Lani caught her very first trout on a small elk hair caddis in Hot Creek in the Eastern Sierra the summer of 1979. Having no earthly idea how to land the poor thing it became so entangled in weeds and fly line it’s a miracle it swam off and survived. The following year, sitting casually on a rock in the West Walker river, she caught her first sizable trout on what was then called a ‘birds’ nest” nymph. With very little experience playing a larger fish, her inappropriate 6X tippet snapped under the pressure and the fish swam away with her fly. And so, the game began.
Around raising a family and a busy corporate career, Lani and her late husband, Dr. Gary Kitching, devoted a little more time to the rivers each season and the value of a knowledgeable guide was discovered. During those next 20 years Lani and Gary traveled the West from Alaska to Argentina to share in the enjoyment of a sport they each grew to love. Dr. Gary Kitching died tragically in a random shooting at the Sandbar Sportsbar in West Vail on Nov. 7, 2009.
Later in life, Lani met Kea, of course out on the Roaring Fork river. The day was a gifted float with little expectation of what it would bring besides a much needed distraction. It turned out to be an epic outing loaded with single barbless dry fly caught trout and the two made a lasting connection.
The years that followed would yield many more memorable adventures. Among fly fishing, rock concerts, camping and skiing the fishing was always an enlightening experience for Lani as Kea, the professional, patiently taught her the fine points of trout habits, their habitat and how to approach them on foot and on the oars. To this day, a hint of his voodoo lingers.
What Lani enjoys most is talking about the wonderful attributes of fly-fishing to someone’s non-fishing partner or spouse. Nearly 100% of the time, with her relaxed demeanor and personal experience, she radiates enough positivity and interest to get the person placed in her charge venturing out into the water with her.
Upon Kea’s untimely passing, the Proudline mantle conferred on her has, at times, weighed heavily. Lani acknowledges that “I couldn’t have managed without the love and support of Kea’s cronies.” They’ve kept a guiding eye on Lani with the understanding that she can call for advice at any time. “I’m humbled to have been tapped to keep Proudline on the water in Kea’s name.” Lani said. “I’m able to navigate life’s turbulence with two powerful spirits leading me to the bright browns of laughter and wild rainbows of promise.”