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Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017


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Fly anglers are able to catch just about any fish imaginable and, with the staggering amount of tackle on the market, there is absolutely no shortage of options for anyone looking to target a specific species in a specific destination. When it comes to fly lines, this statement rings even more true. For the angler looking for the perfect saltwater fly line, where do you even begin?

Dry-fly fishing was not the first method to develop in our sport, but it does have a long history, going at least back to England in the mid-1800s. And in what some might describe as “typical” English fashion, dry-fly fishing then was accompanied by a somewhat formal protocol which still applies on certain beats of the most famous English chalk streams today. “Upstream dry fly only” is sometimes the Rule and sometimes simply the preferred and most commonly used method.




On the cover: John Van Vleet


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017


Contents: Hank Welles



Fall is transition time for smallmouth bass and those that target for them. After enduring months without football, the game kicks off at all levels and snags the attention of most fly fishers who turn to tv and tailgate parties. September also triggers big game and upland bird hunting seasons with still more anglers swapping rods for shotguns and deer rifles. Those that give up fishing miss catching prime smallmouth bass during the prettiest months of the year.


6 8 9 10 22 40 44 48 54 56

Editor’s Message Chairman’s Message President’s Message Community Conservation Fly Tying Casting Fly Fishing Skills Featured Industry Partners Streamside Q&A




M DAVID PAUL WILLIAMS David Paul Williams is an author (Fly Fishing for Western Smallmouth), editor, freelance magazine writer, writing teacher, lawyer, real estate broker, public speaker, and demonstration fly tyer, who has been fly fishing since Ike was president.


any of you have a favorite fish that swims in your every thought. You likely also have a favorite method to bag that fish. That makes sense as we all have favorites. For me, my favorite fish is the next one that takes my fly. But things begin to break down when preference turns into absolutes. You’ve heard the exclusionary words often spoken in a dismissive voice–I only fish dry flies or I only fish for trout or I only fish rivers. The voice too often speaks with absolute conviction of moral superiority and drips with disdain for those who fail to kneel at the speaker’s rigid altar. It’s true that tossing dry flies is a lot of fun. No question that freshwater trout are quite pretty. And there is something psyche-soothing about moving water that is different than the psyche-soothing flat water of a lake or the ever-changing saltwater beach. But each is just different, not one better than the other. A thread on a local fly-fishing forum suggests smallmouth bass should be eliminated from the state’s waters because they’re “non-native”. The writer conveniently ignores the non-native brown trout and brook trout that crowd out the native cutthroat. Every rainbow trout that swims outside the Pacific Northwest and California is an invasive species, but few suggest they be eliminated. While trolling another fly-fishing forum, I read a post on a conservation thread where the writer declared he would not take steps to save any waters where carp swam. If taken literally, his statement would damn the entire Columbia River system. His statement is like saying I don’t like my neighbor and I won’t raise a finger to save his house if it catches on fire. But what if the wind blows burning embers to set your house afire? These are but a few examples of selective discrimination that can cause myopia in thought and deed. Let’s step back to gain a different perspective and take a look at the bigger picture. “In the past we have admitted the right of the individual to injure the future of the Republic for his own present profit. In fact, there has been a good deal of a demand for unrestricted individualism, for the right of the individual to injure the future of all of us for his own temporary and immediate profit. The time has come for a change,” said Theodore Roosevelt (Conservation As A National Duty, 13 May 1908). Continuing the “temporary and immediate profit” policies of the current federal administration towards our public land, our national parks, our national monuments, our clean water and our clean air will “injure the future of all of us....” We must not allow injury to our future. We must all act together. That’s right. All dry-fly fishers, wet-fly fishers, nymph fishers, gear fishers, hunters, hikers, 4-wheelers and every other person who recreates in the outdoors are in this together. This being the fight to preserve and protect our public land, our public water and our access to both. Your FFI Board has taken a strong stand by adopting the Policy on Public Lands and Waters of the United States. Your Board has sought to develop conservation relationships with coalition organizations like the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership where our voice is multiplied by theirs. The change demanded by Roosevelt must come from putting aside differences. We, all of us, must focus on what unifies, not what divides, and act in concert now.

MISSION The Mission of the FFI is to support,

VISION The Vision of the FFI is to support and promote fly

enhance and preserve fly fishing opportunities. Fundamental to this mission is environmental stewardship and education.

fishing for all fish and all waters. Our core connection is through education. We strive to be the best fly fishing educators in four areas: casting, tying, fly fishing skills and conservation.

Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

Board of Directors Tom Logan Chairman of the Board Burr Tupper Vice Chairman of the Board Development Committee Chair Tilda Evans Secretary Fly Fishing Fair Committee Chair Jim Maus Treasurer Finance Committee Chair Jim Schramm Legal Counsel Dutch Baughman Executive Committee Education Committee Chair Keith Groty Executive Committee Senior Adviser Dave Peterson Executive Committee Conservation Committee Chair Michael Schweit Marketing Committee Chair David Paul Williams Fly Fisher Editor in Chief Rick Williams Conservation Senior Adviser Board Members Dave Boyer Bruce Brown David Diaz Glenn Erikson Bud Frasca Don Gibbs Carole Katz Kuni Masuda Geoff Mullins Dennis O’Brien Tim Papich Jen Ripple Richard Ross Molly Semenik Ron Sowa

FLY FISHERS INTERNATIONAL 5237 US Highway 89 South, STE 11 Livingston, MT 59047-9176 (406) 222-9369 President/CEO Len Zickler | Operations Manager/Conservation/Webmaster Rhonda Sellers | Editor in Chief David Paul Williams | Education Coordinator Fair/Fly Tying Group Jessica Atherton | Membership Coordinator - Members/Retailers/Guides Kat Mulqueen | Casting Coordinator/Merchandise Nikki Loy | Bookkeeper Sharon Cebulla | Administrative Assistant Lindsey Webster |

FLYFISHER Flyfisher is published for the FFI by Bird Marketing Group Inc. PO Box 227A Eastport, ID 83826 Executive Publisher Jennifer Bird

Clubs & Councils Coordinator Cathy Nelson |

Group Art Direction Terry Paulhus

Museum & Donor Information Cathy Nelson (406) 222-9369 |

Office Administrator Vinessa Ginther

Flyfisher is the official publication of Fly Fishers International, published two times a year and distributed by mail and online free to members. Send membership inquiries, fees and change of address notices to the FFI Headquarters at the address listed above. Flyfisher is produced for FFI by Bird Marketing Group Inc. Editorial & Advertising Inquiries: Editorial queries are welcome and should be sent to Bird Marketing Group Inc at the address listed above attention to the Editor. Email queries can also be emailed to Visit for the full writer and photographer guidelines. Advertising inquiries can be directed to Visit for Ad rates and spec guidelines. Reprints & Permissions All facts, opinions and statements appearing within this publication are those of the writers and are in no way to be construed as statements, positions, or endorsements. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without the written consent of the publisher. Copyright 2017 Fly Fishers International. Letters to the Editor Send your comments about any aspect of Flyfisher to the Editor at We will endeavor to reply to each letter. We reserve the right to edit all submissions. Letters published in Flyfisher become the property of Fly Fishers International.

Editor Derek Bird Copy Editor Jim McLennan Department Contributors Conservation Tom Logan Fly Tying Jerry Coviello Casting Jeff Wagner Fly Fishing Skills Molly Semenik Contributors Jim McLennan John Van Vleet Hank Welles David Paul Williams

Editor’s Message



I TOM H. LOGAN Chairman of the Board of Directors – Senior Conservation Advisor Tom H. Logan is a retired Certified Wildlife Biologist with 47 professional years in the research and management of endangered and other wildlife. He is a life member of Fly Fishers International, Senior Conservation Advisor, Certified Casting Instructor and Chairman of the Board. Tom teaches fly casting and tying, writes articles on the biology of fly selection and fishing and is owner of North Florida Fly Fishing Adventures.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

realize that you are reading this in late fall, but my thoughts are still under the influence ,of our recent International Fly Fishing Fair. The Fair was very successful by all accounts. Sharing, teaching and learning were the general themes of the week and there were new workshops on leadership and the importance of conservation in the preservation of fly-fishing opportunities. But the Fair also is where meetings of the Board of Directors occur to set direction for our organization. Many members participated in these meetings and it was especially rewarding for me to watch and listen to their conversations. Attitudes were positive and many commented on how excited they were about the new direction for Fly Fishers International. The highlight of the week for me though was the unprecedented Work Plan the Board of Directors approved for completion this year by its committees. The Plan includes 32 collaborative projects that are intended to significantly expand the relevance of FFI - representing fly fishers around the world. Excellence in teaching all aspects of fly fishing continues to be a major focus in how we establish relevance and accomplish our mission. It also is vital that we speak with a strong conservation voice to assure the natural areas we fly fish remain clean, healthy and functional for the many reasons that are important to us all. A significant advancement in our educational programs was featured at the Fair. A formal, 12-hour curriculum of special workshops on fly fishing debuted as the new “Learning Center”. Learning Center classes were taught on introductory fly tying, casting, fishing and conservation. Although these are not new topics, the Learning Center curriculums are integrated and supported with teaching aids and references so they may be taught in part, or total, by any instructor with a reasonable knowledge of the subject matter, at future Fairs, Councils and Club events. Information regarding these curriculums and instructors who may be available to assist can be found by contacting any of our leadership or by visiting Student responses to the Learning Center were very positive and their input is already being used to improve expanded curriculums for offerings at our Fair next August in Boise, Idaho. This is how we continue to improve towards excellence in fly-fishing education while returning value to our members.

I’ll close with the comment that conservation of our natural resources is fundamental to our enduring opportunities to fly fish. If you have not done so already, please read our Policy on Public Lands and Waters of the US on our website under Conservation/ Policies. Although this guiding Policy is specific to the United States, the fundamental importance of natural areas to fly fishers applies commonly around the world. Only the relevant laws change. One important detail to keep in mind is that we as tax payers are the owners of these lands. That is what “in the public interest” is about, and the role of agencies is to protect these lands and waters consistent with stated purposes for bringing them into public ownership. It is for this reason that Fly Fishers International has partnered with dozens of outdoor organizations and the millions of outdoors people they represent to let our public officials know why these lands are important to fly fishers and that these public lands and waters must remain protected and properly managed for the values we all share as the “public interest”. Meanwhile, watch for updates regarding our new conservation and education projects on our website and at Please like the posts and share them with your fly-fishing friends. This helps us expand our relevance as the only outdoor organization exclusively dedicated to representing fly fishers around the world.



riving home from a very successful annual fair in Livingston Montana, I took the opportunity to reflect on the many truly amazing changes that have taken place for Fly Fishers International over the last year and I’m very excited about our future. The energy and enthusiasm exhibited at this year’s fair was contagious. The quality of our workshops, seminars and volunteers was impressive. We took extraordinary steps to engage the community and improve the vendor experience at this year’s fair. This will be an ongoing theme in the future as we want to make the fair experience as positive as possible for both participants and vendors. Feedback from participants demonstrates the event was a resounding success. My thoughts then turned to a question frequently asked of me as a FFI certified casting instructor--what’s the difference between fly fishing and other forms of fishing, I suggest the distinction between fly fishing and bait casting is like the contrast between being a participant and a spectator; between being on the field blocking and tackling and sitting in at home watching television. To achieve the greatest success and satisfaction as fly anglers requires engagement. As fly anglers gain experience, we begin to recognize our intimate connection to our surroundings. Fly fishing is fun from the beginning; however, enjoyment of the sport is enhanced by the understanding gained about the environment in which fish live. We quickly learn about reading the water, understanding food sources, fish behavior and water temperature. We gain an appreciation for atmospheric conditions, the importance of air temperature and barometric pressure. We make adjustments on how we “play the game” based on a multitude of factors. We truly become participants in the sport. As you read this, you may wonder how this analogy applies to your membership in Fly Fishers International and how it answers the oft-asked “what’s in it for me if I join Fly Fishers International?” What do I get? What are the benefits? To help answer the questions, FFI identified specific benefits available to all FFI members. These benefits are listed on our website. FFI engages in other meaningful ways. FFI is the voice of fly angling. It is the only organization to speaks locally, regionally, nationally and internationally for fly fishers. Members of FFI benefit from the advocacy and efforts FFI expends to protect the land, water and fishery resources necessary for us to continue to enjoy our sport. Additionally, and equally important, is the “community” of fly anglers who together to mentor, teach and share their knowledge. Mentoring and camaraderie occurs at the club and council levels that offer fishing outings, fly tying classes, casting clinics and just plain fun for all. We invite you to join FFI and one of our charter or affiliate clubs and engage as a participant in the exciting world of fly fishing.

LEN ZICKLER Len Zickler, currently serves as President and CEO of Fly Fishers International and Director at Large for the Washington Council of the FFI. He is a member of the Spokane Fly Fishers and Inland Empire Fly Fishing Club. Len is a life member of the FFI and Trout Unlimited.

President’s Message



Fly Fishers International 2017 Awards The McKenzie Cup Pasadena Casting Club Dick Nelson Fly Tying Teaching Award James Fullum AKA “Jay Fishy Fullum” Darwin Atkin Memorial Fly Tying Achievement Award Frank Johnson Roderick Haig-Brown Award Jack Berryman FFI Conservation Award Anglers of the Au Sable Robert J. Marriott’s Scholarship Grant Corbin Bennetts Dr. James A. Henshall Warm Water Fisheries Award Terry & Roxanne Wilson Lew Jewett Memorial Award Leonard Skalski Charles E. Brooks Memorial Award Bud Frasca Council Leadership Award Michael Schweit Mel Krieger Fly Casting Instruction Award Peter Morse Tomonori “Bill” Higashi Floyd Franke Award For Contributions to the CICP David Diaz Governor’s Mentoring Award Brian Henderson Governors Pin Mark Huber Bintoro Tedjosiswoyo


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

Fly Fisher of the Year The Fly Fisher of the Year award is presented annually to the individual or director who has demonstrated unusual devotion to the FFI and through outstanding contributions has benefited FFI as a national organization or international organization. Jim Maus is a lifetime member of Fly Fishers International. Jim is a charter member of the Fly Tying Group, has a passion for fly tying and enjoys both demonstrating and teaching. He has been actively with the Washington State Council for over 20 years, serving as the Council’s Vice President. Jim is a member, past President and Treasurer, of the Puget Sound Flyfishers club in Tacoma. He is active in his community and has been involved with several non-profit organizations including Communities in Schools of Lakewood, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees, United Way of Pierce County, YMCA Youth Programs, and the City of Lakewood Finance & Budget Committee. Over the years he has also served as Director at Large, Treasurer, Secretary, and now as a member of FFI’s Board of Directors as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair. As our treasurer, he has placed a strong hand on the financial assets and keeps the Board of Directors and the operational staff clearly aware of the organizations position and how to improve its performance. Jim, we salute you as Fly Fisher of the Year.

