Tom Johannesen

It’s amazing how a little positive reinforcement can be the spark that ignites a fire. Tom Johannesen grew up fishing but at the age of 23 he had his first article published in a British Columbia Federation of Fly Fishers (BCFFF) newsletter and something changed.

Since that first article, Tom has been on a mission to master his craft and to share what he has learned with others. With over 200 articles published in magazines like BC Sport Fishing, BC Outdoors, Outdoor Edge, Canadian Fly Fisher, Home Waters, Reel Angler, Western Angler and Island Fisherman, it’s clear that it’s a mission he takes seriously. He also regularly hosts seminars and tutorials at fly clubs and shops in the hopes of lighting that spark in the next generation.

Which of your Islanders sees the most use?

My first Islander LX 3.8 has landed Steelhead on the Dean River, Bonefish in Mexico and Coho in the Queen Charlottes.  If the reel could talk it would say it has had a very happy and full filling life so far. The LX 3.8 still makes it to the Dean River ever summer.

You spend a lot of time giving seminars, what’s the biggest piece of advice you give anglers looking to improve their craft?

By far the biggest piece of advice I can give any angler is being properly prepared for each and every outing. This includes checking tides or water conditions and having the right gear to fish those conditions.  I always recommend having all your gear ready to go when you arrive on the water. This includes fresh leaders and flies and reels are lubed and ready to go.

If you could only fish in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be and why?

Immediately the Dean River for summer-run Steelhead comes to mind but I’m going with Big Bar Lake in the Cariboo as the lake contains rainbows to ten pounds and all forms of insect life are present to try and imitate. I enjoy fishing this specific body of water as it can be very challenging at times and everyday brings new prospects. As anglers, the more we fish the more we have the desire to be challenged.

In 3 words or less describe your fishing

Dream: prolific hatch

Nightmare: extreme winds

Reality: Relaxing outing

Location:Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Email:tjflyfisher@shaw.ca

Steve Brown and Beckie Clarke

Is it the rhythm? the surroundings? the challenge? It’s hard to say, but fly fishing is an experience that changes people. After both being introduced to fly fishing at a relatively young age, the lives of Steve Brown and Beckie Clarke have been dramatically shaped by their connection to the water, both individually and as a couple.

They are each other’s soul mate, best friend, inspiration, lover, husband, wife, hero daddy, super momma, and fishing and business partner and it was all sparked by their shared passion for fishing…and a very fortuitous misunderstanding.

What brought the two of you together? How did you connect?

Beckie: I was looking for a new destination to host groups. Something remote. In a random conversation with my mom she told me that I had to check out Roatan; that it was the coolest destination that they visited on their cruise.

I started looking in that direction and found Fly Fish Guanaja. I contacted Steve and was really intrigued by him and his operation. From our first conversation I knew there was something special about him. I stalked him hard on social media; he did too, so we figure it wasn’t really stalking as we were both doing it 😉

After months of writing and talking we finally got to meet – fell in love and the rest is history. I told my mom about Honduras and Guanaja and she was like “Roatan?, oh no honey I meant Rarotonga”… Funny how things end up working out.

“Fish for change” is at the core of your fishing philosophy. What does that phrase mean to you? 

Steve: Fish for Change is the movement that organically bloomed from our Student Program at Fly Fish Guanaja. The profound experience starting and running Fly Fish Guanaja lies in the difference we’ve made in the local community, and in our guests. At the end of the day fly-fishing has been our way to help people, and that is what life is all about.

Beckie: I think any fishery that you indulge in you should leave thinking about how you were able to help or give back. Perhaps the ways of “look at me and my fish” could evolve into more of an inner connection to the destinations that you fish and help the communities around these waters.

How do you differ in your guiding styles?

Steve: One of the many reasons we fell in love so quick is that we see eye eye in fishing and guiding, which is rare. We are both patient and kind enough to enjoy guiding for over 15 years. Even though it’s not about the fish, we catch a lot of them.

We are more thrilled when someone else catches fish than when we do. We work harder than most guides, always changing something if fish aren’t biting, we are famous for going through many patterns if that’s what it takes. Most importantly, we can’t remember a bad day on the river.

