Guide Chuck Gries credits his wife, Lynn, with luring him to flyfishing on Lake Taneycomo in the mid-1980s.
He had been hooked on fly fishing through a senior trip from his Iowa high school to Bear Tooth Wilderness Area in Montana. “It was two weeks of just backpacking and fishing with about two dozen kids,” he said.
But the consistency of Taneycomo’s trout lured the avid anglers back season after season until they finally moved here in 1994 and opened Anglers & Archery Outfitters in 1997.
“Our goal at Anglers and Archery Outfitters is your success,” they state on their website. “Whether your passion is fly-fishing for trophy trout or harvesting whitetail deer and turkey with a bow and arrow. We pride ourselves in no nonsense fly-fishing and archery advice. Honesty and integrity is what you will find in our shop.”
Their convenient location on U.S. 165 Highway close to the Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery keeps them on top of the trophy area of the lake. Gries offers a popular wading trip but can switch to boat fishing if the generation picks up too much or the clients decide they want to keep a few trout.
“We can pretty much follow what the client wants,” he said, “whether they are novice fishermen or expert anglers. We have had a bunch of kids who have learned to fly fish and become comfortable with it, and also some adults who have never fished at all before who have loved it.”
His largest personal lunker was a 35-1/2in, 19.5-pound brown caught on a night fishing trip back in 1997 — about 1 a.m.
“Night fishing was a great deal of fun –back then,” Gries said. “Now I would rather sleep . . . But since then as I have kept track, we have put guests on trophyfish as much or more during the day when you can actually sight the fish and not cast blindly.”
Last fall a client caught a 28-inch, 12.5-pound trophy; the largest trout a client caught and released was 33 inches long, weighing 19.25 pounds.
Gries can outfit clients with everything they need for a successful fishing trip, whether they fly fish or spin cast. The shop, open all but a few holidays and a week in January, also rents waders to visitors not booking guides and sells the latest lures for fishing Table Rock as well.
They custom tie the “hot” flies daily and welcome customers who just want some hands-on instruction for a certain pattern. That is, except for a special ice shrimp scud their son Adam ties in three or four different colors, usually sizes #18- #20.
“Adam mixes his own dubbing for it, and won’t mix it when anyone else is around — not even me,” Gries said. Now that Adam is working as a traveling welder (currently in Iowa), those flies have become a hot commodity only available when Adam is back in town visiting and ties a few.
The Gries family is especially grateful that Adam is recovering from a rare pneumonia in December that led to a lung infection, blood infection and eventual shutdown of his kidneys, putting him on life support for 11 days. “The doctor said if he had come into the hospital an hour later, he would not be here,” Gries said, adding that Adam has now been cleared to return to work for half days and may resume to full days in a month.