Board Members Seeking Re-Election
Jim Bartschi- Scott Fly Rods- (Manufacturer)
Jim Bartschi is the President and rod designer for the Scott Fly Rod Company in Montrose, Colorado. Jim has spent his entire career in the fly fishing industry, with over 25 years at Scott Fly Rods. Bartschi is a life-long angler with a passion for any species that will eat a fly and he’s just as comfortable pulling the oars or poling a skiff as he is on the bow. He’s grateful for the deep connections he has forged through fly fishing with people and places around the globe. Jim served over two terms as a Director of AFFTA and was one of the the ExCom team members that developed AFFTA’s current mission and first strategic plan. Bartschi is intimately familiar with AFFTA’s mission and history, and he’s committed to advancing AFFTA into an even more effective trade association for its members and the fly fishing industry.
Hogan Brown- HGB Fly Fishing/Loon Outdoors- (Guide/Outfitter)
Growing up on the Lower Yuba River in Northern California, Hogan was an only child who really liked catching fish. Playing with bugs didn’t make him the coolest kid on the block and he developed a penchant for things that he could do on his own. Fly fishing and playing loud guitar music filled most of his time. As a teen, he got a job at the local fly shop in Nevada City, California and he’s worked in the fly fishing industry ever since. Hogan has devoted his life to the sport of fly fishing. He has guided for over 20 years in Northern California for trout, steelhead, bass, carp and anything that swims in a river, lake, pond or ditch that he could access. He has worked in all aspects of the industry, but always stayed grounded in the trenches as a guide. He worked fly shop counters, at the bottom of the line in lodges, run his own outfitting business, founded a non-profit and even did a stint as an assistant manufacturer’s representative before he realized cubicle work and spreadsheets were not his thing. Currently, Hogan guides 100+ days per year, works as the Marketing Director for Cast Hope and Loon Outdoors, while also raising two boys with his wife in Chico, California.
Jesse Haller- Orvis- (Manufacturer)
Born in southwestern Wisconsin, Jesse Haller started fly fishing at nine years old in the Driftless. After attending Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, he moved to Summit County, Colorado, where he started his career as a fly fishing guide. In 2008, Jesse moved to Middlebury Vermont and became a retail store manager, lead guide and outfit manager at Green Mountain Adventures. Jesse is the founder of the Otter Creek Classic, a 10 year running Vermont fly fishing event that supports local watershed conservation programs. Further, as President of the non-profit New Haven River Anglers, Jesse ran programs such as Youth Days, Women in Waders and participated in multiple watershed conservation and stream improvement initiatives. In 2015, Jesse joined Orvis as a Fly Fishing Product Developer where he still lives with his wife, two kids and two dogs. Jesse’s participation on the AFFTA board is founded in the desire to continue to serve the sport, members, and industry that he’s been immersed in for most of his life. His multi-regional and multi-role perspective informs his focus on growing interest and improving participation by lowering the barrier of entry, in addition to improving access and sustainability of the resource.
Rachel Leinweber- Angler’s Covey- (Retailer)
Rachel Leinweber grew up in a family-owned fly shop, Angler’s Covey. Located in Colorado Springs, Angler’s Covey is a fly fishing focused, Orvis Endorsed retail operation. This is where Rachel fell in love with the business. Her passion for retail and the outdoors led her to start Pikes Peak Outfitter, a rental/retail paddle shop. Rachel is now the general manager of all three family owned retail operations, Angler’s Covey, Pikes Peak Outfitter, and Colorado Tackle Pro. When she isn’t working at the shop, Rachel can be found guiding on the South Platte River and running Kayak excursions. One of Rachel’s other passions is conservation. She assists in the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance, an organization that strives to make the incredible natural and recreation assets of the Pikes Peak area an economic driver for the region.
