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Humans of the U: Jerry Basford

"It's important that we work hard and it's also important that we play hard. I think adults should still find time to have fun and we need to find places where we can still enjoy playing. For me, my play is fishing.

I was introduced to fishing when I was around 6 years old and I spent a lot of time fishing with my family. I grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado, where you can find many great places to fish. I usually fish once a week, but during the summer, it could go up to five times a week. I recently started a fishing challenge where I fish in 171 different places in Utah, which has been exciting because I get to see parts of this state that normally I would never know about.

I’m a member of Trout Unlimited, where we take care of rivers and streams so we can protect the places we fish. Our group collaborates with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and local school districts and came out with a program called Trouts in the Classroom. We get trout eggs and deliver them to 65 different classrooms in Salt Lake Valley.

Each classroom sets up an aquarium where we place the eggs and kids get to watch those eggs turn into baby fish. In April, the kids go on a field trip and move the fish into a lake. For some kids, it is the first time they get to watch the process of an egg turning into a fish, so seeing the excitement on their faces brings me so much joy. It’s great to have kids experience things like this at a young age, so it could kick start their interest in either biology or science.

There is no limit when it comes to fishing. You can always create a challenge for yourself, as I did, or learn a new technique. It is also a great way to connect with people. I love teaching people how to fish and bringing them on my weekly fishing trips. For someone who wants to start this hobby, the main thing I recommend is to talk to someone who knows about fishing. People with experience can show you little tips and tricks on how to find the fish, or what is the best place to fish. We may not tell you our exact secret spots, but we can point you in the general direction."

—Jerry Basford, associate vice president, Finance & Operations, Student Affairs