Hey anglers, Sean and Silver Bow Fly Shop want you to come to the Water to Wine Auction at Arbor Crest on June 3rd to celebrate the opening of Islands Trailhead Access. Located in Spokane Valley below Plantes Ferry, this latest addition to the Spokane River Water Trail creates a take-out that opens up a new section of river for anglers to drift. Said Sean, “You’ll see me and others out there regularly. As well as other paddlers and rafters. It’s a big win for recreational access in Spokane Valley.”
In 2015, Silver Bow hosted the International Fly Fishing Film, with proceeds providing the last tranche of funding needed to begin construction of the Islands project. “I was amazed at how many people came out to the festival to support this project. It just shows me people are willing to give to projects you can see in action.”
“A year later it was great to go out there and watch it get built. The Spokane Conservation District is leading the construction and doing an awesome job.”
“I’m going to Water to Wine to celebrate completion of Islands and support the Forum bringing more access, restoration and cleanup projects to the Spokane River.” Among the many items up for auction will be a gift basket and a Spokane River guided angling trip from Silver Bow.
Silver Bow and Sean’s commitment to the Spokane River is a fish tale worth telling.
On a sunny day on August, 31 2005 the twenty something Sean bought the Silver Bow Fly Shop. Armed with youth and the ignorance that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months, Sean has made Silver Bow a locally owned business success that has not only survived but thrived.
Like most successful entrepreneurs, Sean saw opportunity and promise where others saw nothing. Such was the case in 2010 when he came to the “realization that the Spokane River in our backyard was the most underutilized and underappreciated resource in the region.”
He knew there were trout in the free flowing reaches, believed an urban fishery could be marketed, and found inventive ways to get fishing rafts on and off the river. Slowly but surely Sean and his guides proved the market. “There were skeptics,” said Sean, “starting with convincing people there really is a fishery worth fishing here.”
“And people coming from out of town want a wilderness experience. I get the long pause on the phone when I explain that you launch in the city, then quickly find yourself in a beautiful, natural setting outside the cityscape.”
And after they drift the Spokane River, what’s the reaction? “They’re pleasantly surprised and want to know why more people aren’t fishing this.”
Sean believes turning more people on to fishing and paddling the Spokane River is directly linked to investing in access and restoration. “No one can do what needs to be done alone,” commented Sean. “I sell great gear, teach, guide and market the fishery. But could I put the pieces together to build access to the river at Islands Trailhead, State Line and other places? No. That took the Forum and the partners they brought to the table.”
“So if my friends at the Forum say let’s go celebrate at Arbor Crest, count me and Silver Bow in.”