Who do you have to thank?


Oregon Member
Was out yesterday waist deep in a river, having an absolutely great time not catching steelhead.

So, as often happens, I had plenty of time to think, and suddenly I realize: I wouldn't be here enjoying this moment if it weren't for my dad taking me fishing from when I was about 8 to 12 years old.

Fishing wasn't really dad's thing, so I bet he didn't get me out more than once or twice a year. I remember several trips for trout, a couple for salmon, and exactly two for steelhead. None of it involved flyfishing; that came later and was inspired by friends who cast the fly.

But if it weren't for those early days when my dad introduced me to the magic and mystery of rivers and lakes and trying to solve the riddle of how to catch the fish that swim beneath the mirrored surface of myriad waters, I might have missed out on this journey that has added so many days beyond value to my life's experience.

How could I ever have known it was a riddle that can never be completely answered and, so, would engage my attention and imagination for all these years.

I'm guessing, as with so many things in this world, there are many roads that brought WFF members to this sport. Family or friends or maybe "The Movie"...

Who do you have to thank for introducing you to this endless pursuit of silvery fishes?



Active Member
My old man started me flyfishing (and tying) about 50 years ago. We fished (and hunted) all the time. He didn't tie flies, but was legendary for losing them...usually snagging them, but sometimes entire boxes full of flies at once....so he decided that I needed to learn to tie, so I could more economically provide fodder for his ravenous appetite. There was never a deep hole in a stream too filled with brush and logs that he wouldn't fish, and while he left a fortune in lost flies, he caught some amazingly large trout in those spots.

I still fish some of the same waters, and that's when I miss him the worst...but it's also the time I'm most grateful for what he left me....except for the same propensity to lose too many flies.
Great topic. I too, have my dad to thank. More on this later, as I am headed out the door for Lenice at this very moment to go enjoy what my dad taught me.


Active Member
I too have my Dad to thank...caught my first fish, a large trout from a dock on lake Meridian, back in 1972 i would guess, i was 7...i still remember seeing how it didnt fit in our kitchen sink. it may have started bad habits, because several times a year later i ditched the school bus, grabbed my rod hidden in bushes and skipped school to go fishin at that lake. this of course ended when i made the mistake of showing my Mom a fish and she rapidly put two and two together, and that particular poor choice ended swiftly...My last fish caught, was from pretty much from the same spot on the dock, yesterday. i still to this day smell the marshmellows and eggs i used that first day, every time i walk on that dock...
I do not know the gentleman. I only saw him for a brief moment in a place that I had never been before. I was driving along the Missouri river in Montana and a fellow was fly fishing. I watched that silk like line snake over the water and i was fascinated. I began my pursuit of flyfishing from that moment. It was like a drug and I had to learn how. Forty seven years later and I am still trying to learn how.


Active Member
My grandfather on my mother's side first took me fishing in 1946 when I was 8 years old. We fished out of a rusty old rowboat using cane poles with Carlisle floats and redworms. I dug the worms out of the pigpen and we caught crappie, bluegill, bass and perch. It was just heavenly and I have never been able to get enough of it even to this day.

My dad never took me fishing in his life. Towards the end of his life he came to visit me when I was living in Bishop, Calif. We went out one fall evening to a little feeder creek that flowed into the Owens River and caught 5 rainbows and browns between 18 and 24". He had a great time and I think at that moment he realized what he had been missing all those years.


Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
You guys are lucky; my father could have given a rat's ass about teaching me to cast a fly, or anything else for that matter. Nope, I was there to fetch & carry, do all the scut work he could find for me.

Steve Call

Active Member
My Dad also got me fishing at a young age - 4 or 5 I think. I got both of my sons started at about the same age and they are both avid fishermen. Passing along a love for the outdoors and especially fishing has been gift I both received and have given. Nothing better, except going fishing...... I'm on my way!


In my family, you grew up hunting and fishing if you wanted to or not. My Dad was big into eating what he caught and as far as he was concerned, that was the point.

I didn't like eating trout so I honestly wasn't keen on fishing. I was always hanging up, losing my worm or creating a birds nest in my Zebco reel... which would piss off my Dad. Sometimes he'd flyfish but he said it was too difficult for kids so my brothers, sister and I were stuck with the spinning gear.

It wasn't until I moved to the Willamette Valley and started skinny dipping with friends at a small Cascade creek that I was introduced to flyfishing. One day, we were messing around with our survival kits and decided to see if we could catch fish with a willow branch, some mono, a bait hook, split shot and a periwinkle we removed from its case (which I later found out was a cased caddis).

We caught the small cutts in the creek.

My childhood friend, Wayne, suggested that he bring his fly rod the next time we went to the creek and try flyfishing. He did and it was the first time I used a fly rod.

I was hooked. From then on out I became a fanatic fly angler... then tyer... then writer... then cartoonist.

