I was introduced to fly-fishing when I attended my first fishing show in Minnesota at the age of fifteen. It was a hook, line and sinker kind of moment. One experience, in particular, that really reeled me in was the art of fly tying. An older gentleman hunched over a vise with his bobbin and thread, pieced every material onto the hook like a game of chess. Once he was finished, he looked up at me with a grin and said, “Here yah go, kid!” He handed me a bumblebee fly to catch trout and sunfish with. From that moment, I was hooked on fly-fishing and the art of tying.
At a young age, my father would drop me off at a river that I researched from a book on Minnesota trout streams. I spent countless hours getting my butt whooped on the water. That is, until I became efficient at tying ant patterns. Over the summer I caught my first brown trout on a black ant pattern. My love for the sport and art only rooted itself deeper into my veins.
Later, I began chasing bass, pike and anything that swam. As my knowledge and ability to catch these fish grew, my interest turned towards bigger predators; the muskellunge. By that time, I felt comfortable as a gear angler and was ready to chase this apex predator with a fly. I started by tying countless musky flies. Not until I learned the essential, tried and true musky fly-tying tricks, did I begin to have more success on my fly rod. It wasn’t long before I began leaving my conventional gear at home.
I attended college at Minnesota State University in Bemidji and started chasing tail…musky tail that is! Upon graduation, I was seeking out guiding opportunities in the western part of the country. However, I soon discovered connections in Hayward, Wisconsin and jumped at the opportunity to spend my summer guiding, tying production musky flies and fishing my heart out in Musky Country.
After two seasons of working with the outfitter company that I started with, I decided to pursue other avenues in life. Yet, one thing was always constant, my love for musky on the fly. This sport has allowed me to see the rolling hills of Tennessee and the far northern reaches of Minnesota. I have participated in various fly-tying tournaments around the Midwest, one being the Pig Farm Inc./Iron Fly Tournament in Minneapolis, in which I placed first with a musky fly I created. Not only do I love the competitive-ness of this sport, but I also love passing it on, be it a guided service, a small lesson through conversation or talking to a class of Ecology students.
In addition to my passion for fishing, I also practice and pursue the art of photography. Challenging myself not only to catch a fish but also to capture one with my lens is a driving force in my life and such a reward when it happens. It is something I’ve incorporated into my guiding services, as well; allowing clients the opportunity to have their day on the water fully documented and the images made into a coffee table book. It’s a great way to show off their adventures on the water! I’ve also been fortunate enough to have a select number of my photographs featured in various publications such as Wisconsin Outdoor News and a cover image on the front of Minnesota Sporting Journal.