Cameron Davenport is Yellow Dog’s director for Belize and Guatemala. Running one of the busiest programs in the office, it’s rare he has a moment to rest, let alone hold an interview. But between phone calls and planning people’s fishing adventures down south, he was able to sit down and speak a little of fishing, hunting, and life.
Did you go straight from college to Belize to manage fishing lodges?
No, after college I managed a lodge in Oregon then Colorado where it wasn’t only focused on fishing but also bird hunting and big game hunting. I’ve also managed a lodge in Idaho on the Henry’s Fork. And then after all that I found myself in Belize living on an island managing the fishing operation and lodge – that’s where I spent the next five years of my life!
Why fishing and hunting?
I started conventional fishing when I was six, and it wasn’t until I was eight that I started fly fishing when my uncle taught me. But I was pretty lucky growing up on the Deschutes, Metollius, and Crooked Rivers and was fortunate enough to call those my home waters. Not a lot of people get to say they learned to fly fish on the Deschutes.
Following those two loves I was naturally drawn to experienced based hospitality. I really believe it’s through those experiences that people are truly able to connect with a place and it makes the whole adventure that much more fulfilling. Also, who doesn’t love catching big fish, knocking down a bull, or folding a bird?
What’re you doing when you’re not fishing?
I love bird hunting. When I’m not fishing, I’m definitely bird hunting. I have one Brittany Spaniel and a black lab with a third dog on its way – only 6 weeks, we’re counting down the days!
Although I love hunting all birds I’d say ultimately - for waterfowl, green heads are my favorite, and then for upland birds, it’d be huns and quail.
If you could only own one gun, what would it be?
Remington 870 without a doubt. A great all around bird gun that has stood the test of time.
Could you explain living in Belize on an island?
Well it was definitely an easier and simpler way of life - there are way less distractions on an island. But living on an island with so few of people the number and type of guests really made a difference. If they were, say, scuba diving or fishing, the whole dynamic would change - the whole mood of the island would change depending on what type of people they were. If they were fun and outgoing the bars would be great and if they were a little more reserved, that week would be more laid back. That was a fun part of the whole experience – the dynamic and atmosphere of the island was dictated by the guests.
But there would definitely be long stints of time where not a whole lot would be going on. Maybe the news of the day would be a coconut falling from a palm, or a crocodile taking up residence in the puddle behind the lodge… you get the idea.
Ultimately though, living on an island taught me more about myself personally, as well as professionally. It can be really challenging at times when you’re stuck with the same people day in and day out, let alone you’re living with your boss. So you have to figure out ways to decompress and entertain yourself. You can’t just get away, where in other places that’s possible. You have to mentally take yourself away. And learning how to do that was an invaluable lesson.
What’s your favorite fish to chase?
I love fishing for both steelhead and permit. I like swinging flies and the challenge that comes along with that for steelhead. But for both fish, it’s the difficulty I love. You can’t just get off the couch and go fish for steelhead or permit – it takes preparation.
What’s your favorite drink?
Hornitos tequila and tonic. If you haven’t tried it, it’s amazing.
If Hollywood cast a movie about you, what actor would you want to portray yourself?
What’s your favorite sports team?
The Oregon Ducks
Would you rather have a Texas accent and live in New York or a New York accent and live in Texas?
I’d rather have a New York accent and live in Texas. Even though there are birds in New York, the quail hunting in Texas would be the attraction.
If you want to find out more about living on an island or fishing in Belize and Guatemala, don’t hesitate to contact Cameron. He can talk for hours about the Belize and has countless stories about fishing some of the best waters in the world!