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!
The Celebration of Wild Steelhead was an amazing success this past Sunday. Mainly because of all the generous help we received from the local community to make it happen; local businesses, US Fish and Wildlife, and all the dedicated anglers who came out to share their skills. Everyone’s hard work ensured a high level engagement by both youth organizations that planned to attend and curious neighbors who passed through and ended up picking up a flyrod kit, hat and shirt and some info for our future clinics. We are confident that every kid who participated walked away with new skills, and understanding of fly fishing and the wild steelhead, and in most cases hooked enough to continue their exploration of the sport or just becoming an ambassador of the outdoors. The difference of understanding the youth had before and after the event was remarkable; some had no idea what fly fishing was, some had never heard of it, and some had come up with their own creative idea of what it meant to fly fish. Walking away from the event, everyone should feel proud of their involvement and the accomplishments we had that day introducing more youth in the community to the outdoors.
We want to thank all our volunteers, soul river ambassadors and our partners US Fish & Wildlife, Tualatin River Refuge, The Intertwine, Native Fish Society, LOOP, SpeyHeads, ZAP Team Oregon Zoo, Fly Fishing Collaborative, Jim Teeny & Donny Teeny, OPST, Scientific Anglers, Rising Buffalo Tribe, Oregon Department Fish Wildlife, Donny Adir, Stone fly Society and all the participating youth organizations; Momentum Alliance, PPS Title VII Indian Education, City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation, and Boy Scouts of America. Everyone who came out and did their part behind the scenes made all this possible! Moving onward and upward, we will be holding five clinics, once a month, open to all youth who came out to learn this past weekend to continue their education as an angler and outdoor ambassador. They will be held at various locations throughout Portland. Stay tuned for more specifics. We could talk for days about what a success the event was and how our hard work paid off but instead we’ll let the pictures do the talking…
Thank you to Ben Paull from OPST awesome photography from the event below!
Celebration of Wild Steelhead is almost here! There have been many helping hands from all over the world (really!) that have given time and support. Thank you to everyone who has helped in so many ways – from donations to filling participant bags to those traveling to teach about conservation, casting, or tying flies. Love comes in many forms and on so many levels through the human spirit of kindness and respect. This is going to be a good, solid day at the park in community with people from all different ethnicities, races, genders, and ages. Soul River and US Fish & Wild Life goal is to reach one hundred youth and to ultimately connect with each one individually. Imagine a sport that is no longer exclusive to a single ethnicity, race, gender, or age – it simply becomes grander! We understand this is not a “save the day” but we know this is a beginning – or rather, an introduction to the process of moving forward in supporting teachable moments to connect, inspire, and mentor the youth in our community.
Let today be a great one and I want to leave you with an awesome shot of a Northwest wild steelhead caught (and released) by Brian Chou! When you hook in on a fish of this nature you just gotta sit back and smile at the opportunity nature has just granted you that moment. An incredible treasure to share with others who aren’t able to get out there. This is why we practice catch and release! Releasing this wild species allows others to come back and share in this experience. Maybe, just maybe, Mother Nature will grant this species another revelation into our world with new hands from an angler who can have their moment to look at the beauty, color, the eye, and ultimately the spirit of a wild steelhead.
Photographer provided by – Matt Klara
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.
Brad Cunningham , Yakima Washington
All of my patterns are proven on Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Some of the closer to home rivers includes Deschutes, Klickitat, Grande Rhonde, Cowlitz just to name a few. Brad patterns are more in the way of summer and fall patterns for steelhead. Brad been tying and fly fishing on and off for 30 years. Brad takes a different mindset when tying and thinking outside the box. You can walk into any flyshop and buy a cookie cutter pattern but like anything He thinks if your not evolving with your patterns and materials you could be missing the next big thing (fly). Brad also ties spey style and stinger style flies but he loves tying the classic style and have noticed in the past two years that fishermen are leaning back toward classic styles and some big names in the industry have mention how they are seeing it as well.
The fly box above are custom tied flies Brad put together himself for the Celebration Wild steelhead. Even though it is steelhead focus but he thought would be more fitting to folks to give custom tied trout flies for the special person who is getting into the sport! Whoever gets this box of flies is priceless! And will be very lucky to have a set of custom tied flies which you cant buy at a shop!
I hope these flies get into the right hands and right mindset to embark on an awesome fishing experience!
Brian Chou making it happen off the coast of Hawaii chasing bonefish. Loving the iconic Soul River Trucker flat brim hat.
Chou is a leader and mentor bringing unique facets of creativity, strategy, and ingenuity to the fly fishing industry. Combining creativity and tradition, he is always looking to further himself, while leading the way as a maverick of science and functionality. With years of experience as a product designer, consultant, fly tier, photographer, guide and certified casting instructor he manages to carve out time to help those willing to further their journey in fly fishing. Stay tuned for the next blog post showing Chou in the tying room cooking up some innovative, custom-tied flies that can be found at Soul River’s retail space.
“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.
Gladstone’s Latus Motors in Portland, Oregon is the premier Harley-Davidson dealership in the greater Portland area. They are a solid shop that treats their customers like family, happily providing the best all-around service, parts, and apparel. As of May 12, 2014, Soul River is honored to be a part of this great retailer’s offerings.
Soul River was spawned from the love of the outdoors and embracing the unconventional so crossing into this new retail space catering to motorcycle enthusiasts is an unexpected yet perfect fit. Joining a top notch retailer like Latus Motors will allow Soul River to expand our reach to more folks in our target market who may have not heard of us before including outdoorsmen, hunters, anglers, backpackers, nature lovers and veterans who just happen to be motorcycle enthusiasts as well. By branching out Soul River is reinforcing our statement that it doesn’t matter what you do in the outdoors as long as you embrace it, whether it be on the road or the river.
Thank you Latus Motors for the opportunity and we are looking forward to a successful partnership expanding our reach and your offerings to your loyal customer base.
Chad will be on location at Latus Motors May 24th spreading the word about Soul River to the Harley crowd. Come by and join us if you are in the area!
Three talented partners collaborate as one artistic arsenal to tell short stories with impact and emotion. Guided through high-quality direction and shooting style in the outdoors. Through the stories we pursue and tell, each partner strives to infuse masterful talent through professional execution in order to give a breath of fresh air and to keep you craving more. A short does not compromise the production of quality and quality does not compromise a short story! A unique visual perspective in storytelling.
We are always looking for the next collaboration!
Film Synopsis: Soul River challenges traditional media by embracing the unconventional with their production of Conservation – Consciousness Runs Deep. Created and written by creative director Chad Brown, Conservation captures modern urban mythology with the message of consciousness and awareness of responsibility we have as urban dwellers and environmental protectors.
This short film mixes art, mythology, music, and poetry to provide a fresh perspective through the personal lens of environmental justice and the outdoors. In this film, a young man goes through his life in the city and morphs with his consciousness by the guidance of a Naiad. Conservation provides a breath of fresh air from a young, urban, and hip approach and inspires our consciousness to run deep and become ambassadors of the outdoors.