Frank & Jeanne Moore Award This award was established to recognize an individual that has made an extraordinary contribution to the conservation of our fisheries and a notable contribution to community service. Recognition of contribution to the community should be through community service activities keeping with the spirit of Frank and Jeanne Moore and their contributions to their community and state. John Bailey is an internationally renowned author and photographer in the subjects of fishing and natural history. Bailey presents the ins-andouts of fly fishing, from practical topics such as tackle, permits, and flies, to philosophical views on the role of the angler-naturalist within the sport. He’s a columnist for Coarse Fisherman, Trout Fisherman, Improve Your Coarse Fishing, The Fly Fisher’s Journal, Waterlog and Blinker and Carp Hunter’s Magazine in Europe. John has written over twenty-five books on angling, many recounting his adventures around the world. One, The Fishing Detective, has proved to be the inspiration behind the BBC series Tales from the Riverbank. He presented the award-winning Himalayan mahseer documentary Casting for Gold, which has been networked worldwide. John has described fish as more than simple objects or commodities and urges the angler to make the welfare of fish their first consideration. Fly Fishers International proudly presents the Frank & Jeanne Moore Award to John Bailey.

Buz Buszek Award The Buz Buzek Memorial Award is presented annually to that person who has made significant contributions to the art of fly tying. This year’s recognition of the Buz Buszek Memorial Award for significant contributions to the art of fly tying is FFI Life Member, Tak Shimizu. Tak’s fly-tying prowess and hook making ability is at the pinnacle of the craft. Whether trout flies, flies for anadromous species, or classic Atlantic salmon flies, Tak’s patterns are a work of art. Tak generously and humbly teaches and shares his knowledge of fly tying and hook making. For the last sevenyears he has entertained, mentored and nurtured show attendees at hook making clinics throughout the

Northwest. He has taught clinics and participated in the Northwest Atlantic Salmon Fly Guild for the last nine years and has been a participating presenter at two International NASFG guild events. He is a long standing supporter, demonstrator, and instructor at the annual FFI Idaho Falls event, and the Washington State Council FFI Fly Fishing Fair Event. He is not only the first to volunteer his time, but is also very gracious when it comes to donations of hooks and presentation fly plates at auctions and raffles to further the success of the FFI Fair, as well as the FFI Washington State Council, the Northwest Atlantic Salmon Guild, and the Idaho Falls Club. Tak

Shimizu is a master craftsman and truly deserving of the Buz Buszek Memorial Award.

Proud to Welcome the 2018 International Fly Fishing Fair

Catch the Fishing Fever





President’s Medals Shaun Ash Sandy Carpenter Lew Evans Patty Gnuse Frank Johnson Donna Luallen Patty Lueken Larry Sellers Sherry Steele Morio Sato - Honorable Chairman JFFA Masanao Sato – Current Chairman JFFA Ryuji Yasuda – Conservation Scientist – Japan FFI Staff The Loop Editors

Council Awards of Excellence Eastern Rocky Mountain Jonathan Walter Brett Edwards Eastern Waters Rodney Priddle Florida Rick Warfel Karen Warfel Great Lakes Don Sawyer Gulf Coast Michael Jackson Chesapeake Ken Tidy North Eastern David Fritz Northern California Hank Urbach Ohio Steve Rose Oregon Garren Wood South Eastern Gary Jones Southern Mike Tipton Southwest Lew Leichter Joseph Lemire Michael Schweit Texas Dutch Baughman Upper Midwest Gerald Schwan Washington Robert Gerlach Western Rocky Mountain Bob Krumm 12

Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

Lifetime Achievement The Lifetime Achievement in Fly Casting Instruction Award is given by the FFI Casting Board of Governors in recognition of those who have made significant long term contributions to the art of fly-casting instruction. Hans-Ruedi Hebeisen (HRH) has dedicated over 50 years to instruction and education pertaining to fly-casting dynamics. A tournament caster in the ‘60s and ‘70s, HRH has received multiple Swiss, European and World Championship titles for casting. In 1969 he was awarded with the World Record Cast (62.73 meters) during the International Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. In 1967, he founded The HRH Fly Fishing School. After 50 years in operation, the school estimates nearly twenty thousand fly fishers have received instruction. He has written and appeared in dozens of books and educational films including The Fascination of Fly Fishing which has sold over thirty thousand copies and became the best-selling flyfishing book in the German language. For a life of outstanding achievement, Fly Fishers International is pleased to recognize Hans-Ruedi Hebeisen with The Lifetime Achievement in Fly Cashing Instruction Award.

Leopold Conservation Award The Leopold Conservation award is presented to an individual for their outstanding contributions to fisheries and land ecology. The recipient will have followed in their career work, an adherence to the land ethic espoused and demonstrated by Aldo Leopold. Dr. Kurt Fausch is a Professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University, where he has taught for 33 years. His research focuses on helping fisheries and aquatic resource managers and ecologists solve problems related to non-native species invasion, the decline of threatened native species, and land uses like logging, grazing, and agriculture that can degrade streams and their riparian zones. In 2008 Fausch was awarded the International Fisheries Science Prize by the International Council of Fisheries Societies. In 2016, Dr. Fausch received the American Fisheries Society’s Award of Excellence; the society’s highest award for scientific achievement. His book, For the Love of Rivers, illustrates the complexities of rivers in a way that is interesting and accessible for nonscientists and demonstrates how rivers are essential for human quality of life. The book chronicles Fausch’s journey as a scientist and stream ecologist. FFI is proud to present the Leopold Conservation Award to Dr. Kurt Fausch for his body of scientific work, his commitment to the highest quality scientific work, and his deep understanding of the value of streams, aquatic systems, and native trout.




In Memory of FFI Members Burke Barker Tom Berry Leonard Brown Harry P Calhoun Dellmer Coppock Wayne Culp Bob Cunningham John A Freeman Jr Laurence Friedman Bill Heckel Alec Jackson Les Johnson Ray Johnson Joe King William Kohlbrecher N G Kosmicki Robert G Kreider Stanley E Krzeminski Carol LaBranche Ray Larsen Bud Lilly Charles Lipke Mike Malone Maggie Merriman Greg Miheve Tom Morgan Billy W Munn Patrick D Nolan Pat Oglesby Jack Pangburn William V Stoynoff William Swartz Dan Tucker Tom Waterman Richard White Joan Whitlock Randy Winston


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

Pat Oglesby Pat admitted to changing his name at an early age to avoid association with “Dennis the Menace” but also because he wanted to follow in the steps of his granddad, Pat, whom he was greatly influenced by. At age four, Pat’s family moved to the Stirrup Bar Ranch where his days were filled with 4H activities like raising horses and cows. He has said this taught him patience and responsibility and cemented his family. Pat and his wife of 40 years,  Carol met in 1962, their lives took separate paths as Pat left to attend Western State College in 1965. Early in the ‘70s and back in Grand Junction, Carol and he became reacquainted and married in August 1974.  No children of their own, Pat and Carol “adopted” Taila as their “grand” daughter.  In addition to a passion for fly fishing, he and Carol shared a love of Native American rock art and supported the Colorado Archaeological Society. They spent their lives together fishing the streams and rivers of the Rocky Mountains, Upstate New York as well as the saltwater flats of Mexico and the Bahamas.   Pat and Carol volunteered countless hours in the pursuit of protecting, enhancing and restoring coldwater fisheries.  Both lifetime members of Fly Fishers International and Trout Unlimited, they have received several awards for their efforts including the 2014 Don Harger Memorial Award and the “Silver Trout” award, Colorado Trout Unlimited’s highest honor.

Bud Lilly Bud started fishing at a very young age and developed what would become a life-long passion. He spent four years in the Navy before becoming a high school teacher.  One summer,  working in West Yellowstone, he decided to purchase a fly shop which later became Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop. Bud was a professional guide for over 35 years and local outfitters called him the “Dean of Fly Fishing”.  He hosted seminars with A.J McClane, Ted True Blood, Ray Bergman just to name a few. He offered women-only flyfishing trips, helped establish women’s fly-fishing clubs and encouraged his daughter to become the first female flyfishing guide in Montana. Bud ran the shop until its sale in 1982 but remained a conservation advocate and catch-and-release pioneer. He served as past national director of The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, director of The Whirling Disease Foundation, directorat-large for American Wildlands, board member of The Montana Land Reliance, was associated with Fly Fishers International at a National Level and has worked with Trout Unlimited since its inception. Bud has said, “We have to educate people about what the real values are – it isn’t just about catching something, it’s about preserving our opportunity to catch something.” Upon his passing, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, issued a statement that Montana “lost a true outdoorsman, a stalwart of conservation and a leading voice in Montana’s fishing community.  He was, and will always be remembered as “a trout’s best friend’”.

Maggie Merriman

Tom Morgan

Billy Munn

Maggie’s parents were outdoor enthusiasts and passed their love of fly fishing to her. Her family regularly visited the Gallatin River and the Nine Quarter Circle Ranch in Montana where she later worked as a casting instructor. Maggie presented casting demonstrations throughout the early ‘70s. In 1978 she founded the Maggie Merriman Fly Fishing Schools.   This was the first separate fly-fishing school for women in the Western United States.  Not long after, she organized a two-day women’s school at the Federation of Fly Fishers. Maggie developed the signature Maggie Merriman rod series for women, designed the first women’s fly-fishing vest and launched a series of fly-fishing accessories under her own label. Maggie was a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and a regular columnist in Flyfisher Magazine. She has been an active member of FFI for many years, organizing women’s only schools and serving as the coordinator of the National Women’s Educational Fly Fishing Program. She was FFI Woman of the Year in 1995 and received the honor of Legend of Fly Fishing in 2003.

Tom became a guide by age 15 and after guiding for 15 years, he and a friend purchased R.L Winston Rod Company, which they moved to Twin Bridges, MT. The “Tom Morgan Favorite” was introduced in 1989 to commemorate Winston’s 60 years of fly-fishing tradition. Tom’s principle was that “a great fly rod is always a great fly rod.” Tom owned the company for 18 years transforming it into a renowned rod maker before selling in 1991. He and his wife Gerri Carlson, opened Tom Morgan Rodsmiths in 1995. By this time, he had developed Multiple Sclerosis and needed Gerri to work with him to develop his designs.  Only 125 of these limited edition rods were offered each year and ranged in price from $1,500 for a fiberglass or graphite model to $4,000 for a bamboo series.  He sold the company earlier this year but advised and worked up to the day he was rushed to the hospital. He described himself as “totally uncompromising.” Morgan told CBS News in 2014, “You’d think that since I couldn’t go fishing I’d lose interest in it, but it’s always been a pursuit of perfection. I know that I provided thousands of people with great enjoyment in their favorite sport. It almost brings tears to my eyes.”

Billy married his wife Shirley in 1957. Together, they have a son, daughter, five grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. He served his country in the US Air Force and was a member of the National Guard.  Billy began fishing at the age of 12.  He bought his first vise in 1965 and taught himself to tie. Billy was one of the first fly tyers to demonstrate at FFI Conclaves in the 1970s and he continually shared his knowledge at local, regional and national Conclaves for over 40 years. His innovative and technical skill with  deer hair bass bugs is legendary.  Billy was a charter member of both the original  Fort Worth Fly Fishers club  in 1976 and the Dallas Fly Fishers.  He credited Dave Whitlock for getting him involved on a broader basis and tied for him professionally. Billy played an instrumental role in the Phrozen  Phantom Phlytyers, one of the earliest groups in the Federation to design, build and auction fly plates for specific fundraising purposes.  Billy has received numerous awards including FFI Southern Council Fly Tyer of the Year in 1983 and the FFF “Buz” Buszek Award, fly tying’s highest honor, in 1986. 

Bill Heckel A life member of FFI, Bill Heckel has been tying flies for over 50 years and teaching for over 35. He started tying for the FFI regional and international conclaves in the early 1970s across the US and Europe. Bill received the Buz Buszek Memorial Fly Tying Award in 2003.




Council Presidents Chesapeake Council Pete McCall / Dianne Tidy Eastern Rocky Mountain Council Bruce Brown Eastern Waters Council Sam Decker Florida Council Tom Gadacz Great Lakes Council Dennis O’Brien Gulf Coast Council Mike Jackson North Eastern Council Burr Tupper Northern California Council David Pellone Ohio Council Jeff McElravy Oregon Council Sherry Steele South Eastern Council Dick Handshaw Southern Council Ron Knight Southwest Council Bill O’Kelly Texas Council Russell Husted Upper Midwest Council Todd Heggestad Washington State Council Carl Johnson Western Rocky Mountain Council Bud Frasca 16

Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

Eastern Waters

Eastern Rocky Mountain

The 2017 Canfield/Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR) Fly Fishing Summer Camp was a big success and the Eastern Waters Council proudly assisted and sponsored this great event. The 21 kids who enrolled learned about gearing up, basic entomology, river ecology and stream stewardship. They tied flies and practiced casting with their new Orvis rod and reel before heading on a field trips to the Beaverkill, East Branch and main stem of the Upper Delaware River. The kids made lots of new friends and had a great time at the beautiful French Woods Sports and Arts Camp. We are confident that all of the campers left ‘hooked’ on fly fishing. Each camper received a raffle ticket and August session camper Nick Sanderson of Williamsville, NY was the lucky winner of a half-day float trip on the Upper Delaware River. Thanks to Joe Demalderis and Ben Rinker, who donated this awesome raffle prize. We would also like to extend our appreciation to the Delaware River Club and the White Tail Country Fly Shop for donating goodie bags full of cool fly gear for each camper. Please contact the Eastern Waters Council for information about 2018 camp registration opportunities.

