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Eric Northway

Senior Member
Posts: 109
Reply with quote  #31 
Thanks for starting this thread, Bruce. I am really enjoy reading these posts. Some really cool personal musings by everyone!
Richard Harrington

Junior Member
Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #32 
I was born in Hillsboro, OR, and grew up bouncing around the PNW, though the Wallowa Valley is where I feel at home (my mother was born and grew up in Joseph). Moved to western NY when I was 17, and life's circumstances have left me here. It is beautiful country with….. well, unfortunately, no fishing to speak of (cough, cough). But I miss the PNW every day, and get out there for one or two (or more) trips each year for the past 1/2 a dozen years.

I grew up in a large family, almost totally uninterested in the outdoors. Fortunately my uncle David recognized a kindred spirit, and got me started fishing at age 5 with my mother's old Horrocks Ibbitson fly rod. When I caught an episode of the American Sportsman, I realized the rod I was fishing grasshoppers with had a higher calling, and set about teaching myself to fly cast- a long process til I got  fly line and Lefty's guide to fly casting around age 12. I started tying flies around age 8, with the child's machine vise that was in the tool box my dad had given me. When I started a job at an Orvis shop while in college, I met other fly fishermen for the first time.

I have fished for about everything I've had a chance to, but realized 10 or 12 years ago that everything else is just filling time til I can swing flies for steelhead. My work takes me around a good share of the country, and a couple years ago I was fortunate to be invited to do a residency at Bristol Bay Lodge, somehow getting to combine work with some crazy good fishing. 

I got started with two handers about 8 or 10 years ago, and I'm completely addicted. Unless there are fish rising, and even sometimes when there are, I fish two handed nearly all the time. From trout to bass to stripers, just waiting for steelhead. I have 4, 5, 6 and 8 wt spey, ranging from 10'6 to 13'9. Fish primarily scandis, occasionally (and happily) skagits, and my exceptional wife got me a Fall Favorite 55 from Poppy for my birthday last year, so I can start playing with longer lines.

Harry Tepper

Junior Member
Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #33 
Born and raised in Vancouver B.C. My first memories of fishing go back to family camping trips in the late 60s and 70s to provincial parks in B.C. and fishing with my dad. Every once in a while we would even catch the odd trout to take back to camp and eat for dinner. My dad always had the most respect for anything that he killed to eat and instilled that in me at a very early age. This is something that has stayed with me since that time. 
So along comes those years when we as young adults decide we are going step out and head in a different direction then our parents, maybe it was just the "times" but off we go. For many years I never even thought about fishing and was lost in a alcohol and drug fuelled world. 
In the summer of 78 I spent 2 months in Europe travelling and after returning starting working in a warehouse as a labourer. 
One of the guys in the warehouse was a fisherman that ended up becoming a life long friend and good fishing buddy. 
We spent many weekends traveling and fishing to local waters such as the Squamish river, Harrison, river Vedder river, Stamp river to name a few of the local waters in our area. 
After a few years we dabbled with fly rods and I was hooked (pardon the pun... LOL) and it has grown to become a life long passion that totally has consumed me...and will be my passion till I head for the big river in the sky. 

Jon De Jong

Junior Member
Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #34 
I've lived in Wenatchee, WA since 1969.  I've been fishing two-handed rods for 6-7 years and call the Wenatchee and Methow rivers my home water.  I do spend time on other rivers, particularly the Clearwater and OP rivers.  Any skill I have as a caster can be attributed to Greg Bencivenga, who has been a good friend and teacher.
Gonzalo Vissoso

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Junior Member
Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #35 
you could not have a better teacher and friend than Greg Bencivenga.....Jon De Jong .....he's just a great guy and one of the best spey casters out there!!! [smile]
Bruce Kruk

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Senior Member
Posts: 360
Reply with quote  #36 
Couldn't agree more, super nice guy and probably the best spey caster in North America
Bruce Kruk
Team Gaelforce
Speyed trout guide on the upper Columbia
Preston Quan

Junior Member
Posts: 25
Reply with quote  #37 
Just seeing this thread now.

Born and raised in Toronto.  Still living in Toronto, working for a big telecom company and living on the same street Jonathan Barlow grew up on as he mentioned.