Nick Conklin- TFO Rods
Nicholas Conklin has been with Temple Fork Outfitters, (TFO) since 2012. Starting in the warehouse and working his way up several job categories, Nicholas is currently the Product Category Manager– Fly Fishing, (fly rod, reel, and accessory design) as well as the Trade and Consumer show coordinator. Nick’s product development and design of the Axiom II Switch rod won the EFTTEX, (European Fishing Tackle Trade Expo) Best of Show, and the IFTD, (International Fly Tackle Dealer) Best Two-Handed/Spey Rod awards in 2018. Nick’s trade/consumer show management encompasses +/-40 shows and events throughout a calendar year. All stages of planning, booth buying, on-site labor and talent management, are part of this role. He has managed this portion of the business for over eight years, (fly fishing and conventional tackle shows and events). Nick works closely with the decorated TFO advisory and ambassador staffs. He also works with fly rep sales team and domestic and international dealers. Originally from Michigan, Nicholas grew up fishing for trout and bass in and around the Great Lakes. After spending much of his youth fishing iconic rivers like the Pere Marquette, Grand, and Rogue rivers, he attended Central Michigan University where he graduated with a degree in Journalism, (news-editorial). Although an avid freshwater angler, he has grown to be very found of saltwater fishing and has spent considerable time along the Texas coast pursuing redfish, tuna, and sharks. Professionally, his articles and photography have appeared in Field & Stream Magazine, Lone Star Outdoor News, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and other regional and national publications.
Nick English- Simms
I’ve been a lifelong angler with parents that taught my brother and me to fly fish at a very young age. We traveled the west with our tent trailer in tow camping and fishing everywhere from the Apache reservation to the Kenai peninsula and everything in between. As I got older travels extended to other places I was fortunate to cast a fly in.
Shortly after high school while attending junior college, I began working at a fly shop part time just after high school, this continued for a number of years. I had a short stint in a career in home improvement in the bay area of California and found myself missing the fishing industry. I then took a job guiding in Alaska and moved to Montana in the mid 2000’s with the desire to go back to college to finish my degree. While working on my bachelor’s in Business I took employment at Simms Fishing as an intern leading to a part time job, guiding on the side and going to school full time. Shortly after I finished school I left the internal team at Simms and went to work as a sales representative for Michael White. During my 5 years with Michael I worked with retailers spanning Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana and went back to school to get my MBA while working full time. (I fished and skied very little those 2 years) Simms had an opportunity to take on the Sales Manager role after I wrapped up my MBA and I made the transition back internally with Simms. After a year and an half in that role, I was promoted to manage all of our North American wholesale business as a Director. In total, I’ve spent 11 years working with Simms and much longer in the fly fishing world. At Simms I am a part of a senior leadership team that continues to drives efforts in improving everything at Simms from our business workings to employee culture and morale. In addition to my work experience, I served on the board for Madison Gallatin Trout Unlimited and have been a long time member and participant locally in conservation projects and fundraising efforts. I also worked as Chair for Museum of the Rockies Two Fly event for 3 years leading fundraising and event efforts. In addition to being an angler, my passions include backcountry skiing, running absurd distances in the mountains, cycling, and enjoying time with my wife and dogs. I feel I could be a great contributor to the AFFTA board and look forward to joining the crew.
Jin Choi- St. Peters Fly Shop
Growing up in Georgia, Jin’s early fishing experiences involved dunking worms, corn or chicken liver to catch bass, brim or whatever swam around his neighborhood ponds. After moving to Colorado in 1984, he was eventually introduced to fly fishing by a high school friend and was immediately tangled. In the ensuing years, Jin worked tirelessly to untangle the nuances and eventually found his way into the industry as a buyer for an outdoor retailer. This introduction led to many years of guiding on Colorado’s western slope, throughout the Front Range and in southern Wyoming. Jin also worked in Big Box retail prior to his current role where, for the last 14 years, he has served as general manager of St. Peter’s Fly Shops in Fort Collins, Colorado. Jin’s deep experiences in the industry give him unique insights into the challenges currently facing our sport. As he sees it, “After this past year of exponential growth, it’s become evident that our sport cannot responsibly increase participation without diversifying the species we chase.” He adds that broadening our scope — to new people, places and species — is essential to creating a more sustainable tomorrow for the fly fishing industry. As a prospective member of the AFFTA Board, Jin’s goal is to bring together retailers, manufacturers and conservation groups to consider new, engaging ways we can expand beyond cold water trout fisheries in order to build a diversified, enduring future for anglers and the industry. “Accessibility is key,” he explains. “It shouldn’t matter whether you come from a long line of fly anglers or not. This sport has the power to enrich anyone’s life — no matter their backyard, their background or what’s in their bank accounts.” Ultimately, growing sustainably means seeing beyond a single species in a single setting and realizing that the joy of fly fishing has the ability to transcend the shrinking cold water resources in our collective foreground. By removing guardrails and challenging status quo thinking, Jin believes that the sport and industry he loves will continue to flourish, while enriching the lives of new generations of anglers intent on exploring anything and everything fly fishing has to offer.
