Peter Vandergrift dishes on fly fishing, conservation and teamwork

One of the best things about working in the fly-fishing world is that you get to work with some truly great people. These are people committed to conservation and to bringing a diverse array of people into fly-fishing. They could probably be making a lot more money doing something else, but they make a conscious choice to live and work in fly-fishing. One of those truly great people is Peter Vandergrift.

If you know fly-fishing, you probably know Peter. And if you know Peter, you know that he knows fly-fishing. He has a long and diverse history in the fishing industry. He began guiding at 19 in Alaska in the shadow of the proposed Pebble Mine. He went on to guide and outfit in Montana and northern Wyoming prior to spending five years with Simms Fishing Products and another seven years with Costa Sunglasses. He recently joined North Point Brands as Chief Marketing Officer for both their Cheeky Fishing and Wingo Outdoor brands.

Listen to what my friend Ted Upton, CEO at North Point, had to say in a recent interview with Angling Trade: “We could not be more excited to add Peter to the North Point Brands team. His leadership in the fly-fishing industry, dedication to conservation, and innovative approach to community brand building will be welcomed expertise as Cheeky Fishing and Wingo Outdoors scale to the next level.”

Like I said, this guy knows fly-fishing. But maybe just as important, Peter knows conservation. Conservation and community are the hallmarks of Vandergrift’s work. He has been instrumental in establishing the Kick Plastic movement. He was also recognized for his work with the indigenous fishing communities with the nonprofit Indifly as well as helping Trout Unlimited connect to the next generation of conservationist with the Costa TU 5 Rivers College program.

We were fortunate enough to catch Peter in his hometown of Missoula, MT for an Instagram Live session on August 21, 2020 @troutunlimited. It was a great conversation, but one thing he said really stuck with me: “In the end, it all comes down to personal choices. Each of us can say that what we do is so small – it’s just one drop in the bucket. But that’s how the bucket gets full – each one of us making the right choice, one at a time. That’s how things change.”

That, my friends, is Peter Vandergrift.

By Walt Gasson.