A morning out of the office
March 20, 2010 by Don Gentle
I took a day off last week to catch up with staff member Ryan Donovan. Ryan has been running our mountain biking program for four years and will return for his fifth (backpack summer)season this summer. We decided that a morning on a mountain trout stream would be a good way to hang out. Ryan has been an avid fisherman since childhood, so I took him up on the chance to learn a few tricks about fly fishing for trout in North Carolina.
The Davidson River is probably the most noteworthy trout stream in our area. Trout Unlimited rates the Davidson River as one of the top 100 wild trout streams in the United States. Ryan first asked me if I wanted to fish for smart trout or dumb trout. I didn’t really care. Then he said, “Do you want to fish or catch trout.” “Well, catching trout would probably be a whole lot more fun,” I said. Given that information, we headed out to the East Fork of the French Broad River, which is a hatchery supported stream in North Carolina. The Davidson is a great river, but the trout in the Wild designated areas see a lot of fishermen, and they are quite smart.
Even though the weather was a little rainy from time to time, we had a great day! I learned a lot about various presentation and drifting techniques. Ryan and I took turns on different hot spots as we waded upstream together. In the end we each caught a few trout and had a lot of fun taking in the mountain scenery. We even witnessed a few stonefly and March Brown (Mayfly) hatches, as the first days of spring were approaching.
We are very fortunate to have great staff like Ryan. In his “real life,” Ryan is the operations director for the Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education program at Brevard College. I would say he’s a rock climber by choice, but he actually possesses a mastery of skills in a number of disciplines. He says he really enjoys the shift to mountain biking during the summer, since he does spend a lot of time teaching rock climbing, and keeping up with the day to day operations of such a busy program during the school year. The summer presents new challenges for him, and a welcomed change. He enjoys the mentoring of staff, and teaching campers about such a great sport.
Along with his fishing, climbing, and mountain biking leadership, Ryan is also a Leave No Trace Master Educator. He teaches outdoor leaders how to train participants the principles of LNT in the field. Leave No Trace is an educational non-profit organization dedicated to the responsible enjoyment and stewardship of the outdoors. Check out http://www.lnt.org/ for more information.
It sure is great to have such wonderful natural resources so close to camp. Maybe we’ll get the chance to take a few of the guys out to the East Fork this summer in our fishing program. I am getting so excited about the summer and the camp season! See you all very soon.