This month At Soul River Space
Featuring Brian Chou “Artistry behind the fly”
ärt/ noun 1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
Up close and personal! I had the opportunity to learn and capture Brian Chou’s art of tying on the vice. Every tier has their own approach on the vice. For Brian there is a ritualistic approach like an artist selecting the right palette of colors to paint their canvas. Brian creates with a mix of theory, science, artistic talent, and river experience from being out on the river. “Somebody said to me one day ‘fly tying is a craft not an art.'” This is a bold and interesting statement when you actually look at what art is, think about the process of a creation, and the execution of a skill set that dates back thousands of years in indigenous cultures worldwide. Relying on creativity and art in the hunt for survival to ritualistic ceremonies and forms of communications which all play a purpose in the process like an artist palette of nature. The statement that a person said was a bit bold but yet has no substance to the nature of knowing art especially when one knows the true definition of art.
There are three different fly tiers where the skill set and tools are almost always the same but different in the end product – the tier who ties for functionality, the tier who ties for classicism, and the tier who breaks the mold learning outside of the box displaying artistic expressionism and functional application.
In my observation, Brian’s approach is innovative, artistic but functional as well as scientific. In simple words, Brian’s flies are tried and true! Brian has many years under his belt from fishing throughout the Northwest to saltwater fly fishing along the Pacific. In his experience, Brian has been able to succeed at fly line design and fly rod design for various respected companies and holds a certification as an Federation of Fly Fishers casting instructor. In his pastime, he serves as a Soul River ambassador helping propel the sport to newer audiences, connecting youth to the outdoors, and working with veterans. Most importantly he is a father and husband.
As one of my graduate school professor’s once said to me, “Know the rules first, then you can break them.” Brian knows the rules and he breaks them.
Come to the Soul River retail space and purchase Brian Chou’s flies. His latest flies featured feed the appetite of a Portland Trail Blazer fan, whether it’s to go fishing or just wanting to have another affiliation to the Blazers. The bonus is it catches fish! And the fly name is the ” The Rip City”
Brian Chou on the vice in his studio tying ” The Rip City”!
Interesting to watch some of the little techniques Brian has under his sleeve working with materials.
Adding the glue! Final touches!
A few of Brian fly creations! A sneak peak in his fly box!
Since the opening of Soul River’s retail space, there have been growing pains to the changes, celebrations, and struggles. This crazy formula in entrepreneurial life forces one to grow up quicker in order to make better sense of what the hell you’re doing! Through the consistent and gracious support, we are making changes everyday to be a better small business and pillar in our community. In turn, we have streamlined, clarified, and sharpened our mission:
We are born from the sport of fly-fishing. We cast our line into a confluence of our soul where we inspire others, develop a community and form meaningful partnerships. We connect youth and veterans to a conscious outdoor lifestyle centered around conservation, art, design, and humanity through quality products and services to all communities. We are Soul River Runs Deep.
Soul River shares the experience and lifestyle from the water and gracefully transfers it into urban lifestyle. From an angling support, we are thankful to connect with a high-quality, relational brand like LOOP, providing opportunities to connect the gaps from the industry we passionately partner in to the daily lifestyle we share with our communities. LOOP designs, develops, and manages every manufacturing process of their gear themselves. All LOOP products are built to last and function even in nature’s toughest conditions season after season. Experience, enthusiasm, and an unbreakable will has led the LOOP brand to be the best in industry products. Though the brand started out as merely a dream, for over twenty years they have managed to become the leader in the fly fishing industry. Today that dream is evolved into an internationally known company focused on delivering dreams through their products. Soul River is thankful to be a part of LOOP in furthering their dream. Soul River, locally-owned in Portland, Oregon, is humbled and proud to house the LOOP gear in the retail space We are excited to have them on-board with the movement to give back to the community, specifically focused on inner city youth and veterans. Just as Soul River does, LOOP gives back ten percent of sales that happen in the Soul River retail space to New Currents, Outdoors (NCO), which provides opportunities for inner city youth and veterans to reconnect with Mother Nature through fly fishing. We are proud to align ourselves with LOOP and honored to walk this path with them, upholding their vision and focus in the industry and beyond. If you’re in Portland, or simply driving through, stop by and see the LOOP line up! We challenge you to try out one of these rods – cast it and you will see, it will not be your last cast (or touch) of LOOP gear. LOOP is all about quality and giving back and we enthusiastically welcome LOOP to the Soul River experience. Listen to the words of LOOP founder Christer Sjöberg The new LOOP Cross S1 fly rod series is the single most important revolution to occur in fly fishing since LOOP introduced the large arbor reel over 20 years ago. It’s that big. Tight Lines, Chad B.
“Facing a STEELHEAD is a moment of beauty only to those who seek it.”
Steelheads, the great sea-faring rainbow trout of the Pacific Northwest have been long sought out by anglers. They have become a powerful symbol representing the last bastions of legendary untainted wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. Like the lions on the Serengeti, they have become an icon to the region, and similar to the lion, they are among the species most threatened by the modern world.
Standing waste deep in cold frigid water for hours on end in the northwest, day after day, every season in the wild pursuit at just the opportunity to hook this amazing creature is a moment of beauty and praised silence. One on one time with the legendary species is beyond compare. Just listen to any angler who has had the honor of hooking in. When the moment finally comes when you best the creature for the first time in its native environment and hold it up to take in the moment (and often times capture photographic evidence), is a rite of passage for Pacific Northwest anglers.
That moment, is something that should be both treasured and shared. Anglers have a divine responsibility to pass on the rush and triumph of interacting with the chrome warriors with young anglers who can in turn pass down the experience for generations to come. If you have ever had the opportunity to go toe-to-fin with a wild steelhead you know how special these creatures really are and what is at stake.
We can all preach all day about these precious steelhead we continue to pursue day in and day out, chasing that original rush of finally pulling one in. The importance of catch and release. We can attend meetings and conferences stressing the importance of protecting these creatures and their environment, but it will all be in vane unless we can pass on the spirit of conservation and raise the collective conscious to the youth of the next generation. Strength in numbers in important and young anglers are the future of both the sport and conservation. Many young anglers aren’t yet aware of this amazing gift the Pacific Northwest has provided and it is our responsibility to share how important they are. That is our goal as dedicated anglers and as stewards to the environment.
To all anglers who share this deep passion for this amazing species that has provided so much to us as sportsmen and outdoorsmen, we urge you to pass down your expertise and experience and passion, with the youth in your community. Even if you are unable to attend the upcoming Celebration of Wild Steelhead we urge you to give back by passing on the message and tag your Facebook and Instagram photos with #CelebrationWildSteelhead to spread the word and share these amazing fish with your community and if we all work together, the world.
All youth and adults coming into the Celebration of wild steelhead event will be told to log on and with #CelebrationWildSteelhead on facebook and instagram to see your wild steelhead images.
Please be responsible and show proper respect to the fish and the sport in tagged photos.