes is the foremost skill for this event.
Team No Name (Erik Witek and Clayton Roark) is another great example of the importance of local knowledge. These guys have placed in the top 5 teams, 5 years running because of their ability to grind it out from start to finish on home turf. Team No Name rounded off the podium in 3rd place and secured their fourth podium spot in five years.
In addition to these strong showings. We some fantastic displays of teamwork in Greg and Katie Lamp (Team Baby on Board) fishing with their baby strapped into to their chests, and Tatum and Tyson Johnston (Team Fish the Force). This father son team including the youngest angler to fish in the event at age 8, putting up some awesome firsts. As far as fish go, a spectacular lifetime Splake was caught by Josh Becker and Aaron Witzke (Team Rush ‘N Scuds), a true Colorado trophy Brooke Trout from Bill and Loren Gorman (Team Tippet Over). And so many more that we just cannot fit on these pages.
After the dust settled, it was Team Umpqua holding on by 2 species for the win with numerous teams within arms reach right behind them. See the full results below.
Each year we adapt and improve the event. We can’t wait to announce 2021 dates and begin the process all over again!
And one more big thank you to our sponsors! We appreciate your ongoing support in helping us make this one of a kind tournament happen! Sage Fly Rods, Fishpond, Umpqua, Scientific Anglers, G. Loomis, Simms, Rep Your Water and Hatch Reels.
Summer Fishing Opportunities
In the wake of the Mile High 25, you can bet we will be out on the water this summer. Just remember to keep an eye on water temps for safe trout handling. As a general rule, when water temperatures hit 65 degrees, it’s time to take a break and lay off the fish until things cool off. We always recommend carrying a Fishpond Swift Current Thermometer for this exact purpose.
If water temperatures are hitting dangerous levels for trout on your favorite river or creek, there are a number of options to keep you busy this summer. High alpine waters and timberline lakes are a great one. What better way to escape the heat than amid some cool high country scenery?
Alternatively, warm water species like carp, bass and panfish continue to offer anglers a ton of fun opportunities throughout the summer. In case you didn’t already see it, go take a look at our recent blog post on how to find summer fishing without the crowds.
The retail store is open for normal hours and we continue to offer free shipping and curbside pickup for online orders. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Visit us at the fly shop or give us a call at 303-794-1104.