For everyone in mountain communities out in the Rockies, it isn’t uncommon to see a direct connection between fishing and skiing. In the winter, it’s not strange to see some of your local fishing guides working at their local ski hill when the fishing season has died down. Something that isn’t so common, though, is one of those guides being in your new favorite ski film, as a professional skier. 

When we were introduced to Jake Mageau, we knew we had to share his story with y’all. In the winter, Jake’s skiing is pretty mind-blowing, and when that same snow melts into the water we rely on for fishing throughout the year, you’ll find him guiding on that same water in a different form near his home base in the Uinta Mountains of Utah.

As ski season is kicking off in the Northern Hemisphere, we sat down with Jake to learn more about his background, guiding, and skiing.

Flylords: Who is Jake? 

Jake: I grew up as a young fisherman in the town of Lahaina, Maui. When I was seven, we left Hawaii, and my parents then moved us to Bend, Oregon. This was where I, fairly quickly, became a skier. I have always been extremely fortunate to have close access to water; with that, I believe it shaped me as a skier, fisherman, and person. I have this greater connection to the outdoors that my words cannot describe. To simplify it, I am a fishing guide and a professional skier.

Flylords: How did you get into fly fishing? 

Jake: Growing up most of my life in Bend, fly fishing was everywhere. The real reason the fire was lit was because one of my best friends’ old man, “Cort”, had been a steelhead guide/outfitter on the Deschutes for a handful of years. He taught me how to tie a fly, and the next day we went and fished it (it worked well). Nowadays, 95% of the flies I have are self-tied. As time goes on, I think fly tying is an effort to feel closer and more understanding of what is happening in and out of the water.

Flylords: When did you start skiing professionally?

Jake: This is a tough question for me… I do not have an answer for this one. The first time I remember winning money was when I was 12 in Colorado. Years blend together; my goal is to keep doing what I love, and with that will come a high level of operations.

Flylords: What does your year look like between the two sports?

Jake: There is zero time between the two. Once late November comes around, I grab my skis and boots a whole lot more than my waders, but I still manage to get on the water a couple of times throughout the winter. In the summer, I try to be able to ski a couple of days at Mt. Hood, while the rest of my days are spent showing people around lakes and rivers, guiding them into beautiful trout. I try to tie more flys in the winter to prepare for my summer and to get in physical shape in the summer to prepare for my winter.

Flylords: How do fishing and skiing go together so well for you? 

Jake: They both have an incredible amount of freedom and constant change and creativity come with that. On the other side of things, it brings great contrast. The type of skiing I like to do is adrenaline-filled and puts my body at risk. When I step in the river or get on my boat there is something else… peace, excitement, and deep thoughts that oftentimes feel mindless.

Flylords: You just launched a new ski film – can you tell us about that? 

Jake: This year’s film, “Wind for Whistles” with Brady Perron and Level 1 Productions, is our third project together. I believe I like this one the most of the three; It is an incredible treat to work alongside Brady, who was one of my main idols in the ski world growing up. This video showcases me as a grom and then to present-day skiing. The goal is to ski everywhere and anywhere: trees, rocks, streets, powder, handrails, signs, jumps, and all that.

Flylords: Do you use any gear consistently with both sports? 

Jake: I do have gear that I use consistently for both sports! Chums sunglass retainers and the Chums Downriver Rolltop Backpack are with me 365 days a year, along with my 686 Packlite jacket. Chums makes a great lens cleaner that I have found to be essential. You don’t know how nice it is to have clean lenses until you clean them properly. And you can’t beat a simple water-tight bag for being on the water or snow.

Flylords: What is next for Jake? 

Jake: I get to film with Level 1 Productions again, but it will be a different program from the past three years, and I’m excited to see what comes of it. In the meantime, skiing hard and blowing with the wind is my plan until it’s time to row my boat again.

Thank you to Jake for taking the time to sit down with us to talk about skiing and guiding. You can keep up with him on Instagram HERE. We couldn’t have done this without our friends at Chums who introduced us to Jake. If you are looking for gear that will work for you year-round like it does for Jake, you can check out their full collection HERE. 

Fishing Photos from Adam Clark and Skiing Photos from Brendan Ladd.


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