A Navy veteran and Louisiana native, Blake Billiot now lives in Carrollton.

He went from the bayou to being a part of the North Texas Patriot Anglers, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans after their service through fishing.

“I grew up on the bayou. Fly fishing is my therapy,” Billiot said. “And for guys who have actually been in war or have PTSD, this is a perfect way to let everything go for a little bit.”

Billiot and hundreds of others fly fishing gathered along the River Park Trailhead off the Trinity River on March 11 to celebrate the Tarrant Regional Water District Flyfest, an annual fly fishing event.

Early in the morning, Tarrant Regional Water District workers stocked the area. By 9 a.m., anglers lined up to start casting.

The festival featured how-to sessions, a big trout competition, beginner casting lessons, and food and music.

Billiot began working part-time with the nonprofit this year. He got connected with angler Donovan Clary and the nonprofit’s founder Lew Duckwall and said he knew he wanted to work with them.

“They’re just a great group of guys,” Billiot said. “If you ever have questions about fly fishing, they’re an open book.”

Now, he’s prepping for the Bass on the Fly Fishing Tournament, a fundraising fly fishing tournament on May 5-6.

Editor’s note: Changes were made to reflect the correct name of the Tarrant Regional Water District and to reflect the Tarrant Regional Water District stocked the Trinity River.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSotoCommunity Engagement Journalist

Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...