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Bamboo Fly-Fishing Rods Are Helping a Colorado Man Fight Climate Change

By Bamboo Grove on October 12, 2022

Living his best life amongst the picturesque mountain ranges of northern Colorado, fly-fishing fanatic and craftsman Mike Clark has been the backbone of the Lyon community for over forty years.

Since 1979, owner, operator, and one of only two workers at South Creek Ltd., Mike Clark has become something of a legend in Lyon, Colorado through his beautiful, hand-crafted bamboo fly-fishing rods. “I’ve had people come out and visit me and say, ‘Can we go see Mike?’ Like they’re asking if I can get them an audience with Mahatma Gandhi or something. He’s known as one of the old masters,” said John Gierach, a local author and resident of the area.

As a man who eats, sleeps, and breathes bamboo, 75-year-old veteran Mike Clark has gained national notoriety within the fishing world while still remaining humble and remembering the well-planted roots put in place by his father, who used a bamboo rod himself, when he was just a small child. After returning from a deployment to Vietnam, he retreated to the mountains to find a sense of peace and balance post-war. Today he’s living a quiet, yet fulfilling life in a space right above his business in Lyon.

At almost any given time of the day, you will find Mike Clark putting his remarkable skills to good use in his workshop at South Creek Ltd., which features a 12 ft. high patch of bamboo that he routinely has shipped to the United States from China. For centuries, bamboo has been grown and harvested for a variety of purposes, primarily because of the plant’s incredible durability and versatility – two key features when creating a custom fly-fishing rod.

Although he still builds approximately twenty-five bamboo fly-fishing rods per year, Mr. Clark has started to slow down recently, stating that he can simply no longer stand at his work bench for extended periods of time like he used to. At one point, he had a six-year waiting list for his fishing rods and that’s ultimately when he decided that something had to give.

Craftsman Mike Clark is a climate change crusader after our own hearts, whether he knows it or not. He has successfully managed to incorporate bamboo into a successful business model while staying grounded and grateful for the life he’s been given. A lovely example of what we frequently speak about here at Bamboo Grove. Keep up the good work Mr. Clark!

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