Trouts: Tell us a little about yourself, how long you’ve been fishing/fly-fishing and how you were introduced to the sport.
SD: I grew up on the Puget Sound fishing for whatever I could catch. I don’t remember my first fish, I just remember always fishing. My brother and I would row around dropping crab pots, jigging baits and lures, catching flounder, rock cod, perch, bullheads, & sometimes we’d even troll for salmon. I moved to Colorado for school and realized this is where I would reside. I loved the sun, the mountains, and all the outdoor opportunities it had to offer. I temporarily moved back to Washington to finish school, and while I was there a childhood friend introduced me to fly fishing. I was instantly hooked, and found I needed more and more time on the water. Once I graduated I took a job in Denver, and began my journey chasing trout throughout the state. My heart wasn’t into my job and I wanted to do something I enjoyed and was passionate about. I had worked for 5 years in a fishing shop on the Sound and loved it. I ended up finding a position at a local fishing shop. I did retail & guided. Sixteen years later I still haven’t tired of my fly fishing adventures.
Trouts: Why do you love to guide fly-fishing?
SD: I love sharing this sport with others. I get to meet new people who range from novice to advanced anglers that share my same passion. I find it’s impossible to have a bad time while fishing. I get thrills watching bugs get sipped off the surface, or my indicator suddenly getting pulled under. Hearing stories from others, and working with some incredible guides I can’t help but get excited about what I do.
Trouts: What is the best piece of fishing advice you’ve ever been given?
SD: One piece of fishing advice I received is “think fishy”. There’s so much more to consider than just fly selection. You can learn a lot by thinking on the river. By analyzing what’s working and what’s not, you can eliminate some of the guess work. Things to think about while on the water are; Where are the trout positioned when they feed? What level of the water column are they in? What’s the current doing to the bugs? Are they taking it on the swing? What’s their movement in the water telling me? Are they spooky? Are they looking up? And so on. Analyzing these thoughts & questions and putting it all together can produce some of the most fulfilling days.
Another piece of advice I‘ll share is “all fish like worms.”
Trouts: Describe your guiding style?
SD: I’d describe my guiding style as customizable. Every client is different and has different things they want from there trip. Everyone wants to catch fish but there’s so much more that goes into “successful” trips. Throughout the year I’m an instructor, fish spotter, river reader, encourager, entymologist, sandwich artist, and host. Listening and figuring out what your client wants will lead to “successful” days.
Trouts: Describe your perfect day on the water both A) guiding and B) fishing for fun.
SD: A perfect guide day is when I can see my clients passion and enthusiasm for the sport grow throughout the day. Seeing beginners get dialed in on their casts and drifts, and having their efforts be rewarded with fish in the net. Also, Sharing tips and /or “tricks” with the more advanced anglers. You’re never done learning so when I can show someone something new, I feel my efforts are appreciated.
A perfect day for me is anytime I can get a personal day on the water. Solitary, peaceful days are hard to top. At the same time, I love sharing my days with good friends and family as well.
Trouts: Favorite species to target on the fly?
Trouts: Favorite place to fish?
SD: That’s a tough question. I love the big coastal rivers of western Washington. The low clouds, tall trees, and smell of dead fish makes me think of salmon and steelhead. Walking in warm salt in some tropical locale is equally great. Also, I love wading the flats looking for fish cruising by. I love the diversity of the Colorado river. Being able to wade or float, throw dries, streamers, or nymphs all in one day is amazing. So, my answer is yes.
Trouts: Destination to dream about?
SD: Dream spot is the Seychelles.
Trouts: Got any fun fishing trips on the books?
SD: I’m heading to Duck Key (Florida) to chase tarpon the first week of May. I can’t wait.
Trouts: What do you like to do for fun when not on the water?
SD: When I’m not on the water I’m a family man. My wife and 2 boys keep me laughing and having fun whatever we do.