The Story Behind One of Fishing’s Favorite Apparel Brands

RepYourWater is not your average fishing company. Their knack for creating local designs give anglers all over the country a sense of pride in their homewaters, and a way to ‘rep’ them and the species they target every day. We sat down with Garrison Doctor, the man behind RepYourWater, to learn more about how he came to start what is quickly becoming one of fishing’s most iconic apparel brands.

Tell us about your some of your first fishing experiences.

I do not come from a family that fishes or hunts but I was somehow born with the bug. I was camping with my father when I was 9 or 10 on a gin-clear high country lake and I tried to fish my little spinning rod with no luck. I could see the fish swim away to avoid my lure. There was an old timer on the lake fishing little dry flies with great success. I asked my dad for a fly rod then and there and have never looked back.

What is RepYourWater and how/where did it start?

My background is in art and design. I have been drawing and painting my whole life, but my passion is fly fishing and hunting. So after I graduated college I ended up picking up some guide work at a local Colorado fly shop. It hit me one day that all the apparel in the shop was either a generic big brand logo or something specific to that shop. I thought it would be sweet to come up with something that said “I love fishing and I love Colorado” through its design. I started to work on some designs with my wife and RepYourWater co-founder Corinne and RepYourWater was born.

If you had to pick a favorite fish to put on a design, which would it be? Is that also your favorite fish to catch?

I love native western cutthroat species. The variations in color and spot patterns make them one of my favorite fish to paint and design. As far as catching goes, I am always in search of a resident river brown trout that hits the 30” mark. But I have been looking for that white whale for a while…

Was there a flagship design or product that you think pushed RepYourWater into the spotlight?

Our original Colorado series is what gained enough customer traction to push RepYourWater from a weekend side hobby for us to a full time pursuit.

Tell us about one or two of your stranger days on the water.

I grew up trout fishing and that is still mainly what I do, but my mom recently moved to Kentucky which has given me some great opportunities to fish a bunch of warm water. I was fishing a little farm pond down there and having great success with the largemouth bass when my streamer got snagged and hung up three feet off of the bank. Since the fly I was fishing was doing so well I did not want to break it off, so I waded into the murky water and starting kicking and pulling at the snag. It came loose and I began to slowly raise it off of the bottom. I was about to reach my hand down to grab my fly when a giant snapping turtle mouth surfaced out of the water. Turns out they like streamers too…

Another time, I did a float a few years back on a little known stretch of river that we did not have great intel on. We ended up taking wrong fork after wrong fork until we were practically in an irrigated field on hardly enough water to get by. We ended up getting back to the main stem, but not before we had a stand off with a huge bull moose in the middle of the river!

RepYourWater is heavily involved in conservation. What do you think are some of the greatest threats that face fish and their habitat?

Big picture I think climate change is and is going to be a huge issue. Especially for sensitive cold water native fish species. On a more local scale, I think that better education and knowledge as to what species are native to the area or watershed that you fish regularly will facilitate better fishing practices.

What do you like about working in the fishing industry? What don’t you like about it?

The people that you meet working in the fishing industry are awesome. A lot of characters with a plethora of great stories. Hard to come up with a negative, but I guess I would say it can be a tough industry to break into.

What is one place you’d love to fish but haven’t yet?

Iceland. I would love a shot at a giant Icelandic brown.

What’s next for RepYourWater?

More great designs, more custom apparel, more conservation partnerships and gear highlighting native species!

Check out RepYourWater