Your Best Fishing Experience: 2000-2009

Chad Lewis

NEVER wonder what to do with your free time
Winter 2006- started learning to flyfish. Never really fished before, just had flyfishing on the brain and wanted to learn. About a week later, I'm hooked.
December 2006- first fish on the fly. Surf perch at Coronado Beach in San Diego
March-April 2007- fishing/hiking/camping roadtrip from San Diego to Whidbey Island
Mid March 2007- first trout caught in a river. Rainbow. Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, Sequoia Nat'l Park. On a dry fly.
Summer of 2007- first brown trout. Pass Lake.
October 2007- first (and last) steelhead. Beach fishing off Whidbey Island. Actually picked up three in a row (many witnesses)!
July 2008- First trip to Rocky Ford. Had a blast, with awesome hopper fishing. First spring creek fished.
July 2008- Hiked about 13 miles upstream on Elwha River for three days. Terrible fishing, but a great trip.
2009- First salmon in saltwater. First SRC, caught in an Olympic Peninsula River I've never heard anyone else talk about.


Not to be confused with Freestone
Wow, that's a bunch of real estate to cover... but here are some of my highlights:
  • Two Tarpon jumped at 7 mile bridge, Key West, FL
  • 30# Bull Redfish, LA
  • Tsiu River, Talarik Creek & Kvichak River, AK
  • Late summer hopper nirvana - 3 day float with two great friends on the Snake, ID
  • Amazing caddis hatch/catch, Clark Fork, Warm Springs (wife took picture of particulaly georgeous/colored brown used on Avitar)
  • 25" Bull Trout, Rock Creek (almost to the confluence w/Clark Fork), first time I'd seen the backing on my 5 wt!
  • Amazing adult damsel hatch/catch, Georgetown Lake, MT (simply freakish day)
  • Anytime I'm on the Ruby, Beaverhead or Big Hole (catching or not)... why we plan to retire in the Ruby Valley:thumb:
Dean River Six of us had a chopper drop us off about 5 miles above the falls, picked us up a week later. Fishing was fair to poor, experience was fantastic.
2006: learned to fly fish
2007: learned to tie flies
2008: started steelheading, fished the northshore of Lake Superior, fished the mountain streams in TN for native brookies, got married.
2009: visited washington state for the first time, fished the white and norfolk river for trout in arkansas, fished the upper penn. of michigan for steelhead (put on over 1000 miles fishing in less than a day), fished the brule river, WI for the first time, fished washington in the fall for steel and salmon (caught my first salmon on the fly), and purchased my first two handed rod(s).


Still fishing
It was a good decade:

1) Got to fish the South Fork of the Snake with a guide. Sight fished dries to rising trout much of the time.
2) Finallybought the WM that I wanted so much.
3) Began to catch trout on flies that I had tied.
4) Made some really good new friends who love to fly fish
5) Found a really nice stream in BC with lots of rainbows
Best parts of 2009:

1) Steelheading - epic year. :beer1:
2) Catching huge bull trout (will try and attach smaller picture)
3) Lamar Valley - fly fishing in the Lamar Valley, throwing huge bugs while watching for grizzlies.
4) Yellowstone River - epic float on the yellowstone, 4 types of trout in a day.
5) Big Wood River - fishing in a foot of snow, and falling in. :beathead:


Active Member
The fact that I got to fly fishing and tie flies for another decade.

Fingers crossed that I can say the same in 2019!

Tight lines

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I have been debating on sharing this. But here it goes. I've had a few over the last decade. But the one that sticks out the most and meant the most to me was this year, in October. My yearly salmon trip I always take with my Dad. First year without him. If it wasn't for a promise I made to him while he was in Hospice, I wouldn't probably have gone on the trip. Took my son with. We always fished the Chehalis tribs. My Dad had a spot on the Satsop he LOVED to fish. Was the hole he hogged on me. But he was my Dad, so I didn't say anything. But was his favorite. We drifted up to the hole, and nobody was fishing it. I walked up to my Dad's spot. Said "This ones for you Dad" and made my cast. First drift had a solid fish on. Was dark, but a nice buck. Didn't realize my son had grabbed my camera as I was releasing it. So was a pleasant surprise when I downloaded my phone.

PS, you'll reckognize the photo as my profile pic.

