Name: Devin Olsen
Business Name: Wish I had one, then I wouldn’t be slaving away behind the books.
Number of days fished last year: 115-120
Favorite fishing location: Constantly on the lookout for a new one. My favorite ones tend to be in the backcountry where a little work often pays big dividends. I also have become addicted to British loch style lake fishing so some of my newest favorites are big windy lakes that I can put my little lake boat on.
Favorite fly and why: Day in and day out Egan’s Frenchie catches more fish for me than any other fly. It’s usually on the line when I walk up to a new river and it produces well more often than not.
What Willy J products do you wear: The Confluence chestpack is a great addition to the Riptide hip pack I still have hangin around. The Riptide lets me put the weight of a couple thousand tungsten beads on my hips so the Confluence can take the dry fly boxes and the rest of the lighter stuff. The Drynamic waders also resist leaks as well as any waders I’ve used.
What one item would you never head to the river without: Sun glasses hands down. I keep an extra pair in my chestpack just in case.
Favorite music to take along: On the way to the water I like to rock out to Hair Nation or the Boneyard on XM radio. 80’s hair bands are still the best. Once in a while some older country or even some classical or opera will sneak onto my dial.
Your most memorable day fishing: Wow that is the most impossible question ever. At this point it might be fishing my first sessions at a World Fly Fishing Championship in Scotland in 2009. Probably the most exhilarating 6 hours of fishing I’ve had. It’s an adrenaline rush for me that is my equivalent to base jumping.
Facts (fishing or non-fishing): 90% of all statistics are 50% correct. Fly fishing is the most amazing thing to do on this planet. That is a fact and not an opinion.
Catch you’re most proud of: Since this is another impossible question I’d probably have to go with my first one on a fly rod which was a big backcountry cutthroat in Yellowstone when I was nine. That’s the fish that started it all.
Other hobbies: Fly tying, basketball, dreaming about and researching my next day of fishing.
Business Name: The Fiberglass Manifesto and Fishy Kid
Websites: www.TheFiberglassManifesto.com and www.FishyKid.org
Number of days fished last year: Not enough. It is a bit depressing how much real life can cramp the fly fishing lifestyle. I did a lot of local trips (warmwater, coldwater, and saltwater) around South Carolina and North Carolina and then trips to Michigan and Colorado as well.
I’ve already got a long list of trips mapped out for 2010.
Favorite fishing location: Anywhere considered “Backcountry”.Favorite fly and why: I’ve really gotten into midge fishing the past few years since it really evens out the game when you are targeting large fish on small flies and light tippet.
What Willy J products do you wear: All of the Old School line, Current chest pack and Conduit gear bag from the MAG series, and Tech series Escape Pack.
What one item would you never head to the river without: Lunch. I used to do trips without food or even water since all I could think about was get to the river and fish. I would get off the water at dark completely spent. Those days are gone. Now part of planning for a trip is putting a good lunch together. Taking an hour or so during the trip to talk with friends at the vehicle or on the water sometimes means as much as the fly fishing itself.
Favorite music to take along: Radiohead, Ben Kweller, Regina Spektor, Bright Eyes, Ben Folds, Smashing Pumpkins, The White Stripes, and a long list of other artists. I also listen to a lot of podcasts as well.
Your most memorable day fishing: I spent a week in Wyoming a couple summers ago and fished lesser known rivers near Jackson with a friend. We spent a day on an out of the way creek and I caught a 21 inch Bonneville Cutthroat which lazily rose to a large dry fly on a four weight glass rod and vintage clicker reel.
Facts (fishing or non-fishing): I have fished fiberglass fly rods exclusively for the past five years in all line weights. Also I’ve been married for the last ten years to a “Liberated Southern Belle”, two young children, career, and somehow still find time to get on the water.
Catch you’re most proud of: A few years ago my wife and I were backpacking in the Rocky Mountain National Park and we made it up to a stunning high altitude lake with greenback cutthroats just as a storm was closing in on us. I had enough time to pick out a good sized greenback cruising the edge of the lake and drop a tiny foam beetle in front of him. He took and I quickly played him to hand before breaking down the gear and heading back to our tent site two lakes away.
Other hobbies: I seem to be a hack at a long list of things but my other interests include photography, writing, travel, fly tying, cooking/grilling, and collecting fiberglass fly rods and vintage reels.
Frying Pan Mishap
By David Grant
In was a perfect evening to be on the river. As the mid-September sun slipped behind the mountains, the canyon walls changed from hue to hue, finally deciding on a stark crimson that seemed to turn the very air I was breathing into a golden haze. That color was matched by the aspen leaves as they mournfully dropped from their perches, fluttered through the beams, and gently twisted into the eddies of theFryingPanRiverof westernColorado. Beneath the fleeing leaves, the fast-moving waters gradually darkened, in a way that warns a trout to feed more fervently before the coming nightfall.
