Riverwatch Rods is owned and operated by Bob and Kathy Clay in the Kispiox Valley in northern B.C. Bob started flyfishing the Kispiox in 1971 and later moved there in the spring of 1977. Kathy arrived on the scene in 1977 as well and they were married in 1978. Raising four children and guiding has kept both Kathy and Bob busy. Bob guided through the 80’s and 90’s, later selling his guiding business, to Wilfred Lee, to pursue rodbuilding. Bob continues to guide for Wilfred and when the kids grew up Bob started guiding on the Lower Dean for the Blackwells. Instructing a flyfishing course at the local college has also help pay the bills.
Always interested in Bamboo rods, Bob had the good fortune to meet Tom Morgan , formally of Winston Rod Co., who became his rod building mentor. Tom asked Bob to come to Montana and work on the first prototype of the Tom Morgan Handmill. Since then Bob has pursued bamboo rodbuilding, continually learning from other rodbuilders such as Marty Karstetter, Per Brandin and Glenn Brakett. The work and theories of E.C. Powell have also influenced Bob’s style.
Kathy, besides having four children, Jed, Jessica, Kateri and Kaili; has also been busy with Riverwatch. She designed the Riverwatch artwork and logos and makes the rod bags and keeps the records. Also an instructor at the First Nation High School in Hazelton, Kathy is an avid fly fisherman and speycaster who regularly fishes with our acquaintances, who come from around the world to fish the Kispiox.
A lot has changed since we first posted this 20 years ago.
Kathy retired from school after some health issues in 2009. Things went quite well until this year and she some more health concerns as a result of her original surgery. Happy to say she is on the mend.
I also had some health problems in 2018, did not care for the year that much! Anyway, much better now and back making rods with a vengeance and planning trips as well. 2019 will be great.
"We are lucky to live in the beautiful Kispiox valley which is a destination for many anglers."