Photo from Steve Popen

Fighting Fish, Swinging Flies, and Embracing Our Seasons in Fly Fishing with Steve Popen

“And here I am just trying a different method. Trying to grind it out.  And I’m going through this season, where I’m like… man, do I even know how to fish?”

Steve Popen

Fly fishing doesn’t always reward you when or how you want, but keep at it long enough, and you’ll begin to see the missed fish, lost flies, tangles and flat out skunks, were all part of what fly fishing really is.  We all have seasons in fly fishing when it seems like nothing will work.  Something will…

Podcast episode appears at the end of this short article.

In this episode we WadeOutThere with Steve Popen from Western New York.  Steve turned to fly fishing during a difficult time in his life and found peace, challenge, and spiritual healing.  

It wasn’t long until he was incorporating his love for fly fishing into his work as a teacher and counselor.  With encouragement from friends and family, Steve became a part time guide, in the Finger Lakes tributaries and storied trout streams of Western New York.  His guide service is called TroutItOut.  

This is the second time Steve and I have talked on the podcast and we go deep into fly fishing philosophy and tactics.  We discuss the similarities between the seasons of life and fly fishing, techniques for swinging flies, and the tactics Steve employs to fight some of the monster fish he connects with on his home waters.

“So along the way, basically there was a point where I did start to connect.  And I started to connect really well.  And just all the way along the process, though, I realized the steps I took. The missteps I took.  And I just can’t help but look back and reflect on just what I do in life…”

Steve Popen

When I started recording the WadeOutThere Podcast, I was starting from zero.  I had no real connections in the fly fishing “industry.”  No real idea if folks would agree to come talk with me, or that people would listen.  That was a tough season for me and my journey with WadeOutThere.  

But that’s the thing isn’t it?  We never really know.  Just like we never know if that next cast will bring a trout to hand, but we go anyway.  

Steve is one of those folks who said yes to talking on the podcast from the earliest days.  Maybe it’s because he knows what it’s like to go through those seasons of doubt and come out the other end a little wiser and with a few more fish in the net.

That yes meant a lot then, and it means even more now. 

It was a pleasure talking with Steve over two years later.  I know it won’t be the last time we talk, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

VR- Jason

Learn More

To schedule a guided trip with Steve, reach out at:
Trout It

Related Articles from WadeOutThere

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | A Dozen Techniques for Getting Your Flies Down While Nymphing
READ: WADEOUTTHERE | What to Do When a Big Fish Runs Downstream
READ: WADEOUTTHERE | Hookset and Assess.  Don’t Rush the Reel.

Listen to the Full Episode…

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  • Reply
    Richard Blink
    March 2, 2023 at 10:24 am

    Mr. Popen, enjoyed your remarks. Ya have to like when another person says what you are thinking. I wade when I fish. The AuSable river in Michigan’s. It is always rejuvenating. But not always a success in fish caught. Can’t wait to get out there again

    • Reply
      Jason Shemchuk
      March 2, 2023 at 2:05 pm

      Steve was as awesome to talk to the second time as the first. Thanks for listening and commenting.

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