Jewel-Leah Carlon

River Guide

My name is Jewel-Leah (pronounced “Julia”). I’m a colorado native. My passion for fly fishing developed 8 years ago. I fell in love with fly fishing after my first cast. Once I caught my first fish I became obsessed. Though I soon realized it is easy to have an obsession with something you love, especially when there is so much to learn. I was eager to learn more and spend most of my free time on the river.

About Jewel-Leah

I Grew up in Denver and just recently moved to Vail valley from Crested Butte, CO. My other job is working in Dialysis with people who have Kidney Failure. Being an FFO guide allows me to share good “happy” adventures outside.

I competed in the US Women’s Fly Fishing Team National Championship this year (2022). I will continue to compete in competitions throughout the year. Competitive Fly Fishing is strictly Euro Nymphing… I have gained an immense amount of Euro Nymphing skills through competitions and through the people I met.

Why Are You With Fly Fishing Outfitters?

They have been established since 1992. They are the only Orvis-endorsed guide service in the valley. All the guides are friendly, professional, fishy, and know the waters well. All of the guides are down to earth.

Please Tell Us A Memorable Moment From Your Adventures At Fly Fishing Outfitters

Went out with a few of the guides. I was a little nervous since I was the only one Euro Nymphing. Ended up catching more fish than any of the boys. I was just plucking them out on my euro setup. I stayed humble but, it did feel good to show the boys Euro nymphing is an art and if done well you will catch twice as many fish.

Why Do You Love Guiding?

Some may say teaching but, I like to say sharing knowledge about a skill…. Watching the client internalize and work on the skill and then succeeding. It’s the most simple joy and accomplished feeling for both the client and the guide.

Why Is Vail Valley Such A Good Place To Fish?

We have access to a variety of rivers and beautiful places to fish. Colorado has the most headwaters than any other state. More mountains mean more rivers and streams.

Why would you recommend the Vail valley to someone who hasn’t fly fished before?

I’d recommend the Vail valley rivers to someone who hasn’t fly-fished, mainly because there are a variety of rivers and creeks to choose from and accommodate any level of angler.

What is your favorite river, and why?

The Frying Pan river is currently my favorite river because it takes a lot of stealth but when fished right the fish are beautiful and healthy. The river is healthy and you can see it on the fish by the bright colors.

What is your favorite fly, and why?

The Tasmanian devil jig nymph.

This is my favorite fly because you can use it at any time of the day, in any water, and still catch fish. This fly never fails. The combo of the pink tungsten bead-head with the attractive hares ear body and the touch of the yellow hotspot crush it. The fish can’t resist.

How do you help new fishermen on guided trips? How do you show them the ropes?

Start with the basics. Might seem silly at first but, casting to a hula hoop on the lawn with no fly will get you more fish ( and stuck in fewer trees) on the river.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a struggling fly fisherman?

No matter “How good” of an angler you are you will always break off rigs and still get tangled. It’s not struggling… it’s learning. It’s rewarding looking back at the angler you were and how much you have improved. The funny thing is… is that you will always have more to learn whether it’s the constantly changing entomology, water, weather, and how it pertains to what rod, reel, fly line, flies, and tippet to use on what rivers… For that fish. There will always be something new to learn… which is the best part about fly fishing and connecting with nature and the ecosystem.

Explain barriers to entry of fly fishing

Getting into fly fishing can be intimidating and frustrating at first. As an FFO guide, we have a kind, informative yet playful way of teaching beginner anglers of all ages. Personally when I first got into flyfishing getting tangled was one of my biggest frustrations. Our guides are professional tippet untanglers and will help you get your rig in the water much faster and frustration free. We will help direct you where to cast and what flies to use.