Meet Jeff Hartzell

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Who are ya?

A small town mountain boy that has taken advantage of every opportunity afforded to me. Grew up the middle child of 3 boys in Leadville Colorado where my folks put us all on skis at age 2 and I haven’t looked back since then. I’m not sure when I first picked up a fishing pole but I’d bet it’s under the recommended age. After fishing and skiing my way through a BS in Mechanical Engineering in Boulder, I hooked up with a firm specializing in construction of water and wastewater treatment plants. Helping communities and people maintain and conserve the luxury of clean and reliable water is something I take great pride in. Through some careful maneuvering, my path in life led to extended stints in Salt Lake City, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Honolulu and now back to the Front Range of Colorado. Along the way I had an excursion in the Caribbean where I met a Berlin girl and somehow convinced her to join me in this path of life. We’re now married with 2 amazing kiddos and loving the family life in Colorado.

When we first met, you described yourself as “A family man who tries to find time to fish and ski whenever possible”. Tell us more about this balancing act?

My passions drive me to late nights tying flies on the vise, early mornings to get on the water before 7am meetings and knocking out honey-do lists to open up weekends for ski trips. But my top priority is not my passions. Waking up early on a weekend to get pancakes going so I can see smiling faces come rolling down the stairs is my priority. Being around for swim lessons, doctor visits and lunch time ice cream meet-ups with the family is what takes top billing. So between the duties of being the best father and husband I can and a full time job, I squeeze in my passions. What it comes down to is managing priorities, acquiescence to sleep deprivation and coffee.

Favorite species of fish to target on the fly?

That’s the hardest question yet. My first impulse is to say Bonefish. Kayaking across the Ke’ehi Lagoon to tie my boat up to the mangroves and then spending the day slowly stalking tailing Bonefish is something I still dream about. But then I remember those Labor Day weekends in Valdez on Alison Point where I’m the wanker with a flyrod, in a sea of Vibrax. But I didn’t look so bad when those monster Coho’s were hammering my pink Gurgler’s topwater. More recently though, sighting big carp and freezing for minutes until a slight window opens for a single flip of your fly, is what its been all about. Long story short, Bonefish, Silvers and Carp are my favorite fish to target. But more importantly, challenge and experience is what I’m after as much as the fish.

What are the “Fly Exploits” and why did you start them?

I began the Fly Exploits because I thought there was a missing niche in the youtube world for a really entertaining and well put together Fly Fishing Vlog. There are some great young personalities on youtube doing some great stuff but no one is fly fishing quite to the extent I am. While I’m not claiming I can be that personality for the fly fishing world or that I’m the answer to the missing niche, I’m giving it my best for a while in hopes people do find it entertaining and want to keep coming back.

You can search Mile High Hartzell on youtube to find my channel and all the episodes. The goal is a video a week so make sure to check back regularly or better yet, Subscribe! You can also get the latest updates, stories and episode teasers on my Instagram milehigh_hartzell 

Hot dog or hamburgers?

Married a German, so Würstchen, definitely!

Anything else?

I love the Trxstle motto “Tight Lines of All Kinds”. Whether it for fly fishing like casting a tight loop for a 90ft cast or hitting that tight window for perfect fly placement; tight lines of all kinds fits so well with any analogy. While with skiing its the same thing. You need to keep a tight line off the ramp to a 20 foot huck to hit a tranny just right or if you’re just maching down a face you need your form and technique in a tight line to not just lose an edge and blow up. Just wanted to say, when I first heard that, it stuck.