I started fly fishing over 50 years ago, 40 of which have been focused on fishing for trout in streams and lakes throughout the west. My fishing life however began in north central Illinois, far from trout or trout streams, but close to farm ponds full of bass and bluegill.
Fortunately, when I was 12, my family vacationed in Missouri and a relative took me to Bennett Springs State Park, put a fly rod in my hand, and showed me how to get the fly somewhere near the water. Luck smiled on me because after about an hour a trout actually picked up my fly. And that, as they say, was that.
I finally made it West – Bellingham, Washington in this case, which is about as far west as one can go without getting wet – in 1969 to attend college at Western Washington University. Bellingham is a beautiful town hemmed in by the North Cascade mountains on one side and Puget Sound on the other, with lots of rivers and streams and lakes in between. A great place to learn about trout.
In 1974, I moved to Corvallis, Oregon to attend Oregon State University where I completed a Masters degree in aquatic entomology with a minor in fisheries biology. If learning about aquatic insects while fishing the streams of Oregon wasn’t lucky enough, after finishing my degree I actually got a job in Oregon as an aquatic biologist focusing on water quality issues, first with a private consulting firm and then with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. For over 30 years I’ve been able to watch and study fish and the insects they eat, both professionally and with a fly rod in my hand, throughout Oregon and many other states and provinces.
In 1981 The Complete Book of Western Hatches, my first book co-authored with Dave Hughes, was published. Since then I have co-authored or authored several other books including Western Mayfly Hatches, An Angler’s Guide to Aquatic Insects and Their Imitations, Nymph Fishing Rivers and Streams, and more. In 1983 I completed the instructional video, Anatomy of a Trout Stream, produced by Scientific Anglers. This has been followed more recently by six other instructional DVDs: Fly Fishing Large Western Rivers (a four volume set), Nymph Fishing Basics, Advanced Nymph Fishing and most recently Advanced Tactics for Emergers & Dries.
For many years I have tried to share my knowledge about the world in which trout live with anglers through books, articles, slide shows and seminars. I hope this website provides one more avenue to help you enjoy fly fishing as much as I have – http://www.rickhafele.com