A watercolor of a girl standing at the edge of woodland pool, holding a rod straight up in the air, a fish clearly on the other end of the line. A man stands next to her.
Robert Chamberlin

The John D. Voelker Foundation and the American Museum of Fly Fishing are pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award: “Simon’s Daughter” by Dr. Joel (Jody) Martin of Thousand Oaks, California. Dr. Martin’s unforgettable story is about a twelve-year-old girl with multiple disabilities who connects mysteriously with wild brook trout when an adult friend takes her fly fishing in a mountain stream.

The winning entry will receive a $2,500 prize and will be published in the Spring 2022 edition of the American Fly Fisher, the journal of the American Museum of Fly Fishing.

Winner Dr. Jody Martin is Curator of Crustacea and Associate Vice President for Research at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He is the author of The Spirituality of Fly Fishing (2016) and writes for a variety of fly-fishing magazines.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be this year’s recipient of the Robert Traver Award,” Dr. Martin said. “This story is meant to reflect my fascination with the mystery that is fly fishing, my love of children, and my conviction that fly fishing can play a role in healing us. I am grateful to the Traver Award Committee, to my wife Julie Beth and my children Alex and Paul for their inspiration, and especially to my siblings, Andy, Nina, and the late Paul Dwight Martin, for our memories of growing up in North Carolina.”

Read the winning story by clicking the link below.

The 2021 competition drew a field of 75 stories and essays. Entries were judged anonymously resulting in eight finalists. The Traver Award judges also bestowed Honorable Mention recognition on three other entries:

The other four finalists were:

“Eider in the Silence” by Andrew Harris of Bozeman, Montana
“Fly Fishing With God” by Dr. Jody Martin of Thousand Oaks, California
“A Priest and a Promise” by Richard Landerman of Sandy, Utah
“Metamorphosis” by Jim Bale of Salt Lake City, Utah