My Dad took me out almost every weekend as a kid to fish the local Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay tributaries for "rainbows."  My dad was a master at the centerpin and float rod, curing roe, finding women's scarfs for bag material, etc.  When most guys were skunked on the river my Dad would produce fish.  His expertise rubbed off on me and I became quite proficient as well.  Our home river was a large (by Ontario standards) river that had migratory rainbows, walleye, bass, sturgeon, and salmon.  It's the same river many of the folks on this board call home as well (e.g. Mr. Papais).

Through my university years I lost interest in floatfishing but then I picked up a fly rod my Dad had in the basement and that started my renewed interest in fishing.  For about 5 years I really got into singlehand fishing for tailwater browns and indicator fishing for the migratory rainbows/steelhead here in Ontario.  I built several SH rods.

Then one year about 10 years ago a guy (friend now) brought this huge broomstick to my home river and started flailing away with it.  I was so intrigued.  It was a Sage 9141.  10 years later, 10+ spey rods, 15+ reels, dozens of lines and hundreds of flies later I'm completely addicted.

Since my home river was condusive to Skagit style that's what I focused on.  In the past few years I migrated to T&G first with Scandi and now with longer spey lines.  I love the techical aspect of casting.  I'm determined to learn to cast off my left side this year!  I am hooking and landing more and more fish, however to me that's just icing on the cake.

While I do spend most my time fishing in Ontario, I'm lucky enough to have friends and afford the time and have the money to fish BC (Skeena) every fall and we have grand plans to occassionally do one-off trips to places like Russia, Scotland, etc.

Tight loops and screaming pulls!
Richard Dittberner

Junior Member
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #38 
I live in Saint Paul Minnesota born and raised here. I've been doing this two hand fishing now for 3 years. I've been SH for the last 15 years now. I almost exclusively use spey techniques now regardless of what rod I use TH or SH. I have a rich fishing environment here, I'm at the northern edge of what is known as the driftless area, 16000 sq miles of deep valleys filled with spring creeks that are in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and extreme nw Illinois. Dense cover, little to no back room for casts.... Learning spey casting makes fishing these creeks very fun.

The other part of northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin finds me targeting lake run browns, steelhead, coaster brook trout and the pacific salmons that thrive in Lake Superior. The Great Lake tribs are amazing fisheries.
If that isn't enough then you can add in all the warm water species, lm/sm bass , pike and Muskie and even walleye on a fly.....
I have a 11 7wt switch rod and a home converted 9'4" 3 wt switch rod. This year will find a 12'6" 6 wt spey to add to rack too.

I will say this, no matter with rod I'm
Using casting spey style is very addictive. This is a great thread.
Jon Ingham

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Junior Member
Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #39 

I have lived in Traverse City, MI for almost 11years, where I find myself surrounded by a dizzying array of fishing opportunities within a days drive.  Steelhead, salmon, trout, bass and carp are my main source of aquatic fun.  I will unashamedly admit a love for the carp.  Love, love sight fishing these skittish monsters.  
But mostly it's steelhead.  And then more steelhead.

I was born and raised in Metro DeToilet, MI, and in 1995, I moved to Jackson, WY so I could ski everyday for months on end in the mountains.  Little did I know that I would become as much of a fly fishing bum as a ski bum.  I feel into the company of fly fishing guides, who taught me their sneaky ways to fool the elusive trout of the Yellowstone ecosystem.  I really miss fishing The Barns Holes "in the Park".  It's where I learned to do the cast, swing, step dance.

And then I found out about steelhead and two handed rods and I've been screwed ever since. My first two handed setup(which I still own) was a Sage 8150, Rio WC 8/9/10 and a Teton reel.  I fished the Salmon River, ID every chance I got while living in WY and made it over to "The Big Ditch" around Orofino twice, where I met the kindly bearded fellow who started this site.

These days I find myself fishing my local river with shortish two handed rods due to the nature of the casting, because of the dense foliage along her banks.  She's small and intimate.  I fish her with floating lines or intermediates- she's a little slow and not so deep.  Her gut starts about 3 steps out from the bank and drops to over the waders almost immediately.  I could ride my bike from the dam I fish below, to the mouth in Grand Traverse Bay, in less than a half hour.  Don't get me wrong, I love fishing our "big" rivers- the Manistee and Muskegon, but these days I find myself attracted to the smaller tributaries of Lake Michigan.  I find they take a different skill set.  If I were going to compare the two, it's like the difference between spring creek trout fishing and fishing a tail water.  The tools for the job are the same, just different sizes.  And the approaches are very different.

