Make 2013 “The Year of the Native Trout”


For the past few years, Tim Romano and I (we also co-host the “Fly Talk” blog at have had fun forecasting an annual fly-fishing “theme.” Last year, we made 2012 “The Year of the Carp,” and, believe it or not, the publicity that generated actually did seem to have a catalyst effect in creating more discussion around (and interest in) that topic—among readers of Field & Stream and beyond.

Long story short, we’re saying that 2013 is the “Year of the Native Trout.” And we’d appreciate the support of retailers and manufacturers in the fly industry in making interest in native trout a priority in 2013. Here’s a link to the story.

Let’s face it… we understand that planted/introduced rainbows and browns collectively comprise the bulk of this industry’s foundation. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But native fish are the keystones to many of the conservation discussions happening now. Steelhead. Greenbacks. Brook trout. Gila trout. Cutthroats in Yellowstone. And many others. In many cases, native trout have recently faced unprecedented threats… fires in the West, development and pollution in the East, and more.

There’s also a purely business reason to highlight native trout. Bigger isn’t always better in this context. That leads to a wider array of tackle sales, and yes, media sales.

If you would encourage customers to endeavor to embrace the natives, perhaps even consider donating to organizations like Trout Unlimited (admittedly, I also have an agenda there) or the Western Native Trout Initiative , I am confident that the fly industry as a whole will benefit greatly.

-Kirk Deeter


1 Comment

  1. I’ve been privileged to work as a commercially permitted Fly Fishing guide in Rocky Mountain National Park for the last nine seasons. While RMNP and the surrounding area host populations of both native and introduced specie, many of our guests specifically come for the opportunity to catch a Greenback Cutthroat, some arriving from as far away as Europe and Japan.

    Started in October of 2012, the human-caused Forest Canyon fire in RMNP has now burned over 3,000 acres of mature timber in the steep ground surrounding the headwaters of the Upper Big Thompson river, which is home to an isolated population of wild, native Cutthroat. While the lineage of these fish is in question with recent findings surrounding the genetic heritage of the “true” Greenback Cutthroat, what’s not in dispute is concern for the overall health of the ecology and water quality in the Upper T since the fire. I’m sure I speak for all guides in the area when I say that we support any and all efforts — by either governmental agencies, advocate groups or the angling media — to protect and raise awareness around the value of native fish.

    Jonathan Lee Wright
    Estes Park Mountain Shop
    Estes Park, CO

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