Who is the Star?


We rely on perfect weather patterns, the right water temperature, and the least popular day of the week to pursue the passion of hooking in. What is it about chasing a fish that makes some anglers go crazy to the point where we have to just scratch our heads and say “what the hell am I doing?” Often times, the why is better left unanswered. To those who are crazy enough to answer it find that we anglers are exactly that – crazy! But when we are standing there waist deep in the flowing river current, feeling confident in that we are using the right color pattern of a fly, that we are hyper aware of the theories and the physics of the rod  and reel we are using, that we realize we have just entered the true rush of an angler. Perhaps its just another business meeting on the river, another intellectually stimulating conversation had at the lodge or fly fishing club, or a run in with an old fishing buddy that the years of theories that creates yet another layer that makes us that much richer in our angling passion. Who cares really where we get so caught up on the why! And we forget about the relaxation and enjoyment of fishing and why you are drawn to the river. But what if we are able to align ourselves at the right time and right place with the right fly gliding through the river current that happens to have the perfect temperature? What if we wade just a few steps more, cast our line into the right seem of the current and doubt is overridden by the anticipation of a tug? When suddenly your moments of standing strong and grounds in the river bed suddenly introduces that tug and you are driven to dance through the current and work with the massive, elusive specimen of what nature has produced. Feeling the power becomes part of the process of resistance measuring you by your will and your strength as you delicately dancing with a steelhead.


This happened to my good friend Mathew Dahl. First cast. First breath. First walk. First swing. All this as if the elusive fish was waiting for him to arrive that morning on the river. A tick turned into a tug and the tug lead itself into a healing pulse to the soul for Matthew’s soul as he eased in his first encounter with a steelhead – a fish that many anglers seek through the summers and even through the darkest hours of the cold winters just for that one connection to have a tango and a tug of the soul. To some who seek and have gained this opportunity, it has brought anglers to their knees with shakes and a few tears. Matthew captured this opportunity and introduction of a lifetime. Now he actually knows who the star of the show really is.

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All photos photograph and presented by Brian Chou –  Brian himself in picture and  Mathew Dahl

Peace and fish on!
Chad Brown


Over the past weekend Soul River Runs Deep traveled to pristine Idaho Falls, Idaho for an industry rendezvous trade show. The event brought out a few of Loop’s Army including Loop’s Shane Wootan and James Park, as well as Thad of Motive, Dr. Z., and Weapon. It was great to be among some industry leaders who share a forward-thinking approach to the industry, wondering what the next biggest concept or brand will be brought to the forefront intended to keep the fly fishing industry not just alive but thriving and pulsating with new, diverse generations.

Hanging out with James and Shane of LOOP has more of a deeper meaning than just talking about rivers, fish, or the latest gear. It is a genuine connection, complex, true to the soul and they are damn grounded in their focus on the less popular, the more critical – the real future of the industry! Chasing big fish is what a lot of anglers strive to do but sooner or later the pursuit becomes less about the chase and more about creating a healthy culture with deeper meaning amongst your connection to the outdoors – from puddle jumping, to wading in the river or simply siting along the trails to take in Mother Nature. What makes the magic happens with James and Shane  and the rest of the family here is their deep strategic thought process behind fly fishing and management style within their facilities. The behind-the-scenes operation within the business rolls out an operation of fine-tuned management from shipping and product development to new business strategies. With a conscious give-back in hopes of seeing and growing the next generation of anglers, James and Shane never sit still but rather constantly stir ideas to support how we can change the way we fish, connect as inner-industry businesses and look towards a better tomorrow. Loop brands Soul River Inc with top notch fly gear such as the Evotech rods and reels which youth and veterans learn from on our deployments, enriching the experience of participant’s lives as they learn conservation, explore our public lands and wade in wild rivers.


The Cross S1 in stock and shipping out as we speak.

FullSizeRender-4The Cross SX in stock and shipping out as we speak.


FullSizeRender-3Tim Norman – Emergent Outfitters chatting with Shane in the warehouse talking business.  

With such a high caliber of quality and performance merged with consciousness and forward-thinking amongst these anglers, it is refreshing in all our conversations to know that even though the fishing can be so serious for many anglers, these guys take fishing light in heart with passion from the soul that reminds me of why we are here. It doesn’t matter about how big the fish is. What matters is being out on the river, looking at the beauty around, chasing a small little brookie trout, holding nature’s beauty in your hand. An hour from Idaho Falls, we pulled off the highway and Shane shared about the range and the long, windy river no more the six-yards in width looking like nature’s vein cutting through the land. This was not what I am used to fishing in the Pacific Northwest but this river is a jewel of a playground from a beginner to the advanced angler. Its full of rainbow trout and brookies just wild and feasting on almost any type of fly you can throw. Every cast brings the kid out of you and makes you remember why you fish! And love fioshing 1 to 2 wt rods where I am used to 7 wt spey fishing! What a blast!


