Ten years ago, RepYourWater was a hat and an idea in the minds of two people. Now, thanks to Corinne and Garrison Doctor, it is a widely known and impactful company in the fly fishing industry. Corinne helped build this company from the ground up, all while teaching high school Spanish full-time. Now, ten years later, she has moved on from teaching and is working full-time for the company that they started together; fishing, traveling, and doing what she loves each and every day. Check out the full Women on the Water interview below.
Flylords: Tell us a little bit about yourself, who are you both on and off of the water?
Corinne: I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, a very outdoorsy town. As a family, we did the typical camping and hiking adventures, but fishing and hunting weren’t part of our immediate family traditions. I started fishing when I was dating Garrison, who is now my husband and business partner, almost 15 years ago and never looked back. Together we started RepYourWater while we both were working other jobs. I was working as a high school Spanish teacher which I loved, but it became clear that my path was meant to be in the fly fishing world full time.
Flylords: Are there any fly fishing experiences or moments that have shaped you as an angler or as a person?
Corinne: Most of my early fly fishing experiences were just with Garrison, and like most novices, I was pretty self-conscious about what I couldn’t do. One of the first times we fished with one of our friends he offered me one simple little tip and I realized it’s not so scary, not so intimidating. Since then I have picked up new little tips and tricks almost every time I fish with new people because we all have different backgrounds, favorite flies, favorite techniques.
Flylords: Do you have any specific personal goals regarding fly fishing? Any bucket list fish or destinations?
Corinne: I have always loved traveling, especially to Latin America because of my background in studying Spanish, and when fly fishing and travel came together for me, it was hard to not think of that next trip. 2020 provided lots of time to think about that next trip, as we were not able to go anywhere because of COVID. We will be adventuring to Iceland early summer this year, back to the Bolivian Jungle in early fall, and who knows what will happen after that. As far as bucket list fish, I just want to keep tallying up new species. Certainly, the big names like GTs (Giant Trevallies) get me excited, but I caught my first Yellowstone Cutthroat recently and that made me pretty happy as well.
Flylords: What is the story behind RepYourWater? Where did the inspiration to start the company come from?
Corinne: We are about 10 years old now and it all started with one hat. My husband Garrison is an artist and designer and during the recession in 2008, he started doing some guiding on the side. As he spent more time in shops, he started noticing that there weren’t options for hats other than wader or sunglasses brands or the fly shop hats. There wasn’t anything in between that just said “I love to fish” or “I love to fish in Colorado.” Now we have a whole lot more than just one hat, but it is cool to think back on how one little idea can become a real job.
Flylords: In ten years, where do you imagine RepYourWater will be? What about you?
Corinne: Since we started with one hat 10 years ago and now we have a vast expanse of apparel and accessories, ten years from now I imagine things will much different. What likely won’t change is our focus on beautiful designs and supporting conservation for fish and fisheries.
Flylords: How has being a woman impacted your experiences in the fly fishing industry?
Corinne: Women, more so than men, innately doubt themselves. So when I described earlier that I only thought about what my skills were lacking, a man with my same skill set would probably focus on what he could do. That is how women have been trained. Also, because I have a place in the industry as more than a participant; I have been afforded some awesome opportunities to speak to groups about public lands, lobby on Capitol Hill in DC, and be elected to the board of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. I am qualified for all of those things beyond my gender, but because I don’t look like stereotypical fly anglers, I stand out a little bit and as a result have been able to share my voice.
Flylords: As an industry and sport, what can we do to be more inclusive (race, gender, age, etc.)?
Corinne: The first thing is to recognize that historically, fly fishing has not been inclusive. I don’t believe anyone sought out to have walls up, but that was the result. The second step is to realize that there is room for a diverse group of participants, ideas, techniques, beliefs, conservation goals, and so much more. We already have one thing in common, a love of fly fishing; that can be the starting point for having conversations about how we all have a place in this sport.
Flylords: How can we use social media to create a more positive fly fishing culture?
Corinne: The number one thing I say about social media is that it needs to be authentic. Make sure what you post aligns with your story, the photo, your conservation ethic, etc. Some people will never be happy with social media, either on the side of the person posting or the person commenting or viewing. If you are posting a photo of a fish you are proud of or taught you something or just made you laugh, say that, do that, don’t make it anything that it isn’t.
Flylords: What advice would you give a woman or young girl who is just starting to fly fish?
Corinne: For anyone starting to fish, I would use the same advice I use for someone learning Spanish: just do it, use it, try it. There are bad apples everywhere, but in my experience, if you are trying (in an authentic way) to connect with something that someone else loves, they are going to be there to help you out. Like I learned 15 years ago, the people that love to fish love to do it because it relaxes them, challenges them, gets them outside. They will be there to help you, give you tips, and even hold your hand while you wade across the river to the next run.