By Molly Kirk
Photos by Courtesy of Neil Lamm
Each month in the Fishing Notes from the Field email, we at the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) are going to highlight one of our constituents and the role fishing plays in their life. Are you an avid angler who would like to be featured or know someone who would be great to feature? We’d love to hear from you! Just email email@example.com and let us know!
Name: Neil Lamm
Hometown: Ruckersville, VA
Occupation: Associate Pastor
Why did you aim to accomplish the Trout Slam?
For me, fly fishing for trout has been a lifelong pursuit. My dad taught me the basics at a young age, and I explored the further depths of fly fishing as I grew older. I ended up moving to Colorado for a few years and spent many hours on the river learning the ins and outs of fly fishing. I’m always up for a new challenge, and though this wouldn’t be the first time catching three different trout species in a day, I thought it would fun to try to accomplish the challenge close to home.
What do you enjoy about trout fishing?
The question for me really becomes, what’s not to enjoy about trout fishing!? Whether it’s the nostalgia of being on the river just like the early days when my dad taught me or simply just being outside and enjoying the great outdoors, trout fishing is a truly unique privilege. Often times, being on the river has been therapeutic and my Christian faith is displayed greatly as I spend hours chatting with God on the river. Though I love fishing with other people, I often enjoy trout fishing specifically by myself because of the setting and therapeutic nature of the river. Beyond those reasons, just the thrill of being outside and tightening your line on a rising trout is incomparable.
Where are you from, and where did you catch the fish of your slam?
I was born and raised in Greene County, VA which is where I caught all three trout in my slam! I caught my native brook trout and wild brown trout out of the Conway River, which is the river that borders Greene and Madison counties. After catching those two fish early on, I decided to hop over to South River in Stanardsville, which is a local put-and-take stream where I sealed the deal with a stocked rainbow. For me, it was uniquely special to accomplish the slam so close to home. Originally, I was going to pursue the slam only on native and wild fish, but when I had the opportunity to accomplish the task so close to home, I jumped on it!
What do you appreciate about Virginia’s angling opportunities?
Growing up, I never truly valued all that Virginia has to offer in terms of angling/hunting opportunities. I spent many hours outdoors with my dad, but never spent much time valuing those opportunities. It wasn’t until a recent move back to the state from Colorado that I truly began to dive into the diversity of Virginia. I have been truly impressed to learn that Virginia not only has an impressive portfolio of hunting/angling opportunities that I glanced over as a kid, but I’ve also been impressed with the amount of time and resources that the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources puts into maintaining and preserving the diverse habitat that exists. It makes purchasing my licenses enjoyable knowing that the money is being well managed.
Do you do other kinds of fishing?
Fishing for me began when I was old enough to hold a little Scooby fishing pole. I’ve always loved to catch pretty much any fish that swims. In freshwater, I love fly fishing for trout, smallmouth bass, and many of the fish that exist in small streams like Roanoke bass, rock bass, etc. I also love fishing lakes and ponds for largemouth bass and crappie. Perhaps the most underrated freshwater fish that I love catching are shell-crackers. Pound for pound, they fight so hard!
In the saltwater, my favorite fish to catch is speckled trout. I also really love fishing for redfish and flounder (which are often picked up when targeting trout). I also really enjoy fishing for rockfish on the Chesapeake Bay. Ultimately, I enjoy fishing for anything as long as artificial bait and light tackle are in the mix! I love researching and targeting new species, and I believe that the next species I will be targeting for the first time will probably be musky. I’ve been doing a lot of research and hope to capitalize on an opportunity soon!
Ready to try for the Virginia Trout Slam yourself? Learn more about the challenge!
Are you an avid angler who would like to be featured or know someone who would be great to feature? We’d love to hear from you! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!