Perhaps the most geographically diverse council, ERMC offerins many different and interesting waters to fish ranging from the plains of Wyoming to the fourteen thousand feet peaks in Colorado to the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona. Some of the most notable destinations within our Council include Yellowstone National Park and the Miracle Mile in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park and the Dream Stream in Colorado; the San Juan River below Navajo Dam in New Mexico; and Lees Ferry below the Glen Canyon Dam and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Area clubs are the backbone of our council. Clubs like the Arizona Fly Casters in Phoenix and the High Plains Drifters in Denver host regular casting and fly-tying instruction, day and multi-day fishing trips and hold meetings with interesting presenters offering insight into many of our region’s fantastic fishing opportunities. Clubs also participate in area shows and expos to inform and educate folks about the art and science of fly fishing. The ERMC held a Regional Expo at the historic Hotel Colorado in the fall of 2016, bringing FFI members together for a day of fun and fellowship. Another Regional Expo is planned for the weekend of April 28, 2018, in Montrose, CO. For more information, visit the Eastern Rocky Mountain Council page on Chesapeake (PA-WV-VA-MD-DE) Eastern Rocky Mtn (WY-CO-NM-AZ) Eastern Waters (NY-NJ) Florida Gulf Coast (LA-MS-AL) Great Lakes(MI-IN) Northern California (CA-NV-HI) North Eastern (VT-NH-ME-MA-RI-CT) Ohio Oregon South Eastern (KY-TN-NC-SC-GA-AL) Southern (NE-IA-KS-MO-IL-OK-AR) Southwest (CA-NV) Texas Upper Midwest (MN-WI-IL) Washington (WA-AK) Western Rocky Mtn (UT-IDMT-ND-SD)






































North Eastern


The annual E. G. Simmons Regional Park Fish Camp in Ruskin, Florida offers youth, age 9-11 and 12-14, a two-week skilldevelopment workshop and fly-fishing experience. Suncoast Fly Fishers, an FFI Charter club and member of the Florida Council, participates in the program by providing fly-casting instruction. There are typically 40 anglers in each group with an encouraging increase in female participation over the last four years. Much of the skill-development is focused on casting. The kids are paired up and encouraged to help each other. Initially, the casting stroke is demonstrated using a paint brush and bowl of water and the instructors move among each pair offering critique and praise. The students then move to casting with 5-weight 8’ 6’’ fly rods. The noncasting partner observes and reinforces the elements of the casting stroke. Inevitably, the greatest initial challenge is avoiding rotation of the wrist. The session is concluded with a video covering stoke, loop and various casting techniques. Every participant receives a certificate, having completed the Junior Training for Fly Casting. The youth fly-casting session was staffed by SFF Vice-President, Rick Warfel, and members Ken Hofmeister, Bill Scarola and Tom Gadacz. We wish to thank E.G. Simmons Director Linda Jaudon and staff members Dan MacWhorter, Audrey Gaines, Jessie Brown, and Jack Reeder for their assistance.

It’s been a busy year for the NEC, which hosted a booth at both the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show and The Fly Fish New Hampshire Show in addition to providing tiers, casters and a kayak raffle to help with conservation and outreach programs. Several events were held at New Hampshire Bass Pros and in conjunction with New Hampshire Fish and Game and The Audobon Society. NEC also provided both tiers and casters at the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Open House, which was attended by several thousand people. The council was active in various conservation projects including the habitat restoration project managed by the Margaree Salmon Association on the Margaree River in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Adopt-A-Stream crew spent time at the Lake-O-Law brook (a spawning area for Atlantic salmon) repairing the digger logs and diverters, and cleaning out the jams. Finally, members of NEC engaged in a weekend fly-fishing class held by Dartmouth College Outing Club. The members of the Outing Club were treated to lessons on the water at the college’s recreation facility in the NE corner of New Hampshire. The council was very active in its efforts to recruit new FFI members at each event in addition to adding two new affiliate clubs: Nashua Fly Casters Association and Merrimack Valley Trout Unlimited Chapter.

The mission of the Oregon Council of the Fly Fishers International (ORCFFI) is to improve fly fishing in Oregon by providing information to fly fishers in order to better their skills, preserve and expand fly-fishing opportunities and enhance fish habitats. In support of this mission, the ORC has sponsored the Northwest Fly Tyer & Fly Fishing Expo for the past 29 years. The revenue generated at this event, which is held the second weekend of March at the Lind County Expo Center, allows us to continue sponsoring the Expo and to grant two $1,500 scholarships annually to Oregon State University students majoring in fishery management. We also conduct two grant programs that accept applications year around. The Conservation Grant Program allows Oregon FFI clubs to apply for conservation grants supporting their own club projects, education programs and supplies to help in their local club activities. Alternatively, they can apply on behalf of other organizations throughout the state in support of eligible programs.







The Southern Council held its annual Fly Fishing Fair the Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, AR on October 6th and 7th, 2017. This venue worked out very well last year and we were pleased to be using it again. We screened the Fly Fishing Film Tour production Friday night, followed by our banquet and live auction on Saturday evening. There was a terrific collection of vendors, fly tyers, and programs on both Friday and Saturday. The fly tyers are a consistent draw for the show and we had an impressive and talented line-up that tied all day each day. The list of programs this year was impressive and included sessions on tying streamers, improving your cast and fishing for trout, bluegill and smallmouth bass. There were tying, casting and fishing events and games for the kids as well as an Iron Fly contest to ensure a little something for everyone! It was difficult not to learn something even if you tried. If you didn’t make it out to the fair this year, make sure you have it on your calendar for 2018. You are guaranteed to have a great time! You can find details online by searching the Southern Council on

Outward Bound Adventures (OBA) is a 55 year old Pasadena, CA non-profit organization that serves Greater LA area youth, teaching them leadership, outdoor, and conservation skills through varied outdoor related activities and projects. In July, the Southwest Council of Fly Fishers International (SWCFFI), and Pasadena Casting Club (PCC) partnered with OBA to establish a flyfishing pilot adventure for a group of their summer campers in the Golden Trout Wilderness. The Golden Trout Camp Fly Fishing Adventure included a detailed program of classroom orientation and instruction sessions, plus a local fly-fishing outing in preparation for the highlight opportunity to fly fish for incredibly colorful golden trout in the Golden Trout Wilderness. The first morning at Golden Trout Camp included a hiking tour that covered camp history, its inhabitants, water and solar energy supply systems, and how to care for this special place. Over lunch, fly-fishing instructor/guides Frank, Chris and Carl gave a brief refresher clinic, helped assemble equipment, and took participants through the paces of casting a fly rod. Finally, it was time to go fishing. Students were divided into groups, each with an instructor and headed to separate sections of Cottonwood Creek. Within minutes there were shrieks of excitement as students witnessed the beautiful goldens rising to dry flies, in many cases hooking and landing these gems. The students quickly showed casting proficiency, most had caught fish and all had a new observation on life. After a break, many students scooped a snack and water then grabbed their rods to get back onto the stream on their own.

Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

The fishing and catching continued. The following day the groups spread out to fish a beautiful meadow below camp and everyone caught multiple goldens. On the way back to camp the young fly fishers were heard saying statements like, “Fly fishing is definitely the way to go. I’m gonna start saving to get my own fly fishing gear,” and “Can we go fishing after dinner if there is time?” Without the support of OBA leadership and staff, this adventure could not have happened. It was an impressive example of partnership and collaboration between OBA, SWCFFI, PCC, and numerous volunteer participants from each organization.

Texas The spring and early summer was a very busy time for the Texas FFI Council and Clubs. Our calendar was filled with outings, stream clean ups, tying festivals and four state- wide fly-fishing events. The heat of summer brought a short break, but didn’t last long as we are already looking forward to Oktoberfisch. This “on the water” event, put on by the Fredericksburg Fly Fishers, is in its 14th year, and stronger than ever. The success of this event, held on the banks of the Llano River in Junction, Texas, surprises no one. The Llano, crown jewel

of the Texas Hill Country streams, gives fly anglers miles of crystal-clear water and plenty of fish to chase, including two endemic species, the Guadalupe Bass and the Rio Grande Cichlid. Locally known as Rios, this is the only native cichlid found in the US. The Texas Council was recognized in July as the council with the fastest growing membership in FFI. In 2017, we added two new clubs in Lubbock and Abilene bringing our total to 22, and we are talking to two more groups that are interested in creating clubs. The future looks bright for the Texas Council, but there’s lots of work to do. We must constantly work with our member clubs to help them understand the ongoing value that the FFI brings and get them up to speed on all the changes FFI is making. The good news is that the recent changes are resonating with our club boards and members.

Upper Midwest The 3rd Annual Upper Midwest Council Fly Fishing School was held in Rochester, Minnesota July 19 - 23, 2017. The school included a threeday Certified Casting Instruction Preparation course for those interested in becoming a casting instructor. There was also a three-day school for those interested in learning about fly fishing and improving their fly-fishing skills. Classes included an introduction to

fly-fishing equipment, tying basic knots, hands-on fly tying, casting instruction, reading the water and entomology. Those new to fly fishing also had to opportunity to fish on local streams with experienced fly fishers. The venue for the fly-fishing school features a large green space for casting, classrooms for seminars and fly tying, and a field house for indoor casting during inclement weather. Feedback from the participants recognized the quality of the instructors and the favorable instructor to student ratio. The Upper Midwest Council offers the fly fishing school yearly with planning in process for the summer of 2018. Please email Todd Heggestad, President, Upper Midwest Council, at for further information.

Western Rocky Mountain

all fly-fishing enthusiasts (and those who want to become one). During the show, attendees saw presentations by expert fly fishers in addition to outfitters and destination lodges. Fly fishers had the chance to attend two shows in April. The Great Western Fly Fishing Club, along with the Utah Chapters of Trout Unlimited, sponsored the Wasatch Intermountain Fly Tying and Fishing Expo in Sandy, Utah, which supported educational, conservation and humanitarian activities. A highlight was a “Top Gun” casting competition where nationally-known casters competed. There were also youth and women’s programs. Idaho Falls was once again host to the East Idaho Fly Tying/Fly Fishing Expo. Its history goes back to 1994 when members of the Snake River Cutthroats, the local Trout Unlimited and FFI club looked to showcase the talents of fly fishers in southeastern Idaho. Over 125 fly tiers demonstrated their skills, classes for youth and women were offered, and workshops covering all aspects of fly tying and fly fishing were well-attended. Next year they will celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary--an event not-to-bemissed! Look for more information on this event at

Fly-fishing clubs in the Western Rocky Mountain Council hosted several successful fly-tying and fishing shows earlier this year. In January, the Boise Valley Fly Fishers held their 13th Annual Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo. Their show celebrated fly fishing, conservation, and resource access for




Building Rods & Healing Wounds

P PROJECT HEALING WATERS Project Healing Waters brings a high-quality, full-spectrum fly fishing program to an ever-expanding number of disabled active military service personnel across the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, in Military Hospitals and the Warrior Transition Command. PHWFF focus our resources wherever the need is greatest and expand our partner base in the process. PHWFF has become recognized as an innovative leader and model in the field of therapeutic outdoor recreation for the disabled, through its successful application of the sport of fly fishing as a rehabilitation tool.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

roject Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) is much more than fishing outings. During regularlyscheduled classes on fly-fishing basics, tying and casting, disabled veterans become part of a supportive group of their peers in which relationships are formed. The resulting camaraderie has become the hallmark of PHWFF. Our national rod building program started in January 2009. Craftsmanship and creativity continue to improve every year as individuals have learned many decorative skills including feather inlay, diamond wrap, weaving, inlaid grips and, for the first time this year, painting. In 2017, more than 800 veterans took part in 98 programs, after which many entered their completed rods into a national level contest to vie for prizes of fishing trips.

Weaving is a tedious and time consuming process. To weave, one essentially constructs a loom on top of the butt section. Threads must be uniformly and meticulously placed in slots of the loom on both the left and right of where the logo will emerge. Each color is one layer of horizontal threads. According to a graph of the design plan, a thread is wrapped around the circumference of the rod, being very careful to apply consistent pressure so as to not rotate the design on the rod. Thread tension and straightness are critical, as is absolute attention to the design graph. The average weave takes an experienced weaver 16-20 hours. A more complex weave will take 40-50 hours and the most complex, like the Devil Dog, will take 100 hours. In addition, when a new pattern is developed, at least one and probably two practice runs

are necessary to correct the pattern and work out spacing and layout issues. The absolute concentration required when weaving is very beneficial to those suffering from PTSD. One of our participants has evolved into an exceptional rod maker. Don Lee received two Purple Hearts for his service with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam where he had a traumatic brain injury from a grenade explosion. After joining the PHWFF program of the Long Beach Casting Club in January 2011, Don learned to weave from professional rod builder Doc Ski who was demonstrating the art in class. Don has mastered the art of weaving with guidance from advanced rod building instructor Joe Richter. Don has woven at least 60 rods and wading staffs for PHWFF national and local fundraisers, other vets, his Kilo 37 buddies, fishing guides who

donate days of guiding, major donors and supporters. In 2016, he made rods for Rick Pope of TFO and Leigh Perkins of Orvis to thank them for their long-time support of PHWFF, and he wove PHWFF Founder Ed Nicholson’s favorite hunting dog on a rod. One of Don’s recent projects was a Marine Devil Dog. This very advanced weave is composed of seven layers of 150 threads in each layer, each thread being 40 inches long, nearly a mile of thread, all of which must be precisely straight and equal tension. It took seven hours just to load the loom. There are only three 150-thread looms in the world and Don uses one of them. Don weaves for hours at a time to get through chronic headaches and PTSD. Weaving has benefitted him personally and has helped raise more than $25,000 for PHWFF. The total

number of hours he has dedicated to weaving designs on rods and wading staffs to be used as fundraisers or supporter gifts is staggering. For his years of giving back to PHWFF, Don was awarded the Patriot Award, PHWFF’s highest award for service. Doc Ski said of his protégée, “I never saw anyone progress so quickly from neophyte to doing some of the most complicated weaves ever done. He took on the challenge of my Spiderman pattern that takes at least 50 hours for me to complete and did quite a good job. In the community of rod builders, weavers are a very small segment because of the extreme patience required. I would think that Don fits in the upper 10% right now.” Don smiles whenever he’s talking about rod building and is planning his next weave before he finishes the current one.




