We have assembled ten questions you can ask your fly fishing friends. You can use these as conversation starters. Or, simply post them on Facebook to see if they go viral. Here are the questions as well as our answers.
We’d love to have you post your answers in the “comments” section below:
1. What is your “go to” fly rod—the one you use most?
DAVE: Now that I live in the Midwest, it’s my eight-and-a-half, four-weight Redington. When I’m on bigger rivers, it is my Sage One nine foot six weight.
STEVE: My “go to” is a Winston Boron II-X. It’s a nine-foot, six-weight that’s made in Montana. If I’m on a smaller creek, I’ll switch to my Orvis eight-and-a-half-foot, four weight.
2. What river that you’ve never fished is at the top of your bucket list?
DAVE: There are so many rivers that I’d like to fish – the many in Oregon (including the McKenzie River), Washington State, and British Columbia. I’d love to fish as many rivers as I could in Alaska. I don’t have a yearning to fish a particular one – just all that I haven’t fished. Plus, I’d love to fish all the great rivers in the northeastern United States. Basically, every river I haven’t fished is one I want to fish.
STEVE: I suppose it would be the Bighorn River in Montana. I’ve fished all the other major rivers in Montana. But since I had so many other superb rivers to fish when I lived in the Bozeman, Montana, area, I never ventured east to experience it.
3. What is the oldest piece of gear you use when fly fishing?
DAVE: A pair of Dan Bailey Waders. They are going on 10 years.
STEVE: I have an Orvis fly vest that is twenty-years old. It has a ripped pocket. But it’s like an old friend! I plan to keep using it until it falls apart.
4. What is the newest piece of gear you use when fly fishing?
DAVE: I just bought a pair of Patagonia Foot Tractors (wading boots). It was time. I wore a pair of Simms boots for way too long. The soles were worn, and last fall on the Gardner in Yellowstone National Park, I struggled to wade more than up to my knees.
STEVE: A Fishpond Nomad Emerger net. A friend gave it to me as a gift. It has a slightly longer handle than my Brodin hand net, but it’s not too bulky when it’s clipped on my vest and I’m hiking in a couple of miles to fish. The composite material makes it light, as well as strong.
5. What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done on the river?
DAVE: I locked my car keys in the trunk of my 1971 Chevy Nova. Steve and I had to wait for a rancher to drive by. We were on a road that dead-ended at the trail head of a wilderness area. We used the rancher’s hammer and screwdriver to punch a hole through the lock. Sure enough, I had left the keys in my fly fishing vest.
STEVE: I dropped the top two pieces of my four-piece Orvis eight-and-a-half, four-weight rod into the Owyhee River in eastern Oregon. The pieces floated away. Thankfully, the good folks at Orvis treated it like a broken rod and replaced the two missing pieces. Actually, they gave me a new rod.
6. Which brother do you most resemble in the movie A River Runs Through It – Norman or Paul?
DAVE: Definitely Paul. I was not quite the hell-raiser that he was but I always saw myself as a kind of rebel against the system (whatever that meant – authority, status quo, etc.). I was a rebel without a cause, in many ways. Fortunately, I had to grow up (finally and reluctantly). I’m not perfect like Steve!
STEVE: Definitely Norman! I’m the oldest child who is more serious-minded than free-spirit. I’ve worked hard to be a good fly fisher, but I’m not a natural like Paul was.
7. What was your most satisfying moment on the river?
DAVE: Probably last fall catching browns, cutts, and rainbows on the Gardner River in Yellowstone National Park. It was an unbelievable two days of unlimited catching (and releasing). The second best may be the year previously on 16 Mile Creek in Montana when Steve and I had a banner day fishing hoppers.
STEVE: It was either catching rainbows on the Yellowstone with an elk hair caddis fly I tied with elk hair from a bull elk I shot during archer season or else watching my boys land trout after trout one spring day on Montana’s Madison River.
8. What is your most embarrassing moment on the river?
DAVE: Snapping a rod while on a guided fishing trip down the Lower Madison. I had just grabbed the guide’s rod to give it a try. It was an Orvis H2 (an expensive rod!). I had hooked a large rainbow, and it darted under the boat because of my poor ability to reel it in.
STEVE: It’s probably the time when a friend told me to be ready to fish a great run as we floated by it in his drift boat. He emphasized that I’d only get one chance, so I needed to make a solid cast. Well, I promptly cast my fly into a bush on the bank above the run. He just shook his head.
9. What is your favorite book about fly fishing (besides A River Runs Through It and The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists)?
DAVE: Probably Gary Borger’s book Nymphing which I picked up in the 1990s.
STEVE: This one is easy for me. It’s Bud Lilly’s Guide to Fly Fishing the New West by Bud Lilly and Paul Schullery. It has great stories and a lot of helpful information.
10. Who convinced you to take up fly fishing?
DAVE: It was Steve, back when we were 18. Another friend inspired me to try nymph fishing and that took my fly fishing to an entirely different level.
STEVE: It was Jerry Williams, a seasonal Ranger-Naturalist in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was in high school at the time, and he led a weekly fly fishing demonstration in Moraine Park. He was an enthusiastic teacher who had a knack for simplifying and teaching what can be a complex sport.
Alright, it’s your turn to answer these questions! Ask your fly fishing friends to do the same.