Saturday, October 24, 2015

Trout Unlimited

One of the bonuses of writing in the memoir genre for me has been meeting fascinating people that I would otherwise never have crossed paths with. Through my fly fishing writing and research, I've been introduced to a whole new subculture that existed parallel to mine, one that I never knew, but one that I have learned to appreciate.

This past Tuesday my husband and I enjoyed an evening at the monthly meeting of the local Trout Unlimited organization. Ron Beane, co-compiler of our Fly Fishermen of Caldwell County book, and I spoke about our process and what the book has to offer to them.

As I listened to the dinner conversation I came to a deeper realization of the passion these men felt not only for the sport of fly fishing, but also for the preservation of the streams in our region. Of special concern at this meeting was the severe drought that impacted the trout habitat this past summer. The men rejoiced together when they discussed the recent historic rain that filled the streams to overflowing. They talked about restocking. They talked about catch and release and losing respect for those who chose not to follow the law.

All this reminded me of pictures the men submitted that didn't make the final cut for the book. Ones like this taken on Wilson's Creek by Gene Swanson. It did not translate well to black and white that we ended up using.

Or this other one by Gene.

Neither did this one submitted by Alen Baker.

Trout Unlimited is an organization that fights for trout like those photographed above. If not for the club's dedication, these very trout might not be in existence. The members work tirelessly to maintain natural habitat and push for regulations to protect the waters that offer life to the trout. Conservation is their way of life, not just a good idea. 

I don't plan to go fly fishing any time soon. I tend to agree with one of the fishermen in the book, Randy Benfield, when he explains why he fishes less than before:
  • My main hobby is, of course, fishing, but not as much trout fishing as in the past since they moved the creeks so far from the roads and made the rocks larger and slicker. 
He's joking, of course, although I've learned through all this experience, with a true fly fisherman, the line between jokes and reality blurs a bit. Life on the creek, however, is an experience not to miss. As for me I'll just sit on the side and appreciate the beauty.

Catch of the day,



  1. I always love reading your blog! Always information to learn.

  2. Thanks, Sara. I would never have guessed I would be speaking to a trout club! Strange twist my life has taken since I began my writing career.

  3. Love the photos and the story about the interesting folks you're meeting.

    Writing non-fiction and memoirs takes you places you never knew existed. Really cool.

    1. Thanks, Sandra. Writing is full of all kinds of life experiences. Fun and games, plus really hard work.

  4. The book sounds lovely, Gretchen! I don't know much about trout fishing, either, but I imagine it is a peaceful, contemplative experience. Thanks for sharing the photos, too!

    1. Hi Becky, thanks for the comment. I learned a lot about trout fishing as I collected these life stories, but I've never actually been. As I worked on this book I realized the men we included had as much passion for the streams and the fish as they did for the sport. That's a true champion, in my opinion.