New partnership, new location but same passion for fly-fishing
The fly-fishing landscape in Steamboat Springs changed in June when two of the town’s outfitters merged and will change again with the opening of a new retail spot located on the banks of the Yampa River.
John and Jarett Duty, the owners of Bucking Rainbow Outfitters, and Johnny Spillane and Rob Burden, combined efforts back in June and will now operate as Steamboat Flyfisher.
The group has also purchased a new space at 655 Yampa St. and are planning on opening a new retail outlet on the bottom level as soon as it is completed.
“I think it’s going be a great location for us being right on the river and offering a little bigger retail space,” co-owner Spillane said. “It will also offer more visibility. We’re a little bit out of (the) walking part of downtown at our current location, and this move kind of puts us right into that space.”
He said Steamboat Flyfisher and Bucking Rainbow combined all of their guiding services this summer and have recently started the transition that will allow them to operate the two retail spaces under the same roof.
John Duty opened Bucking Rainbow with his brother back in the early 1990s in the building that currently houses Into the West. The Dutys said the business has moved a couple of times and ended up at 730 Lincoln Ave.
Steamboat Flyfisher has had several different owners since it’s start as the Steamboat Lake Fishing Co. in 1992. The company was founded by Hans Berend and his partner, Carroll White. The business moved downtown a few years later, and the name was changed to the Steamboat Fishing Co., then eventually became Steamboat Flyfisher.
The one thing that has not changed is the ownership groups shared love of fishing.
“We merged with Steamboat Flyfisher this spring, (and) we’re putting both businesses under one roof,” Jarett Duty said. “It’s going to be Steamboat Flyfisher, but we will keep the Bucking Rainbow logo alive.”
The two shops will also combine their public and private permits, which will allow them to offer more fly-fishing opportunities across the region. The new shop will focus its retail efforts on fly-fishing gear and clothing.
“It’s a 2,600-square-foot shop, so a lot of the things we’ve been successful with here, like our custom knife collection, the Yeti line, men’s apparel and some of the outdoor lines and such, will transfer over to the new location,” John Duty said. “It’s going to be a real, complete fly shop on the river, and it’s going to be amazing.”
Spillane, who purchased Steamboat Flyfisher with Burden in 2013, said he is excited about the merger and his new partnership with the Dutys. He said that Steamboat Flyfisher has already taken over all the guiding, and the two stores will combine efforts to offer more brands, gear and clothing.
John and Jarett said they moved the fly shop out of their current location in anticipation of a move last spring. Then April came and went, and then July. The retail store recently put of a large white and red sign over its entrance that states, ‘Retail Store Closing’ and has started offering deals to customers in an effort to reduce inventory for the move. However, neither of the brothers or Spillane would commit to a date.
“We moved our fly shop out in the spring in anticipation that we would be rolling stuff to the new location in the middle of the night,” Jarett said. “But that never came together.
But the owners are remaining patient and say the move is going to be exciting.
“What is really cool is when we decided we were going to buy the commercial there, we designed it with all opening doors to the river and all on the side. So the whole store will be open air all summer when the water is right,” Jarrett Duty said. “You can take 10 steps and be in the river there. … It’s going to be different than what we’ve got and different than what they’ve got. It’s going to be completely new and its own thing.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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