1984 ~ 2010
Telluride Outside's fly shop, Telluride Angler, is recognized as one of Colorado’s finest specialty fly shops. Our guide service is the fly fishing heartbeat of Southern Colorado, a guiding and teaching institution that has introduced thousands of people to this wonderful sport, offering an unmatched array of fly fishing destinations for daily trips based from Telluride. We are also dedicated skiers, snowboarders, and outdoor travel enthusiasts. Each year, our customers come from all over the world to fly fish and ski in Telluride. The purpose of this store is to serve our customers throughout the year and to offer our premium products to anglers around the world who may never visit Telluride, but are nonetheless kinfolk of the river.
Who are these guys?
Telluride Angler is owned by four terminal fish heads: John Duncan, Tom Craddock, Troy Youngfleish and Kris Knackendoffel.
John Duncan spent his formative years crawling around Washington’s Olympic Peninsula chasing trout, salmon and steelhead. Fly fishing and hiking became synonymous and from childhood John has loved high country fly fishing above all else. When not in the backcountry, John hangs on the Lower Dolores River. He believes that the only thing more memorable than catching a big fish is the big fish you didn’t catch. Bonefishing is his favorite exotic form of the sport. He drinks black coffee.
Most of John’s four years at Colorado College were spent fishing the Arkansas. Upon graduation, he followed his fly rod to Telluride, where he became the head guide for Telluride Outside in 1991. John served as Marketing Director and casting instructor for the fast-growing Scott Fly Rod Company from 1994-2001. In the spring of 2001, he, Tom and Troy took over the Telluride Outside guide service and Telluride Angler fly shop.
Tom Craddock grew up in Texas and learned to operate a fly rod in Hill Country bass rivers. He began guiding in the Estes Park area in 1982. After graduating from the University of Texas, he remained in the resort industry that led him from Estes Park to Vail, Hilton Head and finally Telluride in 1990. He became the guide service manager for Telluride Outside in 1994, and took over the company with Duncan and Youngfleish in the spring of 2001.
Craddock prefers to combine fly fishing with the navigation of small (sometimes unsafe) watercraft. Famous for his ducky expeditions, Craddock is an exploratory angler with a nose for the remote. Sold on the belief that “It’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian,” Craddock ties bonefish and Redfish flies from the fur of his cat, Lynxie.
Troy Youngfleish was raised on the classic waters of Southeast Pennsylvania including Mossy Creek, Oak Creek and Shitwater Slough. Out of necessity, he learned good fly fishing habits at an early age: cast upstream, turn over a long leader, control your line and make your first cast count. Troy moved to Telluride in 1993 and learned the local waters while working the trades. In 1997, Troy began guiding for Telluride Outside and worked his way up to head guide by 2000, just before he, Tom and John bought the company. Together, Tom, Troy and John and fished all over Colorado as well as the Bahamas, Mexico, Christmas Island, Florida and the Caribbean.
Kris Knackendoffel is the partnership’s native son, born to a fly fishing family in Grand Junction, Colorado. Thanks to strong parenting, Kris has swung a fly rod from an early age, catching trout, bass, carp, bonefish, tarpon and permit on the fly before getting out of high school. Kris’s love of the sport translated into a passion for guiding. He has guided fly fishing and whitewater rafting for the company since 19 years of age. Kris is also a longtime coach for the Grand Junction-based Powderhorn youth competition ski team.
Telluride Outside: A brief history
In 1984, Bill White launched his first commercial rafting trip on the San Miguel. Telluride Outside was born a rafting and fly fishing company with operations on the Gunnison and San Miguel rivers. A true outdoorsman, Bill acquired more permits and proceeded to build Telluride's original home-grown guide service. 4-WD tours, mountain bike tours and snowmobile tours were added to rafting and fly fishing. In the early 1990's Telluride Outside rented Jeeps and, for a short period, operated a full service snowmobile dealership.
Longtime local Todd Herrick bought Telluride Outside in 1995. Herrick, himself a diehard riverman, created a much needed basecamp for the company's multi-day float trips. Gunnison River Farms became the hub of the company's Gunnison guide service. By the year 2000, the Herrick family was spending much of their summer in the orchards at Gunnison River Farms. Late that year, he decided to sell the Telluride summer guide services to make more time for his family and farm.
Tom Craddock, a longtime manager, and head fly fishing guide Troy Youngfleish teamed up with former guide John Duncan (1991-1994), who was then working for Scott Fly Rods, to buy Telluride Outside from Herrick. In May 2001, Duncan, Craddock and Youngfleish took over the company with renewed commitment to the original guide services: fly fishing, rafting, 4-WD tours and mountain bike tours. Herrick kept the Gunnison guide service, as well as snowmobile tours. Between 1984 and 2000, the company occupied four different locations including a Colorado Avenue booking office, a space above Clark's Market, the old San Miguel Country Store Texaco station and an out-of-town reservations office in the Lawson Hill business park. In 2001, the new owners consolidated operations in Telluride Angler, Telluride Outside's Main Street fly shop. They reinvested in both guiding resources and the fly shop, acquiring over 5 miles of private water for the fishing guide service, adding important new winter retail products such as Cloudveil and opening a major online store. Over the last ten years, Tom, John and Troy have worked to make Telluride Outside a projection of their passions and ambitions, a guide service defined by its people, a resource for visitors and locals in common, a company with the soul of Telluride.
In 2010, young Kris Knackendoffel joined the ownership team. Kris’s partners see both the past and the future in his passion and skill. With this charge from the next generation, the four are determined to offer the very finest services in the fly fishing world. Their online store, www.tellurideangler.com, is a cyber manifestation of one of the most passionate fly fishing operations you will ever encounter.
As one of our favorite customers says, “come sit on our couch.”