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KEY PATTERNS Imitating the



Coaster Comeback





for your first

Fall/Winter 2018



Display until: April 1, 2019


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018





The “rock trout” Roosevelt described were brook trout, but not just any brook trout. The brook trout of Lake Superior eventually became known as “coasters”, for they were caught along the shoreline of the lake and its many islands. It is a fish that has proved difficult to define. Just as all steelhead are rainbow trout, but not all rainbow are steelhead—all coasters are brook trout, but not all brook trout are coasters.

One hundred fifty kilometers from the salt is Kengis Bruk, a magical beat on Sweden’s Thorne River where the Baltic salmon are as powerful as they are abundant. A place where double hooks are sprung in a matter of minutes as fresh fish turn and bolt back towards the salt. A place where a 15-foot, 10-weight rod and 30-pound mono can leave you undergunned.




On the cover: Stuart Davis Contents: Stuart Davis


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018





Why is all this important to know? Well, if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool dry-fly only angler, perhaps it’s not. If you’re set on only fishing dry flies, all you need is a basic time frame for when your local hatches occur and the knowledge of which bugs you may encounter. But if you want to maximize your time and the number of fish available to you, a little knowledge of the life cycle of each insect means you can experience the entire life of the bug in a day’s fishing.

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Editor’s Message Leadership Message Community Conservation Casting Fly Tying Fly Fishing Skills Profiles Streamside Q&A










conservation / education / community

F LY F I S H E R S I N T E R NAT I O NA L . O R G KEEPEMWET® is a registered trademark of KEEPEMWET FISHING™


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

Board of Directors Tom Logan Chairman of the Board Len Zickler (non-voting) President/CEO Development Chair Tilda Evans Secretary Fly Fishing Fair Committee Chair Jim Maus Treasurer Finance Committee Chair Jim Schramm (non-voting) Legal Counsel Dutch Baughman Executive Committee Education Committee Chair Keith Groty Executive Committee Senior Adviser Dave Peterson Executive Committee Conservation Committee Chair Burr Tupper Executive Committee Membership Committee Kuni Masuda International Programs Committee Chair Tim Papich Marketing/Communications Chair David Paul Williams Flyfisher Editor in Chief Board Members Bruce Brown Dave Boyer  David Diaz  Glenn Erikson  Bud Frasca  Carole Katz  Geoff Mullins  Dennis O’Brien  Jen Ripple  Richard Ross Conservation Senior Advisers Rick Williams Bob Tabbert

FLY FISHERS INTERNATIONAL 5237 US Highway 89 South, STE 11 Livingston, MT 59047-9176 (406) 222-9369 President/CEO Len Zickler | Operations Manager/Conservation Rhonda Sellers | Education Coordinator Fair/Fly Tying Group Jessica Atherton | Membership Coordinator Guides/Retailers Kat Mulqueen | Clubs & Councils Coordinator Donations Administrator Lindsey Webster | Casting Coordinator/Merchandise Nikki Loy | Bookkeeper Sharon Cebulla | Administrative Assistant Alex Williams | Museum Information (406) 222-9369 |


Flyfisher Editor in Chief David Paul Williams | 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 jbird@birdmarketinggroup. com. 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 2018 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.




H 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.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

eading home through the Washington desert after giving a fly fishing for carp presentation to a FFI club, I was punching the radio dial buttons, hoping to find some music to help me stay awake. After rejecting one station after another, I found a station with a clear signal that gave me exactly the music I needed. Like most people, my music tastes vary. Sometimes it’s lyrical jazz. Other times it’s old country with Hank Williams, Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline singing tales of love and heartbreak. Classical, so long as it was written before 1940, is a joy. Tonight, it was blood-pumping, head-banging rock and roll—Santana, Meat Loaf and Metallica. Fly Fishers International, like that radio station, provides a clear signal to its members and the fly fishing community at large. That powerful signal answers the WII-FM question—the What’s In It-For Me question, by offering something for everyone—locally, nationally and internationally. FFI has been working hard to provide benefits to local clubs. One program that has a clear and present benefit is the Affiliate Club Insurance Program. Here’s how the dollars shake out. In Washington, affiliate club annual insurance premium ranged from $1200, all the way to $2200. For clubs that have joined the Program, the annual premium is now $450. As more clubs join, further premium reductions are anticipated. Dave Peterson’s Making A Difference article barely scratches the surface of all the conservation efforts and action undertaken by FFI in the nine months ending June 30, 2018. FFI has taken positions on the federal Clean Water Rule, continued opposing the Pebble Mine in Alaska, favored Everglades restoration funding and encouraged stronger efforts to prevent the invasion of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes. FFI conservation efforts extend beyond fish and water. We joined the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership letter regarding public lands held by the Department of Interior and favored the federal Advancing Conservation and Education Act and the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act. Conservation efforts are also supported at the club level through a grant program. Formerly known as the conservation small grants program, grant applications can be submitted all year long. A recent grant of $2,500 to the Boise Valley Fly Fishers will be used for public fishing access on the Boise River. Our members and fly fishers at large will benefit from the efforts of the Education Committee that created the Learning Center, unveiled at the 2018 Fly Fishing Fair. Consisting of fly casting, fly tying, fly fishing skills and conservation education, the Learning Center will foster growth and development of fly fishing for current and future fly anglers. Many FFI members are service veterans who have taken an interest in working with wounded veterans. FFI has worked hard to strengthen its relationship with Project Healing Waters. Most recently, the Casting Group is developing a program for PHW. Yet another benefit available to members is the Fly Tying Video Library brought to you by the FFI Fly Tying Group. The fly pattern database can be searched by category, sub-category or fly name. FFI formed an International Committee as part of the effort to expand programs internationally. The Committee created a survey and has compiled the survey responses. Expect to see more international content in Flyfisher beginning with the photo essay on Sweden’s Thorne River in this issue. International writers and photographers are encouraged to review the submission guidelines, then submit queries. We like to hear from our readers. Tell us what you like. Tell us what you don’t like. Tell us what’s on your mind and stay tuned to the radio.



erving in leadership with Fly Fishers International (FFI) is a profound and rewarding experience. We are responsible for developing programs that expand and protect opportunities for fly fishers to be on the water. We believe that our sport of fly fishing will grow and be preserved for future generations through education and environmental stewardship. We achieve our mission by way of our high standard for conservation and excellence in education. The real excitement though, is in witnessing the implementation of programs that contribute to the enjoyment of being fly fishers. FFI was founded a half century ago as a conservation-based organization and our relevance continues to grow. We now partner with more than 55 outdoor organizations all firmly committed to the understanding that protection of our natural areas is essential to ongoing opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as well as to our quality of life. These partnerships allow us to speak collectively for the protection of our lands and waters. This allows us to represent millions of members and an industry that contributes a trillion dollars to our economy each year. This is a powerful voice! FFI is the only organization in this diverse partnership that represents fly fishers. Furthermore, the resource biologists that serve on our Conservation Committee contribute to sound science on every issue. It is our position that we all must have a conservation philosophy. If you agree, then Fly Fishers International is the organization for you. FFI’s commitment to education and sharing of information allows each of us to develop our skills and enjoyment of fly fishing. The Education Committee has done a remarkable job in developing and implementing the Learning Center. This program, launched in August at The Fly Fishing Fair in Boise, ID, makes some of the best instructional expertise in fly casting, fly tying, fishing skills and conservation education available to all fly fishers. The Learning Center includes both in-person workshop instruction as well as downloadable materials. Check out our Fly Tying Video Library under the Tying tab on our website. Another significant commitment is our partnership with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, through which we assist and support veterans by providing casting and fly tying instructors for their programs. PHWFF veterans were a prominent part of the Fly Fishing Fair, participating in the 2018 National Fly Casting Competition and awards presentation. We look forward to this partnership growing in significance. There has been an increase in the number of women leaders in fly fishing and this is especially true within Fly Fishers International. FFI Women Connect is a fast-growing and exciting segment of our membership. They played prominent role in the educational programs at the Fly Fishing Fair, offering workshops in fly casting, fly tying and fishing; all taught by highly-skilled women instructors. Community is one of the pillars that sustains FFI as an organization. Our community could not exist without effective and ongoing communication. Len Zickler and I support and participate in as many Council and Club events as time allows. This gives us the opportunity to personally share current program developments and the results are always very positive. Please consider inviting one of us to your next event. Headquarters also provides a great deal of information to our fly fishing community. Current events and new programs are regularly posted to our website and social accounts. ClubWire is mailed to approximately 750 Club Members and E-News is sent to approximately 25,000 community members and posted to our website under the Resources tab. Please visit and follow Fly Fishers International on Facebook and Instagram for the most current news and events.

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.

TOM H. LOGAN Chairman and 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.

Leadership Messages



Council Awards of Excellence Chesapeake Council Dianne Tidy Eastern Rocky Mtn Council John Doss Michael Vella Eastern Waters Council Michael Gallart Florida Council Craig Smothers Great Lakes Council Tom Baird Gulf Coast Council Dirk Burton North East Council Aleta Connell Northern California Ken Brunskill Oregon Council Hal Gordon Southeast Council Aaron Christensen Southwest Council Tim Lawson Dok Arvanites Texas Council David Crawford Don Puckett Upper Midwest Council Scott Nordby Washington Council Bill Wheeler Western Rocky Mtn Council Trisha Campbell


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

Order of Lapis Lazuli This year’s awardee, Will Godfrey, has been an active leader in our organization. His primary role was as a national leader spanning 15 of the FFF’s formative years. He served as an FFF director, Vice President, and Executive Vice President. He was recognized as Man of the Year in 1971, awarded the President’s Pin twice and received the Lew Jewett Life Memorial Award in 2013. His leadership has not been limited to the national organization. He was co-founder of the Boise Valley Fly Fishers. He also helped organize and found the Magic Valley Fly Fishermen and the Upper Snake Fly Fishermen. Idaho governor Cecil Andrus appointed him as an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner. During this time, seven streams, including Silver Creek and the Henry’s Fork of the Snake were returned to wild fish habitation. He represented Governor Andrus during the final negotiations transferring the Roland Harriman Railroad Ranch in Island

Frank & Jeanne Moore Award It is hard to understand how anyone can be a true sportsman without also being a conservationist. Love for hunting and fishing and commitment to stewardship go hand in hand, to the point where it’s hard to see

Park Idaho to the State of Idaho. This ranch is now an Idaho State Park with fishing and hunting regulations designed to match the desires of the Harriman family. Will Godfrey is a self-taught auctioneer. During more than 375 auctions, he has raised more than 13 million dollars for fly fishing and conservation organizations. He has been our auctioneer for most of the FFF, IFFF and FFI National and International Conclaves and Shows from 1979 to 2018. For his many significant and extraordinary contributions to Fly Fishers International over the course of more than 50 years, the FFI is happy and grateful to present Will Godfrey with The Order of the Lapis Lazuli Award. where one leaves off and the other starts. Craig Mathews embodies that conservation ethic. Craig, as one who has worked my professional career mostly in research and recovery of endangered wildlife and their habitats, I personally thank you and am delighted to present to you the Fly Fishers International 2018 Frank

and Jeanne Moore Award for your conservation work. When Craig won the Fly Rod and Reel’s Angler of the Year Award in 2005, Nick Lyons called him “a spectacular and versatile fly fisher, a keen conservationist, and one of the most passionate anglers I know. He is a hard man not to like - always pleasant, soft spoken, eminently knowledgeable, and one of those gifted teachers who do their work by gentle verbal hints (when you want it) and by example. His enthusiasm for fly-fishing is infectious.” Craig’s passion manifests itself in his skill in fly tying, his understanding of trout stream entomology, his skill with a fly rod, his knowledge of the greater Yellowstone area, his willingness to engage with every angler who walks through the doors at Blue Ribbon Flies, and his contributions to the fly fishing literature. But one essential element stands out. Craig is an incredibly fierce advocate for the streams and rivers of Yellowstone country, and for the vast western landscapes that support everything from trout and grayling to elk and mule deer.

Lifetime Achievement In Fly Casting Instruction This award is presented to individuals who have made significant long-term contributions in casting instruction, innovations in casting techniques, writing, motivation and development of the Casting Certification Program. Tonight, we have two individuals receiving this award. Ed Jaworowski has dedicated more than 40 years as a fly casting instructor, educator and mentor. Not simply content to teach students “how to” make fly casts. Rather, he seeks to instill in his students a deep passion to understand the “why’s” behind the mechanics of the cast. In his highly original and influential contribution to casting education, he made the DVD titled “The Complete Cast,” produced by Lefty Kreh. Ed’s goal was to encourage a different and deeper way of thinking about fly casting. Ed has been a prodigious author of fly fishing and casting articles and published two acclaimed books on casting. As a long time and valuable FFI member, Ed has served in leadership positions at the national and council levels. Lefty Kreh once said: “Ed Jaworowski, whom I consider to be the best teacher of fly casting that I have ever known, promotes a modern method of fly casting tailored to suit up-to-date tackle and needs.”

It is for his lifetime body of work as an innovative fly casting instructor and educator that FFI presents the Lifetime Achievement Award. Rick Williams became a Certified Casting Instructor in 1997, a Master Certified Instructor in 1998 and a Two Handed Certified Instructor in 2006. He has been extremely involved in teaching, innovation in casting techniques, publications, and providing leadership in

the development of the Casting Instructor Certification Program and the Examiner Development Pathway. Rick’s organizational and motivational skills have provided leadership to the Casting Board of Governors. A member of the Casting International Committee since its inception in 2006, Rick has traveled as an FFI Casting Instructor Examiner and Ambassador to Scotland, Italy, England, Japan, Ireland and South Korea. For his many years of leadership and sharing of his casting knowledge and skills, FFI is happy to present him this Lifetime Achievement Award.



