I was recently asked by a friend of ours, a Maine Guide and Rangeley Region Fly Shop owner Brett Damm, what CRO Flies is all about. It really all started when my brother Caleb passed away after a terrible car accident. Luke and Caleb were fishing buddies and they, along with my mother (who passed away less than two weeks after Caleb, loosing a short battle with pancreatic cancer) and father, had gone to Maine the fall before all our worlds fell apart. My mom had stuffed money away and surprised them all with a fishing vacation.
After they passed we resolved to make the trip again and in May 2008 we returned to Rangeley with two of my cousins (Carson and Ryan) to fly-fish. It was and still is sort of an annual memorial trip. It was on that trip standing in a stream that I first felt any kind of peace through my grieving. My love of fly-fishing blew up. Luke and I started tying and throwing ourselves (although he was already a full blown fly-fishing addict for many years prior) into the sport.
To remember, to bring the memories with us to the stream, we created CRO Flies, after Caleb Randolph Ott. CRO Flies is a group of us who fly-fish, who catch and release, who tie flies and sometimes sell them, who make shirts and sometimes sell them, who travel, who promote clean streams and no kill fishing, who advocate for our natural resources, and who teach others to do the same.