The air was wet and cold and perfect and it pulled my cheeks tight against the rest of my face. I stretched them with a smile. This was a place that the fish seemed to enjoy as much as I did and the notion that one of them might actually be here this morning was all I needed. I knew enough of pursuing steelhead with a fly to appreciate the fact that having the elements in my favor was a win in and of itself.
As the sun crested the tree line a sharp ray of light cut through the soggy air, striking the water’s surface and sending up a spiraling column of fog. I turned my gaze to the downstream bend, listening closely in anticipation of the morning rush hour. Half way through the run, I heard wing beats and looked up just in time to see the birds in perfect formation. They honked in collective protest of the congestion I’d imposed on their daily commute and banked to the left. Cutting the sharp bend in the river, they disappeared beyond the trees, their honks fading to a murmur. I went back to casting and hoping, contemplating my own congested work commute, which I was soon to be late for.
For many of us, this is the luxury the floodplain provides – an imminent if fleeting escape to something very real, powerful and purposeful. Like dogs after their tails, we chase these emotions in our nine-to- five lives, often with little to show for it. But here, only steps removed from the ceaseless whir of an interstate, the insanity of a strip mall and the mindless magnetism of handheld technology, we find purpose and meaning. Sheltered between the banks, real life is unfolding, the high water marks working as blinders against whatever it is we’d rather not see.
Therein lies the inspiration for Floodplains – a window into the wonder that awaits wherever water moves. By capturing moments and memories born of the river, we hope to remind our readers of the significance of these places and inspire others to find their own floodplains to explore. As the river constantly reinvents and redefines itself day by day, season by season, it’s an open invitation for us to rethink what we thought we knew. We hope to do the same with Floodplains, providing story angles and illustrations outside the new norm. Step into the woods and take the long way to the river. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
-Jim Lampros, Fall 2015
Jim Lampros is a native Northeast Ohioan and a passionate angler. He discovered the joy of angling while he was still in diapers on the docks of the family cottage on Lake James, Indiana. At the age of 13 during a class field trip to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, he witnessed a steelhead attempting to clear a low head dam, beginning an obsession that in many ways has defined his life ever since.
Jim spent two summers in Victor, ID working for WorldCast Anglers and is a graduate of the Western Rivers Guide School. After graduating from Miami University’s Farmer School of Business with a degree in marking and a final stint in Victor, Jim returned to Cleveland as the Fishing Manager for the Orvis Company’s new retail store there in the fall of 2009. While there he helped establish numerous schools, clinics and travel programs geared towards inspiring new anglers to take up the sport.
Jim now works as an Account Executive for On Point Promos and as a fly fishing guide and instructor. His writing has been published in The Drake Magazine, The Fly Fish Journal, The Teton Valley Citizen and others. He lives in Lyndhurst, Ohio with his wife Becky, son Henry, and two thick-headed labs, Victor and Poplar. He’ll happily throw a fly at anything that swims, is a terrible shot from the duck blind and a long suffering Cleveland sports fan.
Kendrick grew up thinking fly fishing was inefficient and entirely unnecessary. Hours using shovels to pry up rocks for worms and watching the voracious bites of bluegill below a bobber was the pinnacle of angling prowess. Bass were beasts, pike were a myth and Canada was the only place to find any decent fishing beyond the pond in the backyard. Somewhere between sports, school and real life he found fly fishing in the mountains of Virginia where he learned to, allegedly, cast, mend and tell the difference between a mayfly and a stonefly. He sought out further studies in New Zealand, where he did as much unnecessary, inefficient fishing as possible.
Kendrick’s work has appeared in various outdoor magazines including American Angler, Adventure Magazine and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He lives along the Chagrin River floodplain with his dog, a German shorthaired pointer named Dagny.
Matt Stansberry lives in Brecksville, OH with his wife and three young sons. During a six year stint in Oregon Matt founded the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog, one of the most-read fly fishing sites on the Web. He’s been a contributor to several fishing magazines, including On The Water, The Fly Fish Journal, and Rise Forms. He has led a Trout Unlimited Chapter, launched a fly fishing tournament that’s raised $25,000 for habitat conservation, and has been a Native Fish Society River Steward. He is a monthly nature columnist for Belt Magazine, covering the biodiversity of the Lake Erie eco-region.
David Wilson assumes many roles; designer, illustrator, videographer and writer. Projects range from client driven assignments to personal works. After earning a BFA in Visual Communication Design from Kent State University, David went on to work for clients such as The Atlantic, New York Magazine, WWE, The Boston Globe, The Uptime Institute, Men’s Journal, GFDA, Harvard University, INC. Magazine, Kent State University, and many more. David’s work can be found at www.workdavidwork.com