Paul Bruun, holding a fishing rod, leans against a stone wall.

The American Museum of Fly Fishing is proud to announce Paul Bruun as the 2022 Izaak Walton Award honoree. Paul’s many contributions to the sport of fly fishing include his roles as writer, guide, industry trailblazer, mentor, conservationist, historian, innovator, humorist, and humanitarian.

He is a renowned Wyoming float-trip outfitter and guide, and has penned his weekly “Outdoors” column in the Jackson Hole News and Guide since 1973. He was the founding editor and co-publisher of the Jackson Hole Daily newspaper, as well as a three-term town councilman affectionately known as the “Fishin’ Politician.”

During the early 1980s, he and partner Ralph Headrick introduced the South Fork Skiff, the first fiberglass, high-performance, low-profile drift boat designed for fly fishing western rivers. In addition, he worked as an advisor for Orvis and Simms.

Still a Patagonia ambassador today, he was retained as their original fly-fishing consultant and wrote the lead article in the first Patagonia catalog to introduce fly-fishing products in the mid-1980s.

Paul’s “Classics” column appears quarterly in TU’s TROUT magazine. He continues to be a conservation advocate, as demonstrated by his role as the founding fishing outfitter member of the Snake River Fund.

Paul has never sought the spotlight, but his wisdom, expertise, and dedication to both the sport of fly fishing and the natural world make him a truly worthy honoree.

Highlights of the Evening

AMFF was thrilled to honor writer, guide, innovator, mentor, conservationist, and fly-fishing oracle Paul Bruun with its 2022 Izaak Walton Award during a livestreaming event on June 30. AMFF President Fred Polhemus kicked off the evening from the museum’s Gardner L. Grant Library, then handed things off to host Captain Rick Ruoff. Ruoff—along with Yvon Chouinard, Captain Steve Huff, and Cary Kresge, all friends and colleagues for about a half century—paid tribute to the Jackson Hole resident with wonderful and humorous stories that can only come from time spent on the water.

Bruun, who was a local city councilman dubbed the “fishin’ politician,” gratefully recognized other anglers who had chosen to enter politics on a conservation platform. He also acknowledged his wife and fellow guide, Jean Bruun, for her love and support, as well as for her always wanting to stay out late to get in an extra “five or six casts.” Stories shared varied from how Bruun got his first passport to travel to Argentina with Chouinard to a mystery client who turned out to be actress Angie Dickinson, the mid-twentieth-century icon. Messages of goodwill poured in through the night.

We appreciate Frankie Wolfson’s underwriting of this event. We’d also like to thank our Leadership Circle supporters and those who made donations in honor of Paul Bruun. The online silent auction was a great success, and we would like to extend our gratitude to all of the bidders as well as our wonderful auction donors: Jean and Paul Bruun, Yvon Chouinard, Fishpond, Gary Grant, Patagonia, Rustico, Trout Unlimited, VAER, World Cast Anglers, Wyoming Whiskey, Yellow Dog Fly Fishing, and Yeti.