IslandFlies_017Recently, I’ve come to realize something. Like the animals that occupy my thoughts, I too am anadromous.

With the recent birth of my son I’ve become aware that this is a trait found in a lot of people, fisherman or not. We are raised in natal streams, rivers, and forests, and when we mature – or as close to “mature” as some of us will ever hope to become – we head out into the world to learn, change, and grow. Ultimately, many of us return home to spawn so our children can follow the same cycle of discovery.

IslandFlies_109IslandFlies_155I was raised in the woods, mountains, and beaches of Vancouver Island. As soon as I was old enough to make it on my own, I left to live, work, and explore Canada. The experience was priceless. Eventually, when it was time to think about starting a family, the urge to return was undeniable. Somewhere along the way I rediscovered my passion for fly fishing, compounding my urge to reclaim Vancouver Island as “home”.

Here, you’re never far from a productive trout, steelhead, or salmon fishery and the culture and history of our island reflects that.

IslandFlies_101A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to share my home with two of my favorite people. Kyle came up from Seattle, and Matt made the trip all the way from New Zealand. We met in Victoria, then enthusiastically loaded my practical family car and headed north towards my family’s home. A few hours later, we arrived at a beach where my mother worked the log booms in the forest industry 30 years prior.

In addition to the usual logging trucks and piles of cut timber, we were greeted by a dozen agitated campers (all of which were more than twice my age), along with a handful of Canada’s RCMP (“Mounties” for those of you in the States). Apparently, word got out that the fishing was hot and two groups of old timers were competing for water. Tempers flared, and the sore loser(s) called the cops. Entertaining to say the least. Anglers preoccupied, we seized the opportunity to wet a line in some open water. Fishing was epic. Some of the of the best I’ve ever seen. The only thing better than a chrome bright salmon ripping line off a screaming reel, is looking over your shoulder to watch your buddies experiencing the same thing . I’ve become very fond of my growing quiver of Echo rods. The 6wt Echo 3 Spey is great for our smaller rivers, summer steelhead, and large trout. When the temperature drops, rivers swell, and the big fish come out to play, I swap the 6wt out for its 8wt older brother. Smooth casting, hardworking rods perfect for my home waters.

BC_Fishing_Echo-2BC_Fishing_Echo-3BC_Fishing_Echo-I’d love to tell you that this happens every time I wader-up, but days like this aren’t typical. It was incredibly special to share this experience with Kyle and Matt.

While most of us spend our lives in suburbia planning yearly escapes to the wild, here Vancouver Island we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to raise our families surrounded by the fish we daydream about.IslandFlies_462These photos were taken by my amazing buds who are not only talented fisherman but also talented photographers.

Kyle Johnson – / Instagram: @kjphotos1022

Matt Queree – / Instagram: @mattqueree