George Daniel named lead instructor of fly fishing program

December 09, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Department of Kinesiology at Penn State has announced that George Daniel has been named lead instructor and director of its fly fishing program.

Daniel follows a list of legends in the sport and leadership in the Penn State fly fishing program, including George Harvey, Joe Humphreys, Vance McCullough, Mark Belden, and most recently Greg Hoover.

Fly fishing since he was a child, Daniel learned early on from his long-time idol and mentor, Humphreys. He is an accomplished fisherman having competed in the World Fly Fishing Championships on multiple occasions for Team USA, finishing as high as fifth place.

“George has a passion for education that he shares through seminars and lectures offered across the country, as well as through his books, articles and blog,” said Nancy Williams, professor and head of the Department of Kinesiology. “We are thrilled that George will be leading this program that has a history of excellence thanks to collective dedication of its previous legendary instructors.”

Daniel has a strong history at Penn State, where he once served as a part-time assistant to Mark Belden in the very same fly fishing and fly tying courses that he is now teaching, including Principles of Fly Tying and Fly Fishing for Trout, and an advanced-level section through the Enhancing Mastery in Physical Activity course.

“Teaching fly fishing at Penn State has been a dream of mine since I began reading Joe Humphreys' book ‘Trout Tactics’ at age 14,” Daniel stated. “This is by far the most exciting job assignment I've had, and I cannot express how honored I feel to have the opportunity to teach this legendary course.”

Daniel hopes to inspire students to continue participating in this wonderful leisure activity beyond their days at Penn State, which also has lessons exceeding beyond stream or the big catch.

“The hallmark of a successful fly fisher is the ability to adjust to a dynamic environment-just as with success occurs in one's personal and professional life,” Daniel said. “Many of the lessons our students learn, with fly rod in hand, will transfer over to other areas of their lives, and will aid them as they become tomorrow's leaders.”

Hoover, who led the program for many years, has recently retired. He contributed greatly to the program, adding rich content in entomology and sharing his vast knowledge of stream habitat, casting and fly tying with hundreds of students each year, working with students of all abilities and from diverse backgrounds including the introductory level, advanced group, and a very special program for minority students.

“We will miss Greg tremendously and are grateful for his many years of dedicated service and leadership,” stated Williams. “Students often commented on his enthusiasm for the sport, his patience and attention, and his excellence in explaining concepts.”

Penn State was the first University in the United States to have a fly fishing program, established by George Harvey and offered continuously since the 1930s.

The program—through various courses—introduces and offers advanced instruction to Penn State students in a sport that, for many, has become a lifelong recreational activity. In the courses, students acquire the knowledge, skills, and tactics used to problem solve in constantly changing natural environments.

Topics include, basic fly tying, tying local patterns, conservation techniques, equipment use/care/selection, fly casting, aquatic entomology, stream hydrology, interpretation of fly fishing opportunities, fly fishing-tactics, basic knots, and field trips to local streams.

The program has also led to a strong network of alumni and friends, who continue to support the program through social activities and philanthropic support, both of which have helped the program thrive for nearly a century and led to generations of students who have benefited from the positive influences of fly fishing on their overall health and well-being throughout their lives.

Last Updated December 09, 2019