Urban Youth & the Zen of Fly-fishing by OPB/Oregon Field Guide
One of our past events this year Anglers Quest – Olympic National Forest – Hoh River, was amazing and to have professional anglers from various walks of life gave a service to 18 inner city youth and veterans in a way of exposing them to the wonder of the outdoors, teaching many facets and multiple layers of fly fishing. Participants learned and soaked up the ideals of what fly fishing is all about on many intimate levels and in an unconventional approach. Our main focus was be authentic and do our best to make change one soul at a time by being a friend and providing an equal share of learning opportunities. And that is what we have successfully done! It was an honor to be in the presence of Mother Nature’s theater (spotting bald eagles and being in the presence of a herd of elk in our camp), as well as with friends on the water and at the base camp who committed/gave their time to selflessly serve and teach new minds as ambassadors of the outdoors. Past blog post here.
We want to give a big THANK YOU(!) to our partners and sponsors – U.S Fish & Wildlife, Tualatin River Valley Wildlife Refuge, LOOP USA,Sierra Club, City of Vancouver Parks & Recreation, Scientific Anglers, Costa Eyewear, SKOUT Organic, Sea Run Pursuits, EvolTwin Printing &Education Recreational Adventures
- Thursday, November 13 at 8:30 p.m. on OPB TV
- Sunday, November 16 at 1:30 a.m. on OPB TV
- Sunday, November 16 at 6:30 p.m. on OPB TV
Soul River and LOOP would like to thank our armed forces veterans for all their hard work and service to our country. This veterans day, we encourage everyone to reflect, honor, and give thanks to our veterans for their dedication, strength, support, and sacrifices they have made in the line of duty.
You’ve covered our 6 with all your contributions and we would like to give you something in return. As a special thank you to the men and women in America’s armed forces, we are offering very special discounts available exclusively to veterans and active duty military on LOOP rods including the XACT and EVOTEC series in single rods and double handed spey rods. These discounts are available starting Veterans Day 2014. Because these discounts are not available to the general public and highly classified, we ask you contact us directly to acquire the savings.
Please contact us at 503-954-7625, or in person at the Soul River retail store located at 1926 N Kilpatrick St. Portland, OR 97217. Tuesday – Saturday 11am-6pm
EVOTEC DOUBLE HAND
XACT DOUBLE HAND
EXCLUSIVE ONLY HERE AT SOUL RIVER
-Soul River & LOOP
Thank you to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife, LOOP, City of Vancouver Parks & Recreation, Korkers Footwear and all volunteers who came out to be part of this amazing experience! Youth and veterans had the opportunity yet again to get back into the nature, grow in the company of others, and learn more about being conscientious conservationists. Every opportunity that comes our way is one to sieze, capturing not just the experience of nature but inspiring a young, new mind. We intentionally set differences aside and forge on to replace the curiosity with a hands-on experience and learning tools which ultimately lends itself to smiles, laughter, play, and feeling renewed!
Throughout every outing, a common thread tends to weave itself into the initial experience for the youth – educating more than just the participating youth, but their moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, and guardians about the value in connecting with nature. Knowledge is power and where there is no knowledge or foundation of reference, youth can end up sharing the same fears or stereotypes about being in the outdoors that have cycled over and over throughout generations. This has given me a new perspective on the statement that fear is learned. If parents or guardians cannot inspire or embrace opportunities for their child then moving forward in life turns into sharing the same fear, misconception, or misinterpretation of what nature has to offer from the parent or guardian and handed to the youth. This was especially apparent after our Angler’s Quest in May on the Hoh River. After fitting all 17 youth in boots and waders, taking them into the water, educating them on currents and river reading, was I then told by many of them that their parents gave them strict instruction to not go in or near the river water. This was incredibly eye-opening and yet sad. The youth had learned a few survival skills as well as had the opportunity to feel river currents and decide for themselves if this was something they were going to fear uninformed or respect with wisdom. I have especially seen this in African American and Hispanic families. Pursuing the outdoors is always an unpredictable arena when you have no control over Mother Nature’s thermostat or weather changes. As outdoors-people we have to be smart and learn to always be prepared. Yes, always use common sense but when there is just the change of air flow and light rain we don’t change the course just because Mother Nature gave us rain. Part of being in nature is embracing what is there and what is around us including the rain and the mud.
