Who introduced you to fly fishing?
My Dad! I have so many great fishing memories with my dad.
Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?
Missoula, Montana is the confluence of three beautiful trout streams and my home waters. The Clark Fork, Blackfoot and Bitterroot rivers are home to West Slope Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brown and Bull trout that are all wild to these waters. Each of the rivers has it's very own character and classified as freestone. The most famous of our rivers is the Blackfoot and was the basis of Norman Mclean's book "A River Runs Through It". Having three great rivers in one area makes Missoula unique in that there is about 200 miles of river to choose within an one hour drive of downtown. The Missouri river is also an option during the spring runoff period. The Missouri is a world class tailwater fishery. I also base myself out of Key West, Florida for about 8 to 10 weeks a year for the Tarpon migration. Key West flats give you great access to both Gulf and Atlantic migrating tarpon.
What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?
The Missoula rivers begin fishing about the second week in March and continue to fish well through October. The spring fishing is hands down my favorite time. This is pre-runoff and typically begins about March 15 and last through the third or fourth week in April. What makes this time period so good is the stonefly that hatches. The Skwalla is a dark stonefly that begins hatching on the Bitterroot and follows about two weeks later on the Clark Fork. Because it is the first hatch of the year, it bring some of the largest fish to the surface!
What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?
I have been fortunate to travel all over the world to pursue some of the greatest sport fish on a fly. I think Mexico would have to top my list as one of the best Permit destinations in the world. Key West, Florida is truly one of the best Tarpon spots for sight casting to large fish with a fly. I have also traveled to Chile, Argentina, Panama, Belize, Bahamas, British Columbia, Africa and many places around the US.
What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?
I have been fishing Thomas and Thomas rods for over twenty years. There is no question that these rods are some of the best built fly rods on the market. Of course these rods will stack up against any other rod in casting performance but I think they surpass all the others in durability. I put all of my rods though the gauntlet and where most rods fail over time Thomas and Thomas does not. These rods are not only crafted well but are a true workhorse on the water so I can travel and fish with complete confidence. Made in the USA! From Trout to Salt to Spey, I fish them all!
What's your current go-to fly?
Puglisi Perfect Minnow
Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?
Good pair of pliers.
My favorite thing about guiding is:
The pursuit of finding the fish and putting someone in the position to catch it.
From the angler’s point of view, what do you see as the main value of going on a guided trip?
Knowledge. Professional guides can offer you priceless knowledge when fishing their local waters. I always hire a guide when I travel to a new place and can quickly get the "lay of the land", the right tactics and techniques.
What can new fisherman expect to get out of a guided trip? My favorite thing to teach a client is ...
New fisherman will get one on one instruction. Fly fishing is such an interactive sport that takes a lot of concentration, muscle memory and good technique. For the new or beginning fly fisherman, it is great to have this coaching and constant reinforcement of basic techniques. Casting is my favorite things to teach. It is so great to see a new caster evolve. I have clients that I started fishing with as beginners and watched them become great casters and fisherman over the years.
What's your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?
I do like good food. I think having a great lunch on the water can make a great day even better. I like to keep it simple and pack a sandwich. One with prosciutto, fig chutney, arugula and a fine cheese on good baguette bread is really tasty. Sides are typically slaw or potato salad and some chips. Top it off with a chocolate chip cookie and there is nothing better!
What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?
I don't really follow any one blog or magazine. If I need information on a new technique, strategy or destination, I like to do a web search and see where it leads me. I really like YouTube as a tool for teaching new things like knots, flies and rigging.
When I'm not fishing you'll find me:
On a soccer pitch. I've been playing soccer since I was 8 years old and it is still a great way for me to keep in shape. I play both summer and winter leagues. My favorite thing to do after a long day of guiding is play a hard game of soccer with my team!