COMMUNITY Fly Fisher Of The Year

Awards President’s Medals Boise Valley Fly Fishers Sandy Carpenter Mike Clancy Mary Ann Dozer Carole Katz Don Knickrem Patty Leuken Tim Mansell Cheryl O’Neill Molly Semenik Sherry Steele Jonathan Walters Rick Williams Leopold Conservation Award Dr. Aaron Adams FFI Conservation Award fishpond Inc. McKenzie Cup Backcountry Fly Fishers Darwin Atkin Memorial Fly Tying Achievement Award Dave Roberts Lew Jewett Memorial Award Mike Clancy Don Harger Memorial Award Wayne Parmley Robert J. Marriott’s Scholarship Grant Tyler Olrogg

CASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS Mel Krieger Fly Casting Instruction Award Molly Semenik Brian Henderson Jay Gammel Award Sheila Hasson Governors Mentoring Award Willy George Rod McGarry Jim Sommercorn Governors Pin Steve Hollensed Jonathan Walter


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

Buz Buszek Memorial Fly Tying Award This is the most prestigious award in the world of fly tying. It was established as a memorial to Buz Buszek, a well-known fly tier and fly shop owner since 1943. Fishing and fly tying has been Bud Heintz’s recreational enjoyment and hobby for approximately 45 years. He was mentored in fly fishing by many, but the most influential has been Darwin Atkin. Our awardee has done demonstration tying since the late 1970s. First at local fly fishing clubs, where he developed their fly tying programs and conducted lessons, and later at the International Conclaves and Shows. He has developed numerous patterns over the years. Many are innovative, such as the Krystal Mayfly Series, where he used Krystal Flash for the wing before it became popular, and his deer hair work such as his Hopper and Cricket patterns with hair stacked and spun to create the mottled look. Making Balsa Wood Poppers for bass and panfish has been a hobby for many years. By combining woodcarving and fly tying, he has refined his work to what many believe are works of art. He creates new looks to old patterns by using new materials. He creates his own patterns. But above all Howard “Bud” Heintz enjoys sharing information and techniques with others; enjoying the camaraderie of fellow tiers; and bringing new people to the sport.

This award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated unusual devotion to FFI, and through their outstanding contributions, has greatly benefited the organization. After serving in Vietnam as a 26th Marines Battalion Surgeon, Tom Gadacz then spend 30 years as a Professor of Surgery at John Hopkins Hospital. Tom began fly fishing in 1991 but after retiring as Chair & Professor of the Department of Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia, he became serious about the sport and decided to make fly fishing his new career. He became a member of Suncoast Fly Fishers in St. Petersburg, Florida and a member of FFI in 2008. He held several positions in Suncoast Fly Fishers, including Treasurer and then President for four years. Tom became the Florida Council President in 2013 and assumed the role of Council Presidents Committee Chair in January 2015. Tom continues to spend many days teaching people to fly fish, participating in club, council, and FFI events, volunteering in Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and, perhaps most importantly, mentoring his kids and grandkids in the sport of fly fishing.

Fly Casting Skills Challenge Program Debuts at Boise Fair In development for more than two years, the Fly Casting Skills Challenge Program is part of FFI’s Learning Center; an educational resource made available to members and the general public with the goal of promoting stewardship and conservation through education in fly fishing skills. The Casting Skills Challenge was designed as a game to increase casting and fishing skills for all levels of casters and fly fishers. The three challenge levels include progressive casting skills that anglers use in fly fishing, including roll casting, accuracy, mends, curve and distance casts. Casting tasks at each level are directly applicable to increasingly difficult fishing scenarios. The Skills Challenge is a fun and voluntary way to study, practice, and measure one’s fly casting progress and the Program allows participants to receive recognition for their casting skill achievements. More information about the FFI Learning Center and the Casting Skills Program can be found under the Education tab on the FFI website. The debut of the Fly Casting Skills Challenge Program was a highlight of the 2018 International Fly Fishing Fair in Boise (ID). The workshop was led by article authors and Casting Board of Governors, Jonathan Walter (MCI), Bill Wheeler (MCI), Molly Semenik (MCI), Rick Williams (MCI & THCI) as well as Jean Francois Lavalee (MCI) and had roughly 40 participants, including FFI members, certified Casting Instructors (CI’s), and about 15 military veterans from several regions of the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Program. Workshop participants were briefly

introduced to the Bronze, Silver and Gold challenge levels through demonstrations by workshop instructors. They were then encouraged to cast and experience the Bronze level challenge with assistance from CICP Instructors. Several participants pursued the various Challenge levels, resulting in awards at all three levels, including the program’s first Gold Awards. Gold Award recipients included two CI Candidates; Rodrigo Silva (Brazil) and Trisha Campbell (WA), two Casting Instructors; Gary Turri and Steve Morikawa as well as vetran and PHWFF participant, Lisa Ornelas (CA). Sergeant Ornelas served in Iraq, where in March 2005, she was severely injured by a bomb resulting in multiple head and neck injuries. With the support of Carole Katz, SW Regional Coordinator for PHWFF, Lisa joined a PHWFF group in Long Beach as an alternative therapy following years of struggling with increasing depression related to PTSD. It was here Lisa found a home, camaraderie, fly fishing-related activities, and a passion for fly casting. After first winning the Long Beach PHWFF casting competition, Lisa became the first veteran and PHWFF member to receive the Casting Skills Gold Award. The Gold Award represents an important milestone in Lisa’s fly fishing journey. Her success in the Casting Skills Challenge program has given her the confidence to think about working toward a Casting Instructor certification. We’re very proud of Lisa and our other Gold Award recipients. The enthusiastic reception to the Skills Challenge at the Fair validated our intentions for the program which serves multiple

purposes. First, the challenge led to learning opportunities for members, as well as teaching opportunities for CI and MCI instructors. Second, some casters were interested in measuring themselves against the challenge. And third, participants enjoyed receiving a Certificate of Achievement and pin after the completion of a Challenge level. The Casting Skills Challenge is a great activity for a club meeting or regional event and can be used as a teaching tool potentially leading to CICP instructor preparation and certification. While the success of the Program in Boise was gratifying, the challenge now is to build awareness. With nearly 1,500 certified CI’s, we have a great opportunity to use the manpower and expertise of FFI instructors to introduce the program to members, clubs, and the general public. We have found that the best way to get people excited about the program is to have a certified Casting Instructor introduce the Skills Challenge in a demonstration clinic and then spend time casting the challenges with participants. For those interested in achieving the Challenge Awards, the Instructor can help participants understand the casts and how to score them. Invite a local FFI Instructor to your next meeting, and they’ll show you what a fun game the Fly Casting Skills Challenge is for your members.



In Memory of FFI Members Dave Ames Phillip Ames

Lefty Kreh Lefty Kreh was one of the preeminent sport fishermen of his time. He reinvented the way fly anglers cast, pioneered the sport of saltwater flyfishing and developed some of the most successful fly patterns ever tied.

In countless articles and more than 30 books, in videos, on television and at innumerable public appearances, he inspired generations of anglers at all levels, and his casting lessons taught thousands how to be better casters. Kreh was known for his generosity, humor and integrity.

Robert Anderson Kenneth Bachman Kenneth Baker Neal Beechinor Gordon Brandhagen Maumus F Claverie Jr Royce E Dam Eben Dobson Lonnie Gillespie Scott Goodwin Dave Hamilton Andrew Hoare Ken Hofmeister Kent S Hull David N Hutchinson James E Jarvis Donavon Johnson John Johnson William V Johnston Jack Jonathan Nobuyuki Kawano Wayne Kimmel Larry Korn Lefty Kreh Darleen Lewis


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

Ronald M. Sowa Ronald M. Sowa loved the outdoors and was active in several local wildlife organizations including serving as the Executive Director of the NH Wildlife Federation. Having instructed fly fishing for the NH Fish & Game, he was a member of the Fly Fishers International Board of Directors and also served as Vice President of the Fly Fishers International North Eastern Council. Ron was the former president of the Merrimack River Valley Trout Unlimited and current member of the Board of Directors. He was the coordinator of the Fly Fish New Hampshire Show and an instructor at Trout Unlimited Kids Camp. He was a registered

NH fishing guide and participated in numerous conservation projects in New Hampshire. Ron was a member of Operation Game Thief and Ducks Unlimited.

Nathaniel Reed We’d like to tip our rods to Nathaniel Reed, an environmentalist who led conservation fights throughout Florida and helped turn the Endangered Species Act into law while serving as an assistant secretary of the Interior in the 1970’s. Adrian Reed said, “He had many times told my brother, sister and me, ‘If I could choose to leave this earth, I would catch one last beautiful salmon and it would be lights off.’ “ On July 3, Nathaniel Reed caught his

Paul Weitz Paul Weitx, 85, was deputy director of the Johnson Space Center and later served as a pilot on the first

Royce Dam Royce Dam started tying flies in 1947 when there weren’t a lot of tyers around his home in Wisconsin. Royce himself had only begun fly fishing three years earlier, and strictly in warm water. His decision to start tying was purely pragmatic: a streamer he paid 25 cents for fell apart after his second cast. “I thought, God, 25 cents

In Memory of FFI Members John Lindsey Jr Dennis Mason Dick Matthaei Takashi Morita final salmon—a 16-pounder—and soon after, he slipped. He died from hitting his head hit on a rock. manned Skylab mission in 1973. As the spacecraft commander of the 1983 maiden voyage of the Orbiter Challenger, the crew conducted numerous experiments in materials processing, recorded lightning activities and conducted spectacular extravehicular activity while testing a variety of support systems and equipment in preparation for future space walks, according to Weitz’s biography page on NASA’s website. By the end of that trip, Weitz had logged more than a month in space on NASA missions. Paul was a long-time member of the Northern Arizona Flycasters Club and the FFI.

Arnold Ochs Russ Osenbach Steven Osterman Lee Price Robert Quinton Rector Doug Redfern Nathaniel P Reed Fred Ridenour Ross E Roberts Richard P Romagnoli Bruce E Roney Kathleen Shane Stan Smith Barkley Souders

for a fly and I make two casts and it’s gone, dead,” Royce recalled. “That’s when I decided to get into tying.” Royce Dam, who went on to teach himself fly tying with only books as his guide, became FFI’s 1994 Buz Buszek Memorial Fly Tying Award recipient, one of the most prestigious fly tying awards in the world. The techniques Royce innovated exemplified his philosophy of no nonsense tying.

Ron Sowa Burton J Walrath Paul Weitz Bart Whelton Tresa Ronco White Willis S Whittlesey III Jack Yarian




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 Contact HQ for info 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 Jerry Hamon Upper Midwest Council Ralph Jounson Washington State Council Bill Wheeler Western Rocky Mountain Council Dave Londeree

Council President: Dianne Tidy The Chesapeake Council (CC) was established in 2013 to represent fly fishers in the states that are part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. As of this writing the CC have 10 Affiliate and Charter Clubs active in the region. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed includes fly fishing waters that host an unusually large variety of fish species. Within a day’s drive you can fish coastal saltwater for striped bass, speckled trout and perch; mountain streams with brookies, brown and rainbow trout; or rivers and ponds with bass, bream, chain pickerel and walleye. The clubs in the CC are involved with protecting these waters for future generations through habitat restoration, dam removals, species restoration (shad and yellow perch) and monitoring legislative actions such as potential changes to the MagnusonStevens Act that governs marine fisheries in U.S. federal waters. Most of the local clubs host annual fly fishing events such as the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders’ monthly Beer Ties and annual Project Healing Waters Tie-a-thon. Antietam Fly Anglers host the Fly Casters Rendezvous in the spring and draw

instructors and students from around the region. Potomac Valley Fly Fishers, a club that has celebrated more than 50 years of service, participates in the Catoctin Creek Clean-up. Each spring the Cumberland Valley TU, another 50 years club, deploys their Feet in the Stream Gang to remove invasive vegetation and keep a stretch of the famous Letort Creek running clear and clean. On September 29, 2018 the Chesapeake Council hosted their first fly fishing event, Fall on the Fly, at Susquehanna State Park. For the first time in more than ten years, CI candidates were tested in the CC and four successful candidates joined their peers. In addition, The Lead By Example program, developed to attract the intermediate-level fly fisher, meant bringing in as many CI’s and MCI’s that could be gathered within the region. The classes included two-hour sessions on Dry Fly Fishing, Bass Fly Fishing, Saltwater Fishing and Casts for Tricky Fishing Situations. The CC offered additional free classes including the new FFI Bronze, Silver and Gold Casting Challenge. Many instructors spent extra time working on attendees specific needs in Casting With A Coach one-on-one sessions. The event hosted about 30 fly fishers and was a great first time offering. The CC members gained experience and future events will be even better. Earlier this year the Chesapeake Council lost its favorite fly fisherman; ME

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)







Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018



































Bernard “Lefty” Kreh. Lefty was widely known as a prolific writer, photographer, fly fisherman and fly fishing innovator as well as a father, grandfather and greatgrandfather. He shared his knowledge generously and will be missed on the water and at fly fishing events. Rebuilding a Council from scratch is not an easy undertaking. The Chesapeake Council will grow the Board of Directors over the next year and offer more support to the clubs in the region. It will host a booth, provide fly casting and fly tying lessons, and offer a daylong Continuing Education program for CI’s and MCI’s at The Fly Fishing Show held in Lancaster, PA.

EASTERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN COUNCIL Council President: Bruce Brown Number of clubs active in council territory: The ERMC has 13 clubs in Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona Upcoming Events: We are in the process of working with Western Slope clubs in Colorado to provide casting instruction and possible CI Certification opportunities. What is your feedback on the recent International Fly Fishing Fair and FishFest event in Boise? The 2018 Fair was one of the best in recent history. The venue was excellent. What recent events have been completed within your council territory or hosted directly by the council and what goals were achieved? A regional Expo was held in Montrose, Colorado. It was well attended by vendors, fly tyers and participants. Our intent was to raise funds and awareness of FFI. Are there any members/clubs/guides/ outfitters within your council territory

whose recent efforts/achievements you would like to highlight? I would like to recognize the efforts of Paul Boals, ERMC Board Member who organized the Expo, as well as, John Doss, ERMC Member of Excellence. John’s efforts include the extraordinary communication logistics for the ERMC and his AZFISHBOOK blog is widely distributed throughout the ERMC states and beyond.