So, my Dad was responsible for pushing me into angling but Wayne was responsible for my addiction to flyfishing. ...it all started out while skinny dipping.
If I had to list someone to thank, this would be a 12 page post!

Most of all would be both my father and my brother. My dad has past, but the time he spent giving me the chance to learn to cast at age of 5 has no words. He spent long days teaching me and taking me to clinics meeting many pioneer fly fisherman. Without his dedication to me I would not be who I am. The man did not have to fish to enjoy himself, he could just sit in his truck or on the beach and watch my brother and I fish till our arms had no more. His smile, enjoyment spotting fish for us and every once in awhile hooking the fish he spotted was a feeling that to this day still gets my heart racing thinking about it.

For my brother, he was seven years older than me, so he had a head start on everything from casting to tying. That gave me something to strive for, to be as good as him. Early in life we spent a lot of time on the lakes and rivers together, then I joined the USCG and time fishing slowed. Just recently, I took some leave and flew back to Washington and we had a great trip to Rocky Ford. Going back home fishing with my brother is something I always look forward to and can not wait till I get back for good and spend more time with him. We have fun, for some people we may get a little to loud, but we are brother and share a special bond, our father. He always told us to enjoy ourselves, when you don't enjoy something no more, figure what lost that spark and reignite it.

So, to my father, William F. Wallace Sr. above who continues to look down on me and John, I love you and thank you for giving me/us the chance to enjoy the outdoors. If it was not for him spending this time with me, who knows where I would be in life, but I do know that I am a better man cause of him.

William F. Wallace Jr (BRAVEHEART)

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
This is a GREAT thread, and one I predict will easily grow to 12 pages or longer.

My father was always a fisherman. In a series of memories from early childhood, he and fish often figured together prominently. I guess you could say I inherited my own affinity for fish and the beautiful places they live from him.

While he was away in Korea as a Marine in the early 1950s, I remember sneaking out to the garage and opening his metal tackle box and admiring the brightly colored lures and tackle it guarded in his absence. Somehow, just holding his reel or a spinner and inhaling their musty, mysterious scent seemed to make him feel less far away. My favorites were a small rubber frog molded around a hook and a bright green anodized aluminum fly reel.

When he got back and we'd moved just south of Los Angeles, he'd gone on a long weekend trip with some buddies to northern California to fish for steelhead high up on the middle fork of the Eel River. He got home very late and the following morning my brother and I were up early, clamoring to see him. Instead, Mom 'shushed' us and took us to the refrigerator which she opened to reveal the burnished silver back and fins of the largest fish I'd ever seen, even cut into sections in order to fit onto the narrow shelves.

I must have been pretty impressed because later that year he bought me a light green fiberglass spin rod and a beautiful anodized green spinning reel. He fit it with a rubber practice plug and showed me how to cast. Later that summer, he took me on a road trip to northern California and let me cast carnival-colored lures like Super Dupers, Mepps, Rooster Tails, and flatfish into deep azure pools to catch 'trout' (most likely steelhead or salmon smolt now that I look back on it.)

Later, we'd moved to Fortuna near the banks of the mainstem of the Eel, where one summer my brother and I and two other boys rode our bikes down to the river idling our days playing Huck Finn fishing from rafts made from driftwood that we'd navigate up and down high water channels left high but not dry by the dropping river. Once, we spied a school of huge fish. After some impromptu rigging, we managed to use a huge treble hook and lead weight to snag a couple of these monsters.

Riding back with the enormous fish balanced on our handlebars, I remember the admiring and envious looks from cars full of vacationers along the Redwood Highway at the sight of these little boys and their catch. When we got home, my dad immediately identified them not as salmon or steelhead but as shad who'd gotten landlocked as they tried to swim up a dead end channel. He cut one open to reveal it was full of small worms.

An elementary school teacher, my father enjoyed his summer vacations as a time to seek out and pack into high lakes in the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area. One memorable trip, he and I and one of his teacher buddies named Don Setterland hiked in to Man Eaten Lake. An azure gem situated in a steep cirque, it was one of the most beautiful sights I'd ever seen. But looks can be deceiving and none of us touched a fish in the two days we camped there.

Years later, while in college at Humboldt State, a friend introduced me to flyfishing and tying. I was so taken by the immediate connection between the fly and my hand that I put away my spinning rig and concentrated on the long rod exclusively. My father had never learned to use the fly reel and rod from his kit but he was mighty proud that I did.

Early one fall morning while I was visiting my folks on a break, he and I bounced down along the Eel River bar at Fernbridge by headlight, finally wading into the inky water together. As the sky slowly brightened, I realized that there were literally dozens of other men fishing to either side of us in the river's broad eddies and currents.

