To call myself a fly fishing writer is both true and false. I do fly fish, I do write, and I do write about fly fishing. However, I hardly consider myself a great writer or a great fisherman. I do both and I love both. I won't come close to placing myself in the same building or river as my heroes - Roderick Haig-Brown, David James Duncan, Harry Middleton, Paul Schullery, or my father. They are my inspiration. And perhaps one day I can approximate what they do on rivers and with pens.
I tend, also, to be one who writes about people who write about fishing. So, more than a fly fishing writer, I am a historian of fly fishing and fly fishing based conservation. I am academic who pays attention to history, culture, politics, and religion, and how all of those things play into the ways in which humans figure out how to relate to nature.
As an educator and conservationist, I strive to create opportunities for critical, yet compassionate, approaches to understanding the intricate relationships between humans and the natural world. In my work, I endeavor toward "a land ethic," as taught by Aldo Leopold. I believe, then, that our work educational systems, economic policies, and conservation strategies, as much as popular culture, must not only reflect an ecological conscience, but must encourage a conviction of individual and community responsibility for the health of the land.
Following these passions, I managed to get a PhD from the University of Florida, writing a dissertation about fishing and the conservation / restoration of native trout - "Casting for Conservation". I still can't believe I got/get paid to do this research. Pursuing this dream, I was recently the John Daniels Fellow at the National Sporting Library (NSL), in Middleburg, VA. At the NSL, I began on several book projects exploring the history of fly fishing and cold-water conservation/restoration. Those projects continue.
This blog grew out of my belief in the importance of history as we think about the role of fishing in the future of fisheries conservation and politics. Sometimes I am not so sure that fly fishers know enough or care enough about our history, particularity in today's glitzy, media driven culture. This blog then is an attempt to bring that history to the spaces of contemporary culture - the Internet.
With that eye toward history, however, I have also taken to writing about current, pressing issues in coldwater conservation. I live and work in Alaska, in the fight for Bristol Bay. So, it should be no surprise that details from that battle now grace the pages of this blog, while I ponder and write about the past and future of fly fishing and coldwater conservation!