British Columbia, Colorado, Honduras—you live, fish and guide in some very diverse places! If you could only fish in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?

Steve: With my wife Beckie and our son William and daughter Aspen, that’s where it would be.

Beckie: As long as they were there that’d be the best place to fish the rest of my life.

In 3 words or less describe your fishing

Dream:

Steve: My kids catching permit

Beckie: William and his sister Aspen fishing together

Nightmare

Steve: Hijacked by pirates

Beckie: Steven, the kids or myself being hijacked by pirates.

Reality

Steve: Have fun

Beckie: Live everyday to the fullest

As a husband and wife duo, Beckie and Steve own and operate Fly Fish Guanaja, a remote private Island fishing paradise in Honduras along with Fernie Fly Fishing, a trout angler’s heaven located in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia. Combine that with their two young children and you’ve got a wonderful family that is building a very full—and fulfilling—life together.

Location:Guanaja and Faraway Cayes, Honduras

Email:steve@flyfishguanaja.com

Website:http://www.flyfishguanaja.com/

Phil Rowley

One of the many beautiful things about fly fishing is the range of depths into which you can immerse yourself. When you look at Phil Rowley and his career, it’s safe to say he’s off the deep end.

Phil’s interest in fishing started at the age of five when a friend took him in search of coarse species in England and he’s been hooked ever since. As a career, things took off in the mid eighties when he began tying flies commercially for a local fly shop.

Since then, Phil’s passion has passion and skill have only grown to the point where he is a coveted seminar host, the director of marketing and communications at Trout Unlimited Canada, an international fly fishing travel host, the author of three books, and has almost half a million views on his YouTube channel. His instructional DVD series—produced with co-Field Team member Brian Chan and found on their webstore www.stillwaterflyfishingstore.com—is a master class in still-water trout fishing.

While—as far as we know—Phil is not literally underwater with the fish, his resume clearly shows a man fully immersed in the world of fly fishing at a depth few can match. Thankfully he’s happy to share what he’s learned with others and we’re happy he’s on the Islander Team.

Fly tying is obviously one of your passions. What would you tell a tyer looking to make the transition from copying patterns to creating their own?

Learn all you can, take classes even if you can’t see yourself using the flies in the immediate future. If you can attend a fly-fishing show or fishing show spend time watching others tie, especially if there is a fly tying theatre. Take advantage of YouTube, watch and subscribe. Books and DVD’s also provide a wealth of information. Finally, practice. Try to find time on a daily/weekly basis to tie.

If you could only fish three patterns for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

Tough question, as I target many species on the fly. Based on the premise that I chase trout most often, Balanced Leech (Bruised), Chromie and a Bead Head Hare’s Ear. For the stillwaters I fish primarily these flies simply produce on a consistent basis. These flies also work well on rivers and streams too.

If you could only fish in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be and why?

Lately I have been enjoying the peace and relative solitude of the lakes located in the southwest region of Manitoba. These lakes offer a diversity of species to challenge the fly fisher, rainbow, brown and tiger trout along with a great average size and a remote un-crowded experience.

What’s the best memory that fishing has given you?

So far, travelling to Argentina to chase monster rainbows on Argentina’s Lago Strobel, better known to some as Jurassic Lake.

What’s your personal philosophy towards fishing?

Don’t become biased to one particular species or type of fly-fishing. Learn all you can and target as many different fish as you can on the fly using a variety of methods. The lessons learned and the experiences offer huge dividends enabling you can grow and develop as an angler.

In 3 words or less describe your fishing

Dream: Beautiful warm day, light winds, remote productive clear water lake in a scenic setting, active fish feeding heavily on chironomids.

Nightmare: Fishing elbow to elbow in an ugly place

Reality: Somewhere between dream and nightmare scenarios, windy, cool day, sporadic hatches, moody fish feeding sporadically on a variety of food items.

