Travel | TROUT Magazine | TU Business

Friendly faces

Molly Simpkins and Dan Gigone of Sweetwater Fly Shop in Livingston, Mont.

Marketing a new book is a crapshoot, especially when it’s hyper-local content and writers are asked to a fair bit of promotion themselves to ensure the book’s success.

So, when I visited Livingston, Mont., earlier this week for a book-signing and presentation at Sweetwater Fly Shop, it was really nice to see two welcoming faces. The first was Mollie Simpkins, a long-time friend on social media, and a hell of an angler. She set the event up and works in the shop to coordinate everything from guide trips to events like the one she put together for me to help market my new book, “Catching Yellowstone’s Wild Trout: A Fly Fishing History and Guide.”

(Please forgive the shameless plug–this isn’t really about me. Promise.)

The second was Dan Gigone, the owner of Sweetwater, and a prominent TU Business partner who has helped support TU’s conservation work all over Montana, as well as chiming in on national issues, like our work on Pebble Mine, the effort to renew and fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the work to oppose plans to remove protections for small, headwater streams across America.

He’s a rock star, and he ensured a solid turnout to hear me talk about Yellowstone’s wild trout and where and how to catch them. Dan is plugged into the local TU chapters in southwest Montana. He understands that Yellowstone’s fishy story can’t accurately be told without the help of TU volunteers. These are the men and women who have helped, through tireless fundraising and volunteerism, to bring native Yellowstone cutthroat trout back from the brink of extinction in Yellowstone Lake.

And he’s also a savvy businessman. Livingston is some 52 miles from the northwest entrance to Yellowstone, and anglers in and around Paradise Valley have an affinity for the park and its fish.

Dan knew my new book might strike a chord with his customers. I’m so pleased that so many folks turned to hear me share not only the stories of the park’s wild trout, but the success the National Park Service is experiencing in suppressing the non-native lake trout population in Yellowstone Lake. Lake trout, of course, are the primary cause of the Yellowstone Lake native trout decline.

The event this week provided the perfect intersection for Dan and Sweetwater Fly Shop to both offer customers a new perspective on fly fishing in Yellowstone and an update on the state of the park’s native fish.

I’m grateful that he gave me the opportunity to both share the new book, and share so many great conversations with fellow anglers who all gathered in Dan’s fly shop for a great evening. Yellowstone’s wild trout have a lot of advocates, and many of them came together this week at Sweetwater.

Thank you Dan and Mollie. You both do so much to make our fishing better. We at TU sure appreciate it.

Chris Hunt is the national digital director for Trout Unlimited. His new book is his fourth book focusing on fly fishing.