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Table of Contents

Celebrate St. Lawrence!

Office with a View

Alumni Accomplishments

The Kenya Connection

Laurentian Reviews

Table of Contents

Office with a View

By Samantha Bixby '95

Based in Jackson, Wyo., Mike Janssen '93, Mike Dawes '96 and Dan Oas '00 of WorldCast Anglers greet each day and each client with the vim and vigor of the rivers on which they spend their work days.

Mike Dawes '96, shown with a steelhead on the Clearwater River in Idaho, and the other Laurentians at WorldCast Anglers have competed in the ESPN Outdoor Games, ESPN Team Fly Fishing Challenge and Outdoor Life Network's Fly Fishing Masters, and have appeared on ESPN's "Fly Fishing America.” CREDIT: Peter Corbin, courtesy of Mike Dawes ‘96

For Janssen it was the urging of a fellow student, Matson Rogers '92, that lured him to the Western Rivers Guide School to try his hand as a fly fishing guide. For the five years following, Mike and Matson were guides together at what was then called Bressler Outfitters in Jackson. Matson has since opened his own outfit, Angler's West Guide Services, in Bozeman, Mont.

Dan Oas arrived in Jackson just days after graduation. Having grown up fly fishing in New Hampshire , and in the Adirondacks while at St. Lawrence, he knew what he wanted to do. Dan attended WRGS, then was invited to join the ranks as a professional guide.

With previous guide experience, and a lifelong devotion to the sport, Mike Dawes was in search of a management position in the fly fishing business. After receiving an MBA in Marketing from the University of Denver , Mike became a partner and COO of the newly renamed WorldCast Anglers in November 2001.

Except for one year, the three did not overlap as students, and never knew each other until they found themselves working, by chance, for the same outfit. Still, there is a sense among them of “old college friends.”

Mike Janssen '93 and author Sam Bixby '95 on the Snake River , Wyoming . Bixby explains, “This is my first fish caught on the fly--a cutthroat trout.” CREDIT: Dan Oas '00

In late September 2003, Janssen and Oas took me into Wyoming 's Snake River Canyon for my first fly fishing lessons. My goal was to catch a fish, but I had no business waving sharp objects through the air. My fears were put to rest with a casting lesson on land and quick success in the water. The smooth navigation through the whitewater, and my guides' inherent tolerance for being caught on my fly many times, demonstrated their patience and enthusiasm for their jobs. As they took turns rowing and reeling in cutthroat trout, they instructed me where to cast my line, with the right balance of praise and coaching. They made it look effortless on this near-perfect autumn day. I was beginning to understand the fascination with the sport.

Over an onshore lunch, when I could stop concentrating so intensely on catching fish, the discussion turned to St. Lawrence, and how they, as teachers and guides themselves, had benefited from their education. Dan remarked that the enthusiasm of his professors for their work was something he could relate to as he taught and passed on his love of fly fishing to his clients. It was taking a pastime and turning it into a career that I found so noteworthy about these three. I asked if it ever grew old; they said it does not. I asked what they did on their days off; they fish. I asked where they went on vacation since their careers are in recreation; somewhere else to fish. I asked what their advice was for others who wanted to make their passion work for them. “Persistence,” they told me.

This does not come without its hard work, of course. Now 10 years on the job, Janssen is the head guide for the outfit as well as director of the Western Rivers Guide School . Each guide is required to go through intense instruction in geology of the riverbeds, entomology, casting, guide/client relationship, business, rowing and rescue techniques before being handpicked to guide for the company.

Dawes, as COO, works as a guide as well as behind the scenes in the Orvis Store-based office. For four weeks in the winter you can find him at WorldCast Anglers' Las Torres Lodge in Chile , offering guided trips in Patagonia . As with any job, there are good days and bad days, he told me, but reaching goals requires taking risks. It was clear to me the payoff has been worth it for these Laurentians.

It's just a typical day at their workplace (the Snake River , Wyoming ) for Dan Oas '00, front, and Mike Janssen '93. Oas guides year-round in Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Costa Rica; Janssen is a heli-ski guide in the winter and has competed in several extreme skiing world championships. CREDIT: Samantha Bixby '95

At the end of the day, as I admired their ambition to go out each day to teach and share this sport they love so much, we made our way through the Class III rapids of the Snake River . The orange and yellows of the peak fall foliage high above us on the canyon wall, the scent of crisp mountain air, a bright blue sky and the sound of whitewater whirling around us caused me to realize this is about more than the fish; I found in this a metaphor for fine living.

You can read more about the trips WorldCast Anglers offers on their Web site at .

From her office in Manhattan , Class Reporter Samantha Bixby, who works for UBS Investment Bank, confesses to being just a little bit envious of “the guys out West.”