The Roaring Fork valley was home to artist, fly-fishing guide and Proudline’s founder, Kea Hause for more than 45 years. While he had seen an evolution of development that would make many people bitter, he held no contempt. Kea was a philosophical optimist who fought bigger battles than change. “You will never alter a landscape to fit the wishes of one individual,” he said. “The key in this life is changing the individual to adapt and thrive in the landscape around him.”
Kea fished this region most of his life and still found new places. Which, Kea said, is the beauty of guiding here. In fact, he foresaw the fishing quality continuing to get better. “It’s all about habitat”, he once explained. “We’re not facing some of the same agribusiness issues they’re facing up in Montana. Even though our stream access is worse for the average person, our habitat may be better.”
Fly-fishing is a great equalizer. The river never considers anyone high or mighty. The river does not care how rich, or how fit, or how smart you are. The only human power that a trout respects is the pressure applied to a strand of tippet, and just about anyone can give him that. Although some people are luckier than others, and others have more skill with a fly rod, the baseline is the same for everyone: cast a tiny, feathered bug into the river and try to catch a fish. Do it well, and you will succeed. Do it poorly, and you will not.
Kea hated to see people dissatisfied, in life, in work, or in fishing. “Guiding isn’t about physics, or entomology. It’s about knowing how to talk to people. I’ve had trips where I never took a rod out. Just sat in the truck and answered questions.” He was an open book with his life’s work. When it came to sharing information with other guides, friends, or even total strangers, he wasn’t guarded. Kea was the kind of guide who would gladly dedicate the last hour of the day’s trip to pouring over maps, revealing less popular locales, and the flies to use there. He was generous, almost to a fault.
Rowing a boat allows the guide the opportunity to fish miles and miles of otherwise inaccessible river. Kea rowed a boat with prowess. He spent thousands of hours piloting dories and rafts through the whitewater and canyons of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. He pushed through Cemetery Rapids when the Fork was rolling at 9,000 cubic feet of water per second, with eight-to ten-foot standing waves in the center.
Moving water was spiritual to Kea. His church was the river. “To be honest, there’s an inner voice . . . call it God, call it nature, call it gut instinct. You have to quiet your mind and your will to the point where you can receive instruction from that voice. Kea learned to be flexible and listen to what the river told him. “When you have an open mind, you are in a better position to receive luck, energy, whatever.”
Legacy of Late Fishing Guide Lives On
Adapted from Post Independent | John Stroud
Kea Hause pretty much lived on the river, from the time he was a child hanging out with friends and siblings along the banks of the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers outside Carbondale to his many years guiding fishing trips locally and abroad.
So it’s fitting that Hause would be remembered following his unexpected death with an effort to protect and restore the area rivers to which he always had such a deep connection. Continue Reading »
MEMORIAM: Legend, Forever
Words by Copi Vojta
I first learned of Kea Hause when my father gifted me Castwork, a book that featured Hause’s observations on the Roaring Fork River in Carbondale, CO. To a young fisherman heading out to explore the west, Hause—an artist and guide of the first order—was legend. He grew up in the valley where I would eventually reside. He knew every fish that I would hook—or wouldn’t—years before I arrived. Continue Reading »
Castwork: Reflections of Fly Fishing Guides and the American West
Andrew W. Steketee
The Colorado, the Snake, the Missouri, the Bighorn each of these great western rivers conjures images of catching beautiful trout under big open skies. This book is a thoughtful and candid portrait of 13 of the best fly-fishing guides in the West, offering a unique view of river life through the eyes of those who live there.