Bob Cross


Born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania and moved to State College at age 3.  Graduated from State College High School in 1981 and Penn State University in 1999 where I made sure I took Joe Humphrey’s Angling Class before he retired. I have been employed at Penn State University for 23 years.  Married and have two daughters and one grand daughter.


Since early childhood, fishing has been my passion.  From Panfish, to Trout, Bass, and Stripers.  The past twenty years, fly fishing for trout has been my hobby and dream.  When I’m not at work or fly fishing, I am tying flies or making bamboo fly rods.  In my early fishing days, my grandfather, an avid and very good fly fisherman would drive from his home along Big Fishing Creek in Mill Hall, PA., pick me up in State College and gave me instruction in fly fishing on Spring Creek at Flyfisher’s Paradise where I learned to catch my first few trout on a bamboo fly rod which he gave me.  I was hooked!  As I improved, he would take me to Big Fishing Creek where I continued to learn to fly fish.  He taught me well and I filled my old wicker creel until the day he passed away.  Pap made sure that I learned to tie flies as well to keep my fly box filled.  My gram cooked us the trout we caught.  The loss of my pap was a major change for me and I grew away from trout fishing for several years and persued other species, only to return to my true love – trout fishing using a fiberglass and a graphite fly rod.  I got the urge to make my own fly rod and when I checked in to making rods I noticed all the blanks and rod parts were now being made in China.  That bothered me as I wanted made in the U.S.A.  Then I read a book on bamboo rod making and that the favored bamboo is grown and comes from a 20 to 30 square mile area in Southern China.  So I thought if I need to import anything from China it might as well be raw bamboo.  My bamboo rod making hobby was launched, but how do I get started?  That’s when I met and talked to Jim Downes of L.J. Downes Rod Company.  Jim took me under his wing when I took his bamboo rod making class, and he taught me to make bamboo fly rods.  That was 2013 and once again I was hooked!


After my first bamboo fly rod was made from scratch I have not fished anything but bamboo that I have made.  Each year I make a bamboo fly rod that I donate as a door prize at a Sportsman banquet, and attend the Catskill Rodmakers Gathering – a gathering of bamboo rod makers from all over the world. Some of my rods have placed second and third place in competition at this gathering.


I will admit in my very early days of trout fishing the goal was to fill my wicker creel (observing the limit of course) but in more recent years I learned to practice catch and release and feel conservation is a must and without it we wouldn’t have trout fishing for very long.  My passion is to share my trout fishing with our veterans on and off the stream, and be involved as much as I can to serve them, because they served us!


I hope to serve Trout Unlimited as needed and as I am physically capable by serving on the Board.





Updated 12/20/2019