Fishing for kids

Hogan Brown

Hogan Brown grew up an only child near the Lower Yuba River, a prime fly fishing area. At 17 years old he was hooked on the sport. These days, the 33-year-old fishing guide and high school teacher helps run Cast Hope, a nonprofit organization that pulls kids ages 10 and older away from the television, computer and video games and introduces them to the outdoors through fly fishing. The group is composed of fishing enthusiasts and guides who volunteer their skills teaching the kids and their mentors the sport of fly fishing on Northern California’s rivers and streams. Go to or email for more into.

How did you come up with the idea for Cast Hope?

Four years ago my good friend Ryan Johnston had just graduated from college and wanted to inspire people, especially disadvantaged ones, with fly fishing for youth and their chosen mentors. I thought it was crazy but I liked fly fishing and the fact that you could help people who really needed it, so I joined in.

Who is eligible to join?

Anyone who wants to improve their lives through fishing can apply. Groups like the Boys and Girls Club, churches, and even the Boy Scouts can nominate candidates. Kids and their mentors like grandfathers or counselors with little or no money can apply. If accepted we give them about $500 in the tools they need to fly fish, such as rods, lines, reels and flies.

What is the main goal of Cast Hope?

To take down the knowledge and financial barriers to fly fishing, so we can help people out. Last year we hosted about 225 kids, and this year we plan on getting 300. We don’t kill any fish; we catch and release them all. Killing fish is not a sustainable goal. On a good day we have about 50 fishing guides and each boat could kill 30 fish, which would not be sustainable.

What’s the result of the trips?

We love to have mentors and their kids engage in activities that will help them bond. We’ve had lots of social circles created from being part of Cast Hope. It’s far better for people to engage in outdoor activities in nature as compared to sedentary behaviors like playing video games or being on your iPad.

What’s next on your agenda?

The next big event is our Fish Fest on Sept. 8 at Pingatore Ski Lake. We also have a fundraiser in the spring, but that’s not finalized yet.