Dave McCoy -Emerald Water Anglers
I quickly discovered the thrill of having a fish on but was always in awe of my surroundings, in particular the water. Being raised in the outdoors and that early exposure to water in all forms led away from fly fishing for a number of years to pursue a career as a ski race coach but was always looking over my shoulder at what fly fishing brought to my life.
I eventually returned to the sport to open Emerald Water Anglers, Washington’s only full-service westside fly fishing guide service, boutique and travel center entering its 23rd year in business and were the first to become Carbon Neutral/Net Zero in our sport.
I am relentless in my endeavors to surpass expectations and would be void of inspiration in these pursuits without my family constantly reminding me why I need to work hard to protect what we currently enjoy.
Hilary Hutcheson- Lary’s Fly & Supply
Hilary started her fly-fishing career as a teenaged guide in West Glacier, Montana. She guided and worked in the fly shop at Glacier Anglers through college, then took her journalism degree to Portland, Oregon where she worked as a television news anchor and reporter. She eventually returned to Montana to guide and co-own and operate Outside Media and Trout TV for nearly a decade. Today, she’s still guiding on the Flathead River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and owns and runs her fly shop, Lary’s Fly & Supply in her hometown of Columbia Falls, Montana. She is an instructor at School of Trout, serves as a national board member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, sits on the advisory committee for Guiding For the Future, serves on the Northern Rockies River Council, is a climate activist with Protect Our Winters and is a contributing editor for Fly Fisherman Magazine. She loves hanging out with her three-legged yellow lab, two teen daughters, Ella and Delaney and her partner, Ebon, especially when they volunteer on the oars.
Nick Streit- Taos Fly Shop
Nick Streit was born into somewhat of a fly fishing dynasty. His father, Taylor started guiding anglers in Northern New Mexico in the late 70’s and has literally wrote the book on fly fishing New Mexico. His Uncle Jackson, likewise, owns and operates The Mountain Angler in Breckenridge, Co and has authored the book Fly Fishing Colorado.
Getting into the family business at an early age, Nick was guiding fisherman before he was old enough to drive them to the river, and by the age of 17, Nick was a member of the U.S. fly fishing team that took second place in the World Championships in Wales. After college, Nick followed his father’s footsteps to such fly fishing destinations as the Bahamas and Argentina. He also ventured out on his own for a brief stint guiding in Alaska. But the call of his home-waters could not be denied, and in 2004 Nick, along with his wife Chrissy, opened the Taos Fly Shop (in the same location his father had the store in the 80’s). The shop has grown from its humble beginnings and is now Northern NM’s premier Fly Shop. In 2012, Nick- along with longtime friend and fellow guide Ivan Valdez, purchased The Reel Life, a fly shop and guide service in Santa Fe. Nick now spends the majority of his time running his two businesses, guiding and instructing classes. In the winter, he hosts group trips to Argentina. Nick also enjoys photography and his work has been featured in publications such as Southwest Fly Fishing and New Mexico Magazine. Nick has also done considerable volunteer work for conservation groups like Trout Unlimited and the Wildlife Federation. In recent years, Nick was the driving force behind the Red River Habitat improvement project, which raised nearly 1 million dollars for habitat restoration on the Lower Red River. If not at work, Nick is usually camping, hunting of fishing in the woods somewhere with his wife Chrissy and their two children, Taylor and Christian.
Lisa Lowman- Gulf Coast Fly
Lisa Lowman is a fly fishing guide based out of the marshes of Louisiana. She is a wife, mother and an Active Duty Coast Guardsman. She was working at an outdoor retail shop in Florida when she began fly fishing 8 years ago and realized her passion for the sport which became a full on obsession. Her love for fly fishing is the reason she started guiding and spending the other part of her time teaching. Lisa has been guiding for 2 years out of Tampa Bay, FL and has recently transplanted to Louisiana. She volunteers as much as she can with Casting for Recovery and clubs like the Suncoast Fly Fishers and the Tampa Bay Fly Fishers. She’s assisted teaching more advanced classes and women’s only classes. Lisa’s biggest goal is to introduce and help other women fall in love with fly fishing from the first time they pick up a rod to the time they’re on their own and create long lasting relationships based on our shared passion for fly fishing and the outdoors. In her free time, you can find her chasing down giant Redfish and running around with her Golden Retriever, Emmy Lou.