Meet The Fly-Fishing Guides
Head Fly Fishing guide, Ryan Kaufman. Ryan has been an avid outdoorsman from a very early age. As a young boy he spent countless summer weekends with his father chasing walleye, bass, and crappie in the Midwestern lakes surrounding his childhood home. Winters were spent walking pristine hunting grounds in search of pheasant and quail. After moving to Gunnison, CO in 2002 to attend Western State College, the transition to fly fishing seemed natural. The trophy streams of the Gunnison Valley provided a perfect classroom for fine tuning the skills of an accomplished fly fisherman. Relocating to Western North Carolina in 2012 introduced Ryan to a new venue for perfecting his craft. He developed a passion for pursuing native Southern Appalachian brook trout in the remote mountain streams of the region. However, Ryan prides himself in his ability to consistently put clients on fish regardless of the destination or conditions. In addition to a passion for fly fishing, Ryan has a passion for teaching. Sharing the art of fly fishing with novices gives Ryan a thrill, especially working with youngsters in developing the next generation of great fly fishers. Ryan truly lives and breathes the sport whether it be fishing on his own, working with clients, or sitting for hours at the fly tying table. He has the knowledge, skills, and work ethic to provide a great day for those who share his love of this great pastime.
Fly Fishing Guide and Shop Manager, Chris Franzen.
Chris found his passion for Fly Fishing at the age of three, while running through the isles of his dad’s Fly Shop. He started guiding at 16 in the Foothills of North Carolina. Upon graduating high school Chris moved to Colorado where he guided in RMNP. Over the past few years Chris has spent time guiding the rivers of the Bristol Bay region of Alaska and the Patagonia region of Chile. Chris is well versed in a wide variety of techniques and enjoys sharing his knowledge with clients. Nothing makes Chris happier than seeing his clients grasp the same passion that he has for the sport.
Fly Fishing Guide, Ken Hardwick – Ken was born and raised in the Upstate of South Carolina. With a passion for rivers and a love for the outdoors he decided to attend Brevard College and pursue a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education. With a fly rod in hand, Ken used his free time during school to explore the scenic and wild waters of the Carolinas from mountains to coast. Once his degree was complete the next four years were spent guiding in East and West Alaska. Ken and his family are now happy to call Brevard home and be surrounded by all the area has to offer. He enjoys guiding all skill levels so whether you’re just discovering fly fishing, wanting to learns some new tricks, or enjoy the day wetting a line, Ken is the guide for you.
Fly Fishing Guide Katie Cahn
Katie grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains alongside the Chattooga River (WhereDeliverance was filmed and dueling banjos can actually be heard from time to time). After years of working odd jobs and traveling the world, Katie decided to earn her bachelor’s degree at the age of 30. It was while attending Western Carolina University in North Carolina that she discovered the discipline of flyfishing. When not searching for trout or helping others search for trout, she is working with children as an educator at a wilderness therapy school. Now, back in her native Chattooga River Watershed, she contributes her free time to river conservation, educating youth about the importance of healthy waters and living that cabin life with her husband Daniel and her river dog, Eddy.
Fly Fishing Guide Hank Smith
Hank was born and raised here in Transylvania County. Weekend family hikes, and rock hopping small mountain streams, quickly instilled a true love for the outdoors. Currently living in Charlotte, Hank is pursing an Associates in Horticulture Technology from Central Piedmont Community College. During his free time you can bet to find him chasing trout on the fly, somewhere throughout Western North Carolina. Hanks passion for guiding comes from his love of interacting with new people of all ages who equally enjoy the thrill of the outdoors. He’s always quick with a joke and his love for fly fishing shines bright.
Fly Fishing Guide Abbi Bagwell
Abbi Bagwell grew up spin fishing Southeastern lakes, ponds, and rivers for anything you could catch on a worm or hotdog, but picked up a fly rod and dove headfirst into the fly fishing world after becoming the Director of Operations and Events for WNC-based Flymen Fishing Company over four years ago. You may know her as #somestreamerchick from the Flymen video series, from her contributions to Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s “Fridays On The Fly” blog series, or from WNC conservation efforts – she serves as the Vice President of the Pisgah chapter of Trout Unlimited. She’s been featured in several fly fishing publications for her enthusiastic work to get more women into fly fishing, and co-hosts several women’s fly fishing retreats. Abbi makes fly fishing less intimidating and approachable for novice to seasoned anglers alike. She’s never too proud to make fun of herself and the nuances of a her passion for angling. It’s all about keeping it fun!
Fly Fishing Guide Chris Grose. Chris grew up in the upstate of South Carolina but his family roots go back several generations in the mountains of Western North Carolina. During graduate school, his father gave me an inexpensive fly rod kit and a book about fly fishing. The first fish he landed with it was a rainbow trout on the Chattooga River that darted out from under the bank to snatch my dry fly. That one fish turned an interest into a passion and he still remembers it very clearly even though it was almost 15 years ago. Since that day, Chris has chased freshwater and saltwater species around the country and world. After teaching and guiding friends of all skill-sets for many years, Chris realized that he loved watching someone else land a fish as much as he enjoyed doing it himself.
Fly Fishing guide, Woody Platt might look familiar to anglers with a penchant for bluegrass music. As the lead singer and guitarist for the Steep Canyon Rangers, Woody has traveled the nation playing bluegrass and, in between gigs, wetting a line in some of our country’s finest blue ribbon trout streams. A lifelong angler, Woody began guiding after finishing high school in Brevard at age 18 and was full-time on the river every summer when home from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he studied business and environmental studies. Woody and some friends started the Steep Canyon Rangers while in college. The group has gone on to earn national recognition with their chart-topping release “One Dime at a Time,” followed by an International Bluegrass Music Association “Emerging Artists of the Year” Award. They are featured on the Grand Ol’ Opry several times each year. Woody is available most weekdays, between gigging. His “fish sense” and great people skills make him a favorite among our repeat clients.