Community profile: Coal Ridge student accepted for once-in-a-lifetime Costa Rica fishing trip |

Community profile: Coal Ridge student accepted for once-in-a-lifetime Costa Rica fishing trip

Jacob Hostetler shows off a catch while fishing in Mexico.
Jacob Hostetler/Courtesy

For 10th grade Coal Ridge High School student Jacob Hostetler, fishing has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. Now, thanks to a program put together by the organization Fish For Change, Hostetler will have the chance to fish in one of the most highly regarded fishing spots in the world.

Started in 2019 by New Castle resident Steve Brown, Fish For Change has put emphasis on allowing students to engage in fly fishing while also having the opportunity to explore international boundaries.

Fish For Change volunteer and local Basalt fishing guide Shyanne Orvis said the organization gives students a unique opportunity to engage in doing what they love.

Jacob Hostetler reels in a catch while fly fishing.
Jacob Hostetler/Courtesy

“To have an impact on the next generation of anglers and allow them to get out of their comfort zone is what I think is so great about this organization,” Orvis said. “Director Heather Harkavy has done a great job at allowing these kids the chance to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

A student program that will not only focus on fishing, the trip will also encourage students to engage in a mix of different initiatives that promote connection, education, conservation and exploration.

“The fishing will be fun but I’m also looking forward to the other activities we have planned,” Hostetler said. “One day we are planting trees in the forest and another day we are meeting with biologists and setting up trail cameras to watch and study jaguars.”

The Coal Ridge Fishing Club member said it was a nerve-racking application process, but that he is excited to get out there and fish new territory.

Jacob Hostetler lays down while fishing the Colorado River.
Jacob Hostetler/Courtesy

“The application process wasn’t extensive but I was definitely a little nervous that I wasn’t going to get picked,” Hostetler said. “I’m really excited to get out there and take part in all the activities that Fish For Change has planned for us.”

Selected along with five other students hailing from different parts of both the United States and the world, they will go on a number of different adventures throughout the course of the trip.

A scholarship that only asks Hostetler to pay for his flight expenses, Hostetler sees this opportunity as one to do what he loves in an unfamiliar region.

“Fishing for me is like providing an escape and it allows me to go different places and explore the outdoors a little bit more than I would without it,” Hostetler said. “I get to explore new places while doing something that I think is one of the most fun things in the world.” 

Fishing in six states and two different countries during the course of his life, Hostetler said he is excited to add another country to his list of destinations.

Jacob Hostetler shows off a catch while fishing the Colorado River.
Jacob Hostetler/Courtesy

Those who have witnessed Hostetler’s fishing ability, including Coal Ridge High teacher and Fishing Club leader Joseph Luebbe, know that no one is more deserving of this opportunity.

“He’s great at the sport. He’s got the best cast of any student in the school and honestly you could argue he’s got the best cast of most adults in the school too,” Luebbe said. “He’s so knowledgeable about the water and I think what he is looking forward to the most is having that opportunity to fish some water that he has never fished before.”

Aside from his fishing abilities, Luebbe said Hostetler is just a good person in general.

“Jacob is a great kid and a very intelligent individual,” Luebbe said. “Great in school and an avid outdoor enthusiast, really he is everything you could ask for in a high school student.”

The trip, which will allow Hostetler the opportunity to catch rainbow trout, machaca, guapote and tarpon, is one that he can’t wait to get started.

“This is something that I am really looking forward to and I can’t wait to get out there,” Hostetler said. “Not just the fishing and conservation aspect, but also the chance to visit a new place and meet new people.”

The program will take place from June 24 to July 2 and will stop in four different destinations throughout the course of the trip.

Post Independent education and sports reporter Taylor Cramer can be reached at 970-384-9108 or

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