Fishing the small river in Idaho for trout with James Park.


Axe watching closely as I am fishing.




Tight lines folks!


DESIGN WEEK Portland 2016

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Design Week Portland was built on the strength of hundreds of independent design events. On April 15-16, 2016, it expands and opens with a two-day Main Stage event in Portland, Ore., including speakers from every design discipline. The event is expected to attract architects, urban planners, students, graphic designers, and digital professionals from across the U.S. and beyond.

Design Week Portland is a nonprofit organization that celebrates and promotes design as the city’s most promising cultural and economic resource. The mission of the organization is to increase awareness about design – what it is and what it can do for business, education and the economy in Portland. The aim is to help shape the evolving state of design in the city. Founded in Portland, Ore. in 2014. Festival launched in 2012.

“Design Week Portland creates important moments of overlap between design disciplines that stoke the flames of innovation and impact,” says festival director Tsilli Pines, who sees design as a cultural and economic resource. “The festival exists to galvanize the creative community and aims to fuel the city’s rise as an important design center. We look forward to increasing a dialogue between creatives in Portland and the rest of the world.”

The Main Stage speaker line-up is packed with visionaries influencing the industry and design community today, from Craig Dykers of Snøhetta, to Mike Thelin of Feast, to Genevieve Bell of Intel, as well as nine others, such as:

  • Crystal Beasley, Designer, Qcut: Beasley trained as a UX designer and is working to bring digital maturity to the apparel business and fix an antiquated manufacturing paradigm that hasn’t changed in over one hundred years. Beasley and her team are working to solve how to fit women for jeans by creating a size-less system with more than 400 patterns.
  • Chad Brown, Founder, Soul River Runs Deep: Brown is a trained designer and a U.S. Navy veteran who participated in Desert Storm and Desert Shield, served at Guantánamo Bay and saw combat during the Black Hawk Down era. He has launched a lifestyle fishing brand and a non-profit that connects disadvantaged youth with veterans via fishing excursions.
  • Rob Walker, Writer: Walker is a contributor to Design Observer, writes The Workologist column for The New York Times, and contributes to numerous other publications. He writes about technology, design, business, marketing, the arts, and work.

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“Really powerful story shared by Chad Brown. Didn’t hold back and sees how powerful design is and can be. We’ll definitely be catching up with him again soon.” – James Cliburn @JCFGD

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To learn more about the brand Soul River click here!

Thank you to everyone.



Soul River Partners with Oregon Politicians to pass “Recreation, Not Red-Tape Act.”

It was a great honor to host Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Earl Blumenauer at Soul River’s retail shop and office on April 1st to celebrate the introduction of the new bill “Recreation, Not Red-Tape Act.”


It was a special experience for me to be able to attend the Seven Wonders of Oregon tour with Senator Wyden and Congressman Blumenauer last year.  Everyone’s stories during those meetings made an impact on me. And I think perhaps my story made an impact on others.

My PTSD took me to some really dark places in my life. But rivers have helped me heal. I remember the first time I hooked in on a fish – I smiled for the first time in months. This was my sign to stay connected with the outdoors, whether it be through my design and apparel brand or to advocate for all people to have accessibility to the outdoors.

Out of this healing experience came Soul River Runs Deep, Portland’s first outdoor lifestyle apparel brand inspired by fly fishing. For every product sold at Soul River, 15% is given to our nonprofit Soul River Inc. Our mission is to serve veterans and inner city youth, many of whom are people of color, by connecting them to the outdoors. We use fly fishing as a base to build relationships through mentorship and creating ambassadors of conservation.


So I am really happy that the “Recreation, Not Red-Tape Act” will make it easier for youth and veterans to get outdoors onto our public lands. I know firsthand that veterans can heal with the help of the outdoors.  I didn’t really make that lifesaving connection until after I left the military.  So that’s why I think it’s great that the bill encourages all military branches to allow active-duty service members to engage in outdoor recreation activities.

