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I love scrolling through Instagram to take a mental vacation during the day.  Beautiful shots of mountain vistas, sunrises, and pristine rivers let my mind wander to happy places.  And of course peppered throughout my feed are the classic “Grip n Grin” photos.

I am guilty of being a model in said pose, and I totally understand why we do it.  But over and over again the random fisher bro or woman holding a fish up gets a tad bit old.  I get it – you/we are proud of the catch – but let’s face it, nobody else outside of yourself and your fishing partners on that day will ever feel quite the same way you do about that photo.

This is not a new rant by any means, but while fishing a favorite part of the Middle Deschutes recently, I thought a more valuable grip and grin could be invented.  The middle D, like many other rivers out there, has a slight problem.  The beautiful streamsides are often strewn with litter that has found its way into the river bed, or perhaps been blown into the canyon on a desert breeze.  Regardless of how it arrived there,  the presence of trash is a blight in such beautiful places, and as we all know – it can also pose a major threat to wildlife.


On this particular day I happened upon the usual trash of beer cans, the occasional flip flop but also saw some firsts like a tin garden bucket and even a patio umbrella!  While scrambling over some scree to reach a favorite pool, I found a tattered, yet serviceable, plastic grocery bag and I decided to do a bit of cleanup.

I often do pack in a bag to pack out trash while fishing, but on this day I didn’t bring a backpack or a bag – but nature provided me with one!  As I filled the bag – which didn’t take too long – I chuckled thinking how cool it would be if anglers replaced their classic Grip-n-grin photos of fish with photos of trash they picked up during a day on the water.

Imagine if we as a community doled out the “likes” and virtual stoke for our peers that take time to do a small bit of conservation – and spread the word via the web to encourage others to do so.



Not my Steele Reserve – Tragic.

So there is my haul for the afternoon.  I considered hiking out the umbrella, but I probably would have hurt myself somehow doing so.

In closing – next time you think about snapping a grip and grin, make sure you snap a “Pick-up and Grin” too.


4 comments on “No More Grip-n-Grin

  1. Mammaflybox says:

    Too true! The grip and grin gets super old, especially since we know it’s not always easy on the fish! I’m planning a clean up day at my river once the water freezes up a bit. What ticks me off is on ‘catch and release only rivers’, when we find beer cans all along the shore and sometimes in the river. Seriously, fly fisher folks?! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. smcauliffe2 says:

    Stumbled across this as I’ve been growing more and more uncomfortable with the grip and grin and how it’s become part of marketing especially. Very nice piece and I appreciate your efforts and the inspiration.

    1. Thanks for leaving the note, and glad the post resonated with you. I really think the hype of things like the grip n grin really are far from the soul of the sport. Introspection experienced while fly fishing and awe of the places it takes me is so very much more satisfying than a glory photo. To each their own though.

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