The Unexamined River Isn’t Worth Fishing

Do designers have a shelf life? That’s the question State of Wonder guest curator, the user experience designer Elena Moon, asked that set us in search of a craft that only improves with age.

Amy Hazel, who co-owns a fly fishing shop in Maupin, the Deschutes Angler, has traveled the world looking for great places to fish. But if you’re wondering where the best spots in the world—or just on the Deschutes—are, she makes it clear that you’re going to need far more than GPS coordinates. What you’ll need is an expert in foam, someone attuned to the vagaries of bubbles and intimate with current.

“No foam, no fish,” Hazel recites, “Foam is home.” It’s traditional wisdom on how to read the river.

Hazel, who has been fishing for 30 years, has lived in fishing meccas like Vermont and Wyoming, and in her twenties traveled to 19 different countries to fish, including some where she had to pick her way around land-mines. She’s seen a lot of foam, and she’s gone through a lot to do it.

“I went full-hog,” Hazel says, chuckling as she recalls the beginning of her journey into the world of fly fishing.

“I loved fishing, but then when I found fly fishing I thought, This is really a thinking sport. You’re not just throwing something out there and hoping that something will grab your fly. You have to actually imitate the insects. It’s active.”

Read the full story at OPB.

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