Author: Trouts Staff
I am a native of Colorado, coming from a family that has been long standing land owners in the state. I am also an avid fly fisherman and river boater who has had the privilege to enjoy the ability to float through many of the states most beautiful and pristine waters. It has come to my attention recently that there has been some confusion regarding the post “House Bill 1188… a real game changer”, and it’s intended purpose. Because Trout’s Fly Fishing is one of a few fly shops in the greater Denver area, we service a wide demographic of clients. As such, many of our customers are private land owners, and a few have expressed concern to me regarding my views on this contentious issue, and the motives behind this post. So, I want to take this opportunity to clarify my position, the position of Trout’s Fly Fishing, and the purpose of this post in hopes that I may be able to clear the air.
First, my position on this issue is that I believe in the rights of the boating community (whether it be commercial or private). Boaters have long held the right to float on public water over private land (similar to New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, California, Washington, and Oregon just to name a few), and I do not think that ability should be stripped away. That said, I am only in favor of boaters floating through private property when they do so without touching the bottom of the river or the river bank. Those areas are the property of the land owner, and they deserve to have their rights honored and protected. But I do not think that it should be illegal for a boat to travel over private land, while touching public water. Land owners own the river bank, and they own the river bottom, but I do not agree that they should have ownership of the water as it passes through their property.
Now I want to be very, very clear here. The above explanation is of my beliefs, and mine alone. I view Trout’s Fly Fishing as a sanctuary of sorts, and I am a firm believer that all political, social and other contentious issues need to be left at the front door by myself, my staff and my customers. This fly shop is a place to discuss fly fishing, share stories of recent trips, brag about trophy fish, or just bullshit to kill time during a lunch break. As such, I leave my personal opinions at the door every day I come to work, particularly when it comes to issues related to HB1188. To this day, Trout’s Fly Fishing has not taken a side on this volatile issue, nor do we plan to. Trout’s Fly Fishing is here to service the Denver angling community, and the last thing I want to do is disenfranchise any of our customers by taking one side or the other. Trout’s Fly Fishing is a place of fishing, not politics, and it will always remain that way.
So then why did I write the article? My original intentions were to write an informative post about an issue that effects a great deal of fly fisherman, both boaters and private land owners. The last thing I ever intended to do was infuse politics into this blog, and I apologize to those who feel I have blurred that line. I could have just deleted the entire post, and easily taken care of the problem. But that would have meant admitting fault for expressing my beliefs, and I don’t think any person should ever have to admit fault for that. I was merely expressing the views of an individual, and I can say with 100% honesty and certainty that my personal beliefs do not blend into the way this fly shop is run, nor will they ever. So instead of deleting this post and sweeping the evidence of my beliefs under the rug, I have instead chose to write this explanation and let those who questioned my motives come to what ever conclusion they may. Fly shops are about fishing, not politics, period. Interpret my words as you may, but please know that in the end Trout’s Fly Fishing is here to service every customer to the best of our ability. I believe in treating every person equally and fairly no matter their political views; that is the premise by which we greet and help every customer who comes through our door. In the end, I hope that those who disagree with my views on this issue will extend that same courtesy and not judge this shop as a whole based on the views of an individual.
Owner, Trout’s Fly Fishing