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
Lots of great fishing. Two days stand out

First day on the Dean

Woke up and landed first chromer on a dry. Proceeded to rise 4 others throughout the day. The rest of the week had plenty of great memories but that first day was the best

Guide day off

Had a no-show and was about to go do some non-fishing chores when I decided to call a friend on the radio and see how the fishing was. Heard "There's tons of coho" and started the engine. Arrived and started fishing. After limiting on coho in the first 20 minutes (thank god for the extra pink on the limit) I decided for once to start counting. Landed 50 coho and 9 pinks (10 of those on poppers). Got back to the dock by 11 am. Don't remember the clients name, but thanks whoever you are.
My father and I made several trips flying out of Nimpo Lake, BC into the surrounding area and had some incredible days of trout fishing. We also had some equally impressive days floating remote stretches of the Salmon River catching rainbows, smallmouth and steelhead on dry flies while shooting limits of chuckar.


Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
Too many to list, check out my blog or photo gallery for pictures and details, but by far the best of 2009 and of the last 5+ years was catching my first two steelhead on the fly (and on the swing) this past August!

Other highlights that come to mind are: (No particular order.. just what came to mind as I thought about it!)
  1. Fishing w/ my neice on Lake Tye and teaching my nephew Jackson to fly cast, tie flies and fishing with him a few times this summer! Getting his little brother to cast as well, on the soccer fields!
  2. 21" Westslope Cuttie on the Yakima with Ryan White (Whitey)
  3. 2+ weeks in MT bumming around SW MT and meeting up with a bunch of guys from the site (Matney, Jergens, OMJ, Brazda), and hanging out with my Aunt and Uncle from Helena. Visited the Sweetgrass guys and the Winston factory.
  4. ID this past summer on the St. Joe with Ron Torda from AATF chasing cutties!
  5. SRC's on the Sky this summer with Ron, Ben, Vic and Brian Paige.
  6. Chasing steel locally on the local "S" rivers with the guys in #5.
  7. Various WFF events, including the Hoh down (need to change the name, it's so ghey) and the original Hoh event in 2003 with the AEG guys...

I'm sure I'm missing something, but I'm old, tired from fishing today (plus from Monday and Tuesday up on the Skagit / Sauk). It's been fun getting out with many different people and swapping lies and making up some new ones! Looking forward to the next year and spending more time on the OP and in Oregon too!

Merry New Year!



Piscatorial Engineer
5 fish day on the Satsop with my son in Feb this year. His first and second steelhead on flies.
Methow this fall with my son, both landed steelhead on flies.

No matter how old the kid gets, he's still my son, and it's still great to be on the river with him.

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
Jerry, that's a hell of a good karma story, thanks for sharing

2005 Fishing with brother on the Clackamas, and got a Historical Paper on Captain Cook's ingestion of Fish toxins published
2006 Started reading and posting on WFF, started writing fiction after a 15 year hiatus
2007 Starting using lots of techniques picked up from WFF boards, locations, timing etc and had way better success, became far more interested in fly fishing.
Fished the mouth of the Barwon River in Victoria Australia with brewer Sam Seward
Helped Itchy proof his book
Got a fiction story published
2008 began flyfishing in the salt, got a story in Flyrod and Reel, floated the Cedar with my oldest son, he caught his first fish on a fly. Got my sons, nephews and nieces into a school of hickory shad on Cape Cod so everyone caught lots of fish
2009 Started catching fish with flies I tied. Had more fun writing. Got my youngest son catching fish.
July 2009: Lil brother came home on leave for 3 weeks. Planned a week long camping/Fishing/Hiking trip on the Naches and the Yakima. Had aton of action on large terrestrials! And the quality time spent with my little brother, who i grew up fishing with on the rivers around snohomish. Having to fish by myself more often then not throughout the year getting back out on the river with him was a true blessing and really made every fish we caught that much more special! Especially the Hog that he landed on the last cast of the trip. Biggest fish of the weekend came on the last cast, i had already set my rod up for the hike back up the slope to the car when i walked up to him and he asked for one last drift and on that drift he brought in a nice 18" bow on a hopper drifted right by a log projecting out of the far slope on the river. Loved every second of the week especially that last cast and landing! God bless our troops, i cant wait for the trip next summer when he comes home!

Happy new years everybody!