Chi Wulff’s People of Fly Fishing: 10 Questions with Sinjin Eberle, President of TU Colorado (Part 2)

by Mark McGlothlin on December 27, 2011

in People of Fly Fishing

If you missed the first part of Sinjin’s interview – read it here.

You’re a busy guy with a ‘real world job’, another business (coffee roaster) and a fair amount to do with Trout Unlimited. What’s your secret?

The short answer is – I don’t watch TV. The average American spends 4 hrs a day watching TV, and then complains that they don’t have any time for anything else, getting fat in the process. I try to live every day with a purpose, and appreciate that I have an opportunity to make a real difference in Colorado with my efforts. I am certainly not the smartest guy in the group, and am extremely lucky to have great people around – most who know WAY more than I do, that together we get a lot done. I view my leadership role as being the head flag-waver and rah-rah guy – the guy hyping up the crowd and getting people excited so that they can engage in what excites their passions and motivates them to go out and do something for the greater good. As a volunteer leader, when it works, it’s awesome!

Any parallels between the Zen of coffee roasting and the Zen of fly fishing?

Ummm…not really. Coffee roasting is similar I guess, in that there is a lot of very specific things you gotta do right, or else it’s a burned black mass…but it’s not really all that Zen-like, it’s more precise than that. Certainly your senses have to be in tune with what you are doing, but it’s really a pretty simple process. Fly fishing is anything but simple (no matter what Kirk Deeter says).

Though we sometimes tease our Colorado friends that they live ‘down south’, there’s some very, very nifty water in the state. What do you consider to be your home water and what’s your favorite water in the state to fish?

Well, my wife and I just bought a cool chunk of land in Durango, so I am super excited to move down there in a couple of years and learn all about that area…my absolute favorite place to fish is in that area, but do you really think I would tell some frozen northerners where that is? Ha! I will tell you this, it’s a very small headwaters stream, which takes some effort to get to – it’s not one of those where you just pull off the highway and cast from the tailgate.

How about favorite water out of the state to fish?

I suppose I don’t really have one…I have a dream to fish the Firehole River in Yellowstone someday, but have not done it yet. It just seems so cool to stand in that place, with the steam rising all around and a bison across the way, knowing that there might be wolves up in the trees watching YOU – would be an awesome experience.

I am really not a guy that travels all over to fish – there is so much in Colorado to experience, that I guess I am kind of a homer in that way (whether you Montanans believe it or not). Having said that, I did fish a Spring Creek outside of Bend, Oregon this year – that was a completely new experience for me and was simply fascinating!

If you could encourage fly fishers to do just one thing in terms of stewardship this next year, what would that be?

Give one day, ONE DAY, to your local stream in some way. Notice I did NOT say, donate more money (although, that is welcome also…). I think that having people engage in what is going on with their local streams is really, really important, and whether it is educating youth about stream ecology, rolling rocks on a project, or advocating your local officials for a law that allows us to clean up abandoned mines, give back something.

It kills me to hear about how people don’t have time to donate a day, but yet they fly around the world fishing for weeks at a time, spending thousands of dollars, and can’t find time for their local communities. This stuff is important – and all of our quality of life (and fishing) depends on these places being healthy. Once they are gone, they’re gone – technology can’t just bring them back. If you are physically able, donate a day of your time once a year – the payback is incredible, and your contribution will be noticed! Someone I admire a lot, Fred Rasmussen, gave me a line that I use a lot – “Get off your ass, Sport!” – Love it.

Having given that rant – there are a lot of people in Colorado who give so much of themselves for their rivers and this passion. It is truly humbling to be part of that, and I appreciate those people so much for giving a piece of themselves back to the rivers.

Sinjin – much appreciated. Look forward to trading some time on that secret Durango area backwater for some hidden gems around Yellowstone…..