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Coastal Community | Outdoors

The Call of the River

June 10, 2016

The river runs deep in Roseburg fishing guide's soul

The love of fishing and guiding came early for Roseburg-based fishing guide, Casey Malepsy. “I fished a lot with my dad as a kid," he says of his early years in Shady Cove.

After spending years walking the riverbanks, Casey’s dad decided to hire a fishing guide. “I loved fishing and hadn’t really thought about guides. Then, when I was about 10, my dad bought a guided fishing trip and the light went on. I knew that’s what I wanted to do."

At the ripe, old age of 15 Casey had his guide license and paying customers. “I had my guide license before I could drive. My first customers had to pick me up on the way to the river,” he says laughing.

“I graduated high school and three and a half days later I was in Alaska fishing on the Kenai River.” - Some would say the hook was set. “I thought about going on to college, and there was some concerns about whether I could make guiding work, but my parents wanted me to do what I loved.”


Casey Malepsy with his mom and dad in the early days.

Casey bought a power boat with some financial help from his father and began guiding on the Kenai. “At first I didn’t have any customers, so I just started talking to the lodge owners until some of them decided to give me a try.”. With the encouragement of his parents and a deep love for fishing, Casey put in the hard work of developing a successful river guide business. “I spent 20 summers in a row guiding in Alaska… You spend your life working, might as well do what you love,” he says.

After 20 years of commuting to Alaska for the summer, Casey and his wife, Mary, decided to scale back and settle down a little. “I wanted to find some more consistent fisheries, something year-round.” Oregon is now home for Casey and his family.

Fishing and Family

Casey, Mary and their daughter, Ruby, all love the outdoors. Once a year they spend time as a family on a 3-week road trip to fish and explore new waters. This is the first year that Ruby will be casting flies on the wild waters. “She’s at that age where she’s got the physicality to fly fish. I’m pretty excited to teach her. We’ve been practicing in the yard for a while, but this is the first time we’ll be doing actual fly fishing.”.

A quick read of the headlines makes one wonder if kids enjoying the outdoors is a thing of the past, but Casey is optimistic. “I hear younger people aren’t hunting or fishing as much, but the rivers are busy. Licensing may be down, but the rivers are crowded,” he says of the conflicting data.

Casey’s advice for getting the next generation on the rivers is simple. “The key to getting kids outdoors isn’t anything special, you’ve got to strike their curiosity. The thing about fishing is the mystery. You look down and wonder, ‘what’s below that water?’. That’s curiosity, and who’s more curious than a young kid?"

Casey and malespy's kids

Kids make great fishing guests because they're curious.

Casey likes taking kids on fishing trips because they ask a lot of questions. “I love to share the knowledge I have and I love to teach fishing,” he says of his craft.“You’ve got to get them started when they’re young. Starting young is huge. When they are curious the barbs start to set in. Pretty soon they’re stomping up a creek on a rainy day all on their own."

Whether he’s guiding or fishing with family, Casey continues to follow his child-like curiosity. “I could fish for a thousand years and not have all the answers. I love it though. This is the only place in life that I can really be myself."

Fish on.

Editor's Note

Because Coastal customers are at home in the great outdoors, we've been working to add support for the outdoor sport enthusiast to all of our locations. Many Coastal stores in Oregon and Washington now have sporting goods departments with a wide variety of hunting, fishing, and camping supplies as well as firearms and ammunition. As with our other product lines, you can trust that Coastal will have the quality items you need to tackle the great outdoors, whether your hunting, fishing or just looking to get out of town for the weekend.

Here's a quick list of local Coastal stores with sporting goods:

  • Albany, OR
  • Auburn, WA
  • Cornelius, OR
  • Klamath Falls, OR
  • Mt. Vernon, WA
  • Redmond, OR
  • Roseburg, OR
  • The Dalles, OR
  • White City, OR

Find your local Coastal store here.