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.  

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.


Tools of the trade

One of the fun things about guiding is having the ability to target all kinds of species throughout the year. As much as I love steelhead I also enjoy all the other fish that we catch.  In the summer I find myself chasing kings one day, and trout the next, and in the coastal camps we have to be ready for our nightly dungeness crab and BC spot prawn missions. To be ready for any of this on a moments notice it takes serious organization.  These are the items and systems I use that make life easy.

River Dipper

I used to have a river-friend on the Tolt River out close to Carnation, Wa.  For a long while, this run on the river was a favorite steelhead haunt of mine.  It was close to my home in Woodinville.  I could get there when I only had a few hours to fish.  I usually saw my friend when I was least ready.  That is the reason I have no pictures of him (check out and search for American Dipper).


Crotch Deep In Fast Waters

Wading is not one of my favorite fishing subjects, but it deserves some comments.  It is one of those evil necessaries associated with steelheading.  Unless one fishes solely from a boat, river anglers have to develop skills needed to move about in the currents.  If one is dedicated to cast from the best possible position to put a fly in front of eager steelhead, he (she) has to do whatever is necessary to get to that spot.  But it should not be done without a plan or at least a quick look around to see how complicated ingress and egress could be.  So, let’s talk about it.


The Magic Time

It is strange to me why I love being on the water during certain times under different, but specific conditions when I know other periods of the day have accounted for more fish.  I don’t know about everybody else, but the best time, for me, to hook steelhead has been between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM.  I have caught and my clients (when I was guiding) have caught more steelhead during that time than either pre-dawn to 10:00 AM or 3:00PM to after sundown.  Why is that?  Pre-dawn on any river emptying into saltwater as its final destination, with a run of steelhead, is full of anticipation.  It i


I Prefer My Reels To Click

If you have read any of my previous posts to Epic FlyFishing you know that I am a little “old School” when it comes to my equipment.  Especially, my reels.  For all of my freshwater fishing I use a click/pawl-drag reel.  My favorites are the old Orvis CFO reels (made by Hardy in the 70’s and early 80’s, by the way).  I also use a Bougle (Hardy made) reel and CFO VI’s for my two handed rods.  I also have two click and pawl Abel TR series reels that I got in the 90’s for trout fishing.  There is something magical about these click drags that put the icing on the cake when playing a fish.  The


Don't always judge a run by the surface

Throughout a calendar year we spend a lot of time guiding on many different rivers with wildly opposite characteristics.  The micro runs of Haida Gwaii to the marathon runs of the Skeena all make for new and interesting challenges. It is easy to fish a river once and point out the “A” water where you can watch your undulating fly walk through at a perfect speed.  However life just isn’t always so simple. 

Single-Hand Rod vs. Two-Hand Rod

Why use a single-hand rod when a two-hand rod can fish more efficiently?  Pure enjoyment, that’s why.  I have to admit I use a two-hand rod more often than a single-hand for steelhead, but I am slowly coming back around to the pure fun of casting, fishing and catching on a single-hand.  Here is what I wish.  I wish I could have the casting and fish-playing fun of the shorter rod and the line handling qualities of the longer rod.  The feel of the strike on a one-hand rod; you can actually FEEL the fish’s pulse, the one-to-one retrieve ratio combined with the sound of the drag (I am old-schoo