Editor’s note: The TU Costa Five Rivers Program is sending five college students on a native trout odyssey across America this summer. Meet Matt Crockett, one of the five lucky participants.
I have lived in Tennessee my entire life. I first began to fly fish in the Nashville area, where I grew up. I waded the Harpeth River from a very young age with my father chasing smallmouth and pan fish with light tackle spin gear. Thus began my addiction to rivers, and the fish that live in them.
Art has always been a hobby of mine, and perhaps it is why I was drawn to the sport of fly fishing initially. A great fly cast just flat out looks cool, and I appreciated that a lot. I set out to figure it out for myself. In large part I consider East Tennessee to be my home water. Although it is not where I began to fly fish, I have fished it harder than anywhere else. Over the last five years, it has had the greatest impact on my angling ability, and also my perception of what the fly fishing culture is in the South. We have a very unique fishery here, and are very blessed to have a diverse variety of species and water. Just as diverse, is the growing society of fly anglers that enjoy our waters.
In 2012, I moved to Knoxville in order to attend school at the University of Tennessee. In the fall of 2015, Zac Grava, Brett Winchel, and I started “Vols on the Fly” a TU Costa Five Rivers Chapter. Since its inception, I have held the treasurer position and have been actively involved in the decision-making process while the club has developed. Our club has been helped tremendously by the Great Smoky Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited. I cannot thank that chapter and John Reinhardt enough for their time and help. The Five Rivers program has been an awesome learning experience for me and this opportunity to travel the West is a testament to the impact it has had on my life during my college years. I just graduated in May and now look forward to watching the club continue to grow.
I currently work and guide for Three Rivers angler in Knoxville, Tenn. I spend all of my time either on the water, teaching, tying flies or working at the shop. Fly fishing has truly consumed my life, and though I have sacrificed other things for it, I truly believe it is what I am on this earth to do, at least for right now. I love the opportunity I have through my job to impact others through the thing in this life I am most passionate about. Brett, who is also going on the Odyssey, is a close friend and co-worker of mine. We began fishing and filming together a few years ago, and as a team we have grown in our angling and filming skills.
I am very excited for the opportunity to travel through these western states and begin to diversify my angling portfolio. The opportunity to build a story advocating the importance and proper management of public ands and native trout is one that I take very seriously. I look forward to our team taking on this challenge and expanding our knowledge in order to impact others as well.