Wild Pacific Salmon: A Threatened Legacy

W TOM H. LOGAN Chairman of the Board of Directors – Senior Conservation Advisor


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

ild Pacific salmon in the Columbia River and the Pacific Northwest are in crisis. Returning runs of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout to the Columbia River and Pacific Northwest for 2017 are the lowest seen in more than 40 years, resurrecting concerns of the 1990s when numbers dipped to near extinction levels for many Idaho salmon and steelhead stocks. Snake River coho salmon had gone extinct and in 1991 only a single male sockeye salmon returned to Redfish Lake in Idaho’s Stanley Basin. Retuning Snake River spring/ summer Chinook, which numbered 125,000 in the mid-1950s, plunged to less than 2000 in 1994. Today, 28 Pacific salmon stocks are listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Only 21 salmon stocks across the entire Pacific Coast are not listed. Changes in dam operations and improving ocean conditions since the late 1990’s have rebuilt Columbia River salmon and steelhead stocks from less than 500,000 in 1994 to more than 2.7 million in 2014. Unfortunately, more than 80% of these fish are of hatchery origin. Recently, Columbia River and Pacific Northwest salmon numbers began plunging again. Returns in 2016 were half of 2014, and counts in 2017, suggest an even more drastic decline. In 2014 and 2015, a “blob” of very warm water occurred in the northern Pacific and the usual heavy winter storms

failed to mix the surface water down to 400 feet. The blob dissipated in early 2016, leaving behind the poorest ocean conditions seen since the mid-1990’s; thereby, dramatically reducing survival for salmon in the ocean environment. Survival of Columbia River salmon and steelhead had already been negatively impacted by drought conditions in 2014 and 2015, which caused low survival of out-migrating juveniles in the spring and significant mortality of returning adults in the summer due to lethal temperatures in the Lower Columbia River. Thus far, returns in 2017 are among the lowest on record at Bonneville Dam and the fewest ever at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, the uppermost dam above which Idaho salmon and steelhead must pass to return to spawning areas in central Idaho. As a result, fisheries managers sharply curtailed sport harvest of spring Chinook in 2017. Steelhead returns appear even more dismal, causing Idaho to cancel harvest and implement catch and release regulations for 2017. Oregon and Washington are considering closing or restricting steelhead harvest as well. Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game regional fisheries manager noted only 6,600 Idahobound hatchery steelhead are expected to pass Bonneville Dam. Of those, only about 4,600 will make it back to Idaho. “As such, we need to restrict harvest to ensure we keep our hatcheries full,” DuPont said. How did we get to this point of failure? Dismal returns and salmon managers worrying about keeping our hatcheries full, rather than concern for the fate of wild fish

including the possibility of extinction for local wild populations. Historically, the Columbia River produced the most salmon and steelhead of any Pacific Basin river. Yet now, less than 300,000 wild salmon and steelhead return to the entire Columbia River basin each year. A recent report, Wild Pacific Salmon: A Threatened Legacy, describes how managing salmon over the last 125 years led to their current depleted state. The report suggests a local placebased management approach which the authors believe would allow wild Pacific salmon and steelhead populations to be maintained. The report is authored by eight well-known scientists from the Pacific Northwest, four of whom are FFI Leopold Conservation Award recipients (Jim Lichatowich, Rick Williams, Jack Stanford, and Bill Bakke). FFI supported printing of the report, which is available online at The authors note salmon are a part of nature’s trust and assert this creates a special obligation for the governmental agencies charged with their management. Salmon managers must act as trustees of wild salmon and protect them consistent with the long-standing public trust doctrine. Their obligation is to maintain the wild salmon legacy in good health for citizen beneficiaries of present and future generations. The authors argue that resource management institutions themselves have contributed to the degradation of natural resources through the assumptions they made about how natural ecosystems function and how the species and services they support should be used. Unfortunately, salmon management has focused on the production of hatchery fish for the benefit of sport and commercial fisheries. This amounts to privatization of the public trust. Salmon

are produced as a commodity by a large industrial operation (hatcheries) for the benefit of a few. Reliance on this system has reduced or eliminated the salmon’s ecological underpinnings and created the impoverishment of wild salmon that exists today. It will require a major push by the concerned public, insisting that management policies, activities and behaviors change in order to leave future generations a legacy of wild salmon. The public already suspects there is a need for change in how we manage and recover salmon. A 1997 Portland Oregonian poll found 85% of respondents felt salmon were very or somewhat important, while 60% thought the recovery programs in the Columbia River were ineffective, but were willing to continue spending money on the recovery attempt and 79% wanted salmon saved for reasons other than utilization— that would fall into the public trust and legacy categories discussed in the report. The scores for sport and commercial fishing were low. Is there a future for wild Pacific salmon in the Pacific Northwest? There can be, but it is up to us to force a change in the status quo, to hold accountable the elected officials and public servants charged with salmon stewardship, and to join in and support those organizations who speak truth to those in power.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS Jim Lichatowich, a fishery biologist working in salmon research and management and the author of two award-winning books. In 2015, he received the Life Time Achievement Award from the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Rick Williams, a Research Associate in the Department of Biology at the College of Idaho. He has worked on Columbia River salmon recovery

issues. In 2006, he and colleagues wrote Return to the River: Restoring Salmon to the Columbia River. He serves as a Senior Conservation Advisor for Fly Fishers International. Jack Stanford is Emeritus Professor of Ecology at the Flathead Lake Biological Station of the University of Montana. He has published over 230 juried papers and books on ground and surface water exchange as a key driver of riverine biodiversity and on the life history diversity and productivity of salmon. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for River Science in 2011. Bill Bakke, Conservation Director for The Conservation Angler. Jim Myron, an independent contract lobbyist working on natural resource related issues. He focuses on native fish protection and restoration as well as water policy and river health issues. He was a policy advisor to Governor Ted Kulongoski and the Legislative Coordinator for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. David Bella is Professor Emeritus of Engineering at Oregon State University. Beginning in the 1960s, his research involved computer simulation of aquatic ecosystems, then shifted to complex human systems and how organizational systems distort information. Bill McMillan initiated volunteer snorkel surveys at Wind River to monitor its wild steelhead in 1983 and conducted surveys for Wild Fish Conservancy. He wrote Dry Line Steelhead, and with biologist son John, May The Rivers Never Sleep. David Montgomery, Professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He has studied natural and anthropogenic processes that influence salmon and their habitats in the Pacific Northwest and the historical management of salmon in other regions. He is author of several popular science books.



Simply Salt: How to Choose Your Next Saltwater Fly Line John Van Vleet


t’s an old saying, and certainly not an original one, but it bears repeating: Perhaps the greatest thing about fly fishing is that it takes us to some spectacular places. From familiar backyard ponds to remote tropical atolls, fly fishing is the conduit through which many of us explore the world, whether that be just down the road or halfway across the planet. Fly anglers are able to catch just about any fish imaginable and, with the staggering amount of tackle on the market, there is absolutely no shortage of options for anyone looking to target a specific species in a specific destination. When it comes to fly lines, this statement rings even more true. Simply take a look at the fly line wall of your local fly shop; there are lines designed for panfish and for billfish—not to mention everything in between. For the angler looking for the perfect saltwater fly line, where do you even begin? While most things in fly fishing shouldn’t be considered steadfast—there is always room for innovation and experimentation—three main factors should determine what to look for when choosing your next saltwater fly line: where you’ll be fishing, what species you’ll be targeting, and what types of flies you’ll be throwing. Why are these three things important? It really comes down to two simple things: materials and taper design. The various cores, coatings, and tapers used for freshwater lines differ from those used in saltwater lines based mainly on the three factors mentioned above. Different coatings are formulated to perform better in various temperatures, different cores give lines varying levels of stiffness and strength, and the tapers dictate how the line will present the flies. These variables are extremely important to the makeup of each individual line, and subtle changes to one aspect can dramatically change how that line performs. With all that being said, let’s take a deeper dive into the world of saltwater fly lines.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

© Photo John Van Vleet

Simply Salt: How to Choose Your Next Saltwater Fly Line


Location, Location, Location At first glance, it seems strange to make a fly line decision based on location alone. A freshwater line works in fresh water, and a saltwater line works in salt water, right? The answer isn’t as clear-cut as it first may seem. Let’s use bonefish and striped bass as an example. Bonefish typically live in tropical environments, where the sun is harsh and air and water temperatures soar. Picture a stereotypical Bahamian flat with azure skies and unbelievably clear water—the kind of place where sunscreen is arguably more important than the fly you use. This scenario requires a fly line built on an extremely stiff core, with a durable, hard coating. Without those two key ingredients, a fly line will be rendered essentially useless; the line will wilt in the heat and become extremely limp and difficult to cast Would you still be able to cast it and present a fly? Sure, but it would be about as enjoyable as a paper cut. The environmental rigors faced in the tropical climate are some of the most demanding and challenging a fly line will ever face, which is why it’s imperative that these lines are built to withstand such extremes. Stripers, on the other hand, are typically targeted in colder saltwater. There are days in the early spring that striper anglers are out in sub-freezing conditions, with frigid winds and snow whipping through the air. In this case, a line built with a more supple core and softer coating is paramount; using a fly line built for a tropical saltwater environment will result in a mess of tangles and an endless amount of frustration. As we can see, the climate in which you’ll be fishing plays a huge role in the type of fly line you should purchase. If you’re going to a tropical destination, look for a fly line with a braided monofilament core. Specifically designed for use in those hotter environments, they are typically more heatresistant and certainly much stiffer than other lines on the market. Conversely, a line with a multifilament core (which is similar to backing material) is better suited for colder environments and will remain supple and straight even as temperatures drop. In most cases, the coatings for these lines are also optimized for the cores, meaning that a line built on a braided monofilament core will have a harder, more heatresistant coating while lines built on multifilament cores will feature softer, more supple coatings. All of this is based on the air temperatures in whatever location you’ll be fishing. It may sound like a complicated mess of multifilament-this and

monofilament-that, but making sure you get this element correct is perhaps the most important aspect of choosing the best saltwater fly line for your next adventure.

The Quarry Aside from the temperatures, the next most important part of choosing the correct saltwater fly line revolves around the fish you’ll be trying to catch. Luckily for the novice saltwater angler, and even for more experienced angers, many saltwater fly lines these days are species-specific, meaning that the cores, coatings, and tapers are optimized for chasing that particular fish. There are warmwater and coldwater redfish lines, bonefish lines, tarpon lines, permit lines, and striper lines, just to name a few. In each case, temperatures, core strengths and stiffness, coatings, and taper design have all been taken into account by manufacturers, resulting in lines that are designed specifically for the environments in which those fish live. For example: a tarpon line will be built on a tropical-based core, such as braided monofilament, with a hard saltwater coating that remains stiff in the heat; its core will be strong enough to handle the blistering runs of a 100-pound tarpon; and it will have a relatively short 30-plus foot head that is built heavy in order to help load rods quickly for shots at moving fish. A bonefish line, although similar in concept, will have a longer rear taper for carrying more line in the wind, with a longer front taper for more delicate deliveries. They will also typically be built to traditional grain weight standards and feature head lengths in the 40-foot range. These subtle design differences aren’t arbitrary; fishing for tarpon is different than fishing for bonefish, and the lines out there are built with that in mind. In most cases, simply finding a line designed for a particular species will get the job done, and get it done fairly well. However, that is just a simple solution to some of the challenges saltwater fly fishing presents. What if you’re fishing for tarpon or bonefish in an area with a lot of fishing pressure, and the fish require a bit more of a stealthy presentation? Then a line with a clear head or clear tip might be in order. What if you need to dredge a rip current in order to get the fly in front of a group of stripers? Then, you’ll need a full sinking line, something like the Scientific Anglers Sonar Triple Density Sink 3/Sink 5/Sink 7. Does that particular line say anything about stripers on the packaging? No, and that’s because it works just as well for trout, muskie, and pike as it does for striped bass. The © Photo John Van Vleet


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

Simply Salt: How to Choose Your Next Saltwater Fly Line


A Handful of Feathers The flies you will be casting are matched to what fish you’ll be trying to catch, so some of the considerations here will mirror those from the previous section. While this aspect isn’t quite as important as the climate and the species, it’s still something to keep in mind as you shop for a saltwater fly line. The flies you’ll be fishing can play a part in helping you decide what type of line to pack on your next saltwater trip, as many modern tapers are designed for throwing certain styles of flies. Taper designs over the years have transitioned from level and double-tapered lines to weightforward lines, and nearly all saltwater lines now are of the weight-forward variety. Having a weight-forward line serves several purposes for the saltwater angler, perhaps the most important being fly presentation. In saltwater scenarios, most shots are at moving fish, so quickness and accuracy are required. A weight-forward line, especially one that is overweighted, such as the SA Amplitude Grand Slam, is designed specifically to load rods with one back cast and to present flies quickly. Those lines also feature very short front tapers to turn over flies of all sizes without the need for false casting. When a school of tarpon or redfish is moving quickly towards you, the last thing you want to be doing is false casting over the top of them.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

© Photo John Van Vleet

reason it works for all of them equally well goes back to the coating, core, and taper design; it’s built with a supple coating, a multifilament core, and a short-headed design that is perfect for cold-to-moderate environments and turning over large flies—which fits the bill for throwing streamers to trout, muskie, pike, or stripers. For the most part, after you know where you’ll be fishing, and what you’ll be targeting, the next best course of action will be to gather some intel on some of the techniques anglers have used to successfully target those fish. Sometimes that will lead you to finding a specialty line, such as a clear tip or sinking line, you wouldn’t have thought about beforehand but will make all the difference. You won’t be able to target fish holding in a deep current very easily if you’re throwing a floating line, so be sure to know how the fish are behaving before pulling the trigger on your next purchase.

In many saltwater situations, you’ll be fishing a fly patterned after some sort of baitfish, shrimp, or crab. These are often weighted flies and aren’t particularly fun to cast—especially in the wind. That’s why a fly line with a short front taper, and one with most of the mass towards the front of the head, is often the best choice. The short front taper transitions the kinetic energy from your cast through the leader and to the fly much more quickly than a line with an extended front taper. While a short-headed line isn’t the most delicate of tools, it can certainly help you get the fly in the water where it needs to be. On the other hand, some saltwater situations call for a deft touch. Picture a tailing bonefish in a foot of clear water. Splashing a fly down hard can result in a spooked fish. That’s why some tapers, particularly bonefish lines, feature longer front tapers.

Find What Suits You Keep in mind that these are merely suggestions and thoughts about what you should consider when planning your next saltwater excursion. Everyone has a different casting style and different preferences when it comes to how a line should perform. Some people prefer traditionally weight lines for every situation, while others always fish lines that are over-weighted. There is rarely a catch-all solution that covers everything you might encounter on the water, but if you have an idea about the temperatures, the fish, and the flies, you’ll be off to a very strong start. John Van Vleet is Scientific Anglers Marketing Manager.

