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.  

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.


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