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My Fly Fishing Philosophy

OnlyOnFlies is the product of my love of fly fishing and a desire to somehow give back some of the enjoyment and satisfaction fly fishing has given me for more than 40 years...kind of a "pay it forward" thing. OnlyOnFlies is intended to be a joint effort that all fly fishers will help build over time. The goal is to create a place where any fly fisher can come for information on almost any aspect of fly fishing. From equipment, flies, fly tying to casting, entomology and fishing destinations for that special trip and an ongoing emphasis on conservation as it relates to fly fishing. I want to encourage you and others you may know to participate in this process.  OnlyOnFlies is and will continue to be a "work in progress"...and I hope that will be the case for a long time as new content is added. Some areas are not yet complete but still have valuable information and most sections will grow and change over time. We always appreciate your comments and suggestions... 

I need to emphasize here that this is my philosophy and it has developed over many years. I certainly do not expect that it is shared by everyone who reads this. I suspect this philosophy has in some ways affected what you will find on this site. Above all, I believe in conservation of our cold water resources (rivers, streams, lakes and the environment around them. I strongly urge all fishermen to take up this cause and support, as best you can, the many great organizations that help in this responsibility. I believe very strongly in what I call "wild" fish caught and released in a clean and healthy environment...healthy for both me, you and the fish! I believe that a "wild" trout (or any wild fish) is "too valuable to be caught only once". Therefore, I am a huge proponent of Catch and Release and the use of barbless hooks (I do make exceptions in salt water). I believe in fly fishing etiquette...manners if you will. I believe in following the regulations and laws regarding fishing of all kinds...there is a reason for them and I have very little patience for those that violate them (including kids). Several of these things will be discussed in following pages. This is who I am as a fly apologies!!! 

When I say "wild" fish, I do not necessarily mean "native" fish. I mean fish that were spawned in the waters I fish over many generations. They were not planted! I make the distinction between "wild" and "native" because these terms are often misused and misunderstood. A "native" fish is one that "completes its entire lifecycle naturally, without human intervention and is a fish species that occurred naturally within a lake, stream, or river historically—not placed there by humans." A prime example of this distinction is the brown trout. All fly fishermen have heard or read about the "native brown trout" that inhabit this or that river. Well, brown trout were introduced to North America from Europe...probably Germany in 1883. I love chasing brown trout so I need to distinguish between "wild" and "native".

In my 40+ years of fly fishing in fresh water, I have certainly killed and eaten fish. I have caught thousands and the number I have purposely killed number fewer than 50. I have killed one single fish to mount...a 21" 5 lb.+ brook trout in incredible spawning color. It was caught in a place where it was not possible for them to spawn...they had been heli-planted several years prior to my several visits there. I have no issues with others that choose to catch and kill fish so long as it is done fully within the regulations. I have absolutely no patience for anyone (including kids) that fish illegally. Pretty harsh I know...if you grow up breaking the regulations without consequence, you are certainly more prone to doing so as an adult and spreading those bad practices to others. I strongly believe in "Catch and Release" for all species and the use of barbless hooks whenever and wherever possible. I have made some exceptions when fishing in saltwater for larger species but I still practice "Catch and Release". I will never fish in a place that I know has a large population of planted fish. I prefer "wild" fish. I define a "wild" fish as one that is there as a result of several generations of natural spawning in a given area. I do not know, nor do I care, whether fly fishing is a "sport" or simply a very pleasant and fulfilling way to pass time. I believe strongly in fly fishing etiquette and am usually unhappy when others around me do not do the same. Finally, I believe in conservation and the organizations that carry this heavy burden.

Personally, I am not a fan of "hero" pics...maybe my arms are not long enough. I have no problems with those that like them so long as the fish is handled properly and the "hero" shot does not harm the fish. Please practice Catch and Release and "Keep Them Wet".

Finally, I am aware that fly fishing has ( is changing) long been viewed by many to be a sport of the wealthy. I am not wealthy by any measure and I believe that our rivers and lakes belong to us...all of us and must be managed for the common good. I am very happy to see many of the major fly fishing brands starting to produce and promote quality products that are much more affordable for more people so this great sport, leisure activity or whatever you want to call it is available to all.

Tight lines...

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