It’s amazing how fast 10 years can fly by in the proverbial blink of an eye. Yet, when you try to compile the amount of change in that time span, there is not enough ink and paper to visit it all.
Curt Trout passed away on the Kenai River 10 years ago, today.
If you fish the Kenai River, you should know his name. If you don’t, please take a few minutes today and learn more about Curt, what he gave all of us and his legacy that he left behind.
I was lucky enough to know Curt, my few visits with him in his shop and on the river were always cherished, always leaving me with the feeling that I was amidst greatness for a few moments. Curt’s status today remains the same as when he was still with us, Legend.
Curt’s willingness to not only share his knowledge of the Kenai, but his kindness set him apart. Every time I visited with Curt, I always left with something. Be it, theoretical on the physics of casting, controlling the down stream drift, or that special bead. All things that Curt was instrumental in fine tuning and paving the road to how we continue to fish the Kenai today.
I, like many others, have fabled stories of run-ins with Curt. To this day, nothing gets a conversation going on the Kenai when others share their stories about Curt, that can continue for hours. (Please feel free to share your story with Curt in the comment section) I plan on posting one of my more humorous encounters.
Today, Curt’s vision continues at the fly shop he started, Alaska Troutfitters. No longer tucked into the small red cabin that also housed the front desk for the Alpine Hotel, but in a new rustic cabin a few double hauls down the road.
Billy and Dusty Coulliette, the owners of ATF, both worked and guided for Curt for many years and are as much a part of the legacy of the legend as they were when they resided in Curt’s inner circle. A visit to the shop will reveal decades of history and pieces of remembrance that I believe Curt would be proud of.
Fly Fisherman magazine published an article written by Curt. In typical Curt fashion, he not only spelled out extending your drag free drift, but also expertly coached you through proper presentation of any fly fished under an indicator. To this day, the article is the manifesto of how to fish the Kenai. Lucky for all of us, Fly Fisherman continues to have it available for reading or review. You can also consider it a first hand historical lesson on Curt’s history on the Kenai, from his point of view.
Another great read came from ‘The Editor’s Creel” in Fish Alaska Magazine, published in December 2005. You get another glimpse of the man and why he is Legend and how he treated other anglers. Also some additional history on his continuing legacy through Billy and Dusty.
I’m thankful that the spirit of Curt Trout continues to thrive. Many times, I have called Troutfitters for a friend or stopped into the shop and been given a bead or a fly that changed the outcome of a trip. So take today, October 22, “Curt Trout Day”, remember and learn about the Legend and maybe share some fly fishing knowledge to give someone else your experience.
“On October 22, at the age of 54, Curt set out to float the upper Kenai one more time. He and a pair of friends drifted through the Canyon section, fishing throughout the day, catching many fine Kenai trout. Then, as the afternoon drew down, they each locked into another fish, with Curt eventually landing one of those special Kenai rainbows he liked to talk about.
After fighting the fish, Curt laid down in the drift boat like he’d done many times before and settled in for a nap as they headed for the takeout. He passed away moments later, fresh from handling and releasing a last great upper-Kenai trout, while still on the river he loved so much.”
In Loving Memory of Curt Trout
April 18th, 1951 – October 22nd, 2005
The mighty Kenai called him and will forever whisper his name. God grant that I may fish until my dying day, and when it comes to my last cast; I then most humbly pray, When in the Lord’s safe landing net I’m peacefully asleep, that in his mercy I’ll be judged as big enough to keep.
For additional images of Curt Trout, we will be celebrating the legacy all day today on Social Media. @AlaskaGuideList *Special thanks to Billy & Dusty Coulliette for providing images of Curt.