If you could never fly fish again, what activity would subsequently take over your life?
Gardening, mountain biking, mushroom hunting, Adobe Illustrator. Who knows, there's lots to do out there. Snowboarding has always been a passion.
How do you take your coffee?
Strong, with some milk or cream. No sugar.
What was your first fly rod? First time you broke a rod?
My first fly rod was a Cortland TRH 5/6. I bought it as a kit and the shop that sold it to me didn’t tell me it came with a full sinking line, even though they spent a full day giving me instruction using this setup as part of their beginner fly fishing class. I was standing in the Bow wearing thick neoprene waders on a hot summer's night watching my elk hair caddis disappear under the surface every cast, sweating buckets and wondering what I was doing wrong. An old guy drinking beer in a lawn chair nearby finally took pity on me and called out “you can’t fish dries on a sinking line”. After getting up the courage to ask him what a sinking line was, I realized I had some learning to do. I later lost the tip section in the river while trying to unhook a $6 Sex Dungeon streamer from a rock and decided it wasn’t worth the $50 to replace it.
First fish you caught on a fly you tied?
A 22” Bow River brown on a grey rabbit streamer in early March. I was standing on a log near a beaver dam and stripped line in until I was just about to recast, and the trout took the fly directly under my feet.
What excites you about working in the fly fishing community?
Our provincial government does a bad job of educating anglers. The fly shop is often the first point of contact a new fly angler has in terms of acquiring knowledge about responsible fish identification, handling, and use of tackle. I’m glad we can help advise people about the best practices related to fishing at a time when our fisheries are stressed. That and I grew up in Calgary and didn’t know about fly fishing until my 20’s. I thought it was cool to discover this activity that can be practiced on a world-class level in my own hometown.
Would you consider any specific water body your home waters? How have these waters shaped you as fly angler?
There are spots all over Southern Alberta that all feel like home. Each spot holds memories and significance. When you fish a place for years, you begin to gain a deeper understanding of it.
Beyond simply catching fish, what excites you about fly fishing?
I like that I get to see places that I would never see otherwise. I like that no one has it 100% figured out and that there are still innovations out there (fishing technique, fly design, gear design) that have yet to emerge.
What is your dream trip? Both within Canada and globally.
Within Canada – Arctic Char in the far North or Atlantic Salmon in Newfoundland.
Global – Artic Char in Greenland or top-water patterns for Murray Cod in Australia.
What's your #1 tip for a new fly fisher?
Fly fishing can be as simple or as complex of an activity as you like or have patience for. You can go fishing every day, once a week, once a year. You don't need to walk 20 klicks every outing and you don't need to be miserable in bad weather to prove you are a "true" fly fisher. Every piece of kit doesn't need to be purchased at the outset and you will learn your preferences along the way. If you can learn something each time you venture out then you are successful, even if it's simply a noted observation of a small component of our natural systems at work around you.
Be respectful and try to learn the etiquette even if it is a little vague. Try to respect the fish and the countryside. No fish is worth being unethical, and try to remember that we don't need to get 'em all.