A fly fishing guide, small business owner, and artist, Maddie Brenneman does it all. Our newest Revant Ambassador calls the mile-high city of Denver, CO home, and she travels around the world, guiding and fly fishing in some of the most beautiful and challenging spots out there. We talked with Maddie about fishing, her business, and more, which you can read about below.
When did you first start learning to fish? Was there something that drew you in?
When I was growing up, my parents would take me all over for fishing trips. I started learning conventional spin fishing on a series of trips to Canada, and in high school, I learned to fly fish. It was extremely difficult at first, but I’ve always been attracted to difficult challenges. I guess that’s a bit of a joke though because it still is difficult, but the confidence boost you get when you do well is incredible. Traveling around the world with a fly rod gives me purpose, so much so that now I really only fly fish, whether it’s in freshwater or saltwater.
What’s the experience you try to bring to clients when you guide?
You can take someone fishing or you can teach them how. I like to teach them how. When I set out with a client, I want them to have a super memorable day, and have really positive feelings about the whole experience. Often, bagging a big fish is secondary.
While some people want to catch the big one, others just really like being outside. It’s really enriching because I get the opportunity to educate people about the environment and the creatures that live in it.
What’s some advice you live by?
A friend told me once, “at the end of the day, just let it go.” It seems simple, but this advice has helped me in so many different areas. It comes into play in a lot of spots. There’s so many things that you can’t control, and I try to tell this to many of the people I guide. You can ruin a whole day of fishing if you focus on the one you didn’t get. Remember to reset.
For you, what makes a good fly fishing day?
When I go out on my own, fishing is a much less stressful experience. Fly fishing is a concentration and focus-based sport, and it’s incredibly meditative. When you’re out on the river, you can just be present, and you forget about a lot of other things that are stressful in your life. I think that's what makes a good day for me.
You have your own company, Las Truchas Outfitters. What inspired you to start that?
Aside from fishing, I’m super passionate about art, as well as creating and making things, especially handmade bags and jewelry. For that reason, I appreciate what other artists and craftspeople can do and want to showcase their work. Las Truchas Outfitters features handmade items and artwork from artists around the world. It combines my love of the outdoors and the natural world with incredible art. It’s super satisfying to feature other people’s work, especially when they share my particular aesthetic.
What are you looking forward to right now?
I love doing different things, really just experiencing what life has to offer—travel especially. Doing that while I’m young is important to me. Getting to go up crazy rivers and fish in difficult spots is something you can’t do forever, and you can’t beat the freedom you get in the process.
Is there anything about yourself that you think people would be surprised to learn?
I’m pretty sensitive, quiet, and soft-spoken, even though people might think I’m a badass if you only look at my Instagram. Many people are surprised by my creative side and my other interests. Sure, I love the natural world and the outdoors, but I love the city too! You can be both.
If you don’t mind sharing, what’s your favorite place in the world to fish?
New Zealand. I’m going to try and go there every year of my life. I also just had a wonderful trip to Bolivia.