Fly fishing blog


Welcome to our Blog

Mission Statement: The fly fishing industry has drastically changed since the group of us began in the 90’s. Back than everybody's business lived and died by the all mighty sport show. 

These shows were events that could not be missed. Our booths were lavish, double wide social hot spots with TV’s, videos, photo walls, and hidden bars serving up your favorite cocktails.  

The casters were throwing 120 foot cast in the ponds, the salesmen were weaving outrageous tales of the tape, and the guides were comparing gear, water and fish with each other. It was a fly fishing circus. In an effort to recapture that feeling back in the 80‘s and 90‘s at the sport shows we have created this blog. 

Our posts are conversations, and topics that you would normally cover on a river sitting on a log.  If we aren’t on the water fishing, we are likely talking about it, and we invite you to come along for the ride.  

Spey rod for the big ones

I have a new favorite setup for the big ones.

It used to be that when we went after big salmon we had to fish 14 to 16 foot rods in 10wt. As a steelheader, I have gotten very comfortable with my shorter 12.5 to 13.5 ft rods and do not like casting the extremely long rods that much any more. I like the compact lines and compact casting strokes that go with the shorter sticks.

This summer I got to fish for monsters in a few amazing places, and fell in love with a new heavy duty spey rod that everybody should love for big fish.


King Salmon on the fly

Although we all dream of swinging grease lines, or skating dries, the reality of the game is if we plan on fishing often throughout a calendar year one has to come to terms with a sink tip. Once you get used to that idea an entire world of spey fishing opens up, one that we have been fully immersed in for the past 5 years. 

5 tips for swinging for kings with spey rods

  1. Keep your line as straight as possible on the swing, kings are deep, and absolutely hate(in a good way) slow moving flies passing through there personal space. The longer your fly stays in that window the more likely you will be to entice a strike.
  2. Don’t set to quick. The slower the current the slower the set has to be. Kings are like big dumb jocks on steroids, they will chew that fly long and hard before ever letting go. Wait as long as it takes for them to turn before setting (within reason).

Its all about the staff

Anyone in the service business knows they are as only good as their staff.  Here at Epic we are the management team that operates several lodges in BC. The guides, the chefs, and everyone else involved work hard as a team to make each one of our operations a success.  It is the same group of guys working the Bulkley/Morice in the fall at Frontier Farwest as it is hiking the many rivers of Haida Gwaii in the winter at Copper Bay Lodge.  Working together throughout the year at multiple lodges and locations makes us a very close knit crew.

Haida Gwaii

              For several years a friend of mine who lived on Queen Charlotte Islands, constantly told me stories of fantastic fishing in the primal streams flowing through the thick rain forests surrounding him.  Another friend of mine and I decided to visit him and see how much of what he had to say was BS and how much was possible.  We discovered no BS and all kinds of possibilities.  We fished small rivers and streams every day for a week.  While we did not find huge numbers of fish, we did hook and land some steelhead and silvers.  But the fish were not the highlights of the trip.  The


Atlantic Sea-Run Browns and Steelhead

Several years ago I read a statement that I found unbelievable – Steelhead were being caught in a river in Argentina that, naturally, emptied into the Atlantic ocean.  No such thing, I thought. Steelhead are a Pacific ocean product.


Fishing With Johnny

I like to think of how fly fishing has enriched my life.  One of the ways that it has, is the people I have met, fished with and who are my friends because of throwing feathers and fur at fish.


Any Color As Long As It Is Purple

I don’t know why the color purple has so much appeal to me for steelhead flies.  Probably, because I’ve caught so many steelhead on purple flies.  There are two flies of this color that I have used the most; Purple Peril and many variations of it and my own Purple Haze. At the time I named it, I didn’t realize there was another (maybe more) with that name.  But I decided to keep it; one, because I was into Jimi Hendrix and the name suited the fly.

Here is the recipe for the Purple Peril (from “The Steelhead Trout” by Trey Combs):

Tip:    Silver tinsel.


Skunk Up

Original Skunk pattern (from Steelhead Fly Patterns and Flies by Trey Combs):

Tail    -    Red hackle fibers

Body -    Black chenille ribbed with silver tinsel

Hackle – Black, sometimes tied as a beard

Wing -    White bucktail or polar bear

Skunk Up pattern (Marts pattern):

Hook -   AJ 1 ½ , 3 or 5

Tail   -     Red polar bear

Eyes -    Dazl Eyes Silver (size - proportional to hook size)


Flies, Then And Way Back Then:

I am tying steelhead flies for an upcoming trip (in October).  I only have about 4 million steelhead flies dating back to the 80’s, but I could always use a couple hundred more.  I tie several dozen to hundreds of flies for major trips (major trips for me are any time I can get on the river).  I do enjoy tying for upcoming fishing, so any river time is a good excuse for tying up bunches of flies.  I’ll tie my standard patterns, but I always tie up new patterns to try.  Some of them really turn me on.  I can’t wait to get them wet.  Others, I never get wet.