I began my childhood fishing career with a dip net, a pail, and rubber boots full of water. Things got more exciting when I commandeered the drugstore fishing kit my parents had bought my younger brother. I ransacked the garden for all manner of bugs and worms to stick on a hook, haunted by the dreams of hungry fish lurking under the surface of the water.
Things took yet another turn in the right direction when I found a “Zulu” dry fly stuck in a streamside bush while on holiday in Yorkshire. I started tying flies at home soon afterwards and discovered that our retired neighbour had been a keen fly fisherman in his youth. Together we discovered the fly fishing possibilities around Southwest London, which were limited, highly regulated and rather expensive. Joe unfortunately passed away in 1981, but I learned a lot from him, including a deep respect for fish and aquatic ecosystems.
Fast forward ten years and you’ll see me graduating from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in aquatic ecology. By this time, I was a fanatic fly fisherman, deceiving stillwater rainbows in my belly boat from spring to fall and searching Fraser Valley sloughs for coho in winter.
Fast forward another ten years and you find me settled in Calgary after years pursuing musical goals in Toronto. Friends introduced me to the fishery on the Bow River that year and by 2009 I was working as a fly fishing guide for Fish Tales Fly Shop and several other local outfitters. Since then, I have led hundreds of trips for clients from near and far, mostly on the Bow River, but also on the Oldman and on Southern Alberta pike lakes. I have also recently had the great good fortune to fly fish for saltwater tropical species in Turks and Caicos, Grand Cayman and Hawaii.
Fishing has provided me with many wonderful friendships and thousands of hours of outdoor recreation, mostly in Western Canada. Yes, I love fish, but I also love birds, insects, trees, clouds and time spent in nature, or as I call it, “the church of the great outdoors.” My love of nature encourages me to tread lightly upon the Earth and give back when I can. I drive an efficient all-wheel-drive hybrid, row my driftboat, choose environmental products, recycle, dispose of line and other waste materials responsibly, use barbless hooks, handle fish minimally and carefully and participate regularly in river clean-up, conservation and enhancement initiatives.