Where Are They Now? Youth Camp Alumnus Collin Papuga

Collin Papuga has been living in Alaska and is living his dream; he has been an Alaska resident for the last 3 plus years where he just completed his first season running his own guiding company, Tightlines Alaska.  Collin graduated from Kenai Guide Academy last April and passed the test for his guide license in Coopers Landing, AK.  He is an alumnus from Colorado TU's 2nd youth camp in 2007 held at Peace Ranch near Basalt, CO.   I remember Collin as a very passionate and experienced angler at the ripe young age of 14.  Growing up in Grand Lake, he had already spent some time working an internship for Mo Henry’s Fly Shop in Winter Park, where eventually guided for the shop as well.   Once at camp, Collin was happy to show all of his fellow campers his advanced double haul skills.  Collin was a natural leader during the camp and it is great to see him living his dream with his own Alaskan guide service. collin papuga fishingFish on!  Collin fishing the Frying Pan during the 2007 camp.

The Colorado TU youth camp strives to ignite the passions of young men and women to become future stewards of our coldwater fisheries.  Here are a few of Collin’s accomplishments since attending the 2007 camp:

  • Internship for MoHenry's Fly Shop in Winter Park as a Fly Fishing Guide
  • Volunteered countless hours for the Colorado Division of Wildlife
  • Youngest youth ever to electrofish on the Colorado River for the Division of Wildlife's annual fish count
  • Selected to compete in America Cup Fly Fishing Tournament on the Youth Team
  • Graduated from Kenai River Guide Academy in 2014.

Collin explains how he has grown as angler from a very early age:

"When I was 10 I found my Dad’s old fly rod and this was the point at which I put the spinning rod down and I was literally “hooked” on fly fishing! My Grandma bought me a fly tying kit and I began tying flies. I went fly fishing any chance that I could.

My Dad took me on my first trip to Alaska when I was 11 to go fishing, backpacking, hiking and touring the inside passage. When I returned home I told my Mom, “I’m going to move there someday”. I returned every summer thereafter to Alaska to continue this awesome experience of The Last Frontier. The day after I graduated from High School my parents put me on a plane to Alaska and I’ve been pursuing my passion and dream ever since."

Subsequently, Collin says: “I saved my money the last three years to enable myself to pursue my dream of starting my own business. I’m a well-rounded fisherman and Fishing truly is my passion. I would love the opportunity to share my craft with you and give you the thrill of catching an Alaska fish on the Kenai River. Let’s go have some fun together!”

Collin will be back in the Denver metro area attending the International Sportsman Show and will have a booth in front of the casting pond, booth #659.  Look for his banner name, Tightlines Alaska.   He will have many pictures of the first season hanging on display and two video slides shows of Alaska.   Collin will be tying flies he uses on the river and telling stories of his passion about Alaska, and rekindling old and new friendships.

- Story contributed by Larry Quilling, CTU Director at Large, founding camp director of the Colorado TU Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp.

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