Perhaps no one has a better understanding of the intricacies of fly fishing—and why it’s such a powerful way to heal from trauma—than the people who share their love of the sport with our veterans.
In Oregon, Chris Daughters, owner of the Caddis Fly Angling Shop, has supported local Rivers of Recovery trips for the past seven years. RoR’s mission is a perfect fit with his shop’s focus on helping fly fishers at all levels, as well as welcoming new anglers to the sport.
“We’ve all heard about the need to support our veterans returning from war,” Chris said. “We all struggle to find where we can help. Supporting Rivers of Recovery fits in perfectly with what we do.”
The Benefits of Fly Fishing
The Caddis Fly guides teach our Oregon vets from the very beginning—helping them learn how to cast and to tie flies, and then hone their skills on the water.
“On the river, it’s about the instruction,” Chris said. “It’s a concentrated effort for success in catching fish. But the real benefits come later after an enjoyable day with everyone having fun together.”
Chris has seen how an RoR trip can change a participant from shy and uncomfortable to animated and excited in just a few hours.
“I think the most important part of the RoR experience is the comradery—where everyone is talking about it and maybe giving each other a little a ribbing,” he said. “Whether you’re a vet or not, the experience brings us all to a common place. And that’s where these guys want to be.”
Support from the Local Community
This hands-on experience with our Oregon trips has cemented Caddis Fly’s support for the RoR mission. Besides guiding, Chris has also helped Rivers of Recovery find support in the local community with donations for fundraising events or for lodging on the trips.
“The reception I get from the fly-fishing community is really encouraging,” he said. “There’s no hesitation when I tell them about Rivers of Recovery.”
Chris learned about RoR through a shop customer and RoR board member, Jason Johnson.
“Chris is the source for fly fishing expertise in the McKenzie-Willamette Rivers region,” Jason told us, emphatically, “and we’re fortunate to have him and the Caddis Fly Shop on our team. He’s been tremendously supportive of the program from the start here in Oregon. If every company we approached for help responded as generously as Chris, we could take every veteran in Oregon fishing. Seems like a good goal, right?”
Jason sees opportunities for the Oregon RoR chapter to grow—particularly for women combat veterans, which is an underserved population. “Women are a growing part of the fly-fishing community,” he explained. “It would be great to see more women participate in programs like Rivers of Recovery.”
Wanna join Chris in supporting RoR to help more vets in Oregon and around the country? Are you a combat veteran? Wanna get out on the river with Rivers of Recovery? Contact Amy Simon to learn more about donating or participating in an all-expenses-paid trip in Oregon or other states.