As this outing neared, merely hours away, the rain in Portland and Vancouver poured demonstratively. Meanwhile, over Mount Hood and in Oregon’s high desert, I was experiencing dry, 65 degree weather with clear blue skies. It was disappointing to receive a phone call stating that once again I had the opportunity to experience parents and guardians making uninformed decisions by pulling their youth from the outing due to the rain they were witnessing right in front of them. I started to see that parents and guardians can be stuck in their own mindset of operating and not really understanding what is happening or going on in the outdoors a couple hundred miles away. Fear can drive us mad and cause us to make decisions that can be sometimes irrational and create a domino effect of consequences for others.
The pursuit of connecting urban youth to the outdoors includes also the pursuit of educating the family unit. Whether its information about weather differences in various parts of the state, how critical and empowering water safety is for youth, or what conservation is all about, it is up to us as leaders and models to show how to embrace it and be prepared.
This outing was truly an incredible experience. The youth had a wonderful time learning so much centered around how to wade in river water, how to use the buddy system when crossing the river, navigation, learning how to use a compass/making a cross reference with a digital GPS compass, to fly fishing, casting, and, most of all, being a good ambassador of conservation!
· Black anodized aluminum reel seat
· Cork-mix handle
· Ceramic stripping guides and durable chrome snake guides with double coating
· Rod model inscription and dot mark on ferrules for correct fit on rod sections
· Comes ‘ready-to-go’ in a Cordura tube with integrated reel case
· Form and friction-stable brake discs in metal and carbon on model 5/8
· Reel frame and spool in corrosion-proof composite
· Large brake adjustment dial
· Simple spool change
Celebrate Veterans Day with Veteran Chad Brown and Catch & Release @ Lucky Labrador Brewpub
SE 9th & Hawthorne (parking lot on Madison)
Veteran’s Day, November 11th at 6:30pm
Since 1961, The Fly Fishers Club had a wide range of members who are experienced anglers, guides, and authors who enjoy teaching others how to fish.
As a Club they are committed to preserving the sport and art of fly fishing.
Whether you’re an expert fly fisher or just getting started, They encourage you to become a member. They can educate and entertain you!
This month At Soul River Space
Featuring Brian Chou “Artistry behind the fly”
ärt/ noun 1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
Up close and personal! I had the opportunity to learn and capture Brian Chou’s art of tying on the vice. Every tier has their own approach on the vice. For Brian there is a ritualistic approach like an artist selecting the right palette of colors to paint their canvas. Brian creates with a mix of theory, science, artistic talent, and river experience from being out on the river. “Somebody said to me one day ‘fly tying is a craft not an art.'” This is a bold and interesting statement when you actually look at what art is, think about the process of a creation, and the execution of a skill set that dates back thousands of years in indigenous cultures worldwide. Relying on creativity and art in the hunt for survival to ritualistic ceremonies and forms of communications which all play a purpose in the process like an artist palette of nature. The statement that a person said was a bit bold but yet has no substance to the nature of knowing art especially when one knows the true definition of art.
There are three different fly tiers where the skill set and tools are almost always the same but different in the end product – the tier who ties for functionality, the tier who ties for classicism, and the tier who breaks the mold learning outside of the box displaying artistic expressionism and functional application.
