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March 15, 2012
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Fish Eye Lens

It's said that if you can make a career out of doing what you truly love, you'll never work a day in your life.

That being said, local photographer and fisherman Copi Vojta hasn't spent many hours staring at a clock waiting for work to end lately.

Vojta, 31, of Carbondale, uses his keen eye and love for all things fishing to make a living.

He graduated from Colorado Mountain College's acclaimed photography program in 2009, and works for Alpine Angling in Carbondale.

However, his passion for photography recently led to a fantastic opportunity as photo editor for The Flyfish Journal, a quarterly magazine out of Bellingham, Wash.

"I was blown away," Vojta said of the job offer.

"I had been making submissions to the magazine since the first issue. I was up in Portland visiting my sister and I got a call that [the magazine] wanted to meet with me. They bought me a ticket and I went up there and they offered me the job."

Vojta was first introduced to the world of fly fishing by his grandfather.

"My grandpa was a big fisherman and he bought me a fly-tying kit when I was 13," Vojta said. "Not long after that, my dad bought me a pretty cheap Orvis set."

Originally from Oregon, Vojta began honing his skills in Flagstaff, Ariz.

"We would fish Oak Creek and sometimes drive over to Lee's Ferry," he said. "But there's not the same fishing opportunities in Arizona that we have here. Sometimes, in the wetter years, we could fish the tanks, but then you'd hit a drought year and they would dry up."

Tanks are small reservoirs that fill with rainwater and are sometimes stocked with fish.

Vojta came to the Roaring Fork Valley in the fall of '05, intrigued by the photography program at CMC.

"I was working as a baker in Durango, and asked myself, 'Do I want to be doing this in 5 to 10 years?'" Vojta said. "My friend from Steamboat Springs, Lee Lapine, was in the program and said he loved it."

The natural beauty and amazing fishing in the valley became the muse for the budding photographer.

A fisherman since his youth, Vojta is as fluid with a fly rod as the rivers he walks.

Making roll cast after roll cast, he is at home in the Roaring Fork River.

"It's great to hear the birds again," Vojta notes.

Working a stretch near Burry Ranch, Vojta and a clumsy reporter stalked the waters in search of rising trout.

"Fly fishing wouldn't have the same appeal if things were always the same," he said.

In fly fishing, things are in a constant state of flux. Rivers run high and low, stained and clear, and the food sources for the fish are an ever-changing buffet.

Water that was gin clear only three hours prior had turned a chai-like brown from snow melt.

But this is fly fishing. When you feel that you have a firm grasp on it, all the variables change.

And as far as feeling like a novice: "You'd better get used to it, because that doesn't change," Vojta says.

As a reporter hooked his third tree of the day, Vojta laughs.

"If I don't have to backcast, I don't." There's just too much to snag, he said.

Vojta brings a spiritual and philosophic approach to fishing and photography. These qualities serve him well in his work at The Flyfish Journal.

"It's one of the better fishing magazines out there," he says. "It's not as instructional as others, but it offers lots of creative writing and photography."

Now in its third year, The Flyfish Journal is available at Roaring Fork Anglers and The Booktrain in Glenwood Springs and at Alpine Angling in Carbondale.

A one-year U.S. subscription costs $39.99.

"It's a good coffee table magazine," he said. "There are plenty of instructional magazines out there, but they found a good niche."

Just like Vojta found here in the valley.

cszewczyk@postindependent.com


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 15, 2012 12:27AM Published Mar 15, 2012 12:24AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.