Bryan spent his early years chasing bass, trout and carp in the local Bay Area, and western Sierra lakes and streams with his fly rod. After having retired from the Air Force, he returned to Northern California to the waters he loves to fish and guide.
Bryan first got started in fly fishing when he saw a fly fisher on one of his family camping trips. After seeing this new style of fishing, he asked for a fly rod for his 7th birthday. He has been using a fly rod ever since and continues to pick up new aspects of the sport, two-handed fishing being a big part of his fishing.
Bryan’s favorite aspect of fly fishing is the challenge of figuring out how to catch trout. This involves so many things that appeal to him; observation, developing fly patterns and tying, practicing casting and presentations, planning trips, and much more. When it all comes together and you have fooled a fish, it is the best feeling.
Favorite fish to pursue:
Rainbow trout and steelhead. I love fishing dry flies and skating for the chromers, if there are noses poking up I’ll be fishing on top.
What fly fishing destination is on your bucket list?
I’m still having fun exploring a lot of the places up here in Northern California, but an early season trip to the Skeena system in British Columbia, Canada is definitely on my list!
Favorite fly rod and why?
I have a 6 weight Signature TFS rod I have had for about eight years. It stays in my rig and I have been using it to work on my FFI Casting Instructor certification for the past couple of years. I am partial to it because I have cast it at least three times a week over the past two years, whether fishing or practicing. My favorite two-hander is my Scott 6 wt T3H, it casts the Scandi compacts so effortlessly and fishes great.
Favorite reel and why?
This is a tough one, but I just picked up a post-war Hardy Perfect. The design and craftsmanship of the Perfect is tough to beat. Judging from the wear and dings on this reel it has a rich history.
Favorite fly and why?
Probably the last one I tied. I have a Muddler Minnow pattern with a gold ribbed hot orange body that is dynamite on summer run steelhead.
What is your greatest fly fishing extravagance?
My first rod ever was a package from Coast-to-Coast hardware, and then I fished a Payless Hardware store rod through the time I joined the Air Force. Now that I can afford to, I purchase a new rod every year. To cast well, you need a good tool and today’s rods are soooo much better than the best rods available back then.
Which living or non-living fly fisher would you want to spend a day Fly Fishing with?
Ted Williams (The Splendid Splinter). He was on the leading edge of the fly fishing boom in the Rockies, it would be great to hear what it was like to fish the west in that era.
Who are your favorite writers?
I read a lot of different genres, but I revisit Jack London’s short stories in The Tales of the Fish Patrol every few years.
What single issue in fly fishing do you feel has the greatest adverse potential?
Hyping numbers. There will always be a portion of the fly fishing community that is looking to catch the most fish and the largest. Since my earliest days wading the Kings River in August without waders, it has been about the places, experiences and people I meet that make this pursuit worthwhile. A successful day for me may not involve actually catching fish. One of the best days I had guiding on the Trinity River, we fished hard all day and did not hook one adult steelhead. While driving my clients back to their truck, a mountain lion took a deer and literally rolled to a stop 15 feet in front of my rig. I don’t think they will ever forget that, and cataloging experiences like those is what keeps me headed to the stream with my fly rod. I think it is important to ensure that, while catching fish with a fly rod is a major part of this activity, I believe it should not be portrayed as the most important aspect of this sport I love, or we will not continue to grow.
What is your most memorable fly fishing trip you’ve taken?
Gold River Lodge in August, the Klamath Estuary was alive with salmon, eagles, bears and sea lions. A sea lion chased down and caught a salmon right in front of us. Epic!
Also, a backpacking trip in the Absaroka Wilderness north of the park. One day we hiked through a pass to get to a prime fishing location. We spotted a grizzly while he was pulling a stump apart about a quarter mile away. We made a bunch of noise, it stood up for a few seconds, then got back to the stump. We went somewhere else that day.