When I miss the 14'-15' rods and their big D loops & long casts, I pack up my AWD van aka- "The SpeyBus" and drive down to the bigger rivers to the south.  In either location, odds are that a tube fly that is either bait fishy or black and blue is at the end of my tippet...unless it's summer, then its foamy and wakey.  Come on summer.

If you see this plate in the parking lot, stop by and say hello.


FRSCA- N'West MI Chapter Original

There's mosquitoes on the river.
Fish are rising up like birds.
It's been hot for seven weeks now,
Too hot to even speak now.
Did you hear what I just heard?
Craig Pablo

Junior Member
Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #40 
Western Montana born and raised, started fly fishing with a blue Danielson from Kmart (not even sure what it was made out of, it may have even been some kind of metal) when I was 8 or 9, been flyfishing ever since.  Like many Montanans my introduction to steelhead was the SF Clearwater not many years ago, caught my first steelhead and was immediately obsessed.  Wandered downstream and found the Red Shed, bugged the hell out of Poppy for advice and information, I remained stubborn with a single hander the first year or two I fished the main Clearwater.  Truthfully (and I have no idea why) I kind of equated two handed casting with prententious, pompous jerks (not from any personal experience mind you).  After finally putting two and two together (I looked at Poppy, probably the least pretentious guy I know) and realized there were dirtbags (ok, not really dirtbags, reuglar guys, no offense intended Poppy) like me throwing two handers.  So one evening I sped along Highway 12 to make it to the Red Shed before it closed, and bought a two handed setup, Poppy gave me a hell of a deal.  After a few minutes of instruction with an unlined rod out front, I took the setup to the Peck hole and started my career of lackluster two handed casting.  I really do owe a lot to Poppy for introducing me to the two handed game, great guy, thank you!

Later that season I met a dude form Clarkston who took me under his wing and has helped me out tremendously, I can't thank him enough either, you know who you are!

My home river remains a small stream in Western Montana, if you're ever going to be in the area and would like to give it a go, message me and I would be glad to show you around.  My home steelhead water is the Clearwater, although I have visited the Ronde, the Deschutes and recently the OP.  Much to the chagrin of some I am fully planning on visiting BC this late summer/early fall, and in all likelihood on my own so if anyone is interested hit me up!
D. Craig Lannigan

Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #41 
Lewiston, Idaho has been my home for the last 42 years. I grew up in the Mojave Desert. My dad was an aero space engineer for Rocketdyne and worked on the Saturn Five that sent the man to the moon. My uncles lived in Montana, Idaho, and Oregon and we spent our vacation going north. Our favorite spot to go was a campground on the Madison River.


Here is my fly fishing roots:

Fly fishing has been my passion since moving to Idaho in 1972.

My uncles fly fished the Madison River in Montana where Quake Lake now resides. I was just a kid but I remember the deep dark green canyon with it’s large trees and the smell of the moist soil, trees and river.

The Madison River, roots of my fly fishing addiction will never be

forgotten. God rest those souls whose lives were cut short from the 

earthquake that covered that wonderful canyon.


In August 1959, I became ill, catching bronchial pneumonia and almost died. Uncle Ed, for some reason, couldn’t make the trip either. One uncle after another begged out. No one from our family traveled to southwestern Montana that year. The entire family could have been there, August 17, 1959, but fate had it we were not and at 11:37 PM an earthquake hit measuring 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale. It was felt as far away as British Columbia and into North Dakota and Utah. It created a landslide that blocked the Madison River resulting in the death of many campers. When the dust settled, 26 people camped 10 miles northwest of West Yellowstone were buried alive. This was the largest earthquake and mountainside ever recorded in Montana. It was caused by the movement of the Hebgen and Red Canyon Faults.  Only seven bodies where found and two more people died later from quake-related injuries. This deadly earthquake created Quake Lake on the Madison River. Many of the geysers and hot springs in Yellowstone were effected and some new ones were created by the quake. My sister and I reflect upon the fact that our entire family could have been lost there, and buried, and instead had fruitful fulfilling lives! “Tobacco Bill – Ramsey.” 



Bill Zytkowicz

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Junior Member
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #42 
Great thread and love the new site Poppy!

I was born in NY, near Niagra Falls, but never been there as an adult.  Parents moved out to Redmond, WA and have been here most of my life.  We lived just outside of Atlanta, GA for a couple of years and then moved to Kanehoe, HI for another few years.  Moved back to WA when my dad was fighting cancer and been here ever since.  I fished a little as a kid, but never caught the addiction until my late 20's when I started going out to MT to river raft and camp with my aunt and uncle in Helena, MT.

