I met Devin Olsen in early 2015 on the Wallowa River. I learned that he had just taken a job with the Nez Perce Tribe as a Fisheries Biologist (working alongside my wife, Montana) and was brand new to the county. We agreed to stay in touch and soon planned a trip to one of our local rivers.
Soon, we were on the water. We did well on that outing (I won't bring up that we had to MacGyver one of his Euro-Nymphing leaders out of a tree-across the river), hooking close to double digit numbers of steelhead and landing six, with three each. Devin explained Fly Fishing Team USA and Euro-Nymphing, as I inquired, for the better part of an hour while driving to and from the river.
A while later, I hooked and landed my first Euro-Nymphed steelhead on the Grande Ronde with Devin, after we switched fly rods for a bit. From there, a lot of the crew started employing the technique when applicable and I'm glad to have added that tool to the tool box. However, we still haven't given up our strike indicators and I gladly produce excessively obese versions of these for fun when fishing with Devin, trying to solicit a reaction. I usually get, "It even says bobber on the package!'' Often this is followed by some kind of hair band high note coming from D's direction as well. Don't get him going (no seriously, get him going, its hilarious).
And away from the river, fly tying nights were usually eventful and we all learned quite a bit from Devin about Euro-Nymphing patterns . While most of us were busy partaking in the Speyburn (or something terribly worse), Devin was focused on the task at hand, even during bro time. It became apparent to me that Devin's focus in all things fly fishing certainly, over time, had elevated his skill level above most other top tier anglers. His individual bronze finish (and silver team finish) in the the 2015 World Fly Fishing Championship in Bosnia is evidence of such focus and discipline.
Recently, Devin announced that he will be moving his family back to Utah, in order to grow his business (www.tacticalflyfisher.com) and continue to help his wife pursue her career goals. I know I speak for the rest of the group when I say that Devin will be truly missed around here. Arguably one of the best anglers on the planet, Devin has taught me to push myself further as a fly angler, guide and student of the river. On top of all of that, he's been a good friend.
So take care D and good luck with your new endeavor. Although we're sad to lose you around here, we're all happy for you and your family. It's been great being on the water with you these past few seasons. Come back and see us soon, we'll always have a spot at the table and on the rafts.
Oh and if you could do me a favor and maybe take an intesive turkey carving class before the next Thanksgiving Day, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks bud.