Fly fishing is experiencing a renaissance. A new generation of anglers is helping to redefine the activity as the accessible and life-changing sport as ever. In collaboration with the Chevrolet Silverado, we’ve rounded up three of these fishermen on a ride along the popular Trout Highway in Idaho. Read on to learn their stories, or head over to The New Spirit of Fly Fishing, an interactive hub loaded with more videos and content from the trip.
Austin Campbell: Throwing a Wider Net
Hunting didn’t necessarily change Austin Campbell’s life as much as it defined it, at least since he got his driver’s license as a teenager living in Denver. “When I got into a car in high school, it changed the game for me,” Campbell says. “I just started fishing a lot.”
And he did not stop hunting “a lot”. Campbell was a track star in high school with his choice of college programs. It was watching videos of fishermen fishing in the spring streams around the campus that made his choice to attend Penn State easy. He managed to fish three times a week between classes, practice, and get-togethers, then spent the summer as a fishing coach with Lincoln Hills Cares, a non-profit organization that introduces inner-city kids to the sport.
“I’ve completely self-taught, learning how to fish by watching YouTube videos and using Walmart rods,” Campbell says of his course in the sport. “I didn’t have a guide on the river growing up. Other fishermen looked at me and wondered what I was doing there, because the river wasn’t ‘our space’. Being able to take part in this guiding role for these kids was fun, but it was also important for me to make it clear To them that they belong there on the river, and that there is someone like them who enjoys the sport. This should be highlighted.”
Campbell continues to actively highlight this. He is now a full-time guide and advocate for getting young people out of the air, continuing his relationship with Lincoln Hills Cares and establishing his own free clinics offering fly fishing to residents of Denver neighborhoods that would otherwise have no contact with the sport.
“The outdoors is for everyone,” Campbell says. “Being out there and connecting with nature, it does something. All my other problems, I don’t think about it. I’m just in the moment. Everyone should get that chance. If we can continue to push the ball in the right direction in the industry, I hope that in the In five to 10 years from now, you’ll see everyone on the river.”
Watch the full story and watch the new Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 At work on the hub of New Spirit of Fly Fishing.
Katie Kahn: Hunting for Mental Health
Katie has been pretty honest, especially when it comes to her personal struggles. It’s not just the fact that she’s a cancer survivor or grown up without a male role model or that her family struggles with addiction. She is honest about the fact that being a mother is hard; It’s hard to be a wife. It takes effort, therapy, and a bit of hunting to succeed in these demanding roles. Not that she can fish as much as she wants – she’s honest about that, too.
“I probably haven’t fished in three months,” Kahn says from her home along the edge of the Chattoga River in the southern Appalachian Mountains. “I used to be able to take my daughter to the river and fish because she was sleeping, but now she’s three and a half years old, so she wants me to play Elsa and Anna with her in the sand.”
Kahn grew up rowing in Chattoga, where she did errands as a rowing guide. She has also led fishing trips with the nonprofit Casting for Recovery, which teaches cancer patients and survivors how to fish. But hunting is not a job it was. It is her release.
“I think fly fishing is the most meditative thing I’ve ever done,” Kahn says. “I can wash away the rest of my life for a while when I’m on the river and get back to where I am now. If I try to find that time for me, even if it’s just for a few hours, or for a day, I’ll be Katie again. Not a wife or a mother.” .just Katie.”
Kahn believes this kind of transparency will help other women overcome their struggles and hopefully normalize the idea that women should take time for themselves. She believes fly fishing could help more women rediscover themselves years after putting others first.
Learn more about the story of Cahn and the new Chevy Silverado ZR2 On the hub of New Spirit of Fly Fishing.
Matt Mendes: Inspiring the next generation of conservationists
Matt Mendes realizes how lucky he is. The 32-year-old owns Spin the Handle, a fishing guide company in Warm Springs Preserve in Oregon that enables him to get his boots in the water 180 days a year. Mostly, it hunts for a steelhead, a legendary species known to drive hunters into depression or euphoria. Sometimes both of them on the same day hold one of the few commercial permits to work in the same fishing grounds inherited from the Deschutes River where he learned the art from his grandfather.
“There aren’t a lot of places in the United States where you can go and feel like you’re the only one there,” Mendes says of his ancestors’ fishing waters. “This solitude is rare, and I’m back in the mountain range where about 700 wild horses run, and there are deer and antelopes…you name it. It’s like little Yellowstone.”
Mendes had been working at Deschutes since he was twelve, when he began driving shuttles for his grandfather’s fishing business. A few years later, he would direct, and eventually would buy this business and run it as his own. Now, Mendes sees his guidance as a path to help save the fisheries he grew up loving.
“I realize this river is a haven, and I’m working to make it a better place for everyone, not just for fishermen, but for fish,” Mendes says. “Education of my clients plays a huge role in that agency. I want people to go home and have a better measure of fisheries from a conservation standpoint. Spreading awareness through the several hundred clients I deal with each year is a way I can make a small impact in my business. The main problem we face.
The river agency hits near Mendez’s house. Not only had he been making his living in the ancestral waters of the Deshot River since he was twelve, he now had a 12-year-old son learning to fish in the same river. Mendes cherishes this role as a mentor, whether it be with a client, his son, or a tribal youth providing him with free instruction and equipment.
“I love watching other people fish,” Mendes says. “If I can go out all day with a friend, client, or kid and watch them swing, I’m happy. I feel sicker when that person catches more fish than when I get a fish.”
Watch the new Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 In action and watch the full video on The New Spirit of Fly Fishing hub.
Silverado drivers don’t just own a truck – they have the Authenticity Code. of fun. of adventure. reliability. freedom. It can take you to places you never dreamed of, or down the street. From work site to camp site. Friday Night Lights for the Northern Lights. And between each destination there is a chapter of the story that you decide to tell the world. Make sure it is strong.