Looking back, I have to wonder how it came to be that I, a small town boy from Iowa got caught up in this whole Fly-fishing thing. I had always been quite content to slide a fat worm on a hook and watch the float bob on the water. Of course those were simpler times. I had no big responsibilities and plenty of time to soak a crawler. As the years slipped by, I found myself with many more responsibilities and much less time to spend fishing, therefore, leaving me looking for ways to increase quality time on the waters I would fish. So here I am now, a certifiable and complete Fly-Fishing fanatic.
I think my fascination with the sport of fly-fishing came to light while living in Colorado. You see, every weekend that I was able to get away I would head up the Mountain to fish the North Plate River on the Continental Divide. With my Zebco 33 and a can of worms in hand off I'd go to try my luck. As I sat there on the banks of the Plate River, I would watch the stately gentlemen, who looked as thought they had just stepped out of an L.L. Bean catalog, work their fly rods, I found it very intriguing the way these fishermen were able to shoot the line so far with just one or two false casts.
It was then, I suppose, I decided to try this thing called Fly-fishing. Upon purchasing a Fly rod and some streamer flies, I once again made my way up the mountain, where I promptly beat the water to a milky froth with my newfound skill. I came to realize, it's not as easy as it looks. Go figure! Well, I worked at it for a few years and my casting improved, but I don't think I caught many Trout, if any at all.
Just a few years after purchasing my first fly rod I relocated to Washington State (Tacoma). It was there I hooked up with avid fly-fishermen, who had made their transition from worms to flies some years previous. We all had the opportunity to attend a Fly-fishing clinic/seminar, given by Randall Kaufmann (Kaufmann's Streamborn) in Oregon. It was this three-day Seminar that brought most all of the pieces of the fly-fishing puzzle together for me. We were instructed on such fly-fishing methods as: understanding the different categories of water and fishing them correctly, tying flies, streamside entomology/aquatic insect identification, and so much more. Applying these new found skills on the Rivers of the Pacific Northwest for Ocean run Steelhead and Salmon, was by far one of the most gratifying event in fishing I have ever experienced. Unbeknown to me, it was these fishing experiences that brought me to better understand the seasonal movement and life cycle of Salmon and Steelhead of the Great Lakes Tributaries, You see I now make my home in Wisconsin (Sheboygan) fishing the Great Lakes Tribs
for the both these species. While living here in the upper mid-west I have come to find a huge following with the same respect and admiration for these species of fish that I had come to know in Washington State.
Only you can decide what level you will take your fishing skills to, but if it is Fly-fishing, I recommend becoming involved with a local fly-fishing club or organization. Also watch for local fly-fishing seminars or fishing clinics'I have been Fly-fishing over 25 years now; believe me, I still have a great deal to learn.
Mark E. Brown