Owner of New West Fly Co. looks to create a story with his fly-fishing rods

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Sawdust fills the air as entrepreneur Mike Kelly sits behind a finishing lathe on the deck of his home sanding a cork grip for one of his handcrafted fly-fishing rods.

“I want to create something that has a story that connects people to their local waters and adds a little more color and style to a fly rod,” said Kelly, who founded New West Fly Co. based in Steamboat Springs. “You can see these fly-fishing rods, identify them from a distance so, if anything, they create a conversation and if a fly-fisherman loves anything more than fishing, it’s talking about fly-fishing.”

Kelly introduced two models of fly-fishing rods — a five-weight fly-fishing rod called the Tailwaters and a four-weight fly-finishing rod called the Yampa — at the Mainstreet Steamboat Farmer’s Market in June. He is also planning to add a six-weight fly-fishing rod called the Elk in time for the holiday season.