This last golden hour of fishing is a fine experience to share with a friend. Being alone however, as I was that night, the river had a very different feel. As its tumbling rush made the only noise, aside from the whine of my line being stripped and the rhythm of my breathing, the river seemed to be alive. It seemed to challenge me; willing to give up her trout only if my skill was perceived worthy of them.
I was working my way up the south riverbank, drifting my embarrassingly large and ugly Green Drake through pockets, with surprising success. Uncountable generations of Frying Pan trout had obviously decided that, if the water temperature and aspen leaves were both dropping, large and ugly Green Drakes were the unquestionable meal of choice. My light was failing fast, but, at present, the pace of the rocky current denied my crossing back to the highway side of the river. As I glanced upstream, that familiar anticipation of a deep and dark honey-hole, full of wise and elusive lunkers, awoke in my mind. I saw an ancient pine tree straddling the river upstream of the run I was currently fishing. Its thick branches protruded both up into the air, and down, into the slower water, about twenty feet above the tumbling, rocky run. The resultant slowing of the water formed a natural pool, deep and cold, protected above by its fallen creator, protected below by the falling waters; just the sort of hole the scariest trout would defend as his home.
I moved along the river bank, then approached this trout haven on my knees, ducking under another pine seemingly placed there as a sentry to prevent any notion of a conventional cast. I knew the hole’s primary resident would be tucked up close to the fallen pine. Using a low, roll cast, I tried to slide the Drake up to his domain without contacting either the fallen pine above him, or the still-standing sentry above me. Several attempts fell short, but still managed to yield a pair of fine apprentice trout. But I knew the master awaited. Risking discovery, I crawled a few more feet to close the distance, then rolled my Drake right up underneath the fallen bridge. A shadow immediately arose from the deep and the Drake disappeared into a frothing splash of river water and red Brown Trout spots. As I landed what was undoubtedly the master Brownie for that stretch of river, I felt the thrill of success at having been found worthy to do so.
The fishing day was over and I knew my companion would be waiting for me at the car. The only evident way across the river was now that fallen pine, as it separated the too-deep water above from the too-strong rapids below. It appeared easy enough; just a few thick branches to maneuver around or over and I could easily traverse the waterway. As I started across, I noted that falling off and into the river on the upstream side of the tree would be an exceedingly bad idea. The water was not only deep, but as it gathered itself for the plunge down the rapids below, the strength of the powerful current was evident. Many of the tree’s limbs were also submerged deep into the flow. Any unfortunate soul unlucky enough to become a swimmer and approach that barrier from upstream would undoubtedly be sucked under the massive tree trunk and pinned by the water’s force to the deadly wooden prison bars below. I moved forward with care.
I was concentrating on the branches. I didn’t want to get tangled in one of them and loose my footing. It never occurred to me that a half-inch-tall tree knot could be just as deadly. As I took a full step to clear a large limb in my path, my toe caught on just such a knot that I hadn’t even noticed. My forward momentum threw me into the branch I had been trying to maneuver past, snapping it off at about eighteen inches length from the tree trunk. The suddenly-added momentum as the branch broke threw me further forward, but also caused my right foot to slip off of the log and down towards the deadly water below. Sprawling forward, there was nothing to grab; nothing to save me. I began to fall in….upstream of the log.
In a circumstance that I can attribute to nothing other than God’s intervention, I was saved by the very branch that nearly took my life. That eighteen-inch stub now had a sharpened, pointed end. I felt it dig through my chest waders just above my left knee. But then, as I heard my waders ripping, I still felt I was going to die. Divine providence, however, put a seam at just the right spot to stop the tear. And thus I hung, nearly upside-down, looking down at my own death. I felt blood running up my leg and knew that, if I lived, I would at the very least forever have a reminder of my foolish choice and of my clumsiness. I reached, and I grabbed branches on the opposite side of the tree and pulled myself back on top. I then extricated my shredded waders from the life-saving broken branch. My Orvis T3 rod, forgotten in my moment of crisis, I found patiently waiting for me in the tangle of branches where I had dropped it. Retrieving it, I gingerly completed my traverse of the river before falling to my knees on the far bank to regain my breath and to stop my shaking.
A lesson was learned. The river, though inviting and often cooperative, can be a fickle fishing companion. She may give up her trout, when earned, but she never surrenders her sovereignty. Be careful out there.