Simply Salt: How to Choose Your Next Saltwater Fly Line


The Downstream Dry Fly Jim McLennan


ry-fly fishing was not the first method to develop in our sport, but it does have a long history, going at least back to England in the mid1800s. And in what some might describe as “typical” English fashion, dry-fly fishing then was accompanied by a somewhat formal protocol which still applies on certain beats of the most famous English chalk streams today. “Upstream dry fly only” is sometimes the Rule and sometimes simply the preferred and most commonly used method. The reason for casting a dry fly upstream is pretty simple. It is most often the easiest way to achieve the all-important drag-free drift, which is how the fly must usually behave before the fish will eat it. Because the fly drifts with the current toward the angler, it moves at the same speed as the current with no interference from the line or leader, and this usually produces an “automatic drag-free drift.” There are exceptions to this when varying current speeds mess up the drift, but these can usually be addressed with a change in casting position, with mends or with slack-line casts. After the upstream cast, fly line accumulates as it drifts toward the caster, who takes care of it by stripping away the excess line at the same rate it accumulates. He leaves just enough slack between rod tip and fly to assure a natural drift, yet still allow the hook to be set in a trout’s mouth with a simple lift of the rod tip. And now that I’ve said that, it occurs to me that these few words describe conventional upstream dry-fly fishing in a nutshell. But there are times when casting a dry fly upstream is not the easiest way to fool the fish. On slow, flat stretches of water where fish frequently feed at the surface, heavy angling pressure can make the fish leader-shy. They learn quite quickly not to eat a fly that has a string attached to it. The conventional upstream delivery, you see, always results in the leader - or at least the tippet going over the fish first. In heavily-fished streams the leader or tippet can become something of a warning to a trout that’s been stung a few times; a warning the fish interprets as, “Don’t eat this one, you didn’t like it last time.” On the wide, weedy flats of the Harriman Ranch section of Idaho’s Henry’s Fork of the Snake, and the sublime, silken currents of Silver Creek near Sun Valley, the solution to this puzzle was worked out.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

© Photo The Bug Parade

The Downstream Dry Fly


I was aware of the downstream dry fly method as explained in books like Fly Fishing Strategy by Doug Swisher and Carl Richards, but I learned to put it into practice on the dainty and difficult spring creeks of Montana’s Paradise Valley, under the tutelage of guide, Al Gadoury. The downstream dry fly is the standard technique for throwing tiny dries and emergers at the selective fish on Gadoury’s home waters of Armstrong’s and Nelson’s Spring Creeks. The water is slow and flat, and the prolific numbers of trout, aquatic insects and fly fishers create the textbook “problem” that the downstream dry fly is designed to solve. The downstream dry fly eliminates the leader-first delivery that is so often a deal-breaker on these types of waters. When delivered from a position up-and-across from the rising fish, the fly comes to the fish before the tippet and leader do, which is the main benefit to the method. The fish first see and focus their attention on the fly, not on the string attached to it. The method is primarily used on rising fish and is only feasible in streams or parts of streams where the channel is 50 feet or more across. You need to be able to position yourself about 45 degrees up and across from the fish, and 50 feet or so from the fish in order to stay out of its sight and still have room for a backcast. Once you’ve waded quietly into this position, work out false casts until you have enough line to reach the fish. Keep the false casts well off to the side of the fish so it isn’t alerted by the line flashing through the air. Using a reach cast (see description below) drop the fly six to eight feet above the trout, directly in its feeding lane. If you’ve made a proper reach cast, when the fly lands your casting arm will be extended and the rod will be pointing almost directly upstream. As the fly drifts with the current, move the rod tip and your arm downstream at the same speed the fly drifts. If the fish doesn’t take, allow the fly to drift until it is a safe distance downstream of the fish and the fly line has moved well off to the side of the fish, then gently pick up the line


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

and prepare to make another cast. Be sure not to spray the fish with water that comes off your line and leader when you false cast. When the fish does take your fly, wait until it has come up and then turned down before gently raising the rod tip to set the hook. If it’s a sizable fish, be ready to let it take line as soon as it feels the hook. The one drawback to this method is that you’ll have a slightly lower hookup average, because the hook-setting motion pulls the fly away from the fish’s mouth, rather than back into it. But this is more than justified by the increased number of takes you’ll get. There are other reasons for using a downstream delivery with a dry fly. If a fish is rising in the band of slower water tight to the streambank, you’ll get a much better drift by casting down-and-across than by trying to cast up or up-andacross. And the downstream delivery is often the only way to get a fly to a fish that’s feeding under an overhanging bush right on the bank. By positioning yourself up and across and using the reach cast, you can let the current take the fly right down into the trout’s face with no hint of drag. Another advantage of this method is that you don’t have to be a pinpoint caster to use it. On a wide flat you can cast the fly beyond and well upstream of the fish. As soon as it settles on the surface, skate the fly gently back upstream and toward you by moving the rod tip upstream. When you judge that the fly is in the trout’s lane simply release the fly to drift by starting to follow the current downstream with the rod tip.

The Reach Cast Competence and confidence in the reach cast are critical in this method, and you should work on it on dry land before trying it on the water. Here’s how to do it: With false casts, work out enough line to reach your target. Then strip off another 10 or 12 feet of fly line. Make your delivery with a conventional overhead cast, and at the moment you stop the rod on the forward cast, let go of the

slack line with your line hand and move your casting arm and rod smoothly out to the side, allowing the extra fly line to slide into the rod. The fly should land near the target, but your rod and arm should be fully extended and pointing in a direction perpendicular to, rather than toward, the target. The reach cast can be executed to the right or the left. For a right-handed caster, a reach cast to the left requires you to move your rod and hand across your body to the left. In fishing situations, the reach is always in an upstream direction. For people learning the cast the most common error is starting the reach movement too late, which causes the line to land in a curve. You’ll know you’ve timed it correctly if the fly lands close to the target and the line is straight between the rod tip and the fly. Practice making casts both right and left. The reach cast is sometimes called a “reach mend” because it alters the path of the line between rod tip and fly, but to my mind a mend is an adjustment to the position of the fly line that’s made after the line is on

the water. But call it whatever you like; the fish won’t care. They’ll be too busy trying to get rid of your fly. There are good demonstrations of the reach cast in various instructional DVDs and videos, including the early Scientific Anglers VHS tapes made by some of the guys who invented the flyfishing instructional video genre: Gary Borger, Doug Swisher, and Mel Kreiger. You can also find plenty online, by searching Youtube. A book or instructional DVD on advanced casting will show you a great number of “specialty casts,” including slack casts, distance casts, curve casts and others. While all of these have merit on occasion, the reach cast, which is the foundation of the downstream dry fly method, is hands-down, the most useful specialty cast for fishing for trout in moving water. And when you use it to fool a snobby fish who think’s he’s smarter than you, you’ll have the fleeting thought that it just might be cheating. So let’s not tell anybody.

The Downstream Dry Fly


Big Time Smallmouth Action David Paul Williams


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

© Photo David Paul Williams

Big Time Smallmouth Action


Water Temperature The shorter bright days and longer cool nights mark a turning point in smallmouth behavior. Water temperatures have reversed their rise and begin to drop sending a signal to the smallmouth. Regardless of environment or latitude, bass respond in predictable stairstep feeding patterns. Activity levels increase and feeding binges occur when the water drops to 60 degrees, with another binge at 50 degrees before the bite slowly tails off. If you fish from any floating craft that doesn’t have electronics, get a plastic-coated thermometer that has a loop at one end, then attach several feet of nylon cord. Take temperature readings at the surface and at various depths to get a sense of water temperatures which will vary throughout the water column. Use a fly that runs at the water depth most closely matching the binge water


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

temperature. If 60 degree water temperature is 10 feet down, forget topwater presentations. Instead, go with a nymph or streamer that runs 10 feet deep. When the temperature falls below that magic 50 degree mark, feeding activity drops off. Of course, the hard core smallie hunters continue to catch a few fish in even colder water. At some point in the fall, still waters are going to experience the ‘turnover’ phenomenon where the surface water cools. The cold water sinks and mixes with the warmer, deeper water. During this short period that lasts a few days until the water is thoroughly mixed, the thermometer is your best friend. The smallmouth move with warm water because their food does the same. So should you.

Groceries Food production in all waters has already peaked and is on the wane. The resident forage fish, even those that spawn more than once a year, will not spawn again for several months. The crayfish that have escaped being eaten have spawned and the females are carrying eggs on her body. Those eggs will not hatch until next spring. The activity level of both male and female crayfish diminishes in proportion to the dropping water temperature. A precipitous drop in temperature caused by a cold front may send them into deep water or they may burrow into the mud. In either case, they take themselves out of the food chain. The aquatic invertebrates with multiyear life spans like dragonfly and damselfly nymphs are still available but become less active as the water cools. Most of the damselfly and dragonfly adults have already become fish food. Those still flying will not survive the first frost. Leeches are summer spawners. The adults die and the little guys tend to go dormant as the water cools. The tadpoles of spring that provided food for pre-spawn smallmouth foraging in shallow water, have grown into frogs that rarely venture into deeper water where the smallmouth now spend most of their day. The result is more and bigger fish compete for a food supply that is being consumed without the larder being replenished. © Photo David Paul Williams


all is transition time for smallmouth bass and those that target for them. After enduring months without football, the game kicks off at all levels and snags the attention of most fly fishers who turn to tv and tailgate parties. September also triggers big game and upland bird hunting seasons with still more anglers swapping rods for shotguns and deer rifles. Those that give up fishing miss catching prime smallmouth bass during the prettiest months of the year. The West doesn’t get the dramatic fall color display of maples, beeches and birches that bring hundreds of thousands of “leaf peepers” into the Northeast each foliage season. Fall colors in the west are more subtle. The streamside grasses turn the color of ripe wheat, sagebrush a lighter shade of gray, the cottonwoods prove a brilliant yellow exception, their heart-shaped leaves demarking the watercourse. Rivers running through wine and orchard country are outlined by leaves turned crimson, yellow, burgundy and lime. It’s easy to be on the water, distracted by the colors, then suddenly be pulled back by the abrupt tug of a bulldogging smallmouth that’s bulked up all summer long.

improves when targeting a single bird instead of shooting at the entire flock. Make your fly be the single bird that gets targeted by the smallmouth.

Effects of Water Level Rivers and streams are at their lowest levels now before the autumn rains renew. Those rains bring new water, but may not have any material effect until November. Fish still seek the best combination of feeding locations and security from predators no matter the water level. In small streams, the low water concentrates the fish into the best holding and feeding lies, leaving the skinny water, to reorient into the deeper pools. If oxygen levels are low—slow-moving water contains less dissolved oxygen than fast-moving water—the bass will move into the heads of riffles, areas more often associated with trout because that’s where the dissolved oxygen is greatest. If a fall gully washer hits and turns a river or stream into something akin to a spring freshet, all the fish except for the young-of-the-year have been through it before. The fish will move out of the low-water holding lies into those areas of structure that break the current. Look for eddies, undercut banks, ledges and laydowns because they all function as current breaks. In other words, look to the edges because that’s where the fish have moved. Fish in tight—within inches of the bank—to catch fish. You’ll likely lose some flies doing so, but ‘safe’ casts that land in the fast current rarely result in a fish. Large, broken rocks on the bottom of a pool offer the same type of protection from the strong current. Hit the cushions behind those rocks and you’ll catch fish. Irrigation reservoirs are plagued this time of year by the double whammy of wind and low-water levels. The wind blowing over the shallow water stirs up fine sediment that suspends, reducing visibility from several feet in the clear water of spring down to barely inches in the fall. When determining where to go for your fall fling, opt for reservoirs that have minimal irrigation drawdown. Like their moving water cousins, stillwater smallmouth move in the fall. Where they go and when they move depends on the reoccurring themes of water temperature and type of water. © Photo David Paul Williams

That level of competition, combined with the imperative of preparing for winter, makes the fish more aggressive. Smallmouth in some western waters benefit from an east coast import. American shad, initially stocked in California, have made their presence felt in several northwest river systems. Unlike offspring of most anadromous fish, shad fry do not overwinter in fresh water. They hatch, then spend summer in the river getting big enough to head west, then head out to sea. Naturally, the smallmouth take notice of these three inchlong, high-calorie food items. The fry hang around weedbeds that provide small organisms to eat and cover from smallmouth predators. Slack water and back eddies allow fry to escape the current and rest before continuing their journey. Smallmouth haunt these spots as well. Gizzard and threadfin shad have been transplanted from their native South into many western reservoirs. When autumn rolls around, the gizzard shad young of the year are still small enough to be consumed, at least by the larger smallies. The gizzards from previous years will have grown too big to be smallmouth prey with some stretching up to 18 inches. Threadfin shad are always on the menu, at least until the water temperature drops below 45 degrees. In that cold water, they perish and become food for all the macroinvertebrates that start the whole food chain. Threadfin are shallow-running schooling fish that travel miles in a day on large reservoirs. They may grow to be five inches long, though most will run about three inches. The three shad species share a common body type. It’s deep from top to bottom, narrow from side to side, and rapidly tapers to the tail. Gizzard and threadfin also share similar coloration with mostly silver bodies, tending towards a yellowish-olive above the lateral line. American shad bodies have a faint lavender tint. Both topwater and sub-surface shad imitations catch their share of fish. A good choice is small pencil popper or shallowrunning marabou Clouser. Cast towards the edge of the bait school instead of directly in the middle. Retrieve the fly in an erratic manner to imitate shad that have broken away from a school under attack by smallmouth. As in shotgunning, success

Big Time Smallmouth Action



Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

and be near to a food source. The depth where they locate depends on the water temperature as they will avoid the coldest part of the lake.

Rate of Retrieve Water temperature dictates the rate of retrieve. During the fall feeding binge until the temperature drops below 50 degrees, bass will aggressively chase what it perceives as food. Fly fishers should use flies that imitate forage fish and strip them fast. The same type of action should be used on topwater foam or deer hair bugs to provoke smashing strikes. It’s been said that spring is the time of many fish, but fall is the time of big fish. Like teenagers who sprout up over the summer, the small fish so numerous last spring it was difficult to get the fly down to the larger fish, have recruited into the larger fish category. Instead of being an annoyance, they are now objects of desire. The fish that were trophy-size months before have eaten themselves into an even heavier weight class. If I could fish only two months of the year it would be September and October and I wish somehow, each month could be 60 days long. The air seems fresher, the colors more vibrant, nature’s pace quickens, and the fish are fat and sassy As much as I love football and the sound of pads crashing together, it’s hard to resist the siren call of fall smallmouth. Football can wait until November.