Most of the youth I take fly-fishing for the first time have never been to public lands before. And for many it’s not easy for inner city youth to make it out of the city to go hiking or fishing. That’s why I think it’s smart that the bill uses schools to help get youth outside.
Under the “Recreation, Not Red-Tape Act”, agencies will give free “America the Beautiful” passes to schools that serve low-income students and their families.image1-1-1

Until the bill becomes law, I’ll keep doing my part to get youth of color out into the great outdoors. In fact, I have seven trips planned this summer exploring all public lands. I’m very excited to teach more youth how to fly fish in those deep river canyons and show them ancient tribal artwork on rock faces in Owyhee Canyonlands. I couldn’t be more thrilled to teach youth how to navigate through the Arctic Circle while maintaining their scientific journals. I am ecstatic to continue our annual trip to the Deschutes and it’s raw beauty.

Thank you all for your continued support. I am committed to working to protect our amazing public lands and waters, so that ALL generations today and tomorrow can continue to use and enjoy them. I am proud that Senator Wyden and Congressmen Blumenauer are leaders of this cause as well.image4-1-e1459740688270

BBC Out of London highlights Soul River Story

Aired on BBC World News, Chad Brown M.Sc., Creative Director/Owner of Soul River Runs Deep and Executive Director of non-profit Soul River Inc, shares his story as a US Navy soldier transitioning back to civilian life and how he turns his medication of fly fishing into a program now serving our returning veterans and inner city youth!





Soul River Inc. is where U.S. veterans and inner-city youth explore nature together! Soul River Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that unites U.S. veterans with inner-city youth amongst our wild rivers and lush wilderness land on outdoor education adventures where they become part of something bigger than themselves and develop into strong leaders – both in the outdoors and in the community. Veterans act as critical mentors teaching our community’s youth about critical skills such as survival, orienteering, and embracing Mother Nature’s wild rivers! Come hear about our outings and opportunities how you can volunteer. Our 2016 outdoor education expeditions are lined up and filling up fast! Following the presentation will be a short documentary recalling our 2015 Cross Cultural Expedition in Alaska where we spent two weeks with 20 youth and veterans learning the art of fly fishing, outdoor leadership skills, and community building.

OCTOBER 22, 2015 6:30PM – 8:30PM
1405 NW Johnson St, Portland, Oregon 97209





Thursday, November 19 at 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Patagonia Portland

901 NW Irving St, Portland, Oregon 97209


Alaska 2015 Expedition: A Cross-Cultural Exploration


This August, inner-city youth, U.S. veterans and volunteers came together to form a community in the midst of Mother Nature’s rawest environment: Alaska’s rugged wilderness.

Black, brown, or white, religious or non-religious, soldiers of war and soldiers of the streets, from Oregon, Washington, and even Florida, all mashed into an unfamiliar, lush environment abundant with wild animal, aquatic, and plant life.  We were experiencing firsthand the wildest of our public lands.  As Americans we are blessed with vast public lands that belong to all of us.  Sadly, the kids I brought to Alaska don’t have the chance to spend the time they need to heal in the amazing public lands in their own backyards. But it’s important those protected lands are there for them, waiting to help.

seanCameron carrying LOOP fly rods to hand out to everyone

Alaska is on the bucket list for so many people who hope that one day they can have this ultimate lifetime experience. For Soul River, our bucket tipped out 20 veterans and youth along with three volunteers into an authentic, cultural expedition that weaved organic community, conservation, and environmental awareness together with the robust cord of the fly fishing lifestyle.

Kenai River

This community was for youth who hold a primitive desire to be in the wild but may be less fortunate, with odds already in their young lives stacked against them. Perhaps the conditions in our society have already grasped a firm pressure on our youth, especially on the less fortunate and the most vulnerable. Maybe being born with the bullseye of diverse skin color, choosing an unpopular path, or just not having a loud enough voice to be heard has created a barrier to your desired path. Perhaps no one is listening because they judge the way you look, how you talk, or even where you come from. I witnessed a paradigm shift in the art of fly fishing as it transformed into a community and familyhood. It brought chills to my bones, humility in my walk, comfort to my soul, and a tear of gratitude each night as I walked down a path to my rustic cabin.


Months of preparation created opportunity for these 23 souls. Preparation included so many partners and sponsors who were willing to take the risk with Soul River. Clearly they realized the vision beyond themselves or their companies in that they gave back to the future generation of ambassadors – the young minds that are molded each day by their experiences, whether healthy or unhealthy. Together, we may have saved a life, validated another being, and inspired endless possibilities.


