“If I can help even one child find the kind of peace and love and respect for nature and rivers and fish that I have, even just a fraction of that, I feel I would be doing the world a great service.”

Silas Beck, Mentor

Fort Collins, Colorado Project

Lead Mentors: Erica Tardiff

Previous Leads: Chelsea and Bryan Smith

Project location: Fort Collins, Colorado

Year project founded: 2018

Mentors on this team: 18

Children mentored to date: 18

Children to be mentored in 2023: 5

Local foster care partners: Kids at Heart, with Heart of the Rockies Christian Church

Local companies that support this project: Younie Real Estate, Smith family



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Fort Collins, Colorado Project

“In today’s world, it’s so important to teach kids outlets to learn how to manage their emotions and to prioritize their mental health. For our Fort Collins project, we made it a point to always have important discussions about why fishing is not only fun, but a great way to handle the day to day stresses of school and a sometimes unpredictable home life. All the kids took this to heart and we could see them growing each session.” 

Chelsea Smith

Lead Mentor, Fort Collins, Colorado Project

Project Mentors


Fort Collins, Colorado

Erica grew up in Upstate New York, where she fell in love with fishing the Finger Lakes and their tributaries. Erica moved to Fort Collins in 2017 to earn her MBA in Sustainability and has been obsessed with the art of fly fishing since. She enjoys fishing all around the state, especially on the Arkansas- but loves hitting the more local Poudre and Big T as well. She enjoys the sport of fly fishing because there is continual room for learning new techniques and fishing new types of water. In her professional life, Erica owns a startup that creates fish feed out of invasive Asian carp. Many of the fish farms in southern Colorado use this feed! It’s safe to say Erica is obsessed with fish and fishing in all facets of her life.


Wellington, Colorado

Chelsea is a Colorado Native who grew up in the Foothills of Northern Colorado. She started fishing when she was a little girl with her Grandparents, and discovered her love of fly fishing over a year ago. Chelsea is a career firefighter for a department in Denver and loves serving her community. Her favorite things to do are escaping to the mountains, fishing, yoga, playing with her dog, and spending time with her husband. Chelsea was the first lead mentor to bring TMP to Fort Collins!


Wellington, Colorado

Hi, my name is Bryan but most people call me Smitty. I’ve been fly fishing for about 20 years but have really been getting after it the past 10 years. Nothing makes me happier than rippin’ a streamer across a huge river. I’m native to Colorado and do most of my fishing here and in Wyoming. I went to Colorado State University and have degrees in Natural Resource Management and Forestry with a concentration in fire science. I was a wild land firefighter for 7 years and now I am a full time firefighter with the Poudre Fire Authority in Fort Collins. I live in Wellington with my my wife Chelsea, who is a Mayfly Project lead with me. Fly fishing is a huge part of my life and I’m excited to share my passion with anyone that wants to give it a try. Bryan was the first co-lead mentor to bring TMP to Fort Collins. 


Fort Collins, Colorado

Born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado. Grew up fishing and hunting all over amazing Colorado. I remember crossing rivers on my dad’s back as he waded across. I have been fishing all of my life and fly fishing for about 15 years. I’ve been professional wildland firefighter for 12 years now being lucky enough to work and see some of our beautiful remote areas in all of our western states. I have a wonderful wife and two amazing boys. I love helping others grow and teaching what I know. In my spare time I enjoy being with my family & friends, fly fishing new areas and backpacking in for archery bull elk! I’m beyond excited to be part of this amazing project and show and grow passion to kids about fly fishing and conservation.


Loveland, Colorado

Born and raised in Laramie Wyoming, Silas spent his early years with his father exploring the Medicine Bow National Forest along the Wyoming/Colorado border. Through the years, a passion for nature and fly fishing has been the driving factor for many a grand adventure and life in general for Silas. Being a useful and positive force in the lives of others has always been important to him as well. Helping others to a new found love, respect, and understanding of the natural world is the only thing more fulfilling than the peace and happiness he finds in it himself. His back ground in Water Quality, guiding in Wyoming and Montana, and unquenchable thirst for knowledge of “the life aquatic” have left him with an expansive knowledge of game fish and the waters they inhabit. Silas is humbled and very excited by the opportunity to begin the next grand fly fishing adventure as a mentor for the Fort Collins Mayfly Project.


Fort Collins, Colorado

I spent my first 22 years in the outdoor wonderland of western Montana, learning to fly fish from my father who grew up in northern Idaho. I am now retired but my career life was doing research on global climate change and its affects on agriculture. I have lived in Fort Collins, Colorado for 34 years and frequently fish the nearby Cache La Poudre, Big Thompson, St. Vrain and Rocky Mountain National Park rivers. I love working with young people and have coached soccer, Odessy of the Mind and taught fly fishing to kids. I am looking forward to going fishing with some wonderful The Mayfly Project kids.


