Chris Hanson has a very unique background of growing up in the city before finding himself in Northern Minnesota, at times living in cabins without running water or electricity, which has taught Chris a lot. While living in Minnesota, he spent twelve years training sled dogs and racing all over the Midwest, Canada, and Alaska. This eventful and rewarding past, along with his wife, Bobbi-Jo, of over 28 years and their three children, is why Chris often reflects on how truly blessed he is. Today, Chris and his family live happily in Colorado where he and his wife run a digital marketing agency.
When he's not working, he's either hanging out with his family or fly fishing. He loves to BBQ and Bobbi-Jo is an amazing cook so they enjoy cooking together and chilling outside at home. It was actually the stress of running a business that led Chris to fly fishing so it's not just about catching fish for him. Fly fishing is a way that he can disconnect and reset. Because of that you will probably see that he is usually fishing by himself and spends most of his time on the South Platte River sight fishing. And because the tailwaters stay open year round he fishes every week, all year long. Chris also offers hosted fly fishing trips to Alaska and is currently working on some other exciting hosted trips.
Check out our interview with Chris to get to know him a little bit better! We are beyond stoked to add him to the team.
How did you get into fly fishing? What was your first fishing trip like?
I started a digital marketing company and had been working 7 days a week from early morning to 8,9,10 at night for the first 4 years. It was common to wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning with thoughts racing through my mind about work so I would get up and start working because I couldn't fall back asleep. My wife Bobbi-Jo had brought up fly fishing a couple of times to me and said that I should try it out. A couple of years went by and I still hadn't gone so my lovely wife took things into her own hands and booked a guided trip for me for my birthday. One time, that's all it took. It was absolutely amazing. It was like a whole new world to me. I caught a few trout and lost a few. One in particular that I lost was a really nice one. I was really bummed and asked the guide what I did wrong. He said a lot of people luck into a big one like that all of the time but if you want to catch trout like that you have to spend time on the water. I've always been an all or nothing kind of guy in everything that I do and fly fishing was no different. So I purchased a rod, reel and other things that I needed from the local fly shop and I became a student of fly fishing. There was nothing in the past that could get me away from work but fly fishing did. From that point on I would fly fish 1-2 times a week and when winter rolled around I fished the tailwaters all winter too. I haven't looked back since.
Where are your favorite places to fish?
I spend most of my time fishing the South Platte. There are several stretches, Cheesman Canyon, Eleven Mile Canyon, Dream Stream and Deckers. I fish all of these depending on the season and what mood I'm in.
Any catches that you’re particularly proud of or stick out in your mind?
Well I fish tiny flies, really tiny flies. A #20 is usually the biggest fly I use. Mostly #22 and #24's. And very light tippet, 5X and 6X. I catch a lot of trout on 6X. They can be very picky in the tailwaters that I fish, so thin and tiny is the name of the game for me. When I hook up to a 20" plus trout on a size 24 fly and 6X tippet, there are so many things that can go wrong. Finesse is my strong-suit. I don't think there is any one fish, but instead, so many fish I can think of when my heart was pounding and somehow I brought it to the net with that tiny fly and light tippet.
What is your ideal day on the river?
Fishing by myself, which I do a lot of. But I do have a handful of friends that I really enjoy fishing with. But let's go with I'm fishing by myself. I do a lot of sight fishing so the sun is mostly out. I am carrying a rod for dry flies and a rod for nymphing. I catch a few in the morning. Stop and cook up some ramen out on the river. Add some leftover BBQ, like some pulled pork or brisket, from my smoker. Pack up and walk the river some more. I'm so into the day that I kind of forget about fishing as I walk and take in the scenery. Catch a fish here and there before I make it back to my vehicle at about 3pm. Sit outside and drink a cold beer and relax before I head home.
Alright, you’ve had a great day on the river and you’re looking forward to dinner. What’s your favorite post-fishing day meal?
A generous pour of bourbon. Oh, you're talking about food. Got it. Well, Bobbi-Jo is an amazing cook so there are so many options. I love Mexican food, definitely my favorite. But if she cooked up a cast iron chicken pot pie skillet, then I'm all about that too. I do a lot of BBQ, so anything on the grill is great. Perfect would be that Bobbi-Jo has all of the fixings ready and I throw a skirt steak on the grill and have some fajitas. If that's the case, I might have some sipping tequila or margarita instead. Smoking a brisket, baby back ribs or Boston butt for some pulled takes 8-12 hours so I can't have that after a day of fishing so I don't ever have that after fishing.
What are your other hobbies?
Fly fishing and BBQ is really about it. Is drinking bourbon a hobby? I also enjoy writing. Trying to write a memoir but that's been an off and on work in progress.
What is your perfect Friday night?
Enjoying a nice dinner with the family, watching a movie with Bobbi-Jo and enjoying a pour or few from my bourbon stash.
Dogs or cats?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Tropical vacation or snowy mountain getaway?
Go to the movies or go to a concert?
Too many people at both.
Speaking of....favorite movie?
Not one single favorite. Do I watch Die Hard every year, I mean sure who doesn't? Terminator, T2, every couple of years. Love action films but if I were to pick a genre, it would be dark comedies.
This is a tough one. I am not a super fan of any band and I have a pretty wide range of music that I listen to. There is a lot of bands that I listen to from when I was a kid, like Carol King, Fleetwood Mac, Bee Gees, James Taylor and the list goes on. Along with Vancouver Sleep Clinic Dave Mathews, Tracy Chapman, Neil Young, Aquilo, Cary Brothers, Doc Watson, Snow Patrol, Sun Kil Moon, Neil Young to name a few. Any given day I can be listening to all or some of them.
Ok, last question - if you had to fight 1,000 duck size horses or 1 horse-size duck, which would you choose and why?
Horse-size duck. I feel like I've had a few horse-size ducks that I've had to fight throughout the years. Some things that not everyone makes it through ok. Give me a horse-size duck and tell me that I can't win that battle. Tell me that it can't be done. Trust me, it won't turn out well for that horse-size duck. But 1,000 duck-size horses? That's pretty hard to overcome. You won't get hurt because they are too small. But you can't control them. And the more you try, the more you get overwhelmed. Or the more you try, you end up spending so much time trying to fight them that you miss out on what is really important. And next thing you know, a year has gone by and you didn't accomplish what you wanted to because you spent all your time trying to fight 1,000 duck-size horses. Give me the Horse-size duck. It's not going to be easy and I know that I'm going to have a couple of scars from it. And I know it's going to be rough getting through the memory of it all. But what I gain from beating it? My character. My fight. My determination to overcome. Well that far outweighs the scars from the battle.