As we stood around the fire, the youth all nestled in their cabins, a U.S. Marine stated that this is a spontaneous community. She was right. Strangers taking a risk with other strangers, trusting that we have each other’s backs. We watched youth form connections. We witnessed veterans mentor and share stories of their own struggles while youth intently listened and took notes, smiles full of curiosity, peppering questions, acquiring new vocabulary, all followed with giggles, laughter, and introspective reflections of what each person has learned from the day. A true testimonial for Soul River Inc. Runs Wild! Where U.S. Veterans are put in a natural green space to mentor and guide the next generation through the realm of fly fishing lifestyle, which acts as a release of toxic thoughts, attitudes, behavior or other issues that are just not good to hold into our minds, young or old. 

fireGrace – U.S. Marine Veteran , Kristin – USFW, Stefanie – Soul River, Ary – U.S. Army 

We teach to give and we accept nothing in return as veterans other than to hope and see progress and change within young people. To speak solely of fly fishing would only cripple what this experience is about. But to speak of the lifestyle of fly fishing and how it pertains to our daily urban lives — that makes it much more engaging and productive. Lifestyle is king, encompassing a multitude of ethnic backgrounds and challenges. To connect deeply, through these challenges, behind the walls we all erect, takes patience.  

Each day brings a new evening setting in the Alaskan wilderness. A U.S. Army veteran taught youth how to build fires and sing around a campfire. He taught them the survival way in incremental stages of gathering tinder, setting it up, and lighting it, but also about respecting life, and how that relates to taking care of one’s self.

A U.S. Marine veteran provided incredible land navigation opportunities which really tapped into critical thinking skills for the youth as they learned compass reading, deciphering and understanding coordinates and grids, typography and map reading and wilderness navigation. A U.S Navy veteran and fellow Soul River Inc. Runs Wild volunteer led group exercises analyzing the importance of conservation and not just what is in our rivers, but why it’s important to be mindful of the cycle of impact and how we need to protect our natural resource and our public lands. We raised awareness of public lands and how we need to be part of the process to protect natural, wild spaces. We built their knowledge of the aquatic insect world. And we raised awareness of angler ethics as a river steward, and identified species to pursuing the art of fly fishing while adapting into our lifestyle and community where relationships can grow and be fostered for tomorrow’s outdoor ambassadors. 

 classMichael , J Michelle and Chad teaching a hybrid class on conservation and entomology


The Alaskan wilderness became our social, eco-justice platform for leaders, veterans, sponsors and partners coming together as one intentional, socially conscious army. Breaking the barriers and changing the face of color to green, leaving the ignorance of hate, sharing differences and faults between a veteran and inner-city youth, and giving opportunities to explore the wild and let a youth be a youth in the outdoors guided by soldiers. Our youth learned about different career paths every morning from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Service folks. They developed new vocabulary and critical thinking skills, and learned to live simply in authentic community, which was challenging to a young urban mind. But they learned to be adaptive to the environment and aware.


Ary U.S. Army Veteran

Nature is an organic magnet and it is the perfect platform for birthing a new community of outdoor ambassadors young and old challenged to consciously protect our public lands, and respect the sacredness of indigenous cultures who fish and hunt to provide for their communities. The Kenai Peninsula Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is rich in wildlife beyond our own comprehension or what we witnessed, yet youth learned know the environment is delicate. The wildest of thoughts and dreams within these two weeks was a glimpse to understand the richness and wild of the land of Alaska.

We camped, fished, watched wildlife, and built community in and throughout the rivers and streams and forests and meadows of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  The places, these public lands are so invaluable to us, to this nation. For some, this was a new release and break from the mental stress and issues youth and veterans fight with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and other problems. For others, simply putting on waders and boots or sleeping in the deafening silence of the wild was entirely new. For many of the veterans, the soul awoke, the mind and spirit of warriors arose after being asked to lead and guide youth, and some of the most raw, natural medicine was delivered. To say this trip was a success is an understatement. This was truly an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that each participant will carry forward and apply to their lives in some way. In my opinion, a young mind is never the same after experiencing the wild.



I give thanks to our vibrant system of public lands that support what Soul River Inc. Runs Wild does. Without wild places, we have no place to be wild. Without the outdoors, we have no place to show youth our and their true selves. The outdoors is the canvas on which we can build community and guide youth. The Kenai Peninsula in all of its abundance was created by Mother Nature, but the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge was established by Congress, and is supported by policies and programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Policies like this must be continued so they can protect open space for youth, veterans, and all Americans who need outdoor medicine. I’m grateful to leaders like Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Senator Patty Murray and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell – all champions for our public lands and policies like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Antiquities Act, which support protecting public lands for future generations. We can’t afford to have any public lands sold to the highest bidder.  I’m grateful to our leaders for defending and keeping our public lands in public hands. 

leeLee Kuepper Alaskan Guide LOOP USA pro team guiding Sean on his first big kenai trout.