In my observation, Brian’s approach is innovative, artistic but functional as well as scientific. In simple words, Brian’s flies are tried and true! Brian has many years under his belt from fishing throughout the Northwest to saltwater fly fishing along the Pacific. In his experience, Brian has been able to succeed at fly line design and fly rod design for various respected companies and holds a certification as an Federation of Fly Fishers casting instructor. In his pastime, he serves as a Soul River ambassador helping propel the sport to newer audiences, connecting youth to the outdoors, and working with veterans. Most importantly he is a father and husband.
As one of my graduate school professor’s once said to me, “Know the rules first, then you can break them.” Brian knows the rules and he breaks them.
Come to the Soul River retail space and purchase Brian Chou’s flies. His latest flies featured feed the appetite of a Portland Trail Blazer fan, whether it’s to go fishing or just wanting to have another affiliation to the Blazers. The bonus is it catches fish! And the fly name is the ” The Rip City”
Brian Chou on the vice in his studio tying ” The Rip City”!
Interesting to watch some of the little techniques Brian has under his sleeve working with materials.
Adding the glue! Final touches!
A few of Brian fly creations! A sneak peak in his fly box!
Orvis is introducing the Breaking Barriers Award, honoring someone who has gone above and beyond to bring new blood into the sport, to break down the barriers of introduction. Over the next year, keep an eye out for people who are engaging new audiences and feeding the sport. Encourage them, help them, and nominate them. Let us know what awesome work is being done to help foster growth in our industry. Kids, women, new audiences – that’s what is going to propel the sport forward into the coming years. We are asking all Soul River supporters out there to support us and in your free time to take 3 min out to click here and go online to nominate us! We fill we are right in line with what the focus Orvis is looking for.
Thank you for your support!
Our lives are journeys. Often times we are not fully aware of our surroundings and how they alter and influence our physical and spiritual beings, but we naturally take the journey. Many of us are fortunate to have the lifestyle to get outdoors and explore a variety of recreational activities. It’s easy to take this part of our journey for granted and see the sport as one of pursuit not realizing what is right in front of us. Then again, there is also a handful of people who do not have the lifestyle to do such a thing. For me, getting outdoors has become not only a journey but a pursuit of opportunity waiting to be discovered and even challenged. I take this journey every chance I get when I go to the river to fish. I appreciate what is around me and in the water of what I may be chasing at that time; fishing simply becomes the by-product. The vehicle of scientific exploration leads me to a self-discovery of “change” which is my transformation, my balance, and my church. Whether I’m chasing trout or steelhead, wadding through the river with fellow anglers scanning the pockets and feeding lines or eddies on the river, I am metamorphosing as a pupil of what Mother Nature is revealing and how I am being shaped.
Soul River was given life as I was standing waist deep, filling my lungs with the pure fresh air, being humbly embraced by Mother Nature’s theater, and ultimately fighting my PTSD from my years serving in the U.S. Navy. Throughout the development of Soul River, a connection of art and design between the outdoor world and the urban world was inspired from the art of fly fishing. The intention is to fold both worlds into a creative, urban, outdoor fashion apparel brand beacon young and old bridging from urban to outdoors. The brand of Soul River represents an embodiment of nature inter-playing between fashion art and design and the beauty of our environment with legs in the community cultivating young minds and veterans connecting to the outdoors raising the mental state of awareness to an ambassador of the outdoors.
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The brand is the soul of nature that is a reflection of ourselves, where we are at in that exact moment in time. It speaks to your individual lifestyle, no matter who you are, where you are, or what your passion is. Soul River represents everyone’s experiences that are interpreted like a unique thumbprint. The brand is viewed differently to each individual who embraces it because each person has their own adventure. Each experience on the water, on the trail, or in the city streets is different based on what is seen or breathed. My Soul River is different from your Soul River with diverse perspectives and experiences. My reality is the healing that water brings to the soul, the medicine to the mental, physical, and the spiritual world. At the end of the day we all stand on a common ground of interest and respect for Mother Nature, whether she’s seen in the urban world or the natural world. The brand welcomes the uniqueness and individuality, as Soul River is unconventional in its approach to the consumers just as Mother Nature is unconventional in Her approach in the outdoors.