© Photo David Paul Williams

Small stream bass travel differently than large stream bass who travel differently than shallow reservoir bass who travel differently than deepwater lake bass. Travel patterns and travel distances correlate with winter severity, mild winters mean more stay at home bass. The trigger for bass to hit the road is the amount of light that reaches the pineal gland. Once that amount drops below the critical level, the bass, like the “snow birds” leaving the drippy Northwest for sunny Arizona, start their fall migration. So long as the water temperature of any given body of water remains above the mid-50 degree mark, the smallmouth will stay out of deep water because their primary forage—mostly minnows—is in shallow water. The bass may retreat into deeper water at night only to return to the shallows as the day and water warms. The baitfish form into large schools, a fact that smallmouth understand. In short, smallmouth lock in on the forage fish and so should the angler. Like Mary and her lambs, wherever the forage fish go, the smallmouth are sure to follow. In lakes holding threadfin shad, stripers and smallmouth, it’s not good to be a shad. The stripers herd them into the shallow back bays where the smallmouth await in ambush. If the survivors try to break out back to open water, the stripers force them back into the smallmouth. The cycle continues until the shad escape or the predators are sated. A top water shad imitation—spun deer hair, hard plastic or soft foam—will take plenty of fish. Amp up the action by adding a small marabou Clouser about 18” below the surface fly. Life gets super interesting with smallies grabbing each fly resulting in a true daily double. As the water continues to cool with longer nights and less daytime heating, the bass go through one more feeding binge at the 50 degree mark, before they settle into their winter habitat. To find the fish, think like a smallmouth. In other words, focus primarily on protection from the elements and predators, with food being a secondary object. In streams, they head for deeper pools and rocky areas that provide protection from strong current and the opportunity for an occasional bite of food. In flushes of high water, stillwater fish head for similar structure. They want protection from wind and waves



Fly Fishing is NOT part of the show

IT IS THE SHOW! Big Time Smallmouth Action



Winter Nymph Fishing

O JERRY COVIELLO Jerry is a Fly Tying Demonstrator and demonstrates his skills at local fishing clubs, the International Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset NJ and the FFI Fly Fishing Fair in Livingston MT. Jerry is a life member of FFI, and the FFI Fly Tying Group. He is serving on the FFI Fly Tying Group’s Board of Governors as Chairman and a Fly Tying Award Evaluator. He is also a member of the Dyna-King Pro Team.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

ver 90 percent of the food available to trout lives underwater and with the winter months coming a trout’s metabolism will slow down, so the fish won’t need to feed as often but will take advantage of any opportunity that happens to be in their location. Most fly fishing during the winter months will be done using nymph patterns such as a Zebra Midge, Pheasant Tail Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hares Ear Nymph, Prince Nymph and Red Fox Squirrel Nymph. Also try fishing a streamer such as a Muddler Minnow as a nymph. One of the biggest reasons to fish during the winter months is no crowds. Most will stay home

chasing flies in the cold weather so a dead drift is important. If you are not losing flies on the bottom you are not fishing deep enough. Trout tend to hug the bottom of the stream in the winter months. I tend to fish two nymphs at the same time—usually a larger nymph with a Zebra Midge or size 16/18 Pheasant Tail Nymph as the dropper. I find the fish look at the larger nymph and then take the dropper fly. Add a Muddler Minnow as a dropper and fish it like a nymph, but at the end of the swing retrieve it slowly to give it some life. You can sleep in and wait for the afternoon sun to warm up the water. Fish the middle of the day during the months of “One of the biggest reasons to December, January and February. fish during the winter months Insect activity increases when the is no crowds. Most will stay water temperature increases and also trout will move when water home and tie flies for the temperatures start to warm up. upcoming season or they will Sometimes you will get lucky and travel to warmer climates to have a midge hatch or blue-wing fly fish the islands with a nice olive hatch, and the trout will become mojito in hand.” active and rise for the insects that are breaking the surface and slowly flying and tie flies for the upcoming season or they off the water. will travel to warmer climates to fly fish the Know the water you are fishing; it helps islands with a nice mojito in hand. to know where the fish will hold. The fish Also check your local regulations for trout tend to stay in slower, deeper water. Fish fishing during the winter months as some the holding area thoroughly but move to states have closed seasons. other areas if you are not catching fish. Make sure you pack extra clothes in a dry In the winter months swallow riffles and pack, in case of an accident. Hypothermia can stretches of pocket water won’t give up happen fast. Don’t take chances crossing a trout as easily as in the warmer months. swift moving stream. Watch for ice ledges that Skip swift water and fish the slower flows. can break off while standing on top of them. When insects are not active, trout tend to Fishing nymphs during the colder months move to slower water. Also look for water will have you fishing them slow and deep. Use that is in direct sunlight. This will provide a strike indicator and weight on your leader extra warmth and the insects and trout or tie your fly as a bead head or add weight will be more active and you will enjoy the to your fly when you tie them. Trout are not warmth of the sun too.

Tying Legs on a Nymph As a fly-tying instructor, I’m always asked if legs are really needed on a nymph. It’s a very good question and my answer is always the same: It depends. Legs give movement and life to the nymph. Most of the fly materials, except perhaps the tail, don’t move in the water, but the legs are always simulating life as the nymph wiggles in the water. So when I say it depends, I am taking about substituting feather legs with a dubbing loop so the guard hairs become the legs for the nymph. Here are three different nymphs with three different styles of legs tied in.

Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph V Style Feather Legs (Beard) Hook: Nymph 2X long Thread: Brown 6/0 Tail: Guard hairs from Hare’s Mask (cheeks) Rib: Gold oval tinsel fine




Use body feather from a Hungarian Partridge and cut a “V” to form left and right legs for the nymph.

Place the feather after the thorax. Make sure the dull side is facing the bend of the hook and the tips are not extending past the point of the hook. Hold the tips of the feather with your left hand. Bring your thread over the feather to fasten it to the hook shank. If the feather tips extend past the hook point, use your right hand to pull the stem of the feather until the tips are even with the hook point. Now you can secure the feather with tight wraps and cut the stem.

Abdomen: Hare’s Mask Wingcase: Turkey quill Thorax: Hare’s Mask tied fuller Legs: Partridge body feather tied V style beard

4 Secure the feather with few tight wraps.



Pull the wing case over and whip finish. The legs will be on the left and right of the fly (tied beard style).

The fly pictured from above showing the legs on the left and right side of the nymph.

Fly Tying


Prince Nymph

Hackle Style Feather Legs (Collar) Hook: Nymph 3X long Thread: Black 6/0 Tail: Brown goose biots tied forked Rib: Oval or flat gold tinsel fine


Ready to add the hackle collar for the legs.


Fold a brown hen hackle and tie it in by the tip. If you would like to learn how to fold a hackle here is a video I created to show you how: https://


Wind the hackle three or four times stroking the fibers towards the bend.

Body: Peacock herl Legs: Brown hen folded and tied collar style Wing: White goose biots tied forked


Trim the excess feather and secure the hackle.


Add the white goose biots and whip finish.


Top view of the Prince Nymph.

Red Fox Squirrel Nymph Dubbing Loop Guard Hair Legs Hook: Nymph 3X long Thread: Brown 6/0 Tail: Guard hairs from a Red Fox Squirrel Rib: Oval gold tinsel


3 Make a dubbing loop.



Insert the fur with the guard hairs into the loop and spin the loop forming a dubbing brush.

Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017


Abdomen: Squirrel Spikey Dubbing or Red Fox Squirrel belly Thorax: Dubbing loop Red Fox Squirrel back (dark) Wrap the dubbing brush and stroke the hair towards the bend of the hook creating the thorax of the nymph which will be fuller than the abdomen.

Tie off the dubbing brush, whip ďŹ nish.

Fly Tying



DMAIC - A Method and Framework for Teaching


© Photo Hank Welles

Jeff works for Smartwool in Steamboat Springs, CO and is Fly Casting Field Editor for Fly Fusion Magazine. He is a Master Certified Fly Casting Instructor and most importantly husband and father of two.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

ly casting isn’t just casting, it is the “essence of fly fishing,” Mel Krieger often said. Casting is a necessary skill for proficient fishing. How much one practices is up to them. Like all aspects of our sport it can be taken to any level. A fly fisher can learn a basic pick up and lay down and roll cast, or study all of the nuances of casting and learn to cast 120 feet, or anywhere in between. Getting to any of these levels requires practice and understanding mechanics. Improving casting requires learning, and learning is a process. As fly-casting instructors it is our job to guide the student through this process. A good instructor facilitates the process of learning.

Like all instructors in any discipline, it is imperative that the student is the primary focus. Instruction is a service to the student. It is the antithesis of a self-centered or egotistical act. It is a humble pursuit to teach someone anything, especially a non-essential skill like fly fishing. It is critical that we make the experience a pleasure. It should be challenging, fun, and inspirational. The casting instruction is not about you. It is about the student who is also a customer, often a paying customer. As such, customer service is critical, and it is no different than great customer service during a guide trip. A good guide will have water and other drinks, food, and do

their best to give the customer what they want. The question is what do they want? When guiding, before I learned to truly focus on the customer, I probably unknowingly ruined a fishing trip for a client or two by not giving them what they wanted. I learned to ask questions and give my clients what they wanted. Were they after big fish? Were they after numbers of fish? Did they just want a good experience with their loved one? Did they want to learn a particular skill? Teaching fly casting is no different. Instructors must give students what they want. Teaching is a process. The idea of process management and improvement really came to light shortly after World War II when the Toyota Motor Company started using a more scientific methodology to process improvement. It was actually William Edwards Deming, a U.S. electrical engineer, that helped spur the Japanese economy and help them learn manufacturing techniques which led to better process efficiency, lower defects and higher profitability. This work eventually migrated into several methodologies that came together as a framework for process improvement. These are DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) and now DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, and Verify)—similar techniques with similar goals in mind. The key to both of these is that they are customer focused and process oriented. In traditional manufacturing these steps are used to improve a process in a quantifiable manner. It is also a way to keep the improvement process standardized and use it is a communication tool with the customer. These two concepts—the process and the student—lead me to the topic of how to format FFI fly-casting instruction. Knowing

that fly-casting instruction is customer focused and process oriented allows using these frameworks to help guide fly-casting instruction. We will look at the elements of the framework and then a practical application in a teaching scenario. Before doing so, much of the teaching I have observed is haphazard at best, often a product of last minute thought. I believe much of this has to do with the fact that casting instruction is not a formal profession. This void is a huge opportunity for our organization as FFI Instructors should be the best. There should be a noticeable and real difference between FFI certified instructors and the rest. In short, we, the FFI instructors, need to provide a recognizable and unquestioned value to our customers. Applying the structured framework can help improve the customer experience and increase the ability of the instructor to meet the needs of the student. We will use DMADV as the framework for the process of teaching from start to end of an individual lesson or series of lessons with a student. The key is to go through each step, record the step and the information, get agreement from the student, then revise as necessary. Let’s jump in by viewing the DMADV approach: Define This is the exploratory phase of meeting and greeting and just figuring out what the student wants. It can be a phone call but is best being an initial consultation in person. Watch the student cast and ask lots of questions. Learn from them. Where are they going? What do they want to learn? Why do they want to learn it? What does ‘good’ look like to them? We are defining what the student wants, when they want it, why they want it, and any other information necessary. We are defining the customer’s expectations.

Measure This is a specific task that can be part of the Define phase. It entails literally measuring what the student can currently do. This doesn’t have to be overt but it is critical to determine how to measure success with the student and this is the starting point. Are they wanting to cast farther? Measure 10 distance casts to a tape and record it. Do they want to be more accurate? Lay out targets and score the hits. Are they looking for better loops? If so, video can be used to review the size of loops against a brick wall or other reference point. Is there some kind of fault? Observe what the outcome is. It may be slack line in the forward cast. In this case it might be that distance or the amount of slack can be measured. Whatever the case, the key is to know the starting point. This allows the student to measure their progress against a base line and lets you know how you are doing as an instructor. Accountability in action! Analyze This is the observational phase of fly-casting instruction that leads to analysis of casting faults and opportunities. It is watching the student to observe what you perceive to be the problem. Notice to this point the student is only asking questions and showing. No teaching has taken place. This phase, elemental to success, is where you use your skill to analyze a cast and determine the root cause of any perceived issues. Proper analysis and diagnosis is necessary for teaching success. Design This is the first teaching element. All of the previous steps were foundational to properly outlining a successful prescription for success. I call it a prescription as it is a defined set of actions that will result in improvement. I favor the Six-Step method or scientific method as in the following example.



Description of the Fault • Showing the loop shape • Describing what the rod tip is doing • Describing what the caster is doing

Practice. This element is an opportunity for many instructors to improve their skills to better help their students. If a student is having trouble casting distance, it is not a good idea to have them go out and throw distance for their practice. As the instructor, you should narrow in on what exactly is inhibiting their distance and have them work on that. For example, during the Analyze phase, you determined the student’s erratic loop shape during distance casts was caused by their inability to accelerate properly stemming from too short of a stroke. The stroke being too short is the root cause and working on other aspects or just practicing distance could have a negative effect by reinforcing the improper motion. Being able to correlate loop shape back to body movements is a basic function of teaching. The practice focus could be false casting long lengths of fixed line while working to increase stroke length. A more prescriptive exercise would have the student standing in front of a mirror watching their hand while elongating the stroke slowly with no rod in hand (pantomiming) to insure proper hand and body orientation building muscle memory. The goal is to give the student a very specific task that they can complete to correct the root problem.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

© Photo Hank Welles

Description of the solution • Show how the caster should improve • Show how that impacts the tip • Show how that changes the loop shape

When I went to the physical therapist for illiotibial band pain, we did not focus on the pain, nor that the cause was running. We focused on the fault—my running form. The solution was three specific exercises to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings of my weak side to reduce pressure. The same idea applies here. Loop shape as distance increases is the symptom. The root cause is often much deeper and that is what needs to be addressed. Practice Timing. Instructors should be specific about how often to practice and when. Know your students and use common sense in setting practice regimes. If your student is like me who takes practice to the extreme, tell them to practice three days a week and never on back-to-back days. If you are working with the same distance student as above and know that distance goal is extreme, reduce the number of days and frequency. You don’t want to cause injury or harm with your steps to improve. If the person has been casting for years and you are simply improving loop shape, it may be fine to practice more often. Set expectations. Be realistic with your student about how quickly they will improve. Don’t set false expectations

or excessive in your optimism. But keep it challenging. Follow- up. Now it is up to the student to follow through. You have given them all of the tools and information they need. They need to practice and do the hard work. You are there to go through the process with them. They know when specifically (date and time) you will meet again and the practice expectations. Having these outlined before they leave the session will increase accountability and performance. Verify This is the follow up phase where every time you meet with the student, you measure the result of practice and re-evaluate the fault and the fix. If on track, you work with the student to perform the tasks as needed, insure they are doing the practice tasks correctly and reinforce good habits. If a change is necessary, then you go back to analyze and start over. Explain that revision is normal and sound teaching practice. But, be sure to encourage the student. While all of this sounds mechanical it obviously requires a very human element. It requires your empathy, compassion, and reassurance. Work with the student, be real, but also challenge them to do their best.