I was fishing a burlap dry fly a friend had shown me how to tie while my father used his trusty 'strawberry' egg cluster on a snelled hook. Within a few moments we both hooked up, playing and landing our fish side by side. They were both what we called 'jacks' - first salt steelhead of perhaps 3 or 4 pounds. But that didn't dim our appreciation of the symmetry fate had handed us as we showed them off to my mother when we got back in time for breakfast.

Turns out that was my father's last fishing trip. He'd been battling a form of gall bladder sclerosis for years and was quite frail. He passed away within the year.

I miss fishing with him more than anything else in my life.


Nathan B

Love em and Leave em
My Dad planted the seed when I was 8 or 9, but the seed was planted in lakes and muddy ponds in North Carolina where we would ask permission from elderly couples if we could fish on their property; and the delight I saw in my Dad’s face when they would tell them that no one has fished that water in 15 years. It wasn’t until I was 14 when we moved closer to my grandparents in North Central Arkansas that I started to fish every weekend with my grandpa on his Cherokee flat bottom river boat on the White and Norfolk rivers. I remember him teaching me how to rig up my power bait and weights, how to pick out the best Blue Fox, or what color Rooster Tail to choose. How to guide the boat up the river, drop a chain or a bucket to slow our drift back down and how to not make sudden movements when Grandpa is pissing off the side of the boat.

He taught me how to read the river and the number I needed to call for the dam report to figure out how many generators were running on the dam which would determine the flow of the river. I remember learning how to clean a fish from the bank, and not to boast or brag about the fish we caught when other anglers came back with nothing. "Sunny boy" as he would call me...... "appreciate the days you spend out here now , one day you'll be all grown up and your worries will be bigger than just getting snagged on the bottom, use the same lesson out here as you will in life..... pull hard fight hard and if you break it off, remember where for next time, and just tie on another one............Damnit Sunny boy, stop rocking the fucking boat, I'm trying to take a piss "

I'm sure he's up there fishing in Heaven now

Circa 1995


Active Member
Good thread. I was brought up a forest service brat and we lived in some great small forest service towns where hunting / fishing were a way of life. I can remember in first or second grade my dad having my brother and I with identical setups out on strawberry reservoir in Utah and also fishing the small feeder creeks that were not more than 10 feet across. From there it was Enterprise OR where we fished the Wallowa, Imnaha, Snake. In 7th and 8th grade my buddies and I would backpack into the Eagle Caps for 2 or 3 nights with our fishing rods and just have a blast catching high lakes trout behind spinning bobbers and flies. Didn't fly fish until I was working in Yellowstone when I was about 30, but 20 years later it is still my big addiction in life. Thanks Dad!
My Dad started taking me fishing in upstate New York when I was 2 or 3 and we fished together until he passed away at 89 in 1999. We primarily fished in lakes and the Mohawk and Schroon Rivers, catching large bluegills, perch, sunfish, bass and walleyes, with an occasional walleye, pickerel or northern. After I grew up, we would still get together for fishing, either in new York, or where I was, whether in Florida, Utah, Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky or Tennessee. Dad worked hard and was a volunteer fireman and ambulance attendant, and taught up to 3 first aid classes a week, and still found time to take me fishing a lot. And , back in those days, us kids would hop on our bikes and pedal 7 or 8 miles out to a reservoir to fish. Dad always made sure I had a decent rod and reel and tackle and knew how to get my own bait. And, he always stressed safety and respect for others and private property. And perhaps the most important lesson he taught me was it's fishing, not catching, and that coming home empty handed is not a bad thing.

Dad liked to cast a flatfish at times and I was always free to roam in his tackle box. One evening, we were fishing the Watervliet Reservoir near a lot of lilly pads. I found a hula popper in his box and tied it on and started casting. All of a sudden, the water and lilly pads exploded right near my lure and this huge mouth lept forward. It scared the living crap out of me and I turned and hauled ass up the bank trailing the rod. I literally ripped that popper away from a very large bass. Maybe that's the reason Dad always took me; I provided the entertainment.

When my son was born, I knew I had a fisherman. I started taking him when he was 2, and by the age of 2 1/2 or 3, he would spend the day in the boat with me catching crappie and bluegills, as well as the occasional bass. I always took him, even one time when our local bass club had a tournament. He begged me to let him fish a plastic worm. He was 3. He chose a red worm and could already cast his little Zebco. At the end of the day, I was skunked and Craig had 2 nice keepers. He came in second in the club! Craig went on to finish his masters in marine biology and now works for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. And takes his 3 year old daughter fishing on Indian River in Florida.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
For me it was just something else I had to try. My dad never fished. I bought my first rod and reel at WhiteFront. It was a big box store in North Seattle. I had a good job and it was the start of a long time fishing. I was somewhere in the age of 22 or 23. I'm 78 now. Been tossing flies off and on for 50 years now and I still don't know shit. And I don't have any idea where the gear I bought 50 years ago is.

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