I took my dads fly rod that I still had, an old 8wt 8' Wright and McGill and put a cheap 5wt line on it.  Didn't know it was an 8wt!  Managed to catch a few on it and bought my first real fly setup from Kaufmann's in about 1998.  I now own about 20 rods and more reels and lines than I can keep track of!

Ran into Leland Miyawaki, didn't know it at the time, at Plum Creek landing (he was casting a long rod and smoking a cigar below me) around 1999 and then met Aaron Reimer and the River Run Anglers group on the Snoqualmie in Carnation! Learned how to single spey and spent about a year going out almost every Saturday.  Cast just about every spey rod he had, plus many more from the many guys who came out and still do!

Bought my first spey setup, a Heritage 14'er, reel and a Delta Spey that Aaron cut for me so I could use tips!  Been chasing fish around WA and MT since then. Started going to the Sandy Spey Clave and went to the Clearwater Clave.  Have had the pleasure of meeting many of the NW "spey" guys and learned so much from them. 

For a while I spent more time going to the Saturday and Sunday local spey sessions with RRA and All About the Fly than actually fishing!  Aaron and Mike Kinney got me started, many more have helped me and now I teach both single and double hand casting.  I've been working at Orvis in Bellevue for the past few years and have built rods commercially as well.

Ron at AATF helped me build my first rod, and I've built most of the rods that I now fish.  Mainly fish for sea run's, salmon and steelhead, but have fished all over WA and MT for trout.

My main speyrods are my Buelah 12'7" 7/8, CND Solstice 14'3" 7/8/9 and Helios 11' 6wt switch.  I own many more, many others have come and gone.  I have a passion for bamboo and fiberglass rods!  And old reels, which I have been collecting slowly for the past few years.

Still love trout, but will fish for anything that swims.  Hope to get out for bonefish and tarpon in the next year or two!

I appreciate all of the help I have got from so many on this board and other forums like WashingtonFlyFishing.com (flybill) and Speypages.com(billfish)!

Have fished most of the "S" rivers in WA and need to spend more time on some of the Eastern WA rivers, the Clearwater in ID and the OP.  Would like to spend more time in OR as well..  You'll usually see the puff of smoke from my cigar as I'm out and about on the beaches on the sound or on the local rivers!

See you out on the water!
Bill Z

Only three more years til I can think like a fish!
rick humphrey

Junior Member
Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #43 

Born and raised  on Vancouver Island,BC,  I first became imprinted with the fishing gene when, as a youngster, I would  handline for shiners around the ocean wharf pilings. I then began riding my bike to many small streams in search of anything that would bite. To this day, I prefer the moving, “searching around the next-bend” nature of fishing streams and rivers over the stationary “boat-sitting” nature of ocean fishing that is so readily available here ( and that I find so boring anyway). My work career saw me transfer around to several communities on the island, where I had the chance to discover  the local lakes and rivers. Once I settled in Campbell River I took up flyfishing. It seemed only natural;  fishing the Campbell, quite literally, in the shadow of Haig-Brown’s house.  I needed only one fly rod.  I moved from single-hand to two-handers, began tying flies and building rods. I now have a dozen rods and need three more (for now). I’m now retired and spend much of my time planning/building/tying/scheming/conniving and fishing with my buddies in pursuit of steelhead, beach coho and trout, from the Skeena to, this past March, bonefish in Cuba. Through time on the rivers, and forums such as this, I’ve met some great friends and gained from them much more knowlege than I ever could have accumulated on my own. Yet, I wouldn’t quite call myself “an obsessive fisherman”, as I realize, being married, it’s important to balance spending quality time with also spending time with the wife...[wink] I also realize that, those fish I rode my bike to hook in those early days, really hooked me.

Tim Purvis

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Junior Member
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #44 
This thread makes wonderful reading. Cheers Poppy.

I grew up in Newcastle, England. I first fished the jetties of the Tyne and the Wear with my Grandad - he also taught me how to melt lead in the garage to mold sinkers - probably accounts for my mental deficiencies. First notable fish I caught was when I was 10 - an Atlantic Salmon off the dockside at Eyemouth - the parr was almost as big as the toby spinner I caught it on.

