How long have you been a TU member? I joined Trout Unlimited five years ago while attending law school in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Why did you become a member and what chapter are you involved with?
I first joined TU in order to learn. I wanted to learn how to be a better fly fisher. I also wanted to learn more about the local fisheries and waters that sustain them. Having moved to two different states prior to settling my family in Basalt, Colorado in 2013, becoming a member of TU taught me about the pursuit of trout and the local streams in each state more than I ever could have expected. Through TU, I’ve connected with and befriended many veteran anglers that know the craft and know the issues and challenges facing our watersheds as intimately as anyone.
I’m a member of the Ferdinand Hayden Chapter (FHTU) in the Roaring Fork Valley. I serve as the president of the chapter.
What made you want to become involved with TU? I think Aldo Leopold put it best when he stated, “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.” I’m one of those who cannot live with out them.
What is your favorite activity or project that you have done with TU?
I’m proud of a number of things that FHTU accomplished this past year. From supporting our friends and neighbors’ efforts to secure protections for the Thompson Divide area, to funding and supporting the Ware-Hinds fish passage project, which will provide a critical bypass around an irrigation diversion dam on an important tributary of the Colorado River, to our regular partnerships with other local organizations on river cleanups, and a host of other activities. We even managed to squeeze in a chapter excursion up to Trappers Lake.
Looking ahead, there’s a lot of important work yet to be done.
I know you won’t tell me your top spot, so what is your second favorite fishing spot or favorite fishing story?
Lately, given the short days and a demanding work schedule, it’s been teaching my 2 year-old son, Henry to roll cast in the house with his toy training rod. His favorite thing to say after casting is, “It’s a whopper!”
To your first question: there’s so much water to explore in this valley. (How’s that for a lawyer answer?) Just when you think you have a handle on it, the weather or the season changes. As much as I enjoy skiing, I also personally love winter fishing on the middle Roaring Fork and the Frying Pan near Basalt. There are no lift lines and usually no one in your favorite hole! In the summer months, I have a similar mantra and usually keep to the smaller tributaries of the Roaring Fork outside of Aspen. It’s hard to beat a good weekend hike with family and small streams in high country. From my perspective, the wilder the place, the better.
What does being a part of TU mean to you?
Being a part of TU means that you’re passionate not only about the incredible trout fishing opportunities that our state has to offer, but also about the decisions and issues that impact the long-term health of the rivers and streams on which we all depend. As a conservation organization, TU does a terrific job by engaging and partnering with the stakeholders across the spectrum on a given issue or project and by finding common ground.
What else do you do in your spare time or for work?
I’m a water attorney, licensed in Colorado and Montana and practice exclusively in the areas of water rights law, water resources, and water quality. When I have spare time and I’m not hunting or fishing, I’m an avid trail and ultra-marathon runner.