Fort Collins, Colorado

I am a native of Colorado, but grew up on the east coast where I fished everything from farm pond to the Atlantic Ocean. When I was about 8years old I caught my first trout on a fly on opening day of fishing season. My wife and I live in Ft. Collins, CO.  We have four adult kids, and six grandchildren who variously live in Franklin, TN; Lincoln, NE and Freehold, NJ. When we visit them, we fly fish together.
I have been tying flies since I was 14 years and have shared my passion for tying and fly fishing in every way I could. Currently I teach tying to military vets during the cold months and assist them on fishing trips in the summer.
Teaching young people to fly fish has been very rewarding for me.
My thought is that there are no bad fish, and any body of water with fish can provide hours of relaxation and appreciation for the natural world around us.


Wellington, Colorado

I’m a Colorado native with a fly fishing and hunting addiction. Growing up on the western slope I found myself spending more time in the mountains than at home. I spend my falls in the back country in search of brook filled streams and my summers with screaming reels chasing carp. My father introduced me to fly fishing when I was 5 years old on the South Fork of the White River, little did he know it’d turn into the obsession it has today. It wasn’t long before I realized my home was on the water with a tight line, I can’t wait to set fire to that newfound passion for today’s youth and tomorrows future anglers with the Fort Collins Mayfly Project!


Longmont, Colorado

I grew up north of Boston near the ocean, so my first fishing experiences were getting seasick on a bobbing boat bottom fishing for flounder. Shortly thereafter my dad introduced me to fly fishing with a 3-day stint at the famed Orvis Fly Fishing School in Manchester Vermont. I was 8 at the time. Ever since, fly fishing has been the steadying, grounding, rejuvenating force in my life. It is my happy place – even if only in my thoughts. Fly fishing has been a life gift to me and getting to share that with others is an even better gift!


Fort Collins, Colorado

Danny grew up in Utah surrounded by some of the West’s most underrated trout rivers. From a young age, he enjoyed bait and spin fishing with his family, but he didn’t discover his love for rivers and native fish until his freshman year at the University of Utah. Since then, he has dedicated his life to getting to the river by all means possible whether snorkeling, fly fishing, rafting, or studying and restoring them professionally. He has worked as a stream restoration engineer and watershed monitoring technician but is now doing a PhD at Colorado State University researching rivers and floodplains. He is passionate about introducing people to the magic of rivers and the importance of keeping them healthy!


Windsor, Colorado

Allyssa has been passionate about fly fishing since the day she started six years ago. She loves being on the river, regardless of the catch! Her family has been involved in foster care for four years. She believes fly fishing can offer kids a place of peace and respite and is grateful to get to share the experience with others.


Greeley, Colorado

Born and raised in Colorado, Mike has been fishing the Front Range since he was young but had never touched a fly rod in over 20 years of fishing. That changed in 2015, when a friend took him out on the Cache la Poudre River with a fly rod in hand and he landed his first fish on the fly during spring run-off. He was instantly hooked that day and has since spent his time spreading his love for fly fishing to anyone that will listen.


Wellington, Colorado

Carl grew up in Arizona hunting, fishing, and camping every chance he could get. From a young age, he was up in the mountains making memories and learning valuable life lessons with his dad. In the summer of 2021, Carl and his wife moved to Colorado so they could continue their pursuit of adventure in the Rocky’s. Fly fishing is more than just catching fish for Carl, it’s the entire experience with all the ups and downs along the way that keeps him coming back. While Carl loves catching wild browns on dry’s, impacting kids for the rest of their life is far more meaningful to him. Carl has a heart for positive, relational impact, and combining this with his love for fly fishing, makes for a perfect match to be a Mayfly Project mentor.


Wellington, Colorado

Hi! I’m Keiana and I grew up fishing the lakes of Northern Arizona. I learned to fly fish with the help of my husband, Carl, a few years ago when we moved to Colorado. I am a dental hygienist by trade but am always thinking about my next day on the river. In my spare time I enjoy hiking with my dog, archery hunting with my husband, catching beautiful wild fish, and exploring all of the great places that Colorado has to offer. I am excited to serve children in foster care in Northern Colorado by sharing the great sport of fly fishing, spending time in the outdoors and building meaningful relationships.


Fort Collins, Colorado

Born and raised in beautiful Colorado, Jamie developed an unbreakable bond with nature and exploring the outdoors. A self taught fly fisher woman, her story is one of passion, perseverance and an unwavering connection to the flowing waters. Along with fly fishing and spending time on the river she volunteers her time through equine therapy at a local ranch. There she found herself immersed in a world where healing happens on four hooves. Working with women and children, she has dedicated her time to expanding access to fly fishing, equine therapy and ensuring individuals rediscover their own resilience and inner peace. She is looking forward to sharing her belief in the healing power of fly fishing up in Fort Collins!

News & Events

2nd Annual Kings River Smallmouth Shootout!

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Check out a video from our Boise, Idaho Project last season! We have the best mentors, foster families, and mentees! Locate a project near you and register a child to participate in 2024 here: https://themayflyproject.com/mentee-registration-form/ [button...

The Golden Trout Year, Denver Project!

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It was an amazing year for our Denver, Colorado Project! We run a large program, and we served 12 kids over this past summer and fall. We had 9 boys and 3 girls participate this year. Two of our boys participated last year, and one of those two participated for his...

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Little Rock, Arkansas, Second Chance Ranch Project

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