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Welcome to the first interview with the author/contributors of the soon-to-be-released anthology, The Water Holds No Scars: Fly Fishing Stories of Rivers & Rejuvenation, published by Tulip Tree Publishing, LLC.

My first guest is Duane Cook, co-founder of Platte Rivers Chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. I first met Duane at the first meeting of Platte Rivers PHWFF and worked with him to form this chapter, which in less than three years has grown to become the largest chapter in the nation. Last year over 16,000 miles were driven to deliver veterans on multiple fly fishing trips, all done at no cost to the veteran members.

I am honored to have Duane here today and his story, Mitchell Creek Legacy, in the book, and to be able to call him a friend.


Publication11. Tell us about your first fly fishing rod and where you used it.

My father gave me one of my grandfather’s bamboo fly rods for my 7th birthday. Besides using it to poke, tease and tickle my younger sister, I used it on Tennessee Creek that ran a couple of minutes from our house in the Colorado high country.

2. You get the chance to write (but no fishing!) near a stream or pond. Your choice: Write with uninterrupted silence wondering if there are fish nearby, or; Write with fish constantly rising, slurping, and popping the surface the entire time. Which do you choose and why?

I choose to write where the fish are constantly rising because of the natural interest that dynamic provides. Silence near a trout stream would have me wondering what is going on beneath the surface of the water that has the fish’s attention.

3. Do you have a favorite fly and/or a favorite writing pen (or place to write)? Tell us about it/them.

I have two favorite flies. The Royal Coachman was my father’s favorite fly and, since he was my hero and the best fisherman I have ever know, this is still the first fly I fish on new water.  The second is the Jessie which was developed by a great friend and named for his daughter. I love the connection these two amazing people have and it brings a smile to my face each time I tie it on!

4. Every fly fisherman/woman has a favorite fishing story (other than the one in the book.) Tell us yours (succinctly as possible.)

I was fishing the headwaters of the Eagle River with my 9 year old grandson, Sam. It was the first time he had been on a trout stream with a fly rod.  With a few quick simple tips and casting attempts he was able to get the fly on the water with a nice drift. The first attempt was uneventful, but the second drift was a little too long and resulted in a snag on a partially submerged log. We managed to free the fly with little disturbance and Sam made one more cast before we headed upstream. The fly was drifting nicely when the rainbow gently slurped with size 14 Royal Coachman. Sam said, “Grandpa, I think I have another snag”.  My reply was, “Sam, that snag has fins, because you line is moving”. The smile on his face was priceless and two minutes later he had landed the 9 inch rainbow and a new story was indelibly etched in both our hearts!

5. Let’s test your writing skills. Write a standard haiku about fly fishing.

Cast, drift, mend, recast.
Bacon, eggs, toast, browns, coffee,
My happiness needs!

6. Your final choice: You get to fish one place whenever you want, but only that place for the rest of your fishing days. Friends/family can come to fish with you, but you cannot fish anywhere else. Where do you fish and why?

Homestake Creek near the old 10th Mountain Division training base of Camp Hale at Pando, Colorado is where I would choose to fish.  It is near where I grew up and is the quintessential trout stream.  There are broad riffles, deep pools, overhanging and undercut banks, steep canyon walls and broad open flats.  The water changes in the way it flows, from fast moving to slow back eddies. There are stretches that are easy to fish and an equally number of runs that stretch the best anglers abilities. There is an abundance of wildlife that includes eagles, hawks, deer, whistle pigs, musk rats and the occasional moose and black bear.


Thanks, Duane for being here today and we look forward to reading your essay, Mitchell Creek Legacy along with the other great submissions soon.


Tomorrow’s interview, 11/18/15  is with 23 year military veteran Scott Scheffey. Be sure to visit and comment, which gets you another entry for the book giveaway.