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
The voice of the brand also advocates our opportunity to stand and fight for the injustices that younger generations face, with intention to inspire exploring the outdoors, becoming ambassadors for tomorrow, understanding that nature is freaking cool and hip. It’s the journey of all groups, including age, race, and socio-economic status, which we take as a universal reminder that we are inherently connected. Part of the brand also gives back to veterans fighting PTSD, in pursuit to provides rich opportunities such as classes & expeditions that are one day to one week outings led by Soul River and partners with US Fish and Wildlife and Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge and other partners coining the term “Iron Sharpening Iron.” Ultimately, one “iron” is U.S. veterans transitioning into society post-war in hopes that they will find peace and comfort in the healing waters. The other “iron” is community youth transitioning from a troubled past seeking alternative methods of healing by embarking into the outdoors, joining conservation efforts, and gaining a new respect for Mother Nature. Both veterans and youth have similar trials – whether it’s a literal war or a war of his/her own, struggling with street life, drugs, and gangs. By merging these two groups together, they’ll have the opportunity to mentor, learn from one another, and teach through their challenges. Soul River Runs Deep!
Photo by Ankur Dholakia
Soul River is proud to be part and help promote, support the film “Wild Reverence” By Shane Anderson. Come on out and see this film. Bring the family! We have posters for free to give away at Soul River located @ 1936 N. Kilpatrick Suite B. Portland, Oregon 97217 Come pick one up! Showing 9/28 Doors open @ 6pm
From the words of the Director Shane Anderson
Wild Reverence is a documentary film chronicling the plight of the iconic wild steelhead along the west coast of Amercia. In November of 2012, I made a pilgrimage back to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state to the rivers I once fished as a boy. This was a once in a lifetime fishing trip and I soon discovered wild steelhead and salmon were disappearing from the rivers and appearing as federally listed under the Endangered Species Act. How could the icons of the Northwest slip toward the abyss of extinction?
This discovery left me asking many questions so I decided to take off the rest of the year, cash out my life savings and embark on an adventure up and down the west coast to document and learn about the current plight of wild steelhead and why this fish is so revered. We are constantly mis-informed on information about the reality and the status of our fish until its too late. The effects of shifting baselines is more evident then ever. I wanted to find the truth, look at history and hard scientific fact as well as talk with people who have dedicated their lives to studying and advocating for wild steelhead and salmon.
My journey took me from Malibu, CA back north to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. I snorkeled some rivers and creeks and fished in others. Everywhere I traveled I met kindred spirits that the steelhead has influenced. Hopefully through my journey you can see the scope of our rivers across the west coast, hear the stories and see with your own eyes where things are working, where they are broken, how WE can turn the decline around, fill our rivers back up with wild fish and save some of the magic for future generations.
I hope to give the wild steelhead the spotlight it deserves and through “Wild Reverence” begin a movement to enact some real change before its too late.
Thanks for your support!!
The US Fish and Wild Life Service’s Urban Wildlife Refuge Program, a national program aimed at increasing a diverse engaged conservation constituency, is highlighting work of programs that connect youth with nature and encourage conservation. The event will be held on Capitol Hill Tuesday, September 16, 2014. Soul River Owner/Creative Director Chad Brown has been given the opportunity to speak at the event, in front of the organization and members of congress, to share the story of Soul River and our outreach work connecting youth and veterans with the outdoors using fly fishing and conservation as a conduit to spark interest and cultivate a passion creating the awareness to our youth and bring up to ambassadors into the outdoors.
Chad will be covering Soul River’s mission, our partnerships with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, and the importance of connecting with nature respectfully while giving back. Chad and Soul River would like to thank US Fish & Wildlife Service for their ongoing support with our programs and events like the recent Celebration of Wild Steelhead and for the opportunity to share our work and inspire others on a national stage.
AMAZING! TIGHT LINES!