November 14, 2012

LFFE Alumni Profile: Matthew Owen

A large part of what makes the LFFE experience so amazing is the other students you share it with; that is why we take our application process so seriously. Our participants come from all across the country, some have not fished a day in their life, others have been fly fishing for years, but one thing they have in common is character.
By the age of 17, Matthew Owen had already been named Orvis “Trout Bum of the Week” and started an “Angling Society” at his high school. However, it is not his previous fly fishing credentials that makes him such a perfect example of what we look for in our students. Read our Interview with Matthew and you will get a sense of the character and charisma that make the LFFE experience so much fun for other participants and trip leaders alike.

LFFE Alumni Profile

Name: Matthew Owen
Hometown: Memphis, TN
School: White Station HS
LFFE Trip: Colorado West Elk ’12

How did you learn to fly fish?

I was around the age of nine the first time I was introduced to fly fishing. My uncle took me to the Little Red River in Arkansas one weekend and I’ve never been right since. The biggest memory I have from that trip was when my uncle and his buddies were out on a shoal and I had tangled up my leader so horribly my uncle told me to go sit down on the bank, this was by no means the first tangle I had that day. I sat down on a boulder by the bank and although I was not fishing, I was so content just being a spectator to the beauty that surrounded me. I believe all true fisherman fall in love with nature before they do fishing. God forbid there comes a time in my fly fishing career when I’m not content to just be out there and thankful for it.

How do you feel fly fishing has impacted you?

Fly fishing has given me a deeper and more profound appreciation for nature. It is something that has helped me grow and mature more as a person and has expanded my perception of my own potential and what I’m capable of. It also helps keeps me out of trouble which is pretty important, I guess.

Tell us about how you have helped teach others about the joy of fly fishing and importance of stewardship?

My junior year of high school I founded the Angling Society at my school. The club has been a great way to connect to others that enjoy the outdoors and help nurture their passion for fish. I also love to take my friends fishing, watching them catch their first fish on a fly and seeing how excited some of them get is what gets me going! I believe that taking people fishing is one of the best ways to allow them to connect to nature and instill within them a love for the outdoors. That love and appreciation for the river and the fish is what leads to responsibility and a sense of stewardship which ultimately leads to conservation and a better future for the environment.

What was your favorite part of your LFFE experience?

The amount of time, effort, and planning that the LFFE crew puts in to give you the best experience possible definitely showed during my time in Colorado with them. Its hard to pick out a favorite part because each of the places we visited had its own uniqueness that made it special and unforgettable but if I had to pick one, it would be the two or three days we spent at Crystal Creek. The hiking wasn’t too bad and the fishing was more than incredible not to mention it was one of the prettiest places I’ve been in my life. You could walk along the creek and watch huge cutthroats an inch under the surface slurp mayflies off the water and actually cast specifically to them. Watching them arch up to your dry fly and sip it in was one of the coolest and things I’ve ever seen and catching them was super rewarding. I’ll definitely be back to that place.

Matthew casting for cutthroat beneath the crystal mill. It is not hard to understand why he enjoyed the Crystal River so much

What is your dream job?

I hope to be a fly fishing guide one day. I’m not sure how sustainable that lifestyle is but with the right people and circumstances, it would be wonderful to have my office be a drift boat and my lunch break on the banks of a beautiful river. But in reality, any job that allows me to enjoy my passion for fishing and take care of a family one day, I don’t think that is too much to ask.
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What is Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions?

Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions specializes in teen fly fishing summer camps. Our teen fly fishing summer camps are not an ordinary lodge based kids fly fishing camps. At Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions we combine a teen adventure camp, youth fly fishing school, service learning, and community service to create our unique Teen Fly Fishing Adventure Academies. Our kids and teen fly fishing camps travel to the premier wilderness fly fishing and backcountry fly fishing locations throughout North America. Join us on an adventure of a lifetime. Become an experienced fly fisherman or woman while hiking, camping and fishing at our North Carolina Teen Fly Fishing Academy in the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. Or explore Rocky Mountain fly fishing opportunities on one of our Colorado or Wyoming fly fishing expeditions. If you are looking for an ordinary teen summer tour, teen summer camp, or teen adventure you have come to the wrong place. If you are looking to learn new skills while on the adventure of a lifetime, try one of our youth/teen fly fishing summer camps or allow us to design a  custom adventure for your family, group, or school.