How Clairey Grubbs Reeled Her Emotions In on a Fly Rod

An adrenaline junkie from an early age, Clairey Grubbs loved big wall climbing, racing snowmobiles, cliff jumping, whatever it was that would give her a rush. At 19 years old, “go big or go home” was her rally cry. Cocaine fit nicely into this adrenaline-filled lifestyle. 

“I liked partying and cocaine was my drug of choice, which made sense because I couldn’t focus on anything that didn’t involve adrenaline. When I moved to Jackson, WY I was invited on multiple occasions to try fly fishing. But cocaine did not mix well with it so it never worked."

Fast forward many years later, she found herself in a 12-step program where she went into recovery and met her husband, an avid fly fisherman. She tried the sport again.

“I was falling in love and to spend time with him I needed to fly fish. And then I started learning and learning more, and I was able to keep up. That was fun, so I started going by myself.”

She went away for a weekend of fly fishing with a bunch of women she had met online. The weekend away forced her to learn knots and techniques—all of the essentials of fly fishing so she could do everything herself on this trip.

“The trip was great and really sparked a fire in me.”

Clairey soon found herself in love with a sport in stark contrast to the adrenaline-based sports she used to crave. It taught her to breathe, to slow down, and give herself space to be present. While she admits she can still get competitive, she realizes that balance is key. 

“Fly fishing gives me the balance I crave and require. Before I was chasing a high with drugs, now with fly fishing I find my high from learning and improving (and fishing for rolling tarpon in the flats is a huge rush!) Nowadays, my emotions are more controlled and I am more content within myself.”

Clairey founded a women’s fly fishing group, Lady Anglers of Wydaho. She has been in recovery since Feb 4, 2008, and still loves to celebrate with others when they enjoy a pint or two after a day on the river.


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