Risers 4 Rett Event Director Patrick Callahan gives us a summary of the spring 2018 event:

We kicked-off the spring 2018 event around dusk on Thursday, April 26th at the Almont resort. Welcoming approximately 50 participants and 25 guides that evening, we shared some good grub (Elk Brats and Buffalo Burgers), put on by Mike Shelly, Owner of Moe’s BBQ, and went over some safety points and the rules for the ensuing 2 day charity fishing event. The event benefits the Rett Clinic at Children’s Hospital-Colorado, which is an award winning clinic currently being used a model throughout the country.


The Risers4Rett events use professional guides from the Gunnison, Almont and Crested Butte areas including: 1) Gunnison River Guides; 2) Willowfly Anglers and; 3) Dragonfly Anglers. The quality guide services in the area really help make the event a success.

The grin on the faces says it all!

Friday morning eager anglers congregated near brewing coffee and green Chile smelling breakfast burritos in anticipation of starting their day on a cool spring morning in Gunnison, which is known for having seasonably cooler average temperatures than most of Colorado. Since there were 50 participants, we had 12 teams floating the Gunnison River and the remaining 13 teams wade fishing public and private water throughout the valley. The Taylor and East Rivers fished better than the Gunny as the big river was off because of the lingering rock snot (didymo algae) that hadn’t been fully scraped off the rocks by spring ice breakup. True to the strong health of the river it still fished good.

Friday evening we enjoyed another good meal and listened to Dr. Tim Benke, Rett Clinic Director, who led a discussion about how children and families are severely affected by Rett Syndrome. Dr. Benke’s talk was intriguing and covered drugs in clinical trials that may one help reverse the symptoms Rett causes. He also spoke about how we are all coming together to help fund the clinic and broaden research efforts as a team. Once Dr. Benke had answered the last question, we rolled right into the silent and live auctions. Auctioneer Brett Barker of Hotchkiss, Colorado is a true friend with a big heart, and definitely adds excitement to the evenings festivities. Between the two auctions we raised over $18K that night!

Me with my 24″ beautiful rainbow.

Saturday morning stories were flying! From the sound of them it seems a lot of BIG fish were being caught this year. Lots of jawing continued until the coffee and burritos were gone, and the last teams were out the door on their second day of fishing. During the mid morning lull I fought off the voice in my head calling for a needed nap from late night activities and decided to go fishing with some friends who were working the event as well. I’m stoked to say that decision was fortuitous! For what seemed like 30 minutes I negotiated, coaxed and somehow convinced a 7lb, 24″ beautiful rainbow from the Taylor Reservoir tail water into my net! Full disclosure: it was Evan Hammons’s net. Evan is a young, very fishy guide from Willowfly Anglers who helped me land the biggest rainbow of my life! Of course it was one of my best days on the water! Thanks Evan if you out there reading this, looking forward to fishing with you again.

Turns out my 24″ brightly colored buck was a small splash in the bucket, as two 28-inchers and a 30″ bow were all caught as part of a wonderful event that raised over $70K for the Rett Clinic at Children’s Hospital.

Saturday nights team trophies went to Phil Pappas and Justin Auch as winners of the overall team competition.

Mike Reed won biggest fish with the 30″ Rainbow. The prizes and awards were provided by Fishpond USA, which deserves a lot of thanks for sponsoring and helping our events the way they do. We appreciate it.



It was a fun event that helped good cause. We look forward to your emails, posts, calls and getting in touch with us any way you can to talk more about activities we love: fly fishing, and helping others!

Lots of love from the Risers4Rett team to all of you. Hope to see you at our fall event.

Patrick Callahan

Risers 4 Rett Event Director


The Risers 4 Rett tournament happens twice a year, once in spring and once in fall. Pictures, information and registration is available on Risers4Rett.org. All proceeds go to the Rett Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado.