Brett Downs: Filmmaking and Fly Tying in the Rockies


Location: Colorado
Species: Brown Trout
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Brett Downs is a 20 year old fly tyer and fly fisherman from Colorado. He has a huge love for the sport and the outdoors and has developed a love for photography and videography, helping him to capture memories on the water and at the tying bench. Brett is currently attending the University of Montana in Missoula, living in one of the fishiest towns in the country.

Why do you enjoy fly tying?

Fly tying for me has become one of my biggest passions. I find myself enjoying my time on the vise just as much as my time spent on the water. I mostly enjoy how creating and designing your own flies gives you a different type of connection with fly fishing, especially when you are catching fish on something you created.


How did you get into fly tying? Any big inspirations or fly tiers you admire?

I actually got Into fly tying in high school with my brother. After my first fly, the “addiction” started. That drive and passion has brought me to where I am today. I now only fish flies that I have tied myself . My favorite type of flies to tie to this day are streamers. Learning to tie streamers wasn't too easy but having Kelly Galloup and Andreas Andersson as my inspirations helped me get to where I am now.


What is your favorite species to chase and why?
Currently, I am a huge trout fisherman with my favorite chase being a large wild brown trout. Nothing is more satisfying than watching a nice brown hunt down your streamer. In the future, the species I look forward to chasing the most are Golden Dorado.

Any advice for new fly tyers?
Be flexible. Never be afraid to go back or even start over. Not everything is going to go the way you are meaning for it to go.

Favorite piece of water to guide/fish and why?
My favorite pieces of water to fish are high country freestone tributaries, where your chances of seeing another person is lower than seeing a grizzly. The journey of catching the fish is just as amazing as the fish itself.

What do you most enjoy about outdoor photography and filmmaking?
PERSPECTIVE. You develop a new understanding and appreciation for the world around you. Everyone sees things in a different way and I love being able to share the world through my eyes.

What are some of the challenges our fisheries face that are important to you?
Unfortunately, there are many. Ex. pollution, water access laws, dams, overfishing, invasive species as well as new/naive fishermen. While not looking into the more pressing issues, I have seen first hand the effects of naive fishermen and them not knowing how to care/handle fish and the damages it does to our rivers and our fish. The miseducation of fishermen if not addressed soon will lead to bigger and more difficult problems in the future. It is a very simple fix to inform any new fisherman, fishing etiquette with something as simple as a short video.