TU Costa 5 Rivers Club Spotlight:

Appalachian State

Advancing as anglers on and off the water

In the town of Boone, North Carolina, there is something special happening. The art of fly fishing is rapidly spreading to young men and women thanks to the dedication of the Appalachian State University fly fishing club.

My name is Tripp Nazziola, and I am the current president of the Appalachian State Fly Fishing Club. Over the past two years of being involved with the club, as well as the Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers program, I have witnessed something I like to call the “development of the angler”. At Appalachian State, we have an abundance of new anglers learning about fly fishing and taking advantage of the plentiful trout habitat surrounding our college campus. Bringing new people into fly fishing is awesome, but what makes our fly fishing club here so unique is how our members develop as anglers.

Development, regarding an angler, can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, but I think it relates to the idea of the six stages of hunter development. I found this relatable as an angler and not really talked about enough in the fly fishing industry.

I like to break down angler development into two simple parts, “on the water” and “off the water”.  The fishing knowledge that is shared between our members, industry professionals and those who support our club provides tremendous help to develop anglers’ “on the water” skills. Every single minute you spend on the water you are developing as an angler. Every cast you make, whether good or bad, you get feedback that develops you as an angler.

In addition to this on water development, fly anglers also develop off the water. We are proud to say that we work with every fly shop in the surrounding area to support developing anglers off the water. We work with these fly shops to host events and give members an opportunity to build relationships with industry professionals and better access to those who share the same passion. This “off the water” time teaches an angler how to develop relationships with others and learn more about the hobby they are so eager to advance in.

One phrase the members of our club have heard me say many times is, “the cool thing about fly fishing is that you will never know it all.” This is a big reason I love fly fishing, because there is no summit of fly fishing, and everyone is constantly advancing as an angler. There are often meetings or events where I learn more as the president than anyone else in the room. To me that is invaluable.

I wish I could sit here and list out every single member’s name and say how proud I am for the anglers that they are becoming on and off the water. Development is a staple of what the Appalachian State Fly Fishing Club has to offer, and we will continue to carry out this work for years to come.