I took up steelheading in '89 after moving to Oregon from New York. Been living on the banks of the Sandy ever since, flogging it, the Deschutes, N. Umpqua, John Day, Ronde, you get the picture. I've been swinging 2 handers since '91 thanks to Mark Bachmann's encouragement. I've been fortunate that my work has taken me to great rivers in BC, Iceland, South America, Alaska, Russia and I'd return to visit any and all of 'em in a heartbeat but I'm not moving from my Oregon base. Other addictions are playing guitar and tying flies.

Dave Green

Posts: 33
Reply with quote  #45 
Born and raised New Brunswicker with deep roots in the Miramichi R. valley.I grew up 2hrs south of the Big M,with 1/2 dozen trout streams within walking/bicycle distance of my back door,been drowning worms with Dad since my earliest memories,3 or 4 years old,then from 8yo thru my teens hiking,biking,triking and moto-x'ing all over the backwoods of southern NB to access less pressured trout streams and lakes.
Every July we would make our big annual trip "up north" to the Miramichi and gramps old homestead for a week or two,and my brother and I would literally fill our old wicker creel baskets with 10-12" Brookies,staying in an old log cabin on a small trib of the Bartholemew R.(which is a trib of the Main SW M)
As a kid,I didn't quite get why Dad would flog the big river with a fly,sometimes for 2 and 3 days to catch only one fish,meanwhile bro and I were catching specks with every other cast,as much as we could stand it really?And then one spring day in '87.....I got it!
I always had itchy feet,and in '87 at 19yo found myself in southern Ontario,still a diehard spin fisher,and trying to catch these Steelhead that I had read about in magazines since my youth.
I guess I had caught a few GL Steelhead at this point on spin gear,but this one morning on Lk Ontario trib Bronte Creek,the fish gods weren't smiling on me.I threw everything I had into my favorite new stream,and everything I knew about steelheadn at the time,single eggs,roe sacks,inline spinners,small Rapalas,all to no avail.Looking thru my sling pack,I seen a package that I had picked up somewhere at some time(?),with two snelled black gnat wet flies in it....wut dahell,nothing else is working?I tied on one of those black gnats,pinched a splitshot onto my mono line 3ft above it,tossed it up to the head of this nice run/bend pool,and I'll be damned,first drift thru the run I was hooked solid into a leaping 7lb hen steelie!
The next week on payday I spent my entire measly paycheck on a 7wt Fenwick Eagle,Pfleuger Medalist,SA line,leaders and a dozen or so flies,wooly buggers and obviously the miraculous black gnats,lol....and never looked back,I was obsessed with flyfishing.
That same summer,I traveled home to NB and caught my first Atlantic with Dad on the Main SW M,and if that first Bronte steelhead hadn't hooked me hopelessly addicted to flyfishing,that first grilse certainly put the final nail in the coffin.Im certain I haven't bought another spinning rod since,and best guess is it's been at least 20+ years since I've even touched one?
Moved back to NB in 92 and spent as much time as possible with a fly rod in hand over the next 20years,usually 100 days/yr give or take between local,close to home Brookie fishn' and chasing salar on the Main SW where Dad is now retired to his camp just below Doaktown.
These days finds my still itchy feet in landlocked Alberta,too far from the west coast and way too far from the east,but with the blue ribbon Bow minutes from home it's almost bearable,although I crave for chrome and think my itchy feet might soon move again to one coast or the other?
Made my first trip to Skeena last August/Sept and have vowed to make that an annual event,if not twice a year spring and fall?(or just pack up and move there?)Actually chasing chrome coast to coast this year,with 2 weeks in July back home in NB where any friends or family that want to see me can come find me at Dad's camp on the 'chi,haha...then Skeena late August/early Sept for a week or more?

Oh,and as to the original question regarding gear,been casting SH since the early days,just got my first 2H rod 2yrs ago and now have 3 of'em....God help me,it's a whole new addiction,I find myself looking for excuses to even dust off the SH rods any more?
The vast majority of my salmon fishing has been on the Main SW,with the odd side trip to a few of its tribs,Dungarvon,Renous,Cains.I can't say I'd even seen a 2H rod in person nor anybody use one until just a few years ago,and appropriately that was "British Bill",Dads camp neighbor from the UK that summers on the Miramichi.With floating lines the norm,and non-weighted flies the law,SH rods in 8-9wt are by far the most popular sticks of choice in NB,but the 2H cult is growing and gaining popularity year by year.
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