For the vast majority of anglers, fly fishing encompasses a lot more than actually fly fishing.
Looking forward to a weekend away fishing, it isn’t abnormal to anticipate the late night talks around the fire or the trips to the same dive bar in town. One isn’t any less an angler if the promise of that first cup of coffee in the morning is a lot more alluring than jamming tired feet into cold wading boots. When we’re fly fishing, more goes into it than a rod, a fly, and (hopefully) a fish.
Conversely, passionate fly fishers think about rods, flies, and fish when they are far from the river. Time spent scrolling through fishy Instagram pictures, reading angling literature, or even just organizing and reorganizing gear helps pass the time between outings. Living room art might feature trout spot patterns. Bumper stickers and ball caps may feature fly fishing brands’ logos. A child might be named Brook or Fisher.
For the vast majority of committed anglers, fly fishing has a way of sidling into most facets of life.
For one Colorado couple, this omnipresence of the pursuit they love spurred them to design and create clothing that is just as suitable on the water as it is running errands. In a market with a lot of fly fishing lifestyle options, Trout Life has a purposeful aim in the industry. “We were intentional,” Amy Ralston says, “for people to know that our brand is about them living their trout life.”
Amy and Don Ralston have been working on and planning Trout Life for a while, and rolled out a webstore with a number of products last year. With combined experiences in public relations, marketing, advertising, sales, product management, and, of course, fly fishing, they are confident in their brand. But more than all of that, they are confident in their trout life. “Amy’s dad has been angling in Colorado for over 50 years,” Don says, “So family vacations revolve around time on the water. At the heart of our family is the fishing, the places, this inspiration; the brand comes out of that.”
The family loves to fish, but they aren’t professional guides or angling royalty. Even that, however, is part of the image that they intend to convey. Amy explains, “We’ve always wanted to be inclusive. In our products and in our design, we wanted it to be about peoples’ passion. Whether you’re on the water ten days a year or 100; if you love fly fishing there is that uniting force. Anything in fishing will mean different things to different people.”
Trout Life means to be that synthesis of experience and lifestyle. “Ultimately, we ourselves are passionate about good apparel and good gear,” Don says. Amy adds, “From there, the next step is making it a cool, quality product.” Simple designs don’t scream I wear this shirt when I go fly fishing! Attention to detail prevent things like seams and tags from becoming cumbersome and annoying on the water. And in both situations, the aesthetic is understated but definitely fly fishing through and through.
The Trout Life trucker hat is available in three colors with the simple and subtle trout-in-sunburst logo on the front. The design is clean, the fit isn’t rigid, and it blends fly fishing sensibilities with contemporary ball cap stylings. The men’s baseball t-shirt is just plain comfortable. Featuring soft cotton in a trim fit, the long-sleeved top has an oversized dry fly front and center. It could be your favorite fishing shirt, or your favorite around-the-house shirt. And, like all of the Trout Life apparel, the prices won’t make you think twice about doing some serious fishing (or yard work) while wearing it.
Perhaps having a fish silhouette on your shirt for the yard work and the errands bring a little bit of fly fishing experience into the mundane. “Life seems to be getting crazier for most of us,” Amy says. “In complicated lives, fly fishing is an escape. Any little way to connect to fishing is a chance to reflect and counteract the craziness.” While Trout Life doesn’t guarantee that wearing one of their shirts or hats will slow down your hectic schedule, this connection may very well be why fly fishing lifestyle clothing brands are doing well these days.
Don, Amy, and their family have their narrative. Amongst their nine-to-fives, fly fishing vacations, and everything in between, they’ve created something that can frame that story. Their goal is that those same products – in form and function – can provide that framework for other anglers. Amy expounds, “When someone sees the Trout Life logo, we want them to connect to others who fish. I want them to be able to, in a way, use it to tell those stories that we love to share. And be comfortable and stylish while they do it!”
That framework – clothing that can in some way, shape, or form bring a little bit of fly fishing into the every day – is something that anglers are asking for. And having a vision like that, coupled with a quality product and presentation, is the foundation for a successful brand in the fly fishing industry.
Visit the website and store for Trout Life here.