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Spring Creek Appeal

W MOLLY SEMENIK Molly Semenik moved to Birch Bay, Washington after guiding in Montana for 14 years. Currently, Molly offers fly-fishing instruction (singlehand and two-hand) and provides women’s fly-fishing destination travel. Molly wrote 25 Best Off the Beaten Path Montana Fly Fishing Streams, she is a Master Certified Casting Instructor, she is a member of the Casting Board of Governors, and she is on the Board of Directors for Fly Fishers International.

RICK WILLIAMS Rick Williams lives in Eagle, Idaho and is an outfitter, guide, and co-owner of the Idaho Angler. He is a conservation biologist working on native trout and salmon conservation. Rick is a Master and Two-Hand Casting Instructor, and serves on both the Casting Board of Governors and the Board of Directors for FFI.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

hat is it about spring creeks that fascinates us as fly fishers and makes fishing them such a special experience? They are unique, peaceful environments and fishing them successfully requires different skills than other waters. In this article, we describe their special characteristics, their fisheries, and hatches and suggest some tackle and tactics that will increase your spring creek success and enjoyment. These waters are our passion, and we hope they will become one for you. Fishing a spring creek demands a slow approach and quiet observation. For many, that is its attraction. Instead of casting flies to promising runs, successful spring creek fishing requires hunting and locating a feeding trout, analyzing what it is eating, choosing the right imitation, and presenting the fly correctly to induce a take. All of this requires patience and an intense scrutiny that is unlike other fly fishing experiences. Strangely, the intense focus and observation required for success on spring creeks ends up being both gratifying and relaxing. The journey to gaining proficiency in fishing spring creeks is exciting, but can be frustrating in its early stages as we learn.

Types of Rivers and Fisheries In order to understand the characteristics of a spring creek it is helpful to understand freestone rivers and tailwaters. Many of our great rivers in the West, such as the Yellowstone and Idaho’s Salmon River, are freestone rivers. Their flows occur seasonally and are driven primarily by rain and melting snowfall from higher elevations. Headwater streams gather snowmelt, merge with other streams and grow in size downstream usually

dropping in gradient after reaching the valley floor, slowing and warming as the season progresses. Summer and late fall flows are usually diminished and water temperatures increase and in some instances, can become limiting for trout. Freestone rivers usually flow over sandstone, shale, or granite and are nutrient poor, with limited aquatic vegetation growth and insect diversity and abundance. Insects usually consist of stoneflies and caddis, with terrestrials also important food sources. Anglers fish freestone systems using salmonflies, caddis, or terrestrial patterns and typically fish these highly visible flies searching over appropriate habitats to find fish. Spring creeks are the antithesis of freestone systems, arising from springs and having nearly constant year round flows and water temperature. They are usually gentle and meandering pathways found in valley floors with bottoms relatively flat and free of large boulders. Water temperature in spring creeks worldwide range between 50-58 degrees F. Temperatures vary only a few degrees between winter and summer allowing anglers to fish year round for fish that feed and grow year round. Well-known spring creeks include Spruce Creek in Pennsylvania, Hat Creek and Fall River in northern California, Montana’s Armstrong, Nelson’s and Depuy’s spring creeks along the Yellowstone River, and Idaho’s Silver Creek and Henry’s Fork. Dams create tailwater fisheries. Famous tailwater fisheries include the Bighorn and Missouri rivers (Montana), Green River (Utah), White River (Arkansas), Deschutes and Owyhee rivers (Oregon), and the South Fork of the Snake (Idaho). The deep water

Fly Fishing Skills


stored behind the dams on tailwater fisheries produces cool water with an abundance of nutrients, often creating robust fisheries. Tailwater fisheries contain characteristics of both freestone rivers (riffles, long runs with boulders, and deep pools) and spring creeks (smooth laminar flows) in pools and soft runs.

Hatches and Insects Many spring creeks arise over limestone beds. The water containing dissolved minerals, including calcium carbonate, promotes extensive aquatic vegetation growth that provides food and habitat for aquatic insects and cover for trout. Insect hatches can be prolific and include large quantities of mayflies, midges, and caddis. Those hatches also mean the trout can become selective, feeding on mayflies, such as PMDs, Baetis, and Callibaetis, through the spring and early summer. Midsummer hatches shift to early morning Tricos and small ants and beetles, or hoppers in the afternoon. Fall weather brings Baetis and mahogany hatches, while late fall and winter hatches shift to midges. Fishing for trout rising to sip a dry fly is an experience unlike any other. The number of insects and rising fish during a concentrated hatch on these waters can be spectacular— sometimes almost unbelievable. The slow, smooth flows and water clarity allow the trout to become very selective during hatches, sometimes eating only a single life stage of a particular insect. Catching these discriminating feeders requires the correct imitation matching color, size and life stage, very fine leaders, long and smooth casts, and beautiful drag-free presentation.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

Matching the Hatch Gaining a basic understanding of the foods trout eat in a spring creek environment is crucial to success. Being able to identify the life cycles of mayflies, midges, and caddis is important when matching what the trout are feeding on. Stick to common language and avoid getting too scientific; otherwise it may dampen your enthusiasm to learn. There are a few good books that keep the lessons simple and help with identification of some common patterns. Local fly shops can be a great help, as are Internet searches and talking with local anglers in the area. Once on the water, a small handheld white fine-mesh net is invaluable for collecting and identifying insects. A small aquarium net also works. Examining the color, size, and life stage of the drifting insects helps an angler decide what fly pattern to use on the rising trout. Identifying what the fish are eating during a hatch is an essential, critical skill in matching the hatch. On some days, solving that puzzle turns into the most challenging problem of the day, requiring keen observation, many changes of fly patterns, plus watching the fish’s behavior and reaction to various patterns. It is incredibly rewarding when, at last, the big trout along the bank slowly rises and inhales your well-cast fly. When there are no hatches or insects to be seen, other imitations can be tried including crustaceans, damsels, craneflies, terrestrials, forage fish and even mouse patterns.

Presentation Spring creek anglers must be deliberate in their observation and stealthy in their approach. Sit down and try to spot for a feeding trout. Look near the bank for rising fish. Often the biggest and wariest fish are the closest to the bank.

Look along the edges of weed beds, for foam lines, and shadowed areas along the bank, which are good indicators of where trout might be. Look for dark shadows above light covered river bed. Note the feeding lanes and current lines between exposed vegetation. Look for bugs and fish that are eating them. Listen for sipping sounds or splashes—big fish often have subtle but powerful rises. Once a feeding fish is spotted, cast from the bank if possible after first noting the sun position and shadows. If you can see the fish, it probably can see you. If you must wade, wade slowly, sliding your feet from one position to the next. Be aware of your casting angle. The challenge and beauty of fishing a spring creek is targeting a feeding fish. Your chance of catching a fish increases dramatically when you cast to a specific fish. With slow moving water and wily fish, your best chance will most often be casting across and drifting downstream. Learn to add a reach mend to your forward cast and present your fly just a few feet above your target 2-3 feet above the point where the fish rose. If you cast too far upstream, microcurrents introduce drag that is visible to your target. Drag is your enemy with slow moving current, as the trout has time to scrutinize your fly. If you find the fish are put down, sit on the bank and rest them. If you catch a trout, sit on the bank and rest the run. Sometimes it’s best to move to a different location for a while and then return. Spring creek fishing is a Zen-like experience in that careful observation and patient movements are key, even when faced with a feeding 18” trout. What is not to like about that? The more you experience spring creeks, the more you will learn to slow down.

Equipment Spring creek fishing is the game of trying to catch large, wily trout on small tackle. Most dedicated fly fishers use 4-weight rods, 8 or 8.5 feet in length. This combination of line weight and length balance the power and finesse needed for this fishing style. Some opt for 3-weights, and many folks use 5-weights. All will work. Three- and four-weight rods offer more control and lighter presentations on the water than 5-weights, but may be more difficult to cast on days when windy conditions occur. The softer tip sections of moderate or moderate-fast action rods protect the fine 5X and 6X tippets. Spring creek fishing typically requires longer leaders and finer tippets than anglers use elsewhere. Tying size 18-22 dry flies and emergers to a 12-foot leader ending in 5X or 6X tippet can result in a rig that is tricky to

cast at first. Places like Silver Creek and the Henry’s Fork that see a lot of angler pressure and cautious fish can extend the leader to 15 feet. Working the riffles or casting in windy conditions may allow or require shorter leaders. In general, use a leader that is long enough to fool the fish, but not so long that you lose control of the presentation. Playing large fish on long leaders with such fine tippets can be a challenging proposition. A high- quality trout reel with a smooth drag is a good place to start. One can actually put quite a bit of pressure on a trout with 6X tippet, though it may take some experience and lost fish to determine the limits of 5X and 6X tippet. Most importantly, when the fish is fighting you, don’t fight back. Let it run. That’s what your expensive quality reel and backing is for. Fight the fish when it is resting and you can make significant progress.

Fishing a spring creek is much like solving a complicated puzzle. For beginners and even intermediate anglers, fitting the many parts together can be frustrating. Fishing with a more experienced angler that can share their insights or hiring a guide to teach you the many facets of fishing a spring creek will accelerate learning. The effort and expense is worth it. Spring creek fishing is not about the numbers of fish caught. You may only catch one or a few fish in a day, but they are incredibly memorable, since you will have worked and solved the spring creek puzzle before hooking and landing them. These are the moments that fishing memories are made from. This is the magic of spring creeks. Further Reading: Spring Creeks By Mike Lawson, Stackpole Books, 2003.

James Gerweck hand-crafted cane fly rods

Fly Fishing Skills


fly fishing. Your support will enable Fly Fishers International to teach and foster our next generations of conservation stewards through our Learning Center and local volunteer efforts. It is our intent to FFI ensure that robust populations of freshwater and saltwater fish continue to thriveYOUR and thatSUPPORT! all future FFI NEEDS NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT! conservation / education / community conservation / education / community generations will have the opportunity to enjoy a healthy natural world. Donating is easy and we appreciate all levels of giving. One-time and recurring donations are MAKE DIFFERENCE welcome. Please consider FFI during your A estate planning as well. MAKE A DIFFERENCE JOIN are already a member, we thank you for your support. If you are not, please consider JOIN IfIf you you are already a member, we thank you for your support. If you are not, please consider joining the organization. Fly Fishers International is dedicated, through education and conservation, joining the organization. Fly Fishers International is dedicated, through education and conservation, to preserving the fly fishing experience. Conservation of our public lands and waters and their to preserving the fly fishing experience. Conservation of our public lands and waters and their connectivity is essential to our enjoyment, understanding, and appreciation of all fish, their habitats, connectivity is essential to our enjoyment, understanding, and appreciation of all fish, their habitats, and the health of natural systems. The greater number of members we have increases the power of our and the health of natural systems. The greater number of members we have increases the power of our voice. Stand with us and join! voice. Stand with us and join!

SWEEPSTAKES TICKET FFI has teamed with Hyde Boats to offer a Montana Skiff in a

sweepstakes drawing to be held April 30, 2018. Suggested donation is $25.00. See insert card for details.


Our volunteers work every Our volunteers work every conserve our fisheries. Your support will conserve our fisheries. Your support will national, and international levels. national, and international levels.

year in year in enable enable

their local areas to educate future fly fishers and their local areas to educate future fly fishers and our members to continue these efforts at local, our members to continue these efforts at local,

Our members also work with veterans and cancer support groups offering the healing experience of Our members also work with veterans and cancer support groups offering the healing experience of fly fishing. Your support will enable Fly Fishers International to teach and foster our next generations fly fishing. Your support will enable Fly Fishers International to teach and foster our next generations of conservation stewards through our Learning Center and local volunteer efforts. It is our intent to of conservation stewards through our Learning Center and local volunteer efforts. It is our intent to ensure that robust populations of freshwater and saltwater fish continue to thrive and that all future ensure that robust populations of freshwater and saltwater fish continue to thrive and that all future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy a healthy natural world. generations will have the opportunity to enjoy a healthy natural world.


FFI sells merchandise at our online store and proceeds are used to support our programs and operations. You’ll find shirts, hats and educational materials for sale. Buy that special gift for the fly fisher in your family. Holidays are just around the corner! Donating is easy and we appreciate all levels of giving. One-time and recurring donations are Donating is easy and we appreciate all levels of giving. One-time and recurring donations are welcome. Please consider FFI during your estate planning as well. welcome. Please consider FFI during your estate planning as well.


FFI has teamed with Hyde Boats to offer a Montana Skiff in a FFI has teamed with Hyde Boats to offer a Montana Skiff in a sweepstakes drawing to be held April 30, 2018. Suggested donation is $25.00. See insert card for sweepstakes drawing to be held April 30, 2018. Suggested donation is $25.00. See insert card for details. details.

PURCHASE sells merchandise at our online store and proceeds are used to support our PURCHASE FFI FFI sells merchandise at our online store and proceeds are used to support our programs and operations. You’ll find shirts, hats and educational materials for sale. Buy that special gift programs and operations. You’ll find shirts, hats and educational materials for sale. Buy that special gift for the fly fisher in your family. Holidays are just around the corner! for the fly fisher in your family. Holidays are just around the corner!

5237 5237 US US Highway Highway 89 89 South South #11 #11 // Livingston, Livingston, MT MT 59047 59047 // 5237 US Highway 89 South #11 / Livingston, MT 59047 /




We are proud to recognize donors who have donated $500 or more. These funds help FFI continue our important work in conservation, education and as the voice of all fly fishers. These gifts may be dedicated by the donor to a cause they are passionate about.

The Board of Directors established the FFI President’s Club to recognize and encourage major giving to the organization. The funds received will be used to support operations of the organization, thus providing for a stable, long-term cash flow and may not be further restricted or directed.

