Home Sport gear These anglers inspire the new spirit of fly fishing

These anglers inspire the new spirit of fly fishing

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Fly fishing is experiencing a renaissance. A new generation of anglers are helping to make this activity the accessible and life-changing sport it has always been. Working with Chevrolet Silverado, we brought three of these anglers together for a trip along Idaho’s historic Trout Highway. Read on to learn more about their stories or head over to The New Spirit of Fly Fishing, an interactive hub loaded with more videos and content from the trip.

Austin Campbell: Casting a Wider Net

Fishing hasn’t necessarily changed Austin Campbell’s life as much as it has defined it, at least since he got his driver’s license as a teenager living in Denver. “When I got a car in high school, it was a game-changer for me,” Campbell says. “I just started overfishing.”

And he didn’t stop fishing “too much”. Campbell was a track star in high school with his choice of college programs. Watching videos of anglers fishing in the spring creeks around campus made her decision to go to Penn State easier. He managed to fish three times a week between classes, practices and meets, then spent his summers as a fly fishing instructor with Lincoln Hills Cares, a nonprofit organization that introduces children to the downtown to sports.

“I’m completely self-taught, learning to fish by watching YouTube videos and using Walmart rods,” Campbell says of his own trajectory in the sport. “I didn’t have a mentor on the river growing up. Other fishermen looked at me and wondered what I was doing there, because the river was not “our space”. Being able to mentor these kids was fun, but it was also important for me to show them that they belong on the river, that there is someone like them who loves this sport. We need to shed some light on this. »

Campbell is still actively shedding light. He’s now a full-time guide and advocate for getting kids outdoors, continuing his relationship with Lincoln Hills Cares, and starting his own free clinics that introduce fly fishing to people in the Denver neighborhoods that would otherwise have no contact with the sport.

“The outdoors is for everyone,” says Campbell. “Being out there and connected with nature just does something. All my other problems, I don’t think about. I’m just in the moment. Everyone should have this opportunity. If we can keep pushing the ball in the right direction in this industry, hopefully in five to 10 years you’ll see everyone on the river.

Watch the full story and learn about the new Chevy Silverado ZR2 in action on The New Spirit of Fly Fishing hub.

Katie Cahn: Fishing for Mental Health

Katie Cahn is brutally honest, especially when it comes to her personal struggles. Not just the fact that she survived cancer or grew up without a strong male role model or her family struggles with addiction. She is honest that being a mother is hard; that being a woman is difficult. That it takes effort, therapy and a bit of fishing to succeed in these demanding roles. Not that she can fish as much as she wants – she’s honest about that, too.

“I probably haven’t fished in three months,” Cahn says from his home on the Chattooga River in southern Appalachia. “I used to be able to take my daughter to the river and fish because she was sleeping, but now she’s three and a half so she wants me to play Elsa and Anna with her in the sand.”

Cahn grew up paddling the Chattooga, where she had stints as a rafting guide. She has also led fishing trips with the nonprofit organization Casting for Recovery, which teaches cancer patients and survivors how to fly fish. But fishing is not Cahn’s job. It is his liberation.

“I think fly fishing is the most meditative thing I’ve ever done,” says Cahn. “I can wash away the rest of my life for a while when I’m on the river and be who I am again. If I try to find that time for myself, even if it’s just a few hours or a day, I become Katie again. Not a wife or a mother. Just Katie.

Cahn thinks this kind of transparency will help other women deal with their own struggles and hopefully normalize the idea that a woman should take time for herself. She thinks fly fishing could help more women rediscover themselves after years of putting others first.

Learn about Cahn’s history and the new Chevy Silverado ZR2 on The New Spirit of Fly Fishing hub.

Matt Mendes: Inspiring the next generation of conservationists

Matt Mendes understands how lucky he is. The 32-year-old owns Spin the Handle, a fly-fishing guide business in Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon, which allows him to have his boots in the water 180 days a year . He mainly fishes for rainbow trout, a legendary species known to drive anglers to depression or ecstasy. Sometimes both on the same day. Mendes has one of the few commercial licenses to work on the same ancestral Deschutes River fishing grounds where he learned the art from his grandfather.

“There aren’t many places in the United States where you can go and feel like you’re the only one there,” Mendes says of his ancestral fishing waters. “That solitude is rare, and you’re back in the mountain range where about 700 wild horses run around, and there’s deer, antelope… you name it. It’s like a mini Yellowstone.

Mendes has worked on the Deschutes since he was 12, when he started driving shuttles for his grandfather’s fly-fishing business. A few years later, he was guiding and would eventually buy that business and run it as his own. Now Mendes sees his leadership as a way to help save the fishery he grew up loving.

“I realize this river is a sanctuary, and I’m working to make it a better place for everyone, not just for the anglers, but for the fish,” Mendes says. “The education of my clients plays a big role in this management. I want people to go home and get a better sense of the fishery from a conservation perspective. Educating the few hundred customers I deal with each year is one way to put a small dent in the major problem we face.

The stewardship of the river hits close to home for Mendes. Not only has he made a living on the ancestral waters of the Deschutes since the age of 12, but he now has a 12-year-old son who is learning to fish on the same river. Mendes cherishes this role as an educator, whether it is with a client, his own son or one of the youngsters of the tribe to whom he provides free instructions and materials.

“I love watching other people catch fish,” Mendes says. “If I can hang out all day with a buddy or a client or a kid and watch them swing a line, I’m happy. I get more excited when that person catches a fish than if I catch a fish.

See the new Chevy Silverado ZR2 in action and watch the full video on The New Spirit of Fly Fishing hub.


Silverado drivers don’t just have a truck – they have a symbol of authenticity. Of pleasure. Of adventure. Reliability. Freedom. It can take you to places you never dreamed of or just down the street. From construction site to campsite. From Friday evening to the Northern Lights. And between each destination is the chapter of the story you decide to tell the world. Make sure it’s solid.