So many waters I consider "home" but my short list includes a few rivers and one ocean. Those that easily make this list would be the Trask, Wilson, Deschutes, N Umpqua, Owyhee and Salmon Rivers. And the Sea of Cortez.
My earliest memories are of chinook salmon larger than myself at the time and scrambling along the banks of the Oregon's coastal rivers with my dad. He was a solitary fellow, never cared much for fishing with others so I think I was the only person he ever spent much time on the water with. From Tillamook we moved to Bend in 85 where I grew up in a world of constant outdoor adventure and exploration. Once out of the house, early roommates were fly shop employees and Deschutes River fishing guides. From that point on, I really became enamored in the pursuit of steelhead on the fly.
In 2000 I felt the desire to make a new life in a new place, and Boise, Idaho offered everything I was seeking: Remote desert to the South all the way to Mexico, and rugged mountains and timber North all the way to Canada. I've since made a home and family here in the City of Trees, devouring pristine single track trails on foot or two wheels, taking deer and elk out of the backcountry on my back one piece at a time, and of course tossing fly lines anywhere I can manage. With my wife Ali and our new little kiddo, we aspire to spend more time smiling in the boonies each and every year. That is if we don't say "The hell with it!" and bail to sabbatical in Baja for a few years!
In every angler's backyard around the world there are fisheries, economies and livelihoods that benefit from anglers taking ownership of their personal roles as stewards to resources. Yes, best practices backed by science reduce C&R impact, but even beyond that I think there is something larger to be gained from the keepemwet movement: A sense of never being too proud to learn, and a willingness to be small. To take time to question how we've always done things and ponder what can be improved upon. I'll admit, these are things I'm personally not great at, but aspire to be better as we welcome new folks the world of angling.
Products always with me
Chest pack, nomad net (almost always depending on fish species, or if I really need a lucky boost I'll forget it on purpose) and roll top backpack. Oh and travel case too!
Walk out of gas station with
Admitted, I'm an absolute beer snob. I prefer beer from cans- from a box. And coffee from a pot for that matter. Beer, ice, and a new appreciation for small mammal taxidermy.
Roosters crow in the pre-dawn black as the smell of tortilla dough sizzling on cast iron griddle lofts into the humid air. My perfect day would begin in a fishing village along the Sea or Cortez, where I'd head out with friends, my wife and little kiddo to find rooster fish pushing bait fish onto the sand. I love hunting fish on foot. And any day doing so is pretty much a perfect day in my book, because whether it's actually hooking up, or learning something new, I think that self-made DIY experiences are simply more rewarding than utilizing every advantage or paying to play.
I have tremendous respect for photographers that evolved their craft prior to digital cameras. Specific names off the top of my head that I admire for various reasons include: Filmmaker Bruce Brown (Endless Summer, On Any Sunday) hunting call maker and video host Will Primos (The Truth Video Series), TV host and angler Flip Pallot (Walker's Cay Chronicles), Motocross and all-around racing legend Travis Pastrana and of course world renowned fish bum Brian O'Keefe.
Favorite One Liner
Tina eat your ham you fat lard.
Like the dinosaurs and sharks I'd seen in books, the seemingly giant salmon and steelhead I watched my father tug to the bank of coastal rivers terrified me as a small child. Yet I couldn't get them out of my mind, especially once I was old enough to try to do the same. At the age of 8 I clung to a cork grip with a large cartwheeling fish on the line. What I felt was an energy that nothing else could duplicate.
Over time I'd travel with buddies to rivers near and far to swing flies for these incredible fish. By 2000, Boise had become my new home and trout were all around. My first digital camera came shortly thereafter and using it to study fish in the net brought me back to the days of that little kid staring in fantastic awe at fish. Photography, filmmaking and a career in fly fishing inevitably followed.
With the explosion of social media and camera phones in every pocket, I fear photographing every catch has become assumed standard protocol, for new anglers especially. I'm concerned about the impact all this additional fish handling is having on catch & release fisheries. I hope to raise awareness, that while it's great to photograph fish (I owe my career to it) over-handling can kill the very fish an angler is so proud to display then release. Hence the inception of #keepemwet, a few words added to my instagram posts that I hoped would promote keeping fish in the water for photos.
I have the best job of anyone I know, creating media content for Silver Creek Outfitters of Ketchum, Idaho. In addition, I've had some luck producing short films featured in The Fly Fishing Film Tour and The Hunting Film Tour, and am proud to support Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and Casting 4 A Cure.