Gift of 10,000+

PLATINUM $25,000+

George Lane Trust

Howe Foundation

Gift of $5,000+ Yvon Chouinard Family Trust YOT Full Circle Foundation

The Charles S. Lipke Trust

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Edwin R. “Bill” Stroh

SILVER $10,000+ Robert Tritsch Michael Webb Bruce Williams The North Umpqua Foundation

Gift of $500+ Margot Aserlind Chris & Jennifer Bird Jean Black Robert Blount AS Cargill Robert Eck Carl Galeana Don Gimbel James Holder Steve Jensen Gregory Johnson Dean Lewis

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GOLD $15,000+

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BRONZE $5,000+ Kuni & Linda Masuda Thomas Patch Robert Sales Miyoshi Shiozawa John Sullivan The Steamboaters Chesapeake Council – FFI Virginia Fly Fishing Festival Inc Washington Fly Fishing Club

Dutch Baughman John Breslin Richard & Mary Brown Ron Cordes Richard Diamond Lew & Tilda Evans Bud Frasca Philip Greenlee Carl & Maura Johnson David James Tom & Debra Jindra Herb Kettler Ron Knight

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ongevity in the ordinary course of business comes from first gaining a customer, then repeatedly selling product or services to that customer. Think cars. You buy one, drive it for some years, then buy another because the first one is worn out and that pattern repeats itself time after time. On the other hand your business could thrive on a different model—the HMH model. Jon Larrabee, HMH majority owner says, we make a high-quality product in the United States and sell it with a lifetime warranty. Since each purchaser has but one lifetime, that model can limit sales. Success under that lifetime warranty business model requires new customers. Becoming a featured partner of Fly Fishers International makes good business sense

as it puts the HMH products in front of thousands of people who have an interest in fly fishing and fly tying. FFI members benefit by gaining access to great fly tying vises, tools and accessories as member clubs and councils can buy HMH products at a discount. Success also requires new products. For the last year HMH has been designing, testing, tweaking and demonstrating a new vise that Larrabee says is patterned after Lawrence Waldron’s LAW vise, widely recognized as the ultimate tying vise. When Larrabee was tying on a prototype at a show, a visitor asked if he could take a picture. Within 20 minutes after saying yes, that photo went viral on the internet. Serious fly tyers, gearheads and those who appreciate fine engineering and workmanship have been

waiting for this vise. A true offset rotary vise, it will be available by the time you read this. Tube flies have been tied for over half a century, starting in Scotland. An early adopter of that tying method, HMH is known for its Spinner, a dedicated tube fly vise, as well as tube fly tools that fit in regular vises, plus all manner of tubes, shanks, coneheads, hooks and more. Formerly mostly restricted to tying saltwater patterns, tube flies are working their way into trout and warmwater patterns as well. Larrabee likes to say that when a customer buys a HMH vise, “this is the last vise you will ever need to buy.” But vises are like rods, reels and lines, what serious fly fisher only has one of each? To learn more, go to

TFO Impact Series


FO designed the Impact by asking its diverse rod design experts what features they liked best about TFO rods, then incorporated all those features into one rod. It is said that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. That may be. There is nothing camel about the Impact— it is all horse. If a rod can withstand the rigors of fly fishing from the beach, it can perform everywhere and the Impact did just fine. I started casting a Miyawaki Beach Popper on a well-used floating line and the rod delivered long, effortless casts. TFO classifies the rod as “medium-fast”


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

and I found it to be more towards the fast side of things. It delivered casts with power, with distance, with accuracy and without protest, wobble or deflection. The ability to cast one type of fly well does not a rod make so I swapped out the popper for a weighted size 6, 3xl baitfish. Casts were again straight, long and easy to accomplish. TFO made the rod easy on the eyes. The blank is matte black with black thread windings and emerald green highlights. The full wells (half-wells in trout size rods) handle of attractive burled cork won’t slip in wet

hands. The machined aluminum reel seat is a bit short but the double uplocking knurled rings hold the reel tight. The slim profile rod, fitted with chromium impregnated stainless steel snake guides, weighs 3.4 ounces and is shipped with a rod bag. TFO makes the Impact in eight models ranging in price from $324.95 to $374.95. The 6-weight retails for $349.95. The TFO line up can be found at

Silver Creek Outfitters


t all started with Dick Alfs, the bartender at the Ram Bar in Sun Valley. He took fly orders from customers, tied all night and delivered the bugs in the morning. From that inauspicious beginning emerged Silver Creek Outfitters, a premier family-owned outfitter and retailer in Ketchum, Idaho. Terry Ring, Silver Creek Outfitters leader, started guiding for Will Godfrey on the Henry’s Fork in 1974 before moving to Sun Valley in 1979. Long interested in the dance of the rod and physics involved in fly casting led him to Mel Krieger and Fly Fishers International. Ring describes the progression of his casting skills as follows. First he was unconsciously incompetent, that is, he didn’t know what he didn’t know. Then he became consciously incompetent—he

now knew what he didn’t know. Finally, he become competent and says, “You can have a lot more fun fly fishing if you’re a competent caster.” Ring started teaching at Krieger’s casting school and said he always learned something from Krieger as “Mel was such as great teacher.” In 1993 Ring earned the FFI Certified Casting Instructor certificate and later served on the Fly Casting Instructor Advisory Committee. He is such a firm believer in the benefits of the FFI Casting program that every Silver Creek Outfitters guide must earn the CCI certificate within two years of being hired. Ring puts his money behind the program as he pays all the casting course fees—an estimated $30-40,000 over the years. He then follows that by saying he believes that investment has paid off by creating

a culture of professional guides who understand that success depends on satisfying customers. Ring is an advocate of community involvement saying “every citizen and every business has a responsibility to give back to their community.” He has worked with a number of nonprofits including 20 years with the Nature Conservancy and feels he always received more by serving than he gave. His take on the future of the fly-fishing industry is encouraging. “As long as we can focus on delivering a quality experience, our store and the fly-fishing industry will be just fine,” said Ring. Two keys to success are keeping fishing accessible and helping people be successful on the water. Visit them at

Featured Industry Partners



April Vokey’s Bucket List & Industry Outlook

APRIL VOKEY April Vokey has established herself as a respected authority in fly fishing and has traveled the globe in pursuit of gamefish on a fly rod. Vokey is a popular TV personality and has been featured on the Outdoor Channel’s Buccaneers and Bones series, 60 Minutes Sports, The Steve Harvey show, Discovery Channel’s Refined, Discovery’s/OLN’s Close Up Kings, Fly Nation TV and Fly Fusion Television. She also hosts the podcast Anchored with April Vokey, an uncensored series dedicated to archiving the stories and personalities from some of fly-fishing’s most influential people.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

Derek Bird: You’ve fished a lot of places in the last few years. What’s your most memorable trip? April Vokey: My most memorable trip is always going to be British Columbia because it’s my home. But if I had to choose a destination trip, it would probably be Bolivia. We went on an exploratory trip. We traveled way upriver first in a motorboat and then in canoes and then on foot. I was able to really explore the culture. I was able to eat what they were eating there and do some hunting using their traditional bows. We cooked fish over the fire using big tropical leaves. I just really felt like it was the life I strive to live in British Columbia to an extreme on another continent. DB: You’ve been to hundreds of different places and explored so many different areas. I suspect that they’re areas that you wanted to go because they’re on some type of bucket list that you have. If you could show people your bucket list, would it only include destinations and fish species or would it also include some surprises? Like maybe meeting certain people or accomplishing certain tasks. AV: It would probably only include people and goals I’ve set for myself. Some of those people and goals might relate to various places. But it won’t be the places themselves. I really want to get a big red stag. So if I didn’t live in Australia already, I might want to travel to Australia. So there are goals that would bring me there. It’s unfair of me to answer that question. If you’d asked me five years ago, I

would have had destinations, but I feel like I’ve crossed off any of the really obvious bucket list destinations at this particular time in my life. That’ll change once I’ve had a child. Then I think my bucket list will include places again, but places I want to share with someone else. Obviously, meeting my husband on a trip in Norway was the best destination trip I’ve ever had. Charles has got an enormous bucket list of destinations. We’ve been together now for four years. I remember saying to him, before we have a baby, because it’s going to change a lot of things, tell me what you have high on your bucket list. And it was really cool because his bucket list included all places I’d already been. I set up all the trips and was able to go back with him to these destinations. It was really incredible. I would never have added them back on my bucket list. But having somebody who had never experienced these places before just brought it to a whole new level. So I can only imagine what it’ll do bringing a child back. I’m sure I’ll have a bucket list then. DB: That’s interesting. It seems like there’s a redefining of what “bucket list” means to you. AV: Yeah. 100%. For sure. DB: I think it’s safe to say that we all grow and mature through life. How has your role in fly fishing aided in the way you’ve matured as an individual? AV: It’s funny you should ask that. I just was having this conversation with Charles the other night. I go back and forth on it. I go from feeling like I’ve matured so

© Photo Ben Grady

much to feeling like I’ve really just taken ten steps back and I’m more immature than ever. I can’t make up my mind on this. Inevitably, the older you get, the more you technically learn. There’s a cliché that says the older you get, the more you realize you never knew. There’s some truth in that, but I also think my knowledge has come so far. I understand physics of casting. I understand entomology to a degree. I understand I don’t know, the X, Y’s, and Z’s of fishing. But then I look at myself and think, why do I get so giddy about certain things? Every book that I read and I become more educated, my vocabulary grows, I become a better writer and become more mature. But, for every one of those days where I feel really mature, the more comfortable I am and I realize that I am by nature, frank and crude at times. Sometimes when I’m comfortable in my own skin, I’m not

very mature or seasoned at all. One day I feel really in tune with my folk music and my books and then I wake up the next day and I’m full of spunk, listening to NWA rap music. I can’t make up my mind here. The beautiful thing about it is it used to be confusing but I’m not confused at all anymore. I’m so unbelievably sure of who I am that when I have a day where I want to be gangster, then I’m going to be gangster. And when I have a day where I want to be a Haig Brown then I’m fine walking down that path. And some days I’m in touch with the fact that I’m about to be a mother. It just changes and that used to really throw me into turmoil and confusion but it doesn’t anymore. I think that for so many years, I was always trying to define myself because everybody else was defining me how they saw me. But with maturity and age and time, I just really honestly have

stopped trying. I do me. I do my best and I sleep at night. DB: So what’s your largest career challenge that you had to overcome? AV: It was hard for me overcoming the image that I had as a young woman. People wouldn’t necessarily want to come fishing with me because say they thought I was Barbie. But the problem was, I didn’t know why. Was it because I’m a woman? I don’t know. Was it because of my success because I’m a woman? I don’t know. I’d be putting words into other people’s mouths. The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome in my career though would be exactly what you just asked me about maturity. I came into the industry when I was 21 years old. And I was striving to be the best I could be but I was 21. And now, being 34, I’m still sometimes faced with the assumptions about the girl I was from so long ago. I made some mistakes at a time when the Internet was really coming to light. None of us really knew what its potential was or what its capacity was. I didn’t realize that if I let a photo go up online, that I couldn’t take it down. The Internet has come so far; if I had known back then what I know now, I would’ve used it more wisely. There are many videos online that were filmed from so long ago and I would never put my name on today. And of course, they’re not my videos. I have no control over the content and I did not post them. They shouldn’t be on the Internet now but I can’t change that. I have also thought a lot about allowing fisheries to have been filmed without knowing the implications that years later, they would still be on the Internet. They may have been able to handle the pressure then but they can’t now. Back then, I had no previous

Streamside Q&A


© Photo Chris Bird

experience nor did I know anyone who knew of what the Internet could possibly end up doing to our image, our career, our fishery, etc. DB: You are a role model for lots of people. Do you have role models? AV: Peg Braun, Yvon Chouinard. I can’t honestly tell you that I have a single role model who does not have a conservation background. My first role model ever was Dian Fossey. When I was very, very, very young, I was obsessed. I took out every documentary I could find, every VHS tape I could find in the library. I watched Gorillas in the Mist like ten trillion times. I was so fascinated with her. DB: You’re very much a voice on different conservation issues. What conservation issues concern you the most right now? AV: It really depends on the time of year and where I’m living. Every summer I find myself talking with the biologists and directors of the FWCC (Fish and Wildlife Conservation Congress) to see what can I do to help. I’m always a little out of the loop because I am gone for part of the year. I would love to be


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2017

involved 365 days a year in a lot of these battles. It’s so strange to not be running around like crazy and trying to emcee dinners and research all of the stats and science behind what’s happening. So stay tuned. I haven’t decided what I’m going to put my focus on this next year, but I’d like to focus on one thing, do it well and do it right. DB: What do you see as your greatest contribution to the sport of fly fishing? AV: That’s a really great question and one that’s so debatable. Different people might have different answers. In my opinion, if I’ve had a contribution to fly fishing, it would be, paving the way in today’s modern age for a woman in the sport. I remember the pressure and social criticisms but I would always look at the situation and think it’s okay because I’m doing this for the women that will be following behind me. I used to sit back and think this criticism and bullying is worse now but the girls behind me won’t have to endure what I have gone through. You’re asking this question of a woman who travels the world to interview people I really respect in the fishing

industry. I interview people like Bruce Hill and people like Lani Waller…people who have actually made a difference and a contribution. I leave the interview and my brain is replaying what I’ve just learned. The reality is as much as I would like to say that I think that I’ve done all of these great things, I aspire to be like these people. I really have been humbled by the people around me who have actually made a contribution. DB: You’ve said more people fishing means more people caring. What do you mean by that? AV: I’ve maintained the same motto for the last ten years. I believe that if you don’t know about something, how can you possibly want to protect it? It’s impossible. You cannot want to protect something if you don’t know it exists. If you’ve personally laid hands on it and seen it with your own eyes, it just makes you all the more passionate about it. So if that means that I have to share a fishing spot with somebody, as much as I grumble, I would rather have that person next to me because I know that we are going to share the passion for conserving or preserving that particular water, bay, or area of land. I think that more people fishing equals more people caring. But it’s our responsibility to get them out there. It doesn’t need to be fishing. More people knowing and having experience outdoors equal more people caring. Whether that be hunting, kayaking, fishing, hiking, we just have to get them outside. The reality is I never started fishing to catch a big steelhead. Not for a challenge or for an Instagram post; I never fished for that. I always fished because I love exploring and feeling like I was discovering something new. Whether hunting or fishing, I stand by that. That’s me.

Streamside Q&A



“The Echo EPR is a cannon ready to fire. It's my go-to stick for throwing heavy lines and flies for heavy fish. Responsive enough to sling on a dime and enough backbone for when the stars align.”

Flyfisher - Fall/Winter 2017  
Flyfisher - Fall/Winter 2017