Wednesday, August 8, 2012

20 Questions: Quinn Grover

Quinn Grover
I knew it was time to ask Quinn Grover 20 Questions when I saw that he ventured all the way from his home here in Idaho Falls to the Lochsa River (it might be the most idyllic cutthroat trout river on the planet, by the way) in northern Idaho without a "real" camera.

Dude was relegated to snapping photos from his phone... and he still did it.

You might recognize Quinn's name from his posts over at Chi Wulff, which, if you're interested, is easily one of the most credible and well-executed fly fishing blogs on the Internet. That it's a collaborative effort makes it even better--finding quality content from quality writers and shooters isn't easy. If it was, we'd all have a little help, right?

Anyway, Quinn shares this hometown with me, and we've never actually met--my hope is that, after publishing this post, he'll track me, and a few other Idaho Falls bloggers, down and talk us into going fishing.

Until then, I'll have to settle for the answers to the questions below--I can tell already that I'm gonna like this guy.

On with the questions:

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Probably a weekend split between spending time with my wife and kids and lots dry fly fishing for large trout with a good friend.

What is your greatest fear? Drowning, I think. Although I am afraid of lots of horrible deaths, drowning is the one I am faced with most since I spend so much time on water. I am always looking at rivers and thinking of the horrible ways they could kill me.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Colonel Custer, I suppose. I always feel like I am one step away from disaster.

Which living person do you most admire? Two people, my parents. I really admire anyone who strives to be a good parent, and by that I mean anyone who truly puts their own interests behind what is best for their kids. As I’ve grown I’ve realized just how much my own parents did that for me, and as I raise my own kids, my admiration for my parents keeps growing.

What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
Arrogance, especially those refuse to learn because they think they already know it all.

What is your favorite journey? 
Probably the drive up Logan Canyon outside of Logan, Utah. I made that drive a few hundred times in college heading up to fish and I never got tired of it. The journey from a beginner to half-decent fly fisherman has been pretty good as well. Hoping to continue that one.

On what occasion do you lie? 
Sometimes I pretend to agree with people simply to avoid an argument.

This dude wants to excavate the world's largest open pit in
at the top of the drainage that's home to the world's most
important sockeye salmon run.
Which living person do you most despise? 
Despise is a pretty strong word, but right now it is probably John Shively, the CEO of Pebble Partnership, who want to build the Pebble Mine. My exposure to him is limited, but what I have seen from him simply defines the idea of arrogance, and that makes me squirm.

What is your greatest regret? 
Not sure if it is my greatest (I’ve got plenty), but I pretty much regret every time I slept in a little longer when I could have arrived earlier at the water.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? 
My wife. She nurtures my fishing habit, puts up with all my faults, and laughs at all (well, most) of my jokes. And she is a fantastic mother.

Which talent would you most like to have? 
I wish I could cast well enough to catch the biggest fish on the Railroad Ranch. Still working on that.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
Probably the fact that I managed to get my wife to marry me. From a writing perspective I am really proud of some of the stuff I have published, but I am hoping the book I am working on ends up coming off. From a fishing perspective, I figure most of the good fish I have caught were a combination of luck and persistence.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? 
Don’t think I would want to come back as a thing. I’d like to come back as a 10-year-old kid whose dad was independently wealthy, liked expensive angling vacations, and was teaching his son to fly fish. That sounds pretty good.

Where would you like to live? 
I like my current location (Idaho Falls), although I could go for a secondary residence in New Zealand so that I could experience two summers each year.

Who are your favorite writers? 
It’s a long list and quite varied in genre, subject matter, style, and reputation. My all-time favorites are Hemingway, Salinger, Vonnegut, William Stafford, Cormac McCarthy, Nick Lyons, Ted Leeson, Malcolm Gladwell, Nick Hornby, and Joe Posnanski. Lately I have been enjoying David Foster Wallace (I am little late to the game on him), Brian Phillips (writes for, and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. Not sure if I can consider him a favorite as I’ve only read the one book, but James Galvin’s “The Meadow” may be the single greatest creative work I have ever read.

Of the fly fishing bloggers, I love Erin Block and Tom Chandler. You know, the classics.

Who are your heroes? 
Well, I went with my parents on the admiration question, so I will go with my fly fishing heroes here. Gary Lafontaine made me see the science of fly fishing as something altogether more complex and nuanced than I ever imagined. And Rich Osthoff’s stories of fly fishing the Rocky Mountain backcountry both shamed me and inspired me to see more of the places you can’t drive to. I have plenty more, but those two jump to mind.

What’s on your iPod? 
Another eclectic list. First and foremost would be Bob Dylan, I have most of the studio albums and somewhere between 80 and 100 live recordings. Beyond that, all kinds of stuff: Pearl Jam, The Ramones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson. Lots of Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Neil Young, The Strokes, The Avett Brothers, The Old 97’s.

What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now? 
Sometimes I wish I would have gone into fisheries biology as I find science much more interesting now than I did when I was planning my career.

The perfect fishing car?
What’s the favorite of all the cars you’ve ever driven? 
It wasn’t even mine, but my best friend had a beat up Toyota Celica that we turned into a fishing road trip car. Later his sister totaled it. I miss that car.

What’s the closest you’ve ever been to dying? 
I once misjudged the Big Wood River during runoff and nearly paid for it, got swept under and broke a fly rod. Also, in college, I was riding in a car that hit a patch of ice at way too high a speed and seemed destined to go through the guard rail and end up at the bottom of a steep hill. Somehow we came out unscathed. Also had several close calls with lightning and moose in the backcountry.

BONUS QUESTION: If you could go back in time, what year would you visit first? 
I would love to see the West when Lewis and Clark came over. They travelled through a lot of places that I am familiar with now back before we screwed them all up. I’d like to know that version of the West. Of course, I’d probably get scalped, but hopefully I’d catch a fish or two first.


  1. Most excellent interview...possibly one of my favorites because Quinn seems to have a good head on his shoulders and still has a sense of humor. Good job guys!

  2. Dig the interview....thanks to you both, Quinn and Chris. --> "I am always looking at rivers and thinking of the horrible ways they could kill me." Yes yes! I am too. And the mountains. Put them together and those high mountain streams are sure death. Eventually. And a classic? Pshaw! But thanks. :)

  3. He had me at Pearl Jam on the iPod...

    another great interview Chris. Always fun to learn more about the colorful characters that lurk behind the keyboard.

  4. Lovely Q&A once again. I found myself nodding emphatically with his greatest regret - one of mine as well. What's 5 minutes of sleep compared to another 5 minutes of the glory of the morning? And yet sometimes I make that trade anyway...