Ohio native finds his calling in Park City
Peter Robinson has been drawn to water all his life. The veteran Park City fishing guide and retail manager at Trout Bum 2 says it’s been a lure that, for the last several years, has taken him to blue fishing waters across the west and a dream career that’s the envy of many. Robinson grew up in Cincinnati, a town he says was a lot like Park City back then, only flatter. As a boy, he was never far from the water. He remembers vacations to Michigan and Florida, where he enjoyed fishing, sailing, waterskiing and scuba diving. The avid outdoor enthusiast graduated from Wyoming High School, near Cincinnati, and went on to college at Boston University where, in 1979, he took a Bachelor’s degree in public communications.
The newly minted graduate drew on his communication skills and engaging personality at his first job with BB Riverboats in Cincinnati. Initially in sales, Robinson moved rapidly into management of the excursion boat business, which ran daily cruises on the Ohio River. The incurable water lover says he really enjoyed the job and remained there for 13 years.
Robinson met his wife, Mary Lee, a Cincinnati native, while at BB.
“She was working her way through college at Northern Kentucky University when we hired her as a cruise director. She was, and still is, beautiful, creative and just an incredible woman. The moment I met her I fell head-over-heels and knew right away. I actually bought her engagement ring on our second date,” he grins.
They married in 1985 at Cincinnati’s own Coney Island. The ceremony was held at a pavilion on the banks of the Ohio River. Robinson never ventured far from the water.
After over a decade working long hours and weekends, Robinson says he needed a break. He took a job building homes in and around Cincinnati, but still spent free time on the water, fishing, boating and waterskiing.
When Mary Lee, a gifted public relations and media person, was offered a position with Clear Channel Radio in Salt Lake City in 1996, the couple agreed it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“We thought, with my background in the entertainment industry and construction, I could certainly find work,” says Robinson. “I fell in love with the mountains the moment I got here. I just went nuts!”
They settled in nearby Jeremy Ranch and began their new lives in Utah.
Within a year of their arrival here, their daughter Malia was born. Because his wife’s job was so demanding, Robinson selflessly opted to be a stay-at-home dad for the next two years. When the time came to go back to work, he needed a job that offered the flexibility parents so often need. He started his own painting company, aptly dubbed PR Painting.
Robinson reveled in the mountains, the rivers and the abundant dining and entertainment opportunities in the Park City area.
“My first birthday here my wife gave me a fly rod and reel and hired a guide to take me fishing. I had done a lot of fishing, but I had never fly-fished. I didn’t catch a fish that first time out or the second time either, but I had fun. When I caught a tiny trout my third time out, I was hooked,” he recounts.
From that point forward he became an avid, self-taught fly fisher.
In 2005 he noticed a sign in the window of Trout Bum 2, just off Highway 224. It read, “Part-time help needed on Sundays.” Robinson sensed an opportunity. “I thought working at the shop would help me learn more about the sport from guys who really knew their stuff,” he says.
He got the job and very soon realized he needed to make a career change from house painter to fishing guide. The rest is, as they say, history. Ten years later and Robinson is both the retail manager at Trout Bum 2 and a veteran fishing guide. He regularly takes clients on half-, full- or multi-day fishing trips to prime trout waters throughout the area.
It’s a dream come true for this energetic, sociable Midwestern native whose lifelong love affair with water has guided him to where he is today. He loves to share stories and steer people to good fishing spots.
“We have access to so many incredible rivers! I love this sport and talking to people about fishing,” says the enthusiastic Robinson. “I love to introduce people to fly fishing and help them hone their skills. For me, it’s all about fishing.”
Robinson often goes fishing with his daughter Malia, now 18 years old and a recent graduate of Park City High School. He shares a touching story:
“She learned to fly fish when she was about 8 years old,” he remembers. “At first we would take only one rod and I would stand next to her and teach her how to cast. When she got pretty good at it, I would bring along my rod and we would both fish, but not together. One day she said, ‘dad, I don’t like this anymore.’ When I asked why she said she liked it better when we were standing together, talking and laughing. I got a big lump in my throat and from then on we changed the rules. Now we take only one rod and take turns. When one of us hooks a fish, we switch off. Best of all, we’re together.”
Robinson delights in introducing fathers to fishing with their children.
“I tell the dads that story so they’ll understand it’s not about going to the river to catch fish. It’s about spending quality time with their kids.”
Suffice it to say, Peter Robinson has found his calling. He concludes, “I love to fish and be with my family and friends. Just being outdoors anywhere, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing. I love it here and I never want to leave.”
Favorite things: family, friends and fishing
Favorite foods: Eggs Benedict, pasta, seafood, sushi and Snyder’s sourdough pretzels
Favorite music/performers: rhythm & blues, rock ‘n’ roll/Eric Clapton, Luther Vandross, Todd Rundgren, Alicia Keys
Bucket List: fly fish on every continent
Best kept secret: He can ride a unicycle
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Park City High School sophomore Emily Bronstein founded the Seraphine Project that helps at-risk teens in Zimbabwe and Zambia.