Ten years ago, my then-girlfriend (and now wife), Jannetta, texted me to ask if I had read the Angler’s Covey newsletter yet that morning. I had not. She said, “go look at the job listing.” I did. And so began my journey of maintaining the blog and working on different features of the website. Ten years of writing about fly fishing. Here’s a bit of a blogger’s reflection.
At that point in the summer of 2012, I had fly fished five or six years. I was a late-comer to the sport, but better late than never, right? I didn’t feel as if I had enough fly-fishing experience to maintain the blog – but the first item on the “Requirements” portion of the job listing stated “must be able to spell and write.” At that point, I had been an English teacher and public educator for 25 years. If that were the primary job requirement, I felt – for the first time in my life – over-qualified.
A Generous Community
My first assignments were to get to know people around the Shop. I am grateful for the likes of Greg Blessing, Paul Martinez, Steve Gossage, Sharon Wright, and Neil Luerhing who sat with me over coffee or breakfast at the very beginning of all of this. They let me pick their brains about fly fishing, in general, and their guiding life, in particular.
I have had the pleasure of interviewing almost every guide at Angler’s Covey. It would be a blog in-and-of itself to express my appreciation for all of them. (I do have to give a little shout-out to Kaitlin Boyer who was a journalism student of mine at Palmer High School – and now has allowed me to shadow and co-guide with her on a handful of trips. Always cool when the student becomes the teacher!)
There’s an old saying, “you can judge a man by the company he keeps.” What great company! What I learned from them was not so much about fly fishing. Of course, I definitely learned some tips and techniques for fly fishing. What I took away from each of the conversations was a true sense of community, a friendliness, and a spirit of generosity to share about this great adventure.
Of course, Angler’s Covey is in the outdoor recreation business. The health of our local fisheries, a respect for the outdoors, and an appreciation for nature is at the heart of this business. Accompanying that appreciation is the necessity for caring for the resources. Through such activities the Fountain Creek Cleanup, Deckers Cleanup, the Dream Stream clean sweep, the involvement with the Pikes Peak Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and other events throughout the region, I witnessed the ways that the Covey gives back to the community.
Beyond those high-profile events, though, I saw the efforts of guides and retail employees to model the behaviors to protect our natural resources. Involvement with “Kick Plastic,” and Leave No Trace, for sure, are evidence of these key principles. On guided trips and in classes offered by the Shop, they emphasize safe handling of fish, attentiveness to water temps, and support the education of newcomers to the sport.
The conscious act of writing about these events made me way more aware of the importance of stewardship. If not us, then whom?
A Blogger’s Reflection: The Adventure
Probably the most rewarding aspect of these past ten years has been sharing my personal experiences as I have waded these waters. Maybe it is just my own self-centeredness at play here.
Writing, for me, has always been a place of reflection, discovery, and exploring questions and curiosity, and sharing personal experiences. Some blogs have probably been a little self-indulgent.
To be honest, I have received some push-back (too touchy-feely, too Zen, too whatever) from people who want the blog to be more info-oriented. They want gear reviews and fishing reports and Bug of the Month. And I love to write about that, too. I learn a lot as I gather info for blogs oriented toward tips and techniques, fishing safely in winter conditions, and gear spotlights about products.
But I am also about the touchy-feely, Zen stuff. Fly fishing offers that great escape for many of us. Whether we are talking about groups like Project Healing Waters (and the Film Tour), or Casting for Recovery, or simply the need to rejuvenate in nature through this great adventure, I want to capture that.
I wrote about the true awe from a “southwest swing” through the state of Colorado. I wrote about hitting three different fisheries and having three remarkable adventures. “In one week, you can fish a major tailwater, a deep reservoir, and a small stream. All three types of fishing offer their own unique experiences — but isn’t that what adventures are all about? Never the same experience twice!”
The Greenback Cutthroat Trout
In mid-September 2012, just a couple months after I started at Angler’s Covey, David Leinweber and his wife, Becky, invited me to their home. I envisioned Monday Night Football and pizza!
Instead, a big story was about to break about the Greenback Cutthroat Trout. David and Becky wanted to draft some blogs about it. The first blog, “So you landed a Greenback Cutthroat Trout” broke the news about the discovery of the only pure Greenback living in a four-mile stretch of Bear Creek just west of Colorado Springs. An accompanying blog, “One Fish, Two Fish” made a first attempt to explain the different cutthroat trout and their locations throughout the state.
In terms of local fly fishing news, this was the big story of 2012.
For me, wow! What a great way to get started writing blogs!
The Covey Team
This “reminiscence blog” is really about being a member of the Covey team.
I owe a huge “thank you” to co-owners David and Becky Leinweber who took a chance in July of 2012 to give this relative newcomer to the sport a chance.
Over the years, I have interviewed guides, our professional retail team, Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff, members of Trout Unlimited. It has been a remarkably enjoyable time.
I owe a huge high-five to Jon Easdon, our Director of Services, who has been generous with his time and energy as we have crafted several blogs over the years – from tips and tricks, to fishing reports, to the more spiritual qualities of fly fishing. I am particularly grateful for brainstorming blogs like “The Bend in the River” and “What Defines Success?”
More immediately, I want to give a shout-out to Rachel Leinweber, our General Manager. Just like her parents, she has been so supportive as I write these blogs. She’s a cool boss, for sure.
I hope my blogging reflects the mission and values of the Shop.
A Grateful Heart
This blogger’s reflection isn’t some sort of a farewell or anything (unless Rachel is not telling me something). The people mentioned above don’t even know I am writing it.
But how lucky of a man am I? I mean, for the last ten years I have gotten to pursue two passions: writing and fly fishing.
And now that I am retired after 35 years in education, I get to write about fly fishing. To paraphrase, there are no bad days on the water … or at the keyboard.