 

Location:Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

Email:flycraft@shaw.ca

Website:www.flycraftangling.com

Brennan Lund

A professional guide, Natural Resource Science major, and former member of the Canadian Junior National Fly Fishing team, Brennan Lund is the definition of an up and comer. Like many, it was family that introduced him to the sport, but since the age of 12, he has been forging his own path with guidance from many of BC’s fishing icons like Matt King, Andy Larkin, Vance Whitley and Todd Oishi.

In the summer you’ll find him guiding in BC’s East Kootenays, a region made famous the world over for its pristine water, genetically pure westslope cutthroat and monstrous bull trout.

What’s your personal philosophy towards fishing?

Utmost respect for the resource. I am a huge catch and release advocate for wild fish stocks, and want to change the way people think about fish. To me there are not a resource, they are a passion, and must be protected.

How do you hope to apply your degree to your work in the future?

Eventually I would love to be able to use my degree in a way to promote fisheries conservation, to help protect our wild fish stocks for the future, and reverse the mistakes made by previous generations.

In 3 words or less describe your fishing

Dream: Healthy wild stocks

Nightmare: No wild trout

Reality: Respect the river

Location:Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Brian Chan

Ichthyologist – it was probably the first and last time Brian Chan’s 4th grade teacher ever got that answer in response to the classic “what do you want to be when you grow up” question however for Brian, this was no novelty. He stayed true to his word and went on to have a 30-year career in managing recreational fisheries in the angler’s paradise that is British Columbia.

Brian’s personal philosophy towards fishing is not to just catch fish but to know why we are catching fish. This has led to extensive study of entomology and hydrology and how they relate to the craft of fly fishing whether that’s presentation, time of day, depth or fly tying.

The knowledge he has accumulated over his 40 years of fly fishing has made him a coveted guide, seminar host, author, and television personality.

Along with long time fishing partner and fellow Islander Field Team member Phil Rowley, Brian has developed a successful DVD series (Conquering Chironomids) and numerous stillwater fly patterns which are available on their website. His contribution to the world of stillwater fly tying was recognized by Fly Tyer magazine with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

All told, I think his 4th grade teacher would be impressed.

 

What attracts you to the lakes over other bodies of water?

In large part because of a career managing stillwaters as a fisheries biologist I have had a life long passion for productive stillwaters.

I know you’re a fly guy, but do you dabble in any other tackle like centrepin or mooching?

My youth was spent mooching for salmon in Howe Sound and the east coast of Vancouver Island. I also started steelhead fishing with a centre pin and still enjoy it.

What’s the best memory that fishing has given you?

Tarpon fishing in Cuba, waiting on an ocean flat at first light for the tarpon to leave the mangroves and head back to deep water for the day. For about 2 hours large groups of fish would cruise over the white sand bottomed flat. We intercepted many of those happy fish and the sight fishing was absolutely epic.

In 3 words or less describe your fishing

Dream: watching the indicator go down hard!

Nightmare: climate change affecting the survival of salmonids in interior lakes

Reality: having the continuing opportunity to fish well managed stillwaters in BC

(…three words is too tough)

Location:Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Website:www.riseformflyfishing.com

Todd Oishi

“It’s often assumed that fly fishers achieve a large portion of their angling success as a result of being ‘lucky,’ but I’ve always believed that an fly fisher must possess a certain amount of skill, knowledge, and preparation in order to take full advantage of a situation where luck does come into play…” – Todd Oishi

After first being introduced to the competitive side of fly fishing in 2002 and competing over seas at the world championships a few years later, Todd Oishi’s eyes were opened to the advanced techniques of anglers around the world. Since then, he has been researching and perfecting the latest fishing methods and strategies in order to be win both nationally and internationally.

This innovation has helped propel him to the top of Canada’s competitive fly fishing rankings and—as part of a team—Canada’s first ever win at a major international competition, the 2016 Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships. When he’s not fishing himself, he’s coaching youth teams, giving seminars, promoting the sport and working with Trout Unlimited as a regional chapter president.

Who was your biggest mentor or inspiration in the fishing world?

If I had to pick just one, I would have to say that my biggest inspiration has been Brian Chan. It was Brian’s articles, books, and seminars that inspired me to learn more about the science behind our sport, and fired my passion and obsession with this sport.

