Meet Kara Armano flyfisher, conservationist and activist
By Skip Clement
When you meet Kara Armano, a positive vibe gets sensed; further along, a person of interest who knows who she is, comfortable in her skin, and knowledgeable about life itself—in a word, refreshing.
One of Armano’s passions, aside from family, is preserving and conserving freshwater fisheries along with enjoying the fly fishing within those bounds – it is in her DNA.
Her great-grandmother taught her how to see
Kara grew up in an outdoor family. It was hiking, camping, skiing. Her dad taught her how to fly fish in her early teens, and with what she learned from her great-grandmother, as her dad did, ‘Pay attention to things’ embraced fly fishing in a determined way, and it became her joy, a source of friendship, and a life companion. I learned to appreciate the outdoors and explore my surroundings.‘
Paying attention meant to learn about the bugs, understand weather’s impact on fishing – the color of the water. See what is around you.
Armano went to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. She wanted to be a doctor, but like many, the curriculum tripped her up. So, it was onto biology where she excelled. Fly fishing, hiking, and the outdoors never hit pause. She lucked out with a similarly minded roommate, and events lead to her meeting her husband in her freshman year, an avid outdoor enthusiast.
Kara taught a classmate how to fly fish, and he got so good at it she married him, and then he became a guide
After college, Kara worked in Steamboat Springs in northern Colorado’s Yampa Valley – saying: ‘I was locked up in a windowless room five days a week serving as a company’s environmental chemist. I did that for about almost six years. We spent the weekends outdoors.’
Armano moves to New Mexico
In Albuquerque, she continued her environmental lab work that supported her husband while he became a board-certified Physicians Assistant [note1].
Fly fishing in a water-deficient state like New Mexico meant trips to the mountains – hike in fishing that Kara says is extremely rewarding. Too, the famous San Juan River afforded many angling rewards. She and her husband learned the mountain streams because they were comfortable hiking rough terrain.
A serendipitous phone call
It was time to change course, which meant back to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. There, Armano took a job at a top-level PR firm, Back Bone Media – serving as an Administrative Assistant.
‘A few months into the job, the firm landed the Fish Pond account. On a search, I was the only one who knew anything about fly fishing. So, I entered the world of PR as the go-to for Fish Pond. That matured to help manage the Far Bank Enterprises, Inc., account in Bainbridge Island, Washington [Sage, Redington, PIO Products, and Fly Water Travel].‘
Artemis comes into being, and Kara helps give it a voice. About five years ago, challenged by Wildlife Federation’s then CEO Aaron Kindle, ten women took up the summons and head-longed into being the women’s voice in conservation. Today, their voices listened to by lawmakers.
COVID 19 changes things
Adding: ‘My exposure to the inner workings of big business PR pushed me to lower the volume so, I ventured into the PR business on my own.‘
That went full circle; Kara got called back to provide PR support for Sage, Redington, and RIO Products on individual projects. With the outdoor industry on fire – the reasoning of self-distancing created by COVID and its variants caused still raging havoc with worldwide supply lines, the fly fishing industry is booming and busting all at once.
Some fear mobs at local streams. There needs to be a big player in the room to manage all the craziness
Kara Armano knows who that big player might be and is willing to help. She’s now with Trout Unlimited and working remotely – trying to fix what got broken, freshwater stream connectors, solving the PubLic Lands access issues so that hunting and fishing get to be enjoyed by the next generation. Hoping to help teach conservation to the newcomers to sport fishing cold water fisheries.
Kara says there has to be a big push to educate the new fly fishers and conventional anglers on the value of conservation or we’ll have a trashed out doors like we are beginning to see in some National Parks.
Kara finds time for giving voice to small organizations that want to keep America out of doors whole and healthy, like the Roaring Fork Conservancy in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado’s famous Western Slope.
So what makes Kara Armano happy?
• Introducing her four nieces to the out of doors and specifically fly fishing, having them, one at a time, for summer stays.
• Taking trips in their Mercedes 4X4 cargo van converted to an off-road RV and fly fishing the vast backroads of the American West.
• Looking forward and planning travel adventures with her husband.
• Doing some writing for other publications.
- NOTE: A PA is a medical professional who diagnoses illnesses, develops and manages treatment plans, prescribes medications, and many times serves as a patient’s principal healthcare provider.