Fishing puts human beings in direct contact with their natural environment. As a result, fly fishermen and women are often held to a higher standard of protecting the natural resources where they recreate. Larry Culley, a Jans Mountain Recreation Expert specializing in Fly Fishing Sales and Guiding, was recently re-elected as the President of the Utah Fishing Outfitters and Guide Association (UFOG.) The organization’s mission is to educate and mentor ethical practices in fly fishing while remaining active stewards of natural resources.
Committed to Fly Fishing Conservation
Larry’s commitment to conservationism began when he was just a boy. He and his best friend started fly fishing when they were 11 years old, catching bass and sunfish in their neighborhood lake. The boys, who were self-taught, joined Trout Unlimited where they learned how to tie flies and discovered insights from other members on how and where to fish. Even at a young age, Larry believed the concept of fish and river conservation was important.
“Trout Unlimited goes right to the resource and tries to do what’s in the best interest of the fisheries, using ideas such as minimum stream flow,” says Larry. “As urbanization continues to develop, the more we can mitigate against it, the better.” In addition to his presidency with UFOG, Larry remains an active member of TU and even helps teach casting at the Ladies Fly Fishing Clinic that is held in partnership with Jans and Trout Unlimited each May.
In North America, people are responsible for the management and protection of wildlife and natural resources. “How well the fisheries are holding up shows that regular, everyday people are enjoying the resource in a really responsible manner,” says Larry. “Most people who take up fly fishing are aware of what we have and how vulnerable our fish, streams and rivers can be.”
In addition to his work with conservationism, Larry has been involved with ESPN and was filmed for their Destination Outdoors show on the Yampa River in northern Colorado, where he spent the day fishing for wild trout. He was also recruited to be a judge for a regional fly fishing competition as part of the ESPN Great Outdoors Games.
Initially reluctant to be a judge, Larry had ethical issues with using a wild fishery as a venue for competition. However, once he determined that the event was being produced in such a way as to do no harm to the fish, and that the contestants were being held to higher standards, he eventually agreed to participate.
While he usually fishes 40-60 days a year, Larry told himself he was going to be on the river at least once a week this year. With a spectacular winter fly fishing season in Utah, due to increased water temperatures bringing about more active insect activity, Larry is well on his way to achieving his goal.
A Passion for Fly Fishing
While Larry is one of the more knowledgeable salespeople in the Jans Fly Shop, he also assists in the buying process of Jans’ wealth of fly fishing gear and is one of our expert fly fishing guides. A self-professed mountain guy who prefers freshwater fishing to saltwater, Larry admits, “I never have a day in the mountains where I’m not really grateful to be out on the water. I could be happier an hour from home, more than a day’s flight away.”
Fly fishing is clearly this former Colorado resident’s passion. He professes that it’s the encounters that you have with other wildlife that are just as important as the fishing itself. Like when you see a deer in the sunlight glinting off the river and realize that is what clears the brush for you.
“Fly fishing puts us in touch with the natural world,” smiles Larry. “My thoughts clear out, creativity comes back and the time away from everyday life just gets me back to myself somehow. It’s like hitting the reset button.”
Liz Yokubison, Senior Editor, jans.com