I also respectfully give thanks for everyone who joined me in taking a stand and believing in making a change in our society by connecting underserved youth to nature. Thank you for standing together as one army to make this happen for many young lives. Thank you to the many soldiers who have given their lives on the front lines and fought for the breath of every household family to wake up in a safe place of comfort. Thank you deeply for our partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, LOOP USA, SIMMS, ORVIS, MOUNTAIN HOUSE, COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR, TROUT UNLIMITED, FAIR FLIES, RAINEY FLIES, DAIICHI HOOKS, EVOLTWIN, WOLF  EDUCATION & RESOURCE CENTER , LEE KUEPPER ALASKAN GUIDE LOOP PRO TEAM, BOB TRIGGS, BIG STICK FLY FISHING AND PPS TITTLE VII INDIAN EDUCATION – all of whom supported the vision and the action to stand with Soul River Inc. Runs Wild, who provided opportunity and gave back to underserved communities and U.S. Veterans.


Last to days of our trip in Anchorage, AK – Some local children had the chance to try their hand at fishing Friday down at Ship Creek. The Boys and Girls Clubs Alaska partnered with US Fish and Wildlife here in Alaska to teach the children of the Muldoon Boys a Girls Club how to fish. Soul River was invited! And our youth had the oppurtunity to teach what they leanred from their trip and teach how to fly fishing to younger kids in Anchorage! What a site to see!!!!!


Helping and guiding youth is not just about showing them new horizons in life. it’s about saving lives. –

For more information about Soul River Runs Deep nonprofit you can go here. Soul River Inc. Runs Wild  And you will see how you can be part just by volunteering on our outings. We are constantly looking to partner, grow our volunteers and build our veteran community. If there is any veterans whom want to help and be a mentor for our youth please contact us! 

To make Donation please make check out to Soul River Inc. and mail check to:
Soul River Inc.
1926 N Kilpatrick ST. Suite B
Portland, Oregon 97217

We are a 501 c3 Nonprofit
Our Tax ID is 45-4860210.

Tight Lines,
Chad Brown


DSC_0104~2This free gathering is for those who would like to learn not only how to cast the two hander better and further, but also how to fish it! Provided by The Evening Hatch Steelhead Ranch

August 15, 11AM – 12PM CHECK IN at Leidl Access on the Klickitat – Directions to Leidl – After crossing the bridge…Leidl campground is on both sides of the highway… Take a left to enter the west side campground and follow the sign down river…


Class topics to most likely include but not limited to…

-> Demystifying the variety of two hand lines
-> Beginner two hand casting
-> Intermediate/advanced two hand casting
-> Getting more distance
-> Fishing the fly, hooking and fighting fish
-> Single hand spey casting
-> Up against the trees
-> Combining casts to optimize efficiency
-> Long Belly Casting vs Underhand Casting
-> Overhead Casting with the Two Hander

Schedule of Events

-> 12-4:30 PM free classes and free riverside barbecue
-> 4:30 – 6:30 Open time
-> 6:30 – 8:30 Free Barbecue and Catch Mag viewing at The Steelhead Ranch
-> At Dark at The Steelhead Ranch – A Special Outside and Under the Stars Presentation of and by Catch Magazine.

Product lines represented by Echo, Redington, Sage, Rio, Airflo, Hardy/Greys, Vision and more to come.

Speakers; Brian Chou, Brian Styskal, Eric Neufeld, Ben Dow, Jack Mitchell, Steelie Mike, Trey Combs. Jeff Cottrell.


All Photography by Brian Chou


Celebration Wild Steelhead 2015

Here we go!

 Once again, Soul River is delivering another fly fishing extravaganza to the city. Bring the Soul we’ll bring the river to you. The Celebration of Wild Steelhead! Spreading knowledge of Mother Nature and the art of fly fishing to your community. Armed with the goal of introducing youth and veterans to the positive experience of fly fishing along with the funk and soul of Speaker Minds this will be an event that can’t be missed.

This event will not only celebrate the iconic wild steelhead of the Pacific Northwest, but also build upon strong community ties and raise awareness of conservation, fly fishing, and local arts in an all ages, accessible, friendly atmosphere. Like always, this event is FREE and along with our sponsors, we will be giving out 200 free fly rod packages to the first 200 youth in attendance. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the experience, and embrace the Celebration of Wild Steelhead!