You’re a strong advocate for expanding our horizons with new techniques and strategies on your site innovativeflyfisher.com, what do you encourage others to do to break out of their comfort zone to become better anglers?

I am a firm believer that in order to become a more effective and productive angler, fly fishers need to break out of their comfort zones, by keeping an open mind and being willing to experiment with techniques, fly patterns, and fly lines that they might not typically employ. Having a wider variety of techniques and tactics in your arsenal will allow you to effectively adapt to changing conditions and the mood swings of the fish…

What’s your favourite local species and your favourite exotic species?

The Pennask rainbow trout is my favourite local species, and the Redfish would be my favourite exotic species. Both species are renowned for their beauty, strength, and fighting abilities, but it’s the pristine waters and beautiful places where they live and can be caught that makes targeting them even more appealing to me.

In 3 words or less describe your fishing

Dream: Fish a cast!

Nightmare: Straightened hooks!

Reality: Time well wasted…

Location:Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada

Website:www.innovativeflyfisher.com

Tamara Spence

As an integral part of her Ojibway heritage, fishing has been tied to Tamara Spence’s family life since birth. Over years and time on the water, she has recognized the connection between well-being, the environment and land-based activities that is instilled in many of us. It is in this context that she began asking more questions about what it really means to live off the land.

These questions eventually led to her study at Lakehead University where she is exploring the essence of wellness through an indigenous framework, particularly focusing on the role of nature and connecting with the land.

A thriving fishery is an essential component to the wellness Tamara is researching. That’s why—in addition to her research—she is a passionate advocate for sustainable fisheries management. She regularly speaks at focus groups and writes through her position as Editor-in-Chief at The Argus on issues of sustainable yield, responsible harvest and ethical use of our fisheries.

These days there are very few people who rely purely on the land for physical survival but that doesn’t mean we cannot live off the land. Through the work of researchers like Tamara, we are understanding the importance of a healthy fishery to well-being—particularly amongst Indigenous Canadians—and by advocating for our fisheries, she is helping future generations to not only live, but thrive off the land.

 

What’s the best memory that fishing has given you?

The harmony that is felt when fishing. I remember one moment vividly. My friend Steve and I were fishing at my favourite lake. The air was clear, and the river was softly rippling, the mist was radiating off the water and the sturgeon were jumping in the distance. On top of catching fish that morning, and releasing most, the coffee was out of this world.

What’s the core message of your writing and speaking advocacy?

That we are trusted with a great task, the management of our tributaries and waterbodies. We must be proactive and conscious of our actions in order to ensure our children and their children have the same opportunities that you and I have.

How do we strike a balance between consumptive and conservation fishing? (a big question I know)

I think there is a great deal to be learned still in regards to catch and release and selective harvest. I believe that if you are hungry, be sure to provide for yourself if you’re in need. But if you know in your heart that it’s not necessary now, put them back for when it is.

In 3 words or less describe your fishing

Dream: Patagonia trout fishing

Nightmare: cold and lost

Reality: hit or miss

 

Location:Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Email:tspence@lakeheadu.ca

Jeff Fisher

Since he was a toddler following his dad on the hunt for carp, pike and deep sea species around Southern England, Jeff Fisher has been doing his family name proud. His prolific guiding career has taken him to Northern Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, the Yukon, British Columbia and even the jungles of South America.

You’ve guided all across Canada (and beyond) what sets this country’s fishery apart?

That’s easy, the vast amount of cold, clean, fresh water lakes and rivers along with the countless fishing opportunities one has living in or visiting Canada, from coast to coast to everything in between. The fish are plentiful and can obtain world record sizes in the right places and if you’re in the right places at the right time of the year, it doesn’t get dark.

What advice would you give to someone trying to become a full-time guide?

I’d say try and get used to living out of big bags, chasing the seasons, flying a lot and having more patience than you thought you had. There’s a reason why so many do it…It’s a really cool job, your desk has a 360-degree view and every day is different.

In 3 words or less describe your fishing

Dream: We slayed ‘em

Nightmare: The motor’s dead

Reality: We landed 1

Location:Nomadic