Written by Adam Bagger, CalTrout member
I first became involved with CalTrout roughly five years ago. As a former longtime California resident, I found the mission and initiatives of Curtis and the entire CalTrout team not only noble and inspiring, but also necessary. My business, Yonder, is a proud member of 1% for the Planet for that very reason, and we all believe strongly in the importance of conservation.
I live and breathe fly fishing. At this point in my life, it quite literally is me. I grew up on the East Coast with a fly rod in hand, and after moving West a decade and a half ago, I haven’t stopped fly fishing. To me, fly fishing can be summed up in four simple words: to catch is release. Nothing else catapults me into the moment quite like fly fishing. It’s the ultimate Zen, a simple dance of angler versus fish. And nothing else matters. My clients and colleagues frequently hear river background noise on our conference calls, and I feel lucky to have found that balance.
Many of my favorite angling memories are at Bollibokka on the McCloud River with the CalTrout team. One in particular involved my inaugural visit to Bolli, and fortunately my father flew 3,000 miles across the country to join me. There are a handful of truly special places out there, and Bolli’s stretch of the McCloud is one of them. Stalking the elusive McCloud Redband was a humbling experience for both of us; it’s one of the most intelligent and highly evolved fish I’ve ever netted. To share that memory with my father meant a great deal to me, and it’s a trip I look forward to every year.
I’m a firm believer in protecting existing strongholds across the globe, and CalTrout’s Protect the Best initiative in California resonates most with me. I was fortunate enough to work with renowned conservationist Guido Rahr of Wild Salmon Center on a project in the Russian Far East, and we had many conversations about the importance of stronghold protection in conjunction with habitat restoration. The McCloud River is one of those strongholds.
I am very passionate about fish. In fact, ‘fish’ was my first word as a child. To me, the work of CalTrout is the embodiment of legacy –– protecting and restoring natural habitats not only to benefit fish, but also for the benefit of future generations. That’s very inspiring to me. The McCloud holds top honor in my book, but I’ve also had very memorable days on the Klamath, Trinity, and Elk. And as a 12-year resident of Los Angeles, I’d frequently find myself in the Eastern Sierras skulking along the banks of the Lower Owens with my good friend and guide Pat Jaeger.
It’s a true honor to be able to participate in and contribute to such a noble and necessary cause. As a passionate angler and fellow human being on this wonderful planet of ours, I feel it’s my duty to do my part as best I can. Conservation is as important to me in my daily life as fly fishing, because the two go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. Angling aside, it’s imperative that we don’t turn a blind eye to protecting and restoring our natural hydrologic systems. Healthy rivers are integral to sustaining all living organisms, ourselves included.
We can all make a difference.