I'm in love with trout. I think they are the most beautiful fish. I wanted to be able to view them all the time so I came up with a way and in 1999 developed the Trout Mobile.
I grew up in Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes. Fishing came before learning how to walk. We fished through freezing rainstorms, mosquitoes the size of your fist, blazing shadowless sun, boat rocking whitecaps, and pitch dark nights, where I sat at the bow of the boat with a flashlight alerting the shoreline that we were still at sea. Although my dad was a boat designer, we fished in the simple aluminum boat without any bells and whistles. No fish finders or spotlights. Dad was a purist. And, we weren’t ever going home empty-handed. Grandma had to fake a heart attack once to make dad bring her to shore. If you had to go to the bathroom - forget it.
Although I do love to eat them, I wasn’t a fan of fishing for walleye. Trolling was, well - drolling. Listening to the putt-putt of the engine while the smell of Evinrude fuel filled my head helped me acquire a vivid imagination. I didn’t catch much because I was afraid to let my line go deep deep deep into the abyss. I thought that some huge fish the size of a car would take my bait and pull me down into the depths of the deep dark water. Plus - at some point in my conscious, I hated torturing the minnows and worms. When I started apologizing to the worms I knew I was in trouble. I eventually started letting the minnows out of the bucket pretending there was a leak.
Dad was pretty perceptive. He also didn’t make the distinction between fishing for guys or gals. I never realized that fishing was just a guy thing until I started going to fly shops on my own as an adult woman. When I was 13 Dad handed me a fly rod, gave me a two-minute lesson and left me at the cabin with grandma for a week. Grandma and I didn’t see eye to eye. She always wanted me to cut my long blond hair. I was defiant and I asked her why it mattered so much to her. The next day I took the boat and grandma to where I knew the bluegills like to hang. I anchored the boat in the bay, tied on a popper, and tossed my line to the lily pads. I caught sunny after sunny and even a crappie. Grandma didn’t catch a thing with her bobber and worm. Nor did all the other boaters. All of a sudden I had a newfound respect from grandma and she didn’t even complain when I hooked her in her life vest.
From that day forward I never spin fished again. I was so in love with the aspect that I could float a fly on top of the water and watch a fish come get it, I was hooked. My family started going to Montana in 1973 to fly fish and eventually they moved there. I perfected my cast with friends John and Terri, from BRO, and started taking photos of the trout that I was so enamored with. This was before digital photography caught on and I was shooting medium format film which is quite costly when trying to capture a moving target underwater. In 1999 I set out to catch all the beautiful trout species on a dry fly and photograph them in the water as a study. All the fish identifications were of drawings. No one was using actual photos of the fish and I thought it would be a good idea to document the trout species photographically. From those images, I developed a Trout ID ruler which was presented to FWP and the Salish Kootenai Tribe. The Tribe purchased them as a means of trout identification and educational outreach for the threatened Bull Trout. I had a fantastic business partner by the name of Steve Bryant. He also loved to fly fish and donated much of his time to protect trout habitat for TU and The Blackfoot River. My business hit an interruption when he passed away unexpectedly.
Because I wanted to see these beautiful creatures swimming about me when I couldn't be out on the river I went on to perfect my Trout Mobile. It didn’t happen overnight, however. I refined my concept of how to present the beautiful trout, perfected my product with hundreds of hours testing, and spent a lot of money on a patent protecting my Trout Mobile. There have been many life moments in between and what I've learned most is; if you love something and you're meant to do it, you don't give up. I still love making my Trout Mobiles 16 years later. A definite labor of love. Just looking at my Trout Mobile makes me feel happy and calm. It brings me to the place where I love to be. No worries - just me, the water, and my beloved trout.
I hope that they will do the same for you.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my fondness for trout. Since you've read to here, I expect that you too are a fly-fisher and a friend of trout. If you're not, I hope you will be.
Our mission goes beyond producing quality products. The vision that was started many years ago remains the same and everyone associated with Trout and Company is dedicated to protecting trout, their habitat, our rivers, lakes, and public lands - so future generations will be enriched by the beauty and health that only nature can provide.