Welcome angling friend.
Since I discovered my father's steamer trunk full of feathers and hooks at six years old, fly fishing became a lifelong passion. Rummaging through dads old chest, I became spellbound with the many fly boxes belonging to my father and grandfather which organized with rows of soft feathers so skillfully affixed to sharp yet dangerous hooks. I remember watching my father in hip waders make fly casts targeting likely spots on Colorado’s Crystal River. Dad could cast a weightless fly so deftly allowing it to land on the surface leaving no disturbance at all. I recall watching the fly dancing on the water's surface as it floated downstream in anticipation that, at any moment, a trout would leap free of the water and smash it. Almost on cue, a trout would rise to the surface and suck that fly into its mouth. Father would set the hook, and a crimson flanked rainbow trout would leap across the pool spraying water through the air.
My father preferred to catch rainbow trout to any other fish and more specifically, rainbow trout from streams flowing from the top of the Rocky Mountains. My father suddenly passed away when I was 14, so I left Colorado for a new home in Oregon. I spent 30 years chasing rainbow trout on Oregon's large rivers. In Oregon, however, the rainbow trout I pursued migrated to the ocean to grow large and robust to return as wild steelhead. A Steelhead is a rainbow trout growing much more substantial than any trout in Colorado could become.
Oregon was a beautiful place to live and raise my daughter but not so lovely while trying to live the fly fisherman’s lifestyle. A hard truth occurred to me: fishing pressure became so extreme during the Spey fishing revolution of the 90’s and into the 2000’s that it seemed as if someone was waving a 12-foot pole in every run of steelhead water. The numbers of returning steelhead were dismal compared to the sheer numbers of anglers pursuing them, and the politics of salmon in Oregon was deep. I had to compete with fishers spaced every 200 yards on a twelve-mile stretch of river to possibly find an open slot to catch, perhaps, a single fish, or two if it was a healthy return that year. When anglers, including myself, started open carrying of firearms just to keep other anglers from low holing them, it was time to hit the road.
In my 40 years as a devoted fly fishing enthusiast, I have studied hundreds of books, read thousands of magazines and browsed countless blogs in pursuit of fly fishing knowledge. I have earned degrees in fisheries science and ultimately contemplate chasing a Ph.D. in a fisheries-related subject, though I would miss the time I get to spend on the river fishing. Most importantly, I log thousands of hours every year while fishing and guiding. I have combined my education and experience as a fisheries scientist to bring you as much information as possible to help you become a better fisherman.
This website is about offering to you the proven fly patterns that fill my fly boxes. I also write a blog section where I have added several valuable articles that can improve your fly fishing game. I have pieces on reading the water, speaking a universal language of science, protecting our fisheries and a small dose of fly fishing ethics which should help us all get along a little better.
John P. Newbury