Living Sustainably: Fly Fishing Helps Promote Conservation

By Andrea Goodell, Herrick District Library

Fly fishing is a serene, contemplative pastime.
It’s about conversations with friends, visiting the local restaurant near your favorite stream, the rod or hand-tied flies passed down from your grandfather and just “decompressing in the water,” local author Jon Osborne said.
“Fly fishing is a balance to career, especially a stressful career like law enforcement,” said Osborne, who is an officer with the Holland Department of Public Safety. “If you think it’s all about fish, you’re going to be very disappointed.”
Osborne and local illustrator Joe Van Faasen will speak about their book “Classic Michigan Flies: 16 Legendary Patterns” at 6:30 p.m. April 24 at Herrick District Library in Holland. The presentation is part of the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore series that raises awareness of sustainability themes. The evening will culminate in several giveaways such as a copy of the book, a set of eight 8-by- 10
prints from the book and a set of hand-tied flies suited for local bass and bluegill angling. The Great Lakes Fly Fishing Co. also has donated a beginner rod and reel to be raffled off to a youth angler.

Local author, police officer and fly fisherman Jon Osborne will speak about fly fishing at Herrick District Library as part of the series about Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore.

Osborne and Van Fassen will talk about several fly fishing options within 15 miles of the library that people can explore and fish for bluegill, pike, small mouth bass and other species.
Anglers can spend endless hours in the water, or they can cast a line over their lunch break. Those who immerse themselves in the river come to understand it, to love it and to desire to protect it. Fly fishermen and women are known for being conservation-minded. Many volunteer their time and money cleaning up the streams and rivers they love so much. Learning and loving the water is “something you never really get to the end of,” Osborne said.
No one wants to fish around trash. The Macatawa Area Coordinating Council will be at the event to promote spring volunteer opportunities such as its road and stream inventory and river clean up.
“Fly fishing is very much a sport tied to philosophy, ethics and conservation,” said HDL staffer and event organizer Laura Grant.
Osborne is in the process of writing a second book, “Flyfisher’s Guide to Michigan.” The book encompasses the history and lore surrounding 70 rivers of the Lower Peninsulia.
Michigan has more than its fair share of opportunities for anglers and others who enjoy the water.  With about 36,000 miles of streams, more than 11,000 inland lakes and 3,000 miles of shoreline, Michigan has access to more than 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, including the Great Lakes.
 Andrea Goodell is community relations associate at Herrick District Library.

If You Go
What: Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore: Fly Fishing
Who: Jon Osborne and Joe Van Faasen speak about their book “Classic Michigan Flies”
Where: Herrick District Library auditorium, 300 S. River Ave., Holland
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 24

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.