FLORIDA COUNCIL Council President: Tom Gadacz Number of clubs active in council territory: 11 clubs with FFI Charter/Affiliate status Upcoming Events: Election of Officers and Board members at the December Annual meeting What is your feedback on the recent International Fly Fishing Fair and FishFest event in Boise? Great variety of programs and exceptional venue at Boise Center. Excellent support from staff and volunteers. What recent events have been completed within your council territory or hosted directly by the council and what goals were achieved? Fly Fishing Show and Expo February 9-10, 2018 at the Plantation in Crystal River, FL. With Steve Huff as the featured speaker, we had 26 general programs, 13 fly casting programs, and 7 special fly tying programs and rotating fly tiers in the exhibition hall. The women’s programs were outstanding with many attendees. Members attended ICAST in Orlando Florida July 10-15 at the Orange County Convention Center, promoted FFI and had several meetings with vendors and other organizations to foster collaborative

work/projects to foster fly fishing and address environmental issues. Attendees were Tom Logan, FFI BOD Chair, Tom Gadacz, FFI FL Council President, Michael Schweit, Southwest Council, Rick Warfel, FL Council Secretary, Craig Smothers, FFI Fly Tying Group Board of Governors and FL Council Fly Tying Chair, Karen Warfel, Suncoast Fly Fishers Treasurer, and Quin Berry, Suncoast Fly Fishers Board Member. What work is the being done in your council territory to support and encourage conservation projects that mitigate the effects of climate change on all habitats? The Florida Council has endorsed Florida Forever and is an affiliate member of the Florida Conservation Coalition (former Senator Bob Graham is a chair of this group), is working to partner with other organizations to foster clean water and habitat protection. We support the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. Are there any members/clubs/guides/ outfitters within your council territory whose recent efforts/achievements you would like to highlight? The Backcountry Fly Fishers of Naples was awarded the FFI McKenzie Award, Tom Gadacz received the Fly Fisher Award, and Craig Smothers received the FL Council Award at the International Fly Fishing Fair and FishFest event in Boise, Idaho. Tom Logan, Council VP, is the Chair of the FFI BOD. Tom Gadacz, Council President, is the Chair of the FFI Council Presidents Committee. Craig Smothers, FL Council Fly Tying Chair, is a member of the FFI Fly Tying Group Board of Governors. Recent Florida Council Board appointments include Rick Warfel as Secretary, Ron Blomquist as Membership Chair, and Craig Smothers as Fly Tying Chair. David Lambert has been the



Managing Editor of The Loop since 2013. Special Recognition: Ken Hofmeister was President of Suncoast Fly Fishers and under his leadership the club became a Charter Club of FFI. He also started Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.  Ken participated in several FFI Florida Council Expos and was the Secretary and Membership Chair of the Florida Council.  He was an avid fly fishers and described his favorite fly, Ada Potata, for spotted sea trout.  He was an inspiration to all fly fishers.

NORTH EASTERN COUNCIL Council President: Burr Tupper North Eastern Council Supports Dartmouth College Brook Trout Tagging and Migration Study For the past several years the Council, along with New Hampshire Fish and Game and other conservation groups, has provided financial and volunteer support for the tagging and migration studies conducted at Dartmouth’s Second College Grant. The study in this unique, pristine 27,000 parcel in northern New Hampshire is being conducted to determine the health and migration habitat of the brook trout population on the Dead Diamond and Swift Diamond rivers. The most recent event took place in September 2018 with volunteers helping with the electroshocking and tagging, then recording the data collected. The 2018 goals were: (1) capture, tag and track at least 500 brook trout, including young of the year; (2) develop equipment and methods of utilizing small “PIT” tags and (3) continue monitoring, observations and habitat measurements to determine major spawning areas, spawning patterns and role of ground water and seepage into the rivers.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

The study to date has shown that there is a very healthy brook trout population spawning and moving around in this vast watershed. One fish was recorded traveling more than 58 miles one spring and summer. The data will help Dartmouth College manage this population, but also provide NH Fish & Game with information that will be used to manage and sustain native brook trout in other parts of the state.

SOUTHEAST COUNCIL Council President: Dick Handshaw For many years the Southeast Council committed itself to organizing excellent annual festivals. I attended classes at several of the festivals and owe most of what I know about fly fishing to those classes. Festival attendance gradually dwindled and our board grew tired of holding these events for fewer and fewer people. Last year, we participated in a local festival in Bryson City, NC, but were again disappointed in the attendance numbers. We know that our Southeast states are good places to fly fish with miles and miles of good wild and supported trout water, rivers and ponds full of large bass, and coastal areas with good redfish and other saltwater fishing. We know some of our clubs are struggling. We also know we have one strong club in Charlotte, NC. The Carolina Fly Fishing Club has more than 170 members, every one of whom is a dues-paying member of FFI. The club has monthly meetings with speakers that draw 35 to more than 50 members each month. Their annual picnic and banquet attract around 70 members and guests to each event. The club leads many trips ranging from one

day outings to multi-day camping trips. Using this model of operation, the club grew for less than 50 members to over 150 members in three years. We decided to do something to help our struggling clubs by investing in those clubs. Our board launched a plan to contact all of our charter and affiliate clubs to find out what each of them is doing and what resources they might need from the Council. We plan to have our research completed by the end of this year, and begin offering to help strengthen existing clubs and launch new clubs beginning in January. We are prepared to offer financial models, website models, prepared instructional events, and assistance with meeting and speaker planning. Our new goal is to help clubs be as successful as the Carolina Club.

SOUTHWEST COUNCIL Council President: Bill O’Kelly In the fall of 2012, the Southwest Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers, now the Southwest Council of Fly Fishers International (SWCFFI), held a Fly Fishing Faire in Mammoth Lakes. At the Faire, Dawne Emery, from the CADFW, spoke on the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout recovery efforts in Silver Creek. Emery said the brook trout, illegally put in the creek, were killing the Lahontans. At the Faire we did a fishing survey on Silver Creek. Southwest Conservation Coordinator Debbie Sharpton asked Emery if the Southwest Council (SWC) could help the CADFW with its recovery efforts. From July through September 2013, the SWC, CADFW, and CalTrout removed Silver Creek brook trout. In 2013 and 2014, the SWC received $5,000 annually from the Sierra Pacific

Fly Fishers to hire an intern. In 2015, the CADFW, CalTrout, Trout Unlimited (TU) and SWC worked together on the project. In 2016, the SWC, CADFW, and TU manned the project. In 2017, the SWC, CADFW, and TU continued to work on the project. This project is scheduled to last 10 years or until the brook trouts are removed. The SWC has been there every year working on the brook trout removal with the CADFW.

TEXAS COUNCIL Council President: Jerry Hamon Number of clubs active in council territory: 20 with a couple of new clubs on the horizon Upcoming Events: Oktoberfisch was presented by the Fredericksburg Fly Fishers on Oct 1921 and the 30th Annual Toledo Bend Rendezvous, a fly tying event was held by several Texas and Gulf Coast Council clubs on Nov 2-4. What is your feedback on the recent International Fly Fishing Fair and FishFest event in Boise? The FFI Fair in Boise was a fabulous event. It was not only fun but very educational and enlightening especially for a first-time Council President like me. I left there with a much better understanding of how FFI works and what it stands for. What recent events have been completed within your council territory or hosted directly by the council and what goals were achieved? The Texas Council participated in and supported numerous club-sponsored events throughout the entire state this year, including the recent casting clinic presented by the Ft. Worth Fly Fishers and the Mini Fly Fishing Expo presented by the Texas Fly Fishers. The goals of

both events were to increase the public’s awareness of fly fishing and to provide participants with the basic skills of fly fishing and tying. Are there any members/clubs/guides/ outfitters within your council territory whose recent efforts/achievements you would like to highlight? Both the Lubbock Fly Fishers and the Abilene Fly Fishers have done a phenomenal job this year through their fly fishing and tying outreach programs provided to the public as well as to our US Veterans.

UPPER MIDWEST COUNCIL Council President: Ralph Johnson Number of clubs active in council territory: six including a new club, affiliated with Project Healing Waters in the Wisconsin area. Upcoming Events: The Upper Midwest Council is working on plans for the annual fly fishing school in June 2019, to include a Master’s Casting Instructor Preparation course that is open to anyone interested in an intensive and comprehensive seminar. Plans are also in process a Certified Casting Instructor examination sponsored by the Casting Board of Governors to be held at a Wisconsin location. Contact Todd Heggestad, UMC Education Director at or Ralph Johnson, UMC President at for details.

WESTERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN COUNCIL Council President: Dave Londeree Last year Dave Gillmor and I invited four of the volunteers from the North Idaho/

Eastern Washington Chapter of Casting For Recovery to float the Kootenai River from the Montana border to Moyie Springs. We had a great time and several fish were caught and released. This year we added another boat, rowed by Bob Clark, and six ladies: Peg Kingery, Trisha Campbell, Renee Blythe, Tracy Ball, Skip Shaw and Kim Herndon. The morning of September 28 started with all gathering at my home in Athol, Idaho at 5:00 A.M. We met Dave Gillmor, then after breakfast at the Blue Heron Café in Sandpoint, we met our shuttle drivers and headed to the launch site about a mile into Montana. We could not have asked for a nicer day—clear skies and a slight downstream breeze. As the other two boats were launched and headed for the Idaho border, I rowed across the river to a great run as both of the gals in my boat had a Montana license. The first fish of the day, a beautiful 16” rainbow all dressed up with bright colors, put a big smile on Peg’s face. The flies that brought most of the fish to the boat were a #8 Orange Stimulator and a #14 Royal Wulff—a Purple Haze and Parachute Adams also worked well. As we made our way down the river, several fish were landed with the largest stretching a little more than 19 inches. It was a great day on the Kootenai with some really wonderful people. The float took seven-and-a-half hours with a stop for a shore lunch. The downstream breeze hurried us along as it normally takes a bit longer to cover the 11 miles of this gorgeous river. Thanks go to Dave Gillmor, Bob Clark and our shuttle drivers for a great trip. Plans are already being made for another trip next fall.




Making A Difference: One Conservation Project and One Fly Fisher at a Time

C DAVE PETERSON Conservation Chair

onservation is both a founding principle and one of the pillars that drives FFI’s programs and priorities. The FFI Public Lands and Waters of the United States Policy states we are One of the ways we carry out the mission to conserve and protect “all fish all water” is by providing grants to our clubs, councils and other conservationminded organizations involved in projects protecting our fishes and their habitats. While these grants supply direct monetary support for these projects, the FFI brand is used by grant recipients to leverage additional monies from other conservation organizations and foundations. These grants support programs that span coldwater and warmwater fisheries as well as saltwater and marine environments.

on” sweat equity to complete the projects. A few examples include: Boswell Creek and Urka Dam in Michigan. This stream restoration project, in collaboration with the Great Lakes Council, involved the removal of a dam and restoration of a tributary to the Manistee River, an iconic blue ribbon trout stream in northern Michigan. Peacock Bass in Florida. This grant, endorsed by the Florida Council, supported a research project studying the physiology and behavior of peacock bass in Florida waters. North Ditch Fish Passage in Oregon. The Klamath Country Fly Casters, the Oregon Council, and Fly Fishers International collaborated to create a fish passage in this tributary to the Williamson/Sprague River system.

Habitat Improvement, Research and Restoration

Advocacy and Education

Many of the grants support “on the ground” projects such as stream restoration, biological sampling, boat ramp construction and a variety of other projects that enhance and protect fisheries. FFI frequently partners with its councils and clubs on these grants and FFI members often provide the “hands


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Grants are also provided for activities and publications that advocate for scientificallybased fish conservation and restoration and educate anglers and the public about fisheries. FFI provided grants to: Wild Pacific Salmon: A Threatened Legacy. This grant supported publication and distribution of a paper that described

the complex threats to the ecosystems of wild Pacific salmon and issued a call to action to save these endangered fish. Aquila/Back Forty Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Great Lakes Council and FFI provided grants to the Mining Action Group of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition. The grants supported the fight against development of the sulfide-producing Aquila/Back Forty mine on the Menominee River, a pristine smallmouth bass river flowing into Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Big Thompson River Learning Station. The Eastern Rocky Mountain Council received a grant for a Learning Station to complement a new fishing pier on the Big Thompson River. The fishing pier is a popular stop for tourists and anglers and the Learning Station will build and strengthen a public constituency for preserving and protecting fishery habitats.

Turneffe Atoll Trust in Belize. This grant supported a planning meeting devoted to protection of key bonefish and permit habitats. Karnali River in Nepal. An FFI grant, along with grants from many other organizations, supports efforts to create a protected river corridor along the Karnali River in western Nepal as an alternative to hydropower dams.

International Projects

What Can You Do?

FFI’s conservation efforts have international reach as we entertain grant proposals from around the world. Two recent grants are: Turneffe Atoll Habitat Protection. FFI, along with a number of other organizations, provided a grant to the

There are lots of opportunities. Get involved with your local club or council and look for projects such as stream clean-ups, installing monofilament waste stations, and habitat improvement, that will protect the waters you fish. Work with like-minded groups and write FFI grant proposals (the forms are on the FFI website) to improve the waters you fish. Become active with local watershed councils and riparian owners groups that advocate for issues affecting your waters. Write informed letters to your local newspapers.

Improving Access Bent Lane Fishing Access in Idaho. FFI funded a grant to the Boise Valley Fly Fishers, an FFI club, to work with Idaho Fish and Game, the Idaho Department of Lands, and the City of Star, Idaho to provide walk-in Boise River access. These grants are examples of the support that FFI provided to conservation projects that make a difference to fisheries nationally and internationally. We need to do more and we need your help.

Visit policy makers and legislators and let them know that conservation issues are important to you as a voter.

Conservation on the Water You can also become a steward of our resources by encouraging fellow anglers to practice “personal conservation” and observe FFI’s Responsible Fishing Practices. These include practicing catch and release and maximizing the fish’s chance of survival by landing it as quickly as possible. Use a net (a rubber net is preferable) if possible and never drag a fish onto the bank or shore when landing it. When tying and purchasing flies, “go barbless” and get the lead out of your fishing by substituting tungsten or other lead-free material. When photographing and handling fish, “keep ‘em wet,” minimizing the time a fish is out of the water. Remove the hook quickly and gently. If your fish is deeply hooked, cut the line near the hook. Finally, revive your fish carefully and it will likely survive to enhance fishing opportunities for all. These and other responsible fishing practices are outlined in the FFI brochure, Tips for Leaving Fish and Waters as We Found Them, which can be found on the FFI website. There are many ways you can help FFI preserve our fisheries and wild places. Stay active in FFI through your local club and get involved with your Council’s Conservation Committee. Consider becoming one of FFI’s “1000 Stewards.” Your contributions will help ensure that FFI’s conservation legacy endures. All of these actions create a synergy that multiplies our collective efforts and strengthens our voice. Together we can make a difference; one project and one fly fisher at a time.




join the


stewards 1000 Stewards program

asks dedicated fly anglers to donate $500 PER YEAR FOR 5 YEARS (a total of $2500.) The funds raised by the FFI1K are vital to providing a solid foundation on which to continue to grow and expand our mission, and to support: • spearheading projects that improve our fisheries and protect our fishing opportunities • The FFI Learning Center’s wealth of fly fishing knowledge and resources • camaraderie among anglers built at our annual fair and other events Join us IN SAFEGUARDING THE LONGTERM HEALTH OF FLY FISHING AROUND THE WORLD BY BECOMING ONE OF THE FFi1K. 22

Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

PRESIDENT’S CLUB 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.

PLATINUM $25,000+ Paul H Moseley


GOLD $15,000+ Keith Groty Jim & Dorothy Schramm


SILVER $10,000+

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.

Don Bishop Glenn Erikson Larry Gibbs Gary Grant Great Lakes Council - FFI

Gift of 10,000+ Howe Foundation

YOT Full Circle Foundation

Patagonia Bruce Williams Edward Klaus Carole Katz Bruce & Leslie Brown Steve & Nancy Jensen Andrew Haroian John Herritt

Henry Hoffman Patricia Jankowski Macauley Lord Paul Moseley Lester Rosenthal Bob Tabbert Michael Webb Robert Winters

Gift of $1,000 - $5,000

Gift of $500 - $1,000 Ralph Heide Patricia Decker Jean Black Douglass Eberhardt Robert Eck Thomas Patch Lynn Richardson Bill & Pamela Stock William & Helena Sutton

David Wahl Rick & Diane Rupp Family Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation The North Umpqua Foundation

Robert “Bob” Long

Edwin R “Bill” Stroh

Roger & Sandra Miller Scientific Angler Richard Fredrick Trisman Len & Dawn Zickler

BRONZE $5,000+ David Boyer John Breslin Bruce & Leslie Brown Richard & Mary Brown Ron Cordes Richard Diamond Lew & Tilda Evans Bud Frasca Philip Greenlee David James Tom & Debra Jindra Carl Johnson Herb Kettler Ron Knight

Dean & Margaret Lewis Tom & Patti Logan Douglas W Lovell Roger & Sandy Maler Jim Maus Sheryl Mustain Northern California Council - FFI Tom Sadler Fred Schmitz Robert Shirley Michael Stewart Ron Winn

Charles A Collins Tom Gadacz Larry Gibbs Keith Groty Charles Higman Steve & Nancy Jensen Carole Katz John Lewis

Patty Lueken Tom and Patti Logan Dave Peterson Molly Semenik Jonathan Walter Bruce Williams Len & Dawn Zickler

FFI1K Stewards

Making A Difference: One Conservation Project and One Fly Fisher at a Time


Coaster Comeback: The Rebirth of a Fishery

© Photo Nick Laferierre

Author: Jerry Darkes


n the late 19th and early 20th centuries the north shore of Lake Superior was a wellknown fishing destination. English royalty and wealthy sports from all over journeyed to this wild region of Ontario in search of the fish known as “rock trout.” Robert Barnwell Roosevelt, a cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, wrote a popular review of one such excursion in his book, Superior Fishing, published in 1865.


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The “rock trout” Roosevelt described were brook trout, but not just any brook trout. The brook trout of Lake Superior eventually became known as “coasters”, for they were caught along the shoreline of the lake and its many islands. It is a fish that has proved difficult to define. Just as all steelhead are rainbow trout, but not all rainbow are steelhead— all coasters are brook trout, but not all brook trout are coasters.

Historically, these fish were also found in extreme northern Lake Huron, but Lake Superior was the real stronghold. Of the Lake Superior fish, Nipigon Bay and the Nipigon River consistently produced the largest fish—no secret to the anglers of the late 19th century. In his book, A Trout and Salmon Fisherman for Seventy-Five Years, Edward R. Hewitt, a noted late 19th century angler and author, devoted a complete chapter to the Nipigon brook trout. Hewitt fished the Nipigon area in 1877 and 1891. He

mentioned a brook trout of nearly 19 pounds taken by one of the early survey parties. This fish was captured “close to where the river enters the lake.” Other writers of the period spoke of fish approaching the 20-pound mark. Most of these early anglers fished the Nipigon during the fall spawning run when large number of coasters ascended the river from Lake Superior through Nipigon Bay. The Nipigon River earned a place in the record books when a brook trout of 14.5 pounds was caught on rod and reel in 1915. Considered

Coaster Comeback: The Rebirth of a Fishery


the “holy grail” of trout fishing, the record still stands and has never been closely approached. The history of the Lake Superior and Nipigon River coaster brook trout through the 20th century is a sad one. Through over fishing, loss of habitat, impairment of spawning runs,

Stripped-Down Muddler Baitfish Hook: #1 or #2 Talon or Octopus-style Thread: UTC 140 D, match color scheme of fly Hook Loop: 40 lb. to 60 lb. braid (Spiderline, Fireline, etc.) I use braid rather than wire for the hook loop as it gives the fly more action when suspended. The rabbit strip will continue to undulate and flutter . Shank: Flymen 20mm Articulated shank. I bend down the lower part of the back loop to hold in the vise and make it easier to add the deer hair. Cut off when fly is finished. Wing: Black-barred white zonker strip around 4 inches long with 6-8 strands of pearl Crystal Flash or Krinkle Mirror Flash. Collar: Mallard flank feather Head: Grey, olive, or white deer hair, stacked and trimmed Notes: Be sure to secure the hook to the rabbit strip. Do this an inch or so from the end of the hide strip. With the hook in the braid loop, put the hook in your vise and start your thread in the middle of the hook shank. Separate the fur on the rabbit strip right above the thread into a “v” shape. Make five or six thread wraps, then tie the thread off so it doesn’t unwrap. Hit the thread with a touch of Zap-A-Gap, Super Glue of something similar.

Sculpin Variation

The collar this time is made with grizzly schlappen. The wing can be a natural variant color or barred. Variations of olive, tan, and brown are all productive. Plastic beads can be added to the hook loop. Plastic bead eyes or barbell eyes could also be added.


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introduction of exotic species and hatchery-strain fish, the fishery was decimated. It may be that the unique population of the Nipigon area was already in significant decline when the record fish was caught as nothing close to that size has been documented since. Numerous stocking efforts proved unsuccessful to bolster coaster population—catch limits stayed high with low minimum size limits. Lake Superior brook trout are not genetically different from other brook trout populations, so coasters have not been listed as an Endangered Species in the United States nor a Species at Risk in Canada. The extent that factors beyond measurable genetic markers play between distinct populations of fish have proven hard to determine and quantify. The late Dr. Robert Behnke, Ph.D, one of the most knowledgeable fisheries scientists in the field of native trout biology and diversity, wrote, “Actually, there was not one origin of coasters in the Great Lakes. That is, coaster brook trout, like steelhead rainbow trout, had multiple origins from diverse brook trout populations which were specialized to utilize the inshore resources of the Great Lakes”. The most significant of these populations was the fish of the Nipigon River. Very little is known about the life history of these fish. Some move into the Nipigon River to spawn. Others utilize various tributary streams across Nipigon Bay and beyond. There is also evidence that spawning takes place on groundwater upwellings in Lake Superior proper. More information is slowly emerging, but we are still a long way from having a complete picture of these interesting fish. The construction of a series of power-generating dams on the Nipigon River eliminated movement of brook trout between Lake Superior and Lake Nipigon. Although the trout trapped between the dams could spawn, seasonal drawdown of water levels exposed spawning redds, killing the eggs and any fry that might have hatched. Toward the end of the 1990’s coaster populations were in big trouble. Few fish were being caught and they were all small. Luckily, a series of special regulations were put in place in the Ontario waters of Lake Superior and tributaries. Much of this was the vision of Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources fisheries biologist, Ron Swainson. A reduced open season, with restrictive size and keep limits, has been in place for several brook trout generations. The positive results have been noticeable anecdotally and by research. Similar season, size and keep limits have been in place along with established minimum flows throughout the

Nipigon River system. There is conclusive evidence of increases in both the numbers and average size of brook trout. Things are moving in the right direction. There is a viable sport fishery along the north shore of Lake Superior, in Nipigon Bay, and the Nipigon River. Gary Lange operates Bowman Island Lodge in the National Marine Conservation Area and conducts a voluntary tagging program to track coaster movements and growth. Some of the larger fish have been caught and released multiple times. Most of these fish have been re-caught in the same general area, but several have traveled considerable distances. He has seen continuous improvement in coaster populations since the advent of special regulations. Today, coasters are consistently caught along Lake Superior’s shoreline and islands from Thunder Bay, Ontario, north to Nipigon, and east to the town of Marathon. The area around the mouth of the Sand River in Lake Superior Provincial Park also has coasters. However, it is the Nipigon Bay area where these fish have their strongest foothold.

Breaking Things Down Most of the “land-locked” fish between the dams on the Nipigon River and in Nipigon Lake exhibit similar characteristics to those found in the open waters of Nipigon Bay and Lake Superior. They are all big-water fish and tend to move where the food is as long as water temperatures are tolerable. The brook trout season in the Ontario waters of Lake Superior and tributaries opens the last Saturday in April and closes Labor Day. In Lange’s area, the bay and lake usually open up around mid-May. Coasters will seek the warmer areas that also attract baitfish with smelt, sculpin, and stickleback being the usual targets. These forage species will be found around cover of some sort. Broken rock and cobble, ledges with cracks and crevices, and drop-offs to deeper water are all prime areas. Preferred feeding water temperature begins around 4 C (40 F) and goes until 16 C (64F) with 10 C to 14 C/ 50 F to 57 F) being optimum. With the proper substrate and configuration along with favored temperature, it doesn’t take long for coasters to show themselves if they are present. Focus on late-May to early-June, working areas that range in depth from one to four meters. These waters have great visibility, usually in excess of 6-7 meters/20 plus feet, so fish can see the fly from afar, often following a long distance before either refusing or deciding to strike.

Swingin D—The shortcut version Rear Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #4 Thread: UTC 140 D to match color scheme of fly Flash: Flashabou of choice Rear Body: Chenille with Schlappen wrapped over Woolly Bugger style Tail: Saddle hackle tips with flash Overwing: Mallard flank Connection: 40 lb. nylon coated wire with 3mm plastic beads Front Hook: #1 Gamakatsu B10S Front Body: Rabbit strip, a couple of wraps, then marabou wrapped in front, then Mirror Wrap Front Wing: Saddle hackle, usually a grizzly combined with another color Head: Rainy’s Foam Diver Head Notes: This is a simplified version of Mike Schultz’s original pattern and a bit smaller than what he usually ties. This fly was created for smallmouth bass and it super effective for them and a host of other game fish. Nipigon Bay and River brook trout like it a lot. White is the most popular color, but different accents can be made by mixing in various color saddle hackle. Use Loctite Super Glue Gel for the hook connection and the foam head. Intermediate to fast-sink integrated shooting-head lines have proven most productive depending on depth. A 7-weight or 8-weight outfit is favored to carry a fairly large fly for distance and through wind as needed. These fish are not tippet shy so, there is no need to go less than a 4.5 kg/10 pound at the tippet. Large lake trout may also show up, so it pays to keep tippet on the heavier side. Streamer patterns of around 20 cm/4 inches long, or size 2 for most patterns, are consistent producers. A favored fly design is the Stripped-Down Muddler. It is a simple tie consisting of

Coaster Comeback: The Rebirth of a Fishery


a rabbit strip wing, some flash, and a loosely-spun deer hair head. Coasters like to nip the back end of the fly. Tie a shortshank hook farther back the wing on a length of braid to hook the short-strikers. This fly has a neutral buoyancy and tends to hover between strips. With an intermediate or sinking-tip line it dives a bit when stripped, then sits stationary in the water column while the rabbit strip undulates in the water. White barred-black rabbit with a grey head is a favorite color. Olive variant or barred olive rabbit with an olive head is a second choice. If a bit of sink is wanted, add small barbell eyes. Fast-sinking flies tend to get hung up too often. Another productive pattern is the Swinging D created by Michigan’s Mike Schultz. Originally designed for smallmouth bass, it has a foam head in a diver shape. Fished on a sinking line, this fly floats on the surface until the line tension pulls it under. It also floats up noticeably in between strips. At times, coasters just can’t resist this presentation. As an articulated pattern with an extra rear hook, short-striking fish are usually hooked. Cast the fly to visible structure such as a drop-off, ledge, crevice, or area of broken rock. Plain flat rock does not hold fish. Try to cast parallel to structure rather than across as it gives the fly extended time in productive areas. Perfectly camouflaged to ambush prey among the rocks, coasters often materialize from nowhere to hit the fly.

On the River The Nipigon River area is the birthplace of the Muddler Minnow, one of the most famous of fly patterns. Don Gapen, a local guide, created the Muddler in 1938 and it continues today as one of the most popular streamer patterns. The Muddler gave birth to numerous fish-catching designs through the years that can be found fly angler’s boxes worldwide. The Nipigon River can be viewed as a series of separate rivers and lakes between the dams. A total of four dams were built through the early- and mid-20th century. Today, three dams remain for power generation. Unfortunately, the construction of the Pine Portage Dam in 1950, flooded some of the most famous fishing areas on the river, including the location where the record fish was caught. Below the Alexander Dam there is open access to Nipigon Bay and Lake Superior. This area attracts a variety of migratory species along with brook trout moving into the river to spawn in this prime habitat. Labor Day marks the end of the coaster seasons, but they are still caught by anglers targeting other


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

species. Fortunately, most anglers know to carefully release any brook trout they catch. Nipigon River brook trout behave similar to their lakedwelling brethren. They are devout meat eaters and streamers produce the most fish, although dry flies can produce at times as there are plenty of bugs in the river, especially in July and August. Caddis can come off in clouds at times, and there are a variety of mayflies. Giant pteronarcys stoneflies are present and fishing this imitation can pull big brookies to the surface. If there is a down side to fishing the bay and river, it’s that both are primarily boat fisheries. Shore fishing areas are quite limited. The river below Alexander Dam has some wadefishing spots and a little exploration can locate places that can be reached on foot, however a power boat opens up a whole lot more opportunities. Several tributaries enter Nipigon Bay and likely most attract coasters again. A bit of research in May and August can locate these. May finds coasters feeding in the shallows from ice-out until the water warms enough to push them out deeper. The shorter days and cooler night time temperatures after Labor Day brings coasters back toward tributary mouths to spawn. Fly fishing guides are at a premium here. There are a handful that can be located with a little online work. Gary Lange’s Bowman Island Lodge guides out of an island at the outer edge of Nipigon Bay. Nipigon River Adventures has guides and lodging available for the main river area. A tackle shop in the town of Nipigon can provide maps and up-to-date information on what is going on in the area. Nipigon itself has an attractive historical museum that is well worth visiting. A number of displays focus on early fishing in the Nipigon River. The local population, ,proud of this heritage, understands the economic and social value of the Nipigon fishery. Most support the efforts to increase the brook trout populations in Nipigon Bay and the Nipigon River. The states bordering Lake Superior—Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin—have special regulations to protect Lake Superior brook trout. Management strategies differ, however they are slowly beginning to show some positive results. Of the three states, Minnesota’s regulations approach those of Ontario and are experiencing a quicker response. Again, as coasters have not shown to be a distinct genetic strain, it has taken regulating agencies in the United States and the general public longer to accept the need for special protection of coasters.

The following statement is from Gord Ellis. It is an excellent summary of his 30-plus years of experience fishing and guiding anglers on both the bay and river. It shows how cooperation between several groups can have positive results protecting and rebuilding a valuable resource. Ellis says: “The comeback of coaster brook trout on Lake Superior did not happen by accident. It was the result of the vision of an (now retired) Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources biologist named Rob Swainson. He moved to the Nipigon District in 1987, and was shocked by how degraded the brook trout fishery was through the whole system. Brook trout were few and far between, and most were small. The harvest was also high on the remaining population. It seemed people, and the MNR, had written them off. Swainson took it upon himself to change that. He had the vision, but had to sell it to anglers, Ontario Power Generation (they control water flow through 3 dams on the Nipigon), and his own ministry. A committee was struck by the MNR to look at the brook trout regulations on the Canadian side of Superior and the Nipigon watershed. I was on that committee and it took a long time to get consensus. Not everyone thought a reduced harvest and size limit on brook trout was the way to go.

Ultimately, a one fish limit, with a 22-inch minimum size limit was introduced. This, coupled with a more stable flow regimen on the Nipigon River, has made a huge difference. Coaster brook trout have rebounded strongly along much of the north shore of Superior. The average size of the fish has also grown. The summer of 2018 was the best year I’ve seen for coasters since I began fishing for them. My only concern is new people who come into the fishery may not appreciate what a comeback story it is and will begin to harvest the large fish. I always take time to explain the history of the coaster brook trout and Nipigon River to people I guide so they know how precious these fish are. There are very few places in the world that have trophy brook trout you can drive to. It is a true success story for cold water fisheries management.” It is unlikely that this area will ever return to the glory days of the early 20th century. What is important in Ellis’ statement is that documentable improvement has occurred in a relatively short time span. It highlights how cooperation between various user groups can improve a resource. Perhaps more important is a realization that these protections need to continue for the sake of everyone who visits the Nipigon area and learns the value of these unique fish.


BTT is a membership-based organization that works to conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats through research, stewardship, education and advocacy. We are scientists, anglers, guides, manufacturers, lodge and shop owners, and outfitters who are taking action today to conserve and restore our flats fisheries for tomorrow. Please help us in our mission by joining at:

Coaster Comeback: The Rebirth of a Fishery


Fishing Without a Hook Stuart Davis


ne hundred fifty kilometers from the salt is Kengis Bruk, a magical beat on Sweden’s Thorne River where the Baltic salmon are as powerful as they are abundant. A place where double hooks are sprung in a matter of minutes as fresh fish turn and bolt back towards the salt. A place where a 15-foot, 10-weight rod and 30-pound mono can leave you undergunned. A spey angler’s paradise, it’s also a place that tests patience as even the strongest spey fishermen struggle to find fish in its vast runs.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

Fishing Without a Hook



Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018


atience tested and tried, it was here Jay Bartlett left the river and put his heart on the line. In the passenger seat of the rented Land Rover, he shuffled through fur, hackle, dubbing—a plethora of materials— seeking something. Physically what emerged was a fly. Mentally what emerged was a new-found confidence, fueled by determination borne of passion and patience, for fishing without confidence is like fishing without a hook.

It is in just such a moment that Jay began to understand what it really means to fly fish—to forget everything but the sound of the water, the air amongst the trees, the sun cracking the horizon, the rain breaking over his shoulders, to forget the rules stamped into his brain; to stop thinking as he’d been instructed to think.

Fishing Without a Hook



t was confidence that can’t be learned. It was confidence that must be discovered. Once discovered, Jay began to fish with his heart and not his head. Once discovered, the fly is, to a certain extent, irrelevant. Relevant is Jay’s heart swinging in the current beyond his fly line. Confidence changed everything, from the way he read the water to the way he loaded the fly line. It’s something that can only be recreated after first being discovered.

It wasn’t what he fished that changed his luck. It was the way he fished. With confidence, he discovered new pockets and cuts in water he’d fished many times. Confidence allowed high mends that slowed the swing as the water broke and hesitated. His fly line sent a shock from the leader through the cork of his rod. His reel screamed, his heart raced, and soon he was rewarded with his Baltic Sea prize.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018


Earlier this year, we asked anglers to share their favorite images expressing why they fly fish and we were overwhelmed with the response! This August in Boise, ID, anglers from around the world gathered at the FishFest and voted for their favorite. Here are your winners!

1st Place

2nd Place

On a Facebook fly fishing group I follow, I saw some old timer complaining about several things. But one of them being that he works six days a week and doesn’t have time to get out on the water like “the rest of us do”

I should have released faster! A giant trevally skeleton found on Christmas Island, January 2018.We think crabs may have cleaned this off as birds would have probably destroyed the skeleton. Mary Downey

Here’s the beauty of fly fishing. You can fish for anything. Anywhere. At any time. From the smallest of spring creeks to the deepest part of the ocean. If it swims, you can catch it on a fly rod. You don’t have to go to the mountains, Montana or the Bahamas. It can be your backyard pond or creek. So, don’t be like that curmudgeon. Get on the water. @saltfresh

3rd Place

You never really realize how much time goes by until it’s too late. Take the time to teach them and cherish the moments you have. @fly_fishing_vet


ffi fly fishing expo July 23-27, 2019 bozeman, montana Fishing Without a Hook


A Lifetime in a Day Al Ritt


t had been an idyllic summer afternoon but my nap in the sun was over and the magic hour was beginning. I had noticed the first adults on the water 15 minutes earlier, but it took a few more minutes before the first noses appeared. Now I was positioned to present my fly to the pod of trout that was clearly ready and waiting for this hatch. Following several drifts that attracted no attention, I paused for a minute to think. Maybe my drifts weren’t quite as drag-free as I thought, or maybe the fish were leader-shy. This was a heavily fished spring creek known for its prolific hatches and difficult fish. I repositioned to get a downstream presentation and tried again with similar results. I kept at it and did manage to get a few fish, but it was not what I had hoped for, especially given the number of bugs on the water and the enthusiasm with which the fish were eating. I began fly fishing when it was still in vogue to find a stretch of water with some room between me and any other flyfisher. Before entering the stream or casting it was accepted practice to find a comfortable spot and watch the water, trying

ARF Tung-Syn PT Bead: Copper Tungsten Bead Tail: Root beer Krystal Flash Body: Root Beer D-Rib or Micro Tubing Underbody: Root Beer Krystal Flash (butts of tail) Wing Case: Opal Mirage Flash Thorax: Peacock Fine Flash dubbing

Pheasant Tail Tail: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers Rib: Fine Copper Wire Body: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers (butts of tail fibers) Wing Case: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers Thorax: Peacock Herl Legs: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers (butts of wing case fibers)


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

to determine where the fish were, what they were doing, and what feeding opportunities were present. This worked well on waters with regular and prolific hatches—most of the time. But on days like the one when I awoke from my nap, it could be frustrating. Seeing so many opportunities go by without a proportionate amount of success was hard to take. As I gained experience I realized that waiting for a hatch could be hit or miss, but it wasn’t the only way to catch fish. I took a lot of classes at the local fly shop, trying to improve my fly fishing skills: casting, general fly fishing, fly tying and eventually an entomology class. The latter opened important new doors. One of the first things we talked about in the entomology class was that you don’t need to have a PhD and know every Latin name to benefit from an understanding of basic aquatic insect life cycles. The second major point I took from the class is that there is much more to the life of an aquatic insect than just what we see above the water. In addition to the dun (the newly developed adult mayfly) and the spinner (the egg laying, or dying adult mayfly), there is the

first stage, called a nymph or larva, and in some cases—caddis for instance—a stage between larva and adult, called a pupa. Besides these typical stages you may also find emergers—bugs in the process of changing from nymph or pupa into the adult at the surface. There may also be “crippled adults” that are unable to fly from the water’s surface. And while many adult insects lay eggs at the surface of the water, a few—notably some caddis again—swim to the bottom to deposit eggs before swimming back to the surface. Why is all this important to know? Well, if you’re a dyed-inthe-wool dry-fly only angler, perhaps it’s not. If you’re set on only fishing dry flies, all you need is a basic time frame for when your local hatches occur and the knowledge of which bugs you may encounter. But if you want to maximize your time and the number of fish available to you, a little knowledge of the life cycle of each insect means you can experience the entire life of the bug in a day’s fishing. But entomology is the education point where many fly fishermen and fly tiers shy away. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Most insects have similar life cycles. Some, such as mayflies, undergo what is called an incomplete metamorphosis, while others, like midges and caddis flies, undergo a complete metamorphosis. You may find

this interesting, but if you don’t you can ignore the terms completely and still understand life cycles. Let’s walk through the stages of a typical aquatic insect life. All aquatic insects begin as eggs. These are not important to the fly tier/flyfisher. The first stage we find useful is the nymph or in the case of midges and caddis, the larva. Immature insects spend most of their life in this stage. The nymphs or larvae molt several times as they grow. Some remain as nymphs/larvae for days, while others mature over multiple years. When the insects are mature most progress to a stage we call an emerger, or a pupa for those that undergo a complete metamorphosis. This is when they change from underwater juvenile to air-breathing adult. Once at the surface, insects that emerge though the film may become stuck as cripples (sometimes called “stuck in the shuck”) and may be very important due to their vulnerability. This is not technically a stage of the life cycle, but it is a behavioral stage that feeding fish may key on, which makes it important for fly tiers/fishers to be aware of. Very similar to the crippled emerger is a crippled adult. This could be a bug that drowns while trying to achieve the adult stage, or it could be an adult that is tipped over by the wind and gets its wings stuck in the surface film. A few insects, like damsel flies, which swim, and stoneflies,

Quigley Hackle Stacker Shuck: Brown Antron Abdomen: PMD goose biot Hackle Post: Semperfli dun Hi Float Fibers Hackle: Dun dry-fly hackle Thorax: PMD Superfine dubbing Sparkle Dun Wing: Comparadun hair Shuck: Brown Antron Abdomen: PMD Superfine dubbing Thorax: PMD Superfine dubbing

Soft Hackle PMD Thread: 70 Denier Orange Body: Pale yellow/orange dubbing Hackle: White or Cream Hen Hackle with brown edging (I color the edge of a white or cream feather with a rusty-brown marker)

A Lifetime in a Day


which crawl, migrate to shore or protruding vegetation to climb out of the water to become adults, leaving their empty nymphal skins (called “shucks”) behind. These bugs have no emerger stage. The most recognizable insect in fly fishing is probably the dun stage of a mayfly. It’s what fly fishers think of as the classic “trout bug.” Unfortunately for those of us who love to fish imitations of them, often they aren’t around for very long before changing into the final egg-laying stage of their life. Egg layers may skitter along the surface or simply light and deposit eggs as they drift. Others may dive through the surface film, swim to the bottom and lay eggs there before swimming back to the surface. When it’s over all that’s left is the dead/dying stage. These may be the classic flat-wing adult mayflies we know as spinners, or dead adults that have sunk or died, crumpled on the surface. All said with no Latin, but how do we use the information? Here is a typical set of flies selected for each stage of a life cycle. The patterns and colors are chosen with pale morning dun mayflies in mind, but comparable sets of flies can be put together for any specific insect. Nymphs or larva are typically found near the bottom. Weighted nymph patterns are effective for this stage and may include beadhead patterns such as the ARF Tung-Syn PT or

Quigley Cripple Tail: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers Rib: Fine Gold Wire Abdomen: Ringneck Pheasant Tail Fibers (butts of tail fibers) Thorax: PMD Superfine dubbing Spike: Deer Hair Hackle: Dun dry-fly hackle

ARF U-Can-C It Rusty Spinner Wings: Clear Fluorofiber Hi-Vis Post: Semperfli fluorescent orange Hi Float Fibers Tail: Light dun Mayfly Tails Abdomen: Rusty brown quill Thorax: Rusty brown Superfine dubbing


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

older patterns such as the Pheasant Tail with either a bead head or a weighted underbody. For the emerger stage, I lean toward unweighted (or lightly weighted) soft hackle versions of these same patterns. I also have great success with flies like the PMD Soft Hackle. I divide cripples into two categories. The first are bugs that run into problems before fully reaching the surface. My favorite imitations are the Quigley Cripple and a Soft Hackle fished in or just below the film. For insects that have made their way through the surface film but are stuck at this final critical stage, I prefer flies like Klinkhammers, Quigley Hackle Stackers and Sparkle Duns. Adults may be imitated by many well-known patterns. One of my favorites is a Comparadun, but many flies such as the Adams and Quill Body Dun are effective. Finally, there are spinners or drowned adults. Soft hackle patterns again produce well, fished either just below or in the surface film. Other patterns like the simple Antron Wing Spinner produce well, but are hard to see. A favorite pattern of mine that’s more visible is the U-Can-C It Spinner. By making use of this non-technical knowledge and relatively casual observation you’ll find you’re able to predict which stage of their life the insects are in. This commonsense approach will allow you to experience the life of a bug in a day.

9 1 0 2




Fly Fishing is NOT part of the show

IT IS THE SHOW! A Lifetime in a Day




Video Fly Casting Analysis

M JEFF WAGNER Jeff is Director of Sales Strategy and Analytics at SmartWool, Fly Casting Field Editor for Fly Fusion Magazine, Master Certified Fly Casting Instructor and most importantly husband and father of two.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

y journey into two-hand casting is still short. The transition is more difficult than I hoped, but with the aid of a good instructor and video analysis, my casting is improving. My greatest challenge is favoring my rod hand. Like many single-hand casters moving to twohand casting, reliance on the rod hand, my top hand, has been my greatest weakness. There is usually a light bulb moment when learning a new skill. It happened to me a number of years ago in a two-hand class with Dec Hogan put on by St. Peters Fly Shop in Fort Collins, CO. Dec watched me cast single-hand performing short and long casts and really dissected my single hand casting. His observations of my twohand casts were few, but changed the way I think about learning two-hand. For the first time, instead of telling me how dissimilar a two-hand rod was from single-hand, he likened it to single-hand.

Instead of focusing on how my strength in single-hand had become my weakness in two-hand, he made them a strength in both, then focused on this point. Dec went into detail about how my top hand is like my rod hand and my bottom hand is like my hauling hand. That simple and yet profound observation changed the way I think about two-hand casting. It also changed the way I think about teaching fly casting. These light bulb moments are essential in order to really connect with our students. Teachers should first focus on the positive attributes of their students, then make the connection on a deeper level. Dec accomplished the first. As profound as that moment was, I still had trouble making the connection. But why? I knew it intellectually, could feel it in the rod, but still had trouble putting it into practice. The key for me and for many others, was the visual link to the cast. Video provided that link. When I started using video to review my cast, the truth I had learned now made complete sense in my mind’s eye, connected with my movements and the synapses fired. I was finally able to make the connection from head to casting form. Seeing my cast in full slow motion with on-screen lines drawn, my flaw came to light. We started with my single-hand cast and did a side by side with my two-hand cast, then compared my two-hand cast with that of a much more proficient two-hand caster. We

went back and forth narrowing in on the specifics of my cast. This was then aligned with practice sessions in the coming weeks to focus on the specific errors in my cast. Over time my flaws diminished. We all have a sixth sense, a kinesthetic memory of our casting that comes to life as we watch a video. Then, when we correct based on the video, the connection becomes more real. This connection is made true and a real, long term, correction in casting can be made when immediately followed up by actually casting in the corrected manner. Video analysis is used in coaching

a wide variety of team and individual sports from slopestyle mountain biking to baseball. In my slow journey to improve my running, video has been a huge aid. A number of apps allow you to run in front of the camera for a few strides at full speed and provide instant feedback on body position, foot strike and arm position. In fact, most good running stores use video gait analysis of a runner on a treadmill to determine a proper shoe and improve the runner’s form. Why would fly casting be any different? In fact, video is perfect for fly casting as it has a forward and back motion as well as a tool, like a bat or club,

and requires technique. These tool and movement variables require technique and a defined methodology to analyze and teach. In a previous issue of Flyfisher, I suggested a methodology— DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control)—to outline the process of teaching a student and solve a problem from the beginning of an issue to resolution. This is truly where video analysis can come to life. In each phase the video can be used to help the individual or instructor define the problem when not readily apparent, It can also be used to measure the problem.

Thank You

Fly Fishers International wishes to thank all the sponsors, donors and volunteers who make this event a great success!


Special Thanks to Councils of Fly Fishers International Eastern Rocky Mountain, Eastern Waters, Gulf Coast, Florida, North Eastern, Oregon, Casting Northern California, Southwest, Upper Midwest, Washington, Western Rocky Mountain


For example, in the case of creep where during the pause, the rod rotates in the direction of the casting stroke, slow motion video can measure the actual degrees of creep. In the analyze phase, the video can be used to determine the cause and communicate this to the student. In this phase we can also use the video to determine the correction. Then in the Improve and Control phase, the implementation of the corrective action can actually be measured. Of course the loop is what matters, but the actual reduction in degrees of rotation can be measured and observed. Any additional correction should lead to the next step of additional sessions and practice measures to continue to improve. From a teaching standpoint I also use this in the classroom. Numerous methods allow the phone and video connected to a TV. I have used this in several classroom scenarios to show videos and it is masterful in showing the differences between two casters or the progression of a single caster. When working remotely many new vehicles, especially trucks, have 110 volt outlets allowing the video to be connected to a TV. Small generators can also supply the necessary electricity. When we talk about taking video it is usually with an app on a tablet or phone. The best app that I have found is Coach’s Eye. The base version, free on iOS and Android, provides a number of functions, though I highly recommend the upgrade. The 12-piece essentials tool set is $14.99 and adds some necessary tools. Here are some features:


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

Video capture or download The app allows you to download videos or capture them in the app. You must give permission for location as well as camera use. Sorry, no way around this for those donning the tinfoil hat. Video speed One of my favorite features is the modification of the video speed. The options are listed in relation to real time. Off is the first option and means slow motion is off and the video will play in real time. From there you can choose one-half, one-quarter or one-eight in relation to real time. This feature is of massive value when viewed by student and teacher to find fault and reveal the fix. My only wish is that the slow motion would go even slower. The iPhones have the best slow motion camera. If you capture video on an iPhone and want to edit on a Mac, selecting edit allows you to pause the video in thousandths of a second. This provides plenty of detail to even capture most rods bending. Video scroll. The app allows for manual scrolling through time to capture frame by frame analysis. Again, the only issue is the number of frames per second. This is more a function of your phone than the app, but something to keep in mind as you upgrade your next phone. Analysis tool pack ($14.99) Curved and straight lines are available as are lines with angle measurements. The angle measure is a great feature and one I use with every student. I love this feature when comparing various casters. It is always amazing to me that two casters using the same equipment can have a casting arc vary so much.

Record The feature allows you to record measurements and analysis you make on-screen and provide voice-over comments on what you are seeing, You can then send an analyzed video to a student. What better tool could you use when coaching students at a distance? Compare This function allows you to compare two videos side by side, great for before and after comparisons and caster to caster comparisons.Setup can be a challenge. The easiest method is through hand held video from various angles. When shooting the video it doesn’t need to be professional quality, but the operator needs to keep a few key principles in mind: Time Keep the videos short. Nothing is worse than looking through a video library of one or two minute videos where the flaw of what you might be looking for is somewhere in the video. Ten or twenty second videos are fine, and shorter is fine as a lot happens in five seconds in a fly cast. Try to isolate the video to only what you need, even if it takes a few tries. Frame Keep the loop, or at least part of it, in the frame along with the rod and hand. As the line length gets longer this will be more challenging. However, as we all know, and Bruce Richards has taught us, the connection of hand, to rod, to fly line and loop is critical. If you cannot keep the loop in the frame take notes on the loop shape so that you can cross reference the two. Fly Line and Rod This may be obvious but you also need to

see the rod and the line. Nothing underscores our need as instructors to have equipment you can see like video. The line and rod quickly become muted when casting at some distance and in various light conditions. Use a bright colored fly line—orange is great—and a rod that can be seen. White is good and contrasts the fly line. Context Be sure to note the length of line being cast and the weight of the rod. As we observe various casters, especially for comparison, it is critical to know these parameters. Other contextual elements to note are the rod make and model, the specific model of fly line, and leader. If outside, weather is also important to note. A small breeze into the caster’s arm can alter the cast considerably. As we seek to truly compare various casting styles each of these elements can force the caster to modify their stroke. The key is using video analysis as a tool to make a connection that will have a long term impact. Whether you are an individual just looking to improve or teaching hundreds of casters a year, it is a tool that not only should be used, I would go so far as to say it must be used, especially by instructors. And, putting these pieces together is easy using the technology in your pocket. The technology age is upon us and as fly fishing and fly casting instructors we should embrace it! Maybe one day we can even offer CI testing or EDP validation using video! The applications are endless.




The Fish Of Our Youth

D JERRY COVIELLO Fly Fishers International Fly Tying Group Chairman Jerry is serving on the FFI Education Committee, newsletter editor for Delaware Valley Fly Fishers an Affiliate FFI Club in Bucks County PA. Fly Tying Demonstrator at the FFI Fly Fishing Fair, International Fly Tying Symposium, Edison Fly Fishing Show and the Fly Fishing and Wing Shooting show. Fly Tying Instructor at Project Healing Waters in Coatesville PA. Member of the Dyna-King Vise Pro Team and Solarez UV Resin Pro Team Member


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

o you remember the first fish you caught? I sure do. It was a sunfish that ate a piece of worm dangled from a spinning rod equipped with a closed-face reel and I was seven years old. The lakes and streams of my youth were filled with bluegill, pumpkinseed, and redear sunfish. Known as panfish, these voracious feeders started many of us on the path to fly fishing and fly tying. These fish are an excellent way to start out fly fishing, or when you want a lot of action on a lightweight fly rod. I have taught new fly anglers how to fish over many bluegills as it was a great way to teach how to cast, see a fish take your fly and how to set the hook. Living in Southeast Pennsylvania, I have a warmwater creek right near my

house, full of panfish and bass. So when I do not have time to travel, I just walk over to the Neshaminy River and cast a 4-weight for an hour or two and catch 50 pumpkinseeds. I use simple flies. Any fly that imitates an aquatic insect works. Any fly with movement also piques their interest and before you know it you have one on. Don’t shy away from using the same flies you have tied for trout. Please pinch the barb when fishing as they take the flies deep and a pinched or barbless fly can be removed with ease. My favorite flies are high-floating surface patterns. I remember going to a sport show and paying $5.00 for a bag of small balsa wood poppers, then casting and catching one fish after another until

the paint chipped off and the hackle broke. I looked for a way to tie poppers without using balsa wood and paint. I used cylinder foam instead of balsa wood, colored with a permanent marker. Now I coat the foam with a UV Cure Epoxy such as Solarez Bone Dry for durability. The foam flies float high on the water and can take several hits and still be fishable. Two cylinder foam flies I tie are the Foam Popper and Foam Slider. Both work great, are durable and easy to tie. Another simple foam fly is the Gurgler designed by Jack Gartside. It has caught all kinds of fish—from stripers to panfish in the creek by my house. I like to tie the Gurgler to look like a frog pattern— not only do the panfish attack it but the occasional largemouth bass will take it. Another pattern I use is a PFD

(Personal Floatation Device) Humpy where I substitute foam for the elk hair humpback. White calf tail for the wings makes for greater visibility. Wet flies still take many fish and one—the Western Coachman created by Wayne “Buz” Buszek—is Tom Logan’s favorite in Northern Florida. Buz is remembered by the “Buz Buszek Award” given by Fly Fishers International to recognize the finest fly tyers in the world. When the action on the surface slows down, it is usually time to go deeper into the pools and ponds. Here is where my favorite nymph patterns come in handy. One very simple pattern with only two materials—chenille and rubber legs— is the Girdle Bug, so named because the original pattern was tied using the rubber from a woman’s girdle. The traditional recipe is shown on

page 46, but other chenille and rubber leg color combinations can be used as well. The next nymph is not so simple. The Bitch Creek Nymph is an effective, durable fly with a woven body of black and orange chenille. As you weave the chenille, keep the black on top and the orange on the bottom. The rubber legs move to entice a fish to attack. The Prince Nymph is another excellent pattern as it catches trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and bluegill. These are only a few of my favorite flies for panfish. There are so many other to tie and try and you can even come up with your own. The fun is making up your own pattern, then catching fish. Here are the fly pattern recipes using hook sizes ranging from 6-12.

PFD (Personal Floatation Device) Humpy Hook: Dry Fly Hook Thread: 6/0 or equivalent color to match the body Tail: Elk Hair Body: Floss (your choice of color) Over body: Closed cell foam Hackle: Brown Wing: White Calf Tail

Foam Popper Hook: Dry Fly Hook Tail: 4 Grizzly Hackles (two on each side) Collar: Grizzly Hackles tied at bend Head: Foam Cylinder and marker of your choice, coated with Solarez UV Bone Dry. Eye: Prism eyes

Fly Tying


Foam Slider

Hook: Dry Fly Hook Tail: 4 Hackles (two on each side).Your choice of color Collar: Hackle at the bend Head: Foam Cylinder cut with slant. Coated with Solarez UV Bone Dry. Marker color of choice. Eyes: Any stick-on type will do.

Gurgler Hook: 3xl Hook Tail: Bucktail, EP Fibers, or Fish Hair Rib: Fine Gold Wire Hackle: Any color Body: Any dubbing Foam Back: Folded over body and a lip created is created for popping on the surface

Western Coachman Hook: Wet Fly Hook Thread: Black 6/0 Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet Body: Peacock Herl Rib: Gold Wire Hackle: Brown Hen Wing: White Deer Hair

Girdle Bug Hook: 2xl or 4xl Nymph Hook Thread: Black 6/0 Tail: White Rubber Legs Body: Black Chenille Legs: White Rubber Legs Antennae: White Rubber Legs


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

Bitch Creek Nymph Hook: 4xl Nymph Hook Thread: Black Tail: White Rubber Legs Abdomen: Orange Chenille on bottom, Black Chenille on the top Thorax: Black Chenille Legs: Brown Hackle

Prince Nymph Hook: 2xl Nymph Hook Thread: Black 6/0 Tail: Brown Goose Biots Rib: Oval Gold Tinsel Body: Peacock Herl Hackle: Brown Hen Wing: White Goose Biots Head: Black

Fly Tying


FFI GUIDES & OUTFITTERS / BUSINESS LISTINGS Fly Fishers International has expanded the Guides Association to include Outfitters and is now offering additional benefits, including an insurance plan offered through ESP Specialty Insurance. Visit for more info. ALASKA




Possibilities Unlimited Alaska Pete Paquette, Guide 907-953-1681

A Marblehead Flyfisher, Inc

Driftless Fishers LLC



Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Captain Ray Markham Captain Dave Denkert, Florida Keys FlyFishing Guide Spirit of the Fly Beyond Catching Central Florida Sight Fishing Charters Pete Greenan’s Gypsy Guide Service Captain Drew Cavanaugh, Guide Grassy Flats Charters LLC Rick Ruoff, Guide guide/rick-ruoff Mangrove Outfitters Fly Shop Metalfab Inc. Saltwater Adventures of Central Florida The Anglers Mark Steve Baird, Guide 970-903-6033 Steve Hancock, Guide 717-576-4217 Captain Chip Smith, Guide 404-693-2953 Rob Kramarz, Guide 305-394-4807 Mona & Harold Brewer, Guide 305-394-2240

Ballistic Flylines / Snake River Outfitters Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau Boise Centre The Cast & Blast Coach Dry Fly Innovations Float Alaska Henry’s Fork Anglers LLC Hyde Boats The Idaho Angler Red Shed Fly Shop Salmon River Fly Box Double R Ranch - Northwest Beef Rob Orsini, Guide 406-539-2796

Current Works Great Lakes Flyfishing LLC Mangan’s Cast a Fly True North Trout Guides Federico A Vargas, Guide 231-893-0002 John R Kluesing, Guide 231-745-3792

ARKANSAS Berry Brothers Guide Service Ozark Troutfitters

ARIZONA JB Fly Fishing

CALIFORNIA Jeffery D Priest, Guide Ernie Gulley Guide Service Fly Fishing Western Wyoming LLC His & Her Flyfishing Shop Jack Trout Fly Fishing International Inc. Sierra Pacific Fly Fishing Guy Jeans Fly Fishing Guide Service Marriott’s Grizzly Hackle Fly Shop Kittredge Sports Tenkara Tanuki The Fly Shop The Trout Spot Tiger T’s Guide Service Nucast Clay A Hash, Guide 530-913-1334 Fred Nugent, Guide 323-788-4546

COLORADO Montrose Anglers NoCoFlyFishing Michelle Edwards, Guide 720-285-6662

CONNECTICUT William & Lynn Lanzoni, Guide

GEORGIA Fly Cast Charters of St. Simons Island, GA James Long, Guide John Nabors Fly Fishing Oconee On The Fly, Inc. Spring Creek Anglers Fly Fishing School Captain Brent Butler, Guide 912-438-1043

ILLINOIS Les Sutherland, Guide 228-365-4776

KANSAS Sodie Sodamann, Guide 785-456-5654

MASSACHUSETTS Chris Ryan , Guide 207-400-4667

MARYLAND Brian Roberts, Guide 410-703-9284

MAINE Blue Heron Fly Fishing Chick Hill Guide Service Magalloway Guide Service LLC Gillies & Fallon Guide Service Rangeley Region Sport Shop Wild River Angler Ronald N Dupuis Jr, Guide 207-415-1998

MINNESOTA Dan Brown Guide Association brownstroutadventures.weebly. com Moose Track Adventures Riverwood Designs Twin Cities Flyfishing Striking Possibilities 320-291-1433 Peter Garretson, Guide 651-454-5209

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MONTANA Bighorn Trout Shop/Guides The Buckhorn Dan Baileys Fly Shop Yellowstone Gifts & Sports 406-222-5185 First Interstate Bank Hatchfinders Fly Shop Hooked Outfitting Jacklin’s Fly Shop Katabatic Brewing Co Madison River Outfitters McKinnie Fly Fishing Outfitters of Montana Livingston Ace Hardware location/Livingston

For more information about FFI Guides and Business members, please visit 48

Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

FFI GUIDES & OUTFITTERS / BUSINESS LISTINGS Montana Angling Company MT Yellowstone River Retreat 714-458-9693 Linehan Outfitting Co Stillwater Anglers Sweetwater Fly Shop Xstream Adventure Tours Diana Jo Abbott, Guide 707-339-0069 Nick Spencer, Guide 406-375-5513




The Esseola Lodge

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SOUTH CAROLINA Hilton Head Fishing Adventures

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Phil Dopson, Guide 512-413-3301 Eric Jackson, Guide 214-738-1906

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VIRGINIA District Angling Saltfly Pioneer 757-784-3743

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Giovanni Natale, Guide Clarence E Button, Guide Pat Johnson, Guide Chinook Wind Outfitters Fly Fusion Magazine Kenauk Nature NaturAventur Total Gate Manufacturing Inc.

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ITALY Battistella Mauro, Guide

JAPAN Fly Fishing Shop Nagomi

MONGOLIA Trout Mongolia - GB Tours

For more information about FFI Guides and Business members, please visit Fly Tying



From Fresh to Salt

T 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.


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

ips on preparing the freshwater fly fisher for a saltwater adventure, featuring observations by saltwater legend, Dr. Gordy Hill. How is saltwater fly fishing different than trout fishing in a river? A river offers the angler time – time to locate fish, prepare to cast, and if no success, another opportunity to cast. In saltwater, fish come from all directions, often appearing so close the caster only has time for a single backcast. Line management is always a concern in the water and on a boat. Ocean wind affects distance and accuracy. Casting directions are varied and there is the ever-present added level of anxiety and thrill that is part of the attraction, but can cause havoc for even the most experienced saltwater angler. Often the freshwater fly fisher planning a saltwater trip has to travel to their desired destination resulting in a substantial investment of time and money. It just makes sense to work hard preparing for such a trip. When setting out to work on improving casting skills, start by honing one’s basic casting mechanics. Once the basics are solid, then it is time to move into more salty requirements. Back in 2004, I asked Dr. Gordy Hill (everyone calls him Gordy) if he would mentor me while working on my FFI Master Casting Instructor Certification. I was fortunate that he agreed and we began a friendship that continues to this day. Over the years I have learned, as have many other casting instructors and fly fishing enthusiasts, that Gordy is undeniably one of the most experienced and respected saltwater fly fishers in the USA. He belongs in the legends circle along with others such as Lefty Kreh, Flip Pallot and Ed Jaworowski.

I recently asked Gordy what skills a freshwater angler should have before beginning to tackle the more advanced skills required of most saltwater conditions. Gordy replied with these points: 1. Good loop CONTROL (solid casting mechanics) Being able to make loops of different sizes and shapes including but not limited to a small sharp (“tight”) loop, when required to efficiently pierce and travel through a strong headwind. Also, a wider “blunt” loop to allow the wind to assist when casting opposite the direction in which it is blowing. 2. Casting distance of 50-60 feet I consider this a minimum requirement for all but wade fishing. Greater distance is sometimes needed when fishing from a flats skiff or from a saltwater beach. 3. Efficient single and double hauling Many established saltwater fly fishers use hauls for almost every cast when false casting, as well as with presentation casts. One reason for this is that it shares the work of each arm when casting with heavy, fatiguing tackle. 4. The ability to cast in low- and medium-velocity winds from different directions Fish can and do appear suddenly from any direction. For this reason, the salty fly fisher must be ready and able to present quickly in any direction. This must include the ability to make back casts while presenting into an omnipresent breeze. For a moving fish suddenly appearing, it is a MUST for the caster to learn and master the, “saltwater quick cast” which basically is a cast made from the deck of a skiff with looped lengths of fly line in hand or on the deck or both so that the presentation can be made with only one or two back casts. Example: A moving tarpon is

preferably from an instructor well versed and practiced in salty fly fishing. During the lessons phase, the caster must regularly practice making these presentations to targets into and tangent to stiff winds from all directions. Frequent practice must be continued until the date of the anticipated trip. 7. Safety and balance with the ability to cast from the deck of a skiff or any salt water craft during wave action. I don’t know any effective method of teaching this except with hands on experience on the deck of a skiff, paddleboard, or kayak. This can be done on a lake on a windy day prior to making that salty trip. Many fly anglers tend to stand as far forward on the deck as they can. This is a mistake. I recommend they learn to stand on the aft (back) limit of the casting platform.

It is more stable there and the fly line can be easily stripped back and down onto the cockpit floor so it doesn’t blow about the deck or overboard. 8. An understanding of commands and recommendations given by saltwater guides. This has to be learned in advance of a salty trip and confirmed with a talk with the saltwater guide before the trip starts. Most guides will use clock directions. I note that freshwater fly fishers will tend to mix up commands of “3 o’clock” and “9 o’clock”. For that reason, I will say something like this: fish approaching on your LEFT at nine o’clock. Then there is the question of relative distance of the fish from the skiff. Rather than estimating the number of feet, I prefer to do it this way: “Fish approaching two casts away” or, “one cast away” or “He’s almost under your nose”. Works

© Photo Captain Peter Lami

spotted behind the angler standing on the deck. The trout fisher with no salty skills must often have his guide turn the skiff so he can make a forward cast. By the time the guide can do that, the fish is out of range. The seasoned salty caster will fire off a quick back cast presentation likely to result in a hookup. 5. The ability to handle heavier tackle without undue tiring This requires two basic things: sufficient casting ability to be efficient in the output of energy and relative increase in arm, torso, and leg strength acquired by practice with heavier saltwater fly tackle well prior to taking a saltwater fishing trip. 6. Confidence in making effective presentations in much higher winds from all different directions. It is a must to first acquire the skills via a combination of fly-casting lessons,

Fly Fishing Skills


© Photo Captain Peter Lami

well for me. However, it’s best to take time with your guide to find out how he/she does it before actually fishing. 9. A willingness and the opportunity to actually spend time practicing in the saltwater environment. This is of particular importance due to the nature of the saltwater environment including its usually denser atmosphere which may also by laden with high moisture and salt; even more so when casting and/or fishing during hot, humid days in the tropics. Important Tip Drink Water When taking a salty fly-fishing trip in the tropics, be sure to drink lots of water and avoid alcohol ‘til day’s end. Failure to heed this has been a problem for me when the fishing is so exciting that I forget to stay hydrated. That can yield devastating fatigue and at that point I can’t drink enough to catch up during valuable fishing time. One trick to remember is to drink water at ambient temperature even if very warm--NOT ICED WATER. In the tropics cold water slakes the thirst too quickly and we don’t drink enough to stay out of trouble. Drinking alcohol including beer is fine at the end of your day on the water, but to do so during the


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

heat of day compounds the dehydration problem and leads to poor presentations. I live in the tropics and have made all these mistakes. Failure to observe all the above is one of the main reasons that I have had problems with some really great casters and fly fishers who have visited me only to be amazed at how poorly they function while trying to fish from the deck of my skiff! A few of them have literally been champion casters until they try fishing the salty environment for the first time and experience a rude awakening. During the course of a few days, the best of them quickly adapt--but some don’t until they have experienced a number of salty trips. There are a whole range of specific fishing problems which emerge when a trout fisher tries for the first few times to tackle medium and big game salty fish. One typical example: I had a very good fly caster on my skiff for several days. He was a, “dyed in the wool” trout fisher. We were tarpon fishing. I tried to teach him to wait and count to three after the tarpon had taken the fly before striking. No matter what I said or demonstrated,

he’d try to strike that fish the way he would a trout. Each time for the first 4 days, this resulted in pulling the fly from the fish’s mouth and no hook-up. I began to think he’d never actually fight and land a tarpon. FINALLY, I came upon a method that worked. I had him make his presentation, then place the rod/reel under his arm and make a slow two-handed strip. When the tarpon took the fly, it took him just the right amount of time to get that rod rom under his arm and make the strike. One problem with some freshwater anglers is that they sometimes have trouble with the concept that the saltwater fish is usually moving at a different speed than the water as opposed to the water moving and the fish being rather still in freshwater situations. Judging the speed of the moving fish is sometimes an eye opener. I have been fortunate to have fished many times from the bow of a skiff and have organized saltwater trips through my business, often taking clients that have never before fished the salt. Gordy’s precise and valuable tips come from years of experience. I highly encourage the new and the seasoned saltwater fly fisher to take the time to prepare prior to heading to the salt. As the number of opportunities to fish the salt increase, so does the fly fisher’s abilities. There is nothing like experience. If new to the salt, understand that mistakes will happen so try to shake them off and get ready for the next fish. When beginning, it might be best to choose a quarry that is more agreeable, such as speckled trout. The next in line might be bonefish that travel in large schools often found in the Bahamas or Belize. Striped Bass is another fun saltwater quarry. As skills improve, moving into

Here is my quick list of steps for preparing:  Locate an instructor with saltwater experience through a fly shop or the FFI website “Find A Certified Instructor”  Start practicing 60 days prior to your trip  Take a minimum of 3 lessons with weekly practice  Be careful not to practice more than 30 minutes to insure no injuries prior to trip. You don’t cast very much when stalking your quarry  Practice with the size of equipment you will be using  Practice the “Salt Water Quick Cast” by casting with fly in hand and loops of line in line hand

 Ask instructor/friend to yell out directional commands (10:002:00) and put on some pressure to perform while casting to a target  Increase your line speed and effort. Move faster and utilize hauls  Go out in the wind  Cast off shoulder  Look for a class followed by fishing at a saltwater destination  Learn as much as you can about the environment you are going to and the quarry. I love this part!  One more very important point. Have fun! Try not to fall in the trap of performance anxiety that takes all the fun out of the trip. It is okay to laugh at mistakes. They happen. Enjoy the saltwater environment and take a little time to see what the local culture has to offer. It will further enrich your trip!

© Photo Captain Peter Lami

more advanced pursuits may include tarpon, permit and redfish.

Dr. Gordy Hill, 88, resides in Big Pine Key, Florida. He caught his first saltwater fish on the fly at 6 years of age, with his grandfather and father providing fishing and casting lessons. While a young boy he watched Joe Brooks catch striped bass from the beach with a fly rod, then soon after caught one himself. Dr. Hill, a FFI BOG emeritus, hosted the MCI study group for 14 years and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement in Fly Fishing Instruction in 2012. Dr. Hill served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. from 19571959 and was an Orthopedic surgeon for 50 years.

Fly Fishing Skills





t only makes sense that a custom design and fabrication company, Peak Engineering & Automation, known for its specialty work in medical device part and process design would create some of the finest fly tying vises and accessories available. After years of research and development, Peak Engineering & Automation, doing business as Peak Fishing, put its first vise on the market in 2003. The company currently offers two


Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

models—a rotary and non-rotary— with a ton of options. Options start with a base plate or C-clamp and extend from there. Want to tie tube flies. Peak has a rotary tube fly vise. Want to tie big predator and saltwater flies? Peak has what it calls the LIRS Product Family. The vise, built on the rotary frame, features a different hook holding technique called the Large Iron Retention System. Instead of clamping the hook between two opposing surfaces, the LIRS uses a drawbar (similar in function to a grasper clamp) that captures and secures the hook. The LIRS head is perfect for those who tie using maximum thread tension. Al Ritt, Brand Manager, says Peak Fishing products are known for their “quality, longevity and simplicity.” The company has a full machine shop that allows the company to make almost all the parts in-house, a feature that allows it

to ensure product quality and offer a limited lifetime warranty. When asked about all the product accessories, Ritt said he likens them to Mr. Potato Head, the ubiquitous child’s toy consisting of a head and all manners of add-ons. With Peak, you get the basic vise and then add whatever options fit your style of tying. That makes plenty of sense and the Mr. Potato Head image sticks with you. Peak Fishing is a strong supporter of FFI. As a FFI industry partner, Peak Fishing makes its products available to FFI clubs and councils as well as other educational organizations. He noted when students are first learning to tie, it’s important “to not let a poor tool spoil the experience.” Ritt acknowledges the goal is to get as many quality vises as possible into the stream of commerce to get people into tying flies. A tool combined with access to tying instruction is truly powerful. Peak Fishing was a financial contributor to creating the FFI Fly Tying Group Fly Tying Video Library available to members and nonmembers. Visit the Fly Tying Library under Fly Tying on and consider supporting Peak Fishing.



ed Kraimer, owner of Current Works, in Traverse City, Michigan didn’t set out to be a fishing guide and casting instructor. Growing up in Detroit, he started spin fishing for bass and bluegill while visiting his grandparents lakeside cabin. Soon steelhead on a spinning rod were added to the fishing mix. The fly fishing seed was planted by the “do not touch” fly rod hanging in his grandparents boat house. What 10-yearold boy can resist the tug? A graduate of Ferris State University with degrees in Facility Management, Architecture and Business, it was a part-time job in a fly shop nurtured the seed. That job turned into a three-year stint in the shop that included teaching fly casting. Determined to teach casting the right way, he studied and practiced until he became a FFI Certified Casting

Patagonia/Danner Wading Boots Patagonia, well-known for highperformance fly fishing gear and clothing, set out to make new wading boots with the goal to “build the best for the most dedicated anglers” according to a recent press release. It opted to meld Patagonia’s expertise in product innovation with Danner’s long tradition of building quality footwear. Two different wading boots—River Salt and a new Foot Tractor— have come out of that pairing. They share some similar features– adjustable speed-lacing system, heavy-

Instructor. Bob Brendle and Will Gray were the test examiners. Kraimer left the fly shop and using that college education, entered the indoor, cubicle-filled corporate world. When the economy dropped and his corporate job ended, Kraimer pondered his next move. He traded the indoor corporate cubicle for an outdoor cubicle—a guide boat on a Michigan river. That was 14 years ago and as he says, “every day is a little bit different and it’s always a challenge.” His favorite fish are steelhead, in part because “as soon as you think you have them figured out, you don’t.” Of course, like many fly fishers, in the next breath he moved on to talk about big trout rising to bugs on a river. His favorite water is the Manistee River for the diversity of fish, fishing techniques and water conditions. He can guide for salmon, steelhead, smallmouth and brown trout—all on the same river.

duty 1,000 denier nylon uppers complete with perforated drains on both sides, full grain specially treated waterproof leather that molds to the foot and stitchdown construction for the soles that allows the soles to be replaced when they ultimately wear out. The solereplacement construction is a terrific throwback to decades-old hiking boot construction. Patagonia designed these boots to be resoled and reconditioned, a better alternative than having to invest in a new pair. The River Salt version uses Vibram® MegaGrip sole compound designed for

2018 has brought an increase in his casting instruction clientele and notes that being a CI provides him access to The Loop with its insights into new teaching skills and ideas. The directory listing also helps anglers seeking to improve their casting skills to locate a qualified casting instructor. Kraimer asserts that the CI certification adds credibility to both his casting lessons and his guiding. Being a member of the FFI Guides Association offers similar benefits. The Guides Association directory allows fly fishers to connect with a guide who is also a FFI member.

superior grip on wet and dry surfaces while affording longer life. The new Foot Tractor boot offers three sole options—felt, Vibram® Idrogrip sole compound that accepts studs and the same sole with aluminum bars. Patagonia expects to have both styles hit the market February 2019 and depending on boot and sole configuration selected, will retail between $449.00 and $549.00.




The times they are a changing David Paul Williams: This is David Paul Williams, Editor-In-Chief of Fly Fisher Magazine and I’m speaking with Brian O’Keefe, a self-described fishing bum with a camera. My first question Brian, which came first, fishing or camera? Brian O’Keefe: Well, fishing definitely came first. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a dry-fly purist, fly fisherman from Missoula, Montana. So, he kind of stole a page out of A River Runs Through It or vice

versa because my brother and I would show up in Missoula. He would have us out on the lawn, casting 10:00 o’clock, 2:00 o’clock, a strict regime of proper casting techniques. We’d discuss stream etiquette at an early age. We’d practice. So, yeah. I was part of a fly fishing tradition in my family. David Paul Williams: Now, that grandfather by any chance wasn’t Norman Maclean, was it? Brian O’Keefe: No, but you would think so,

© Photo Brian O’Keefe



Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

there were so many similarities. It was very fortuitous to have that in my family and the fact he knew the Missoula area and he was a forest ranger. So, we really got around and did a lot of cool stuff at an early age. Really, it wasn’t until I got my driver’s license and started to go out on my own a little bit before I realized how good I had it with my grandfather, with keys to all kinds of gates, and access on the Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Blackfoot, and Rock Creek. David Paul Williams: Oh, you got spoiled. Brian O’Keefe: Yeah. When I was 16 or 17, I drove to Ennis and I decided to do it on my own. I was like, wow, this is a little harder than it used to be. But that was all good, too. Good learning curve. David Paul Williams: What makes for the perfect fly fishing experience for you? Brian O’Keefe: Well, that’s a great question. Without thinking about it all day I would say, first and foremost would probably be the people that are there. Either friends on trips or people that you meet—guides, outfitters, that sort of thing. Weather takes a high priority on the success of a trip, having good weather and being in a place that’s very interesting. From a photographic standpoint, having glaciers, or waterfalls, amazing, beautiful scenery is always real nice. Having interesting and challenging, productive fishing would be very important to having a great trip. But I’ve always thought that it’s people that you’re with and who you meet on a fishing experience that really makes it memorable. David Paul Williams: I think it’s interesting that you mentioned people first as opposed to the fish. Fly fishing is oftentimes pretty solitary, yet it does

appear to be the people that really make for a great fishing experience. Brian O’Keefe: Yeah, you can make friends for life. Having a great day fishing or a good catch, well that’s a lifetime experience and memory also but people just have so much more to offer than a good catch. It’s funny, locally I actually prefer to fish by myself. I really enjoy that experience of being out there by myself and doing it at my own pace. Sitting and watching instead of just always kind of go, go, go, trying to make up some numbers or something with other people. David Paul Williams: When you started fishing, do you recall the first fish that you caught on a fly rod? Brian O’Keefe: Yeah, I do. The sad part is I never did find it. I yanked it out of the water so hard, it went flying over my head back in some bushes. You’d think a kid could scramble around some bushes, trees, poison oak, and find a flopping ten-inch trout. But I never did. The raccoons got it. But that was on the Blackfoot River. I was fishing a Gray Wulff and a Berkley leader. I had my grandmother’s bamboo rod, which I’m surprised it didn’t break. David Paul Williams: Yes [laughs]. Brian O’Keefe: I set the hook a little aggressively. The fish flew over my head [laughs] and disappeared forever. Yeah, I wish I had a better way to finish that story. David Paul Williams: There were a number of years that you guided in Alaska. Do you have a favorite bear story? Brian O’Keefe: Yes, I do. I have a lot. I always have to be careful not to overdo it because there’s just one after another. But anyway, my favorite would be my first day as a guide in Alaska. The first day we were flown out to the waters

where people could go if they wanted to charter their flight. When we landed on Gibraltar Lake, I went up Dream Creek which is just a beautiful little stream. Pretty wild up there. As I went up river to kind of explore it, I literally stepped on a sleeping bear. It was as surprised as I was. I took two steps back. It spun around, stood on its back legs. Six feet, face to face, snarling, spitting, growling, and I just avoided eye contact. Slowly backed up. Made some sounds. I don’t remember what I said, but. I just backed off into the creek a little bit. Then it dropped down and ran away, which is extremely fortunate. But I just think that was kind of ironic on my first day to have my worst face to face encounter with a bear. David Paul Williams: Welcome to Alaska. Fly Fishers International has taken tremendous steps to reinvent itself over the last couple of years. What do you think it can do to continue to increase its relevance in the flyfishing industry? Brian O’Keefe: That’s a perfect example of an organization that did very well, got coast to coast and international, great message, people bought into it. There were a lot of ancillary aspects to it, meaning fly tying, fly casting, and now teaching. There’s always been a conservation message and they have tried to make the sport younger and more diverse. But it’s not that easy. It’s mostly volunteers and most of the volunteers are retired. Not all of them but I’d say 60 or 70%. For some reason, a lot of the kids in our local high school fly club are really getting into competition fishing and they are going right after the numbers part of fly-fishing and I think that’s the normal bell curve of a fly fisherman. You start out just wanting to catch one,

Streamside Q&A



Flyfisher Fall/Winter 2018

where I can remember and through photography, where a glacier was and how much they’ve fallen back. Whether it’s fishing, whether you grow grapes for wine, have shellfish in a bay in Bellingham, Washington, a lot of people are going to be impacted in our lifetime by a few degrees of temperature change and rising water. So, I think that’s just kind of ties into your last question about

white spot the lake bottom. I was like gosh—I wonder if that was a big rainbow that died. There was nobody around so I threw my clothes off and dove in. The surface water was nice and warm. Then I dove down and it was still pretty warm. I was surprised. It was only maybe ten feet deep, but when I put my hand down to grab that fish, the last 20 inches of water were icy cold. As a fisherman it made me think that seems to be the best place for trout to be moving around in. But we fight the fish in the warmer water and revive it in the hottest water of the lake. That really made an impact on me to try to get fish in fast and get them off the hook, back in water, hopefully back down to that cold, healthy water at the bottom. If we’re going to lose some of our best cold water, it’s going to change everything we do. Our bull trout water, rainbow water, places that have grayling, they could be impacted in a decade. So, are we doing the right thing politically? No, of course not. We’re dropping out of the Paris Climate Agreement, all this other stuff, we’re making it a joke. We have to embrace real science and not politicize it. There’s a lot of issues on the news right now. We don’t need to be political. We just have to be deal with it by being rational human beings. David Paul Williams: Brian, it has been a pleasure. Thank you for your thoughts. Thank you for your time. I’ll see you in Boise in January. © Photo Brian O’Keefe

then you want a bunch. We’ve all heard that example. David Paul Williams: Sure. Brian O’Keefe: I think people can grow out of the numbers part of fly-fishing. Even if they’re just maybe temporarily interested in competitive fishing or if they get hooked on it, that’s great but it still gets people that appreciate the sport and then hopefully will be responsible stewards of good water, clean water, and access. I mean, I don’t have a magic wand to wave but I think you just have to keep trying and embrace newer parts of media. I see by doing that, they need to be a little more involved in some videos but maybe they are and I’m just not aware of it. But they sure have a great following. I thought the big fly fair in Boise was very well done. And again, quite a bit of it is preaching to the choir. It wasn’t loaded with young people. There were a lot more women than usual. It’s just ongoing and I wish them the best of luck, and I’ll sure try to help as best as I can. I think they’re one of several groups who are making a difference. David Paul Williams: What’s your perspective on conservation challenges such as climate change? Brian O’Keefe: I think it’s pretty obvious. When you do any kind of research or read magazines, books, or watch the news, it’s definitely happening and it’s definitely changing. I’m 54 and I’ve seen so much change in southeast Alaska and places I go

growing the sport and taking care of our resources. It’s just something we all have to do. It’s not something that some people do. I mean really, everybody has to be aware of it. The neat thing happened quite a few years ago but it really made an impact on me. I was up at Crane Prairie Reservoir in Oregon. I anchored my boat and started to fish, then noticed a big

Flyfisher - Fall/Winter 2018  

Official publication of Fly Fishers International. Read about the Wild Baltic Salmon on the Swing, 6 Key Patterns and The Coaster Comeback....

Flyfisher - Fall/Winter 2018  

Official publication of Fly Fishers International. Read about the Wild Baltic Salmon on the Swing, 6 Key Patterns and The Coaster Comeback....