Swedish version

Dan Fallon's World of Fly fishing

Column nr.3  2002  



Reflecting on the countless streams and rivers and oceans I have chased fish with fly or other means, perfection has been elusive and never fully realized when everything seemed almost ideal, except for Lake Marie Alaska. If I think back to early 1970s in Up State New York or just across the border in Canada or near Niagara Falls. I remember small streams and secluded shadow filled tree lined banks where waters moved slowly and ten foot tippets with size #20 flies would sneak up and fool wild strains of trout on smoky mornings chilly and wet. I recall standing in this light green water running not fast enough to push my waders and throwing long flowing loops across to ripples running fifty feet away. Quiet times when a hit or fish occurred almost every cast and not a soul was anywhere near my little strip of fly fisher heaven. The only aspect that didn’t allow this splendid place to be perfect was the lack of size of the fish; few bigger then ten inches were caught that day. Moments have imprinted into my brain on the Merced River near Yosemite Park in the 1990s, where the steep canyon walls and rushing waters recreate what ancient hunter-gatherer’s must have felt each morning while scrambling for breakfast.

Merced River outside Yosemite Park
Merced River outside Yosemite Park

On the King Ranch in Electra Texas in the late 1960s after shooting birds all morning, many evenings were spent chasing trophy size bass with popper type flies on pretty water with exploding color sunsets and the smells of wild grass’s mesmerizing ones senses. This near heavenly atmosphere does drift in and out of my fly fishing sporting memory. When I try and imagine what my idea of the absolute perfect morning on a medium size stream with brook, brown, and rainbow wild strains in the six, ten-pound range might be like? Number one aspect has to be water transparency and overall clarity that is essential -In creating my dream fantasy stream. The water must be full of insect life, well-oxygenated, balanced plant, grass and insect ratio creating a regenerating eco system, a strong baseline for any Dream Stream


The ideal water would have many insect populations and new ones trying to establish. This self-regenerating eco system would have to have steady constant water flow; preferably naturally spring fed which can be fairly steady year round as in Upper California and Fall River area. The excellent reward of resident complex bird populations along with every other streamside life form from butterfly to worm contributing much to the integrity of the natural food chain is mandatory! Thus allowing more natural diversity to be continually attracted by the self-regenerating eco/bio/magnet that never stops. Worms, bugs, insects, butterflies eaten by birds and fish and small animals eaten by bigger animals and hawks and other raptors eating smaller hawks and so on and so on.

The true-life long benefit of fly-fishing has to be witnessing countless dramas that unwind all around the hunting fly fisher. The interplay and territoriality of resident birds and insects is fascinating and entertaining while throwing bugs. The fly fisher himself is participating in the natural order by stalking fish with imitated bugs. Thus the avid fly fisher begins to savor the taste; smell of wild waters and natural wildlife abundance based on perfectly constructed and maintained waters. Recent findings suggest isolated pockets of the international community may be waking up to the need to begin doing whatever is necessary to clean up and maintain our collective precious water resource.

If all the most polluting countries organized and began serious monitoring and detoxing of waters along the coast and inland. The world’s water problems could be solved in 25 years according to recent multi world university findings…


I have only experienced faded glimpses of this ultimate fly fisher nirvana. Lake Marie Alaska has been the most thought provoking anticipated return trip of my outdoor life. This place ninety miles north east of Anchorage has big numbers of huge 30 50 pound King Salmon every year, year after year and all the fat rainbows that hunt down the spawning row left behind. This place is as close to fly fisher heaven as any on earth for dedicated fly fishers. One will find almost continuous action and steady big fish every day at Lake Marie.

On any list of absolutely ideal characteristics that a Dream Stream must have to qualify has to be water so clear and transparent one can see the fish easily glide by unmolested and majestic. The ideal water allows large browns to circle your #18 Royal Coachmen and leave feint current trails as they whip -strong broad tails just under glass like surface’s shimmering and catching the light. These scenes of repeated full on glimpses of large brookies and browns with strong coloration pure wild never leave me. The clarity in the photos used here in this column are significant because they quite accurately describe the near ideal water quality necessary to maintain large game fish populations. This water is clear and healthy in all ways and full of oxygen. Those fly fishers who have been lucky enough to experience long moments when the light was just right and you could see the big cruising fish move about, what bliss, like a cat watching a mouse in slow motion.


I spend endless moments remembering many long slow motion scenes drinking in special flashes of big wild fish like well-proportioned brookies resplendent in showy bright orange spots darting exploding colors shimmering.

My Dream Stream would be at most 300 feet across and winding into an isolated canyon where a three-day backpack trip into rough country where few humans tread is a perfect beginning. Once you finally arrive the evening hatch of four insects at once goes off and you’re rigging for dry fly action. Mosquitoes are every where, so you tie on a #16 and throw into a light riffle forty feet up stream and slam your almost instantly holding on to three pound brown trout and he is in over drive heading hard due south on afterburner, magic moments.

After ten minutes he is gently let go and the same routine plays out again and again till just after dark. By 8:30pm, I have played and released 18 good fish both brown and brook trout. As the incredible red, purple, sunset goes down and the fire cracks while smoke drifts in and out of my eyes. Dreams of the day’s success give way to anticipation about the mornings adventure. Long before the sun comes up I’m up going over gear and tippets and flies and making sure all gear is good to go and I have forgotten nothing.

Morning sun still only a rumor I’m up and moving very slowly down toward the water bent over and pausing every few yards to see how close my shadow may be getting to the stream edge. I stay back from the edge about twenty feet and throw a black stonefly imitation I tied just for dark morning wake up calls. This bug moves and swims like a wolly bugger streamer and just begs the fat trout to come out from under deep stream bank cuts and slash out at it while speeding by. I distinctly see a big brown appear and head right at it, as I strip faster to get him very interested. Bam, he has it and bolts up stream and into a maze of rocks. I run along after him, Walt Powell Bamboo bent & bowed…

The brown leaps twice and tries to shake the fly, he has me out in the water trying to get him from under a large tree limb hanging in fast current. At last as I slowly move him in he lunges hard and spits out the fly. In the aftermath of a well-fought stalemate, I see him cruise by and do a long slow roll of farewell. During the whole period I get to see this fish as if I’m just under the surface peering straight at him as we move up and down the stream testing each other. The whole drama is replayed over and over until I grow tired of having too much fun or the sun goes down. I wake up happy and satisfied I have lived the perfect trip upon perfect waters, chasing healthy wild fish until my arms tire and my eyes sting from having seen too much pleasure.


The excellent underwater fish photos on display here in this update came to me in an unmarked large manila envelope? I have no idea who the excellent photographer is? If anyone out there does know who took these great shots? Write or e-mail this columns e-mail address and we will make sure the person who took these shots get the credit deserved! Perhaps, the finest underwater shots I’ve ever seen.

Lake Marie Alaska
Lake Marie Alaska


   Those regular readers of this monthly column now in its 4th year are aware of my inclination toward seeking out true rare fly-fishing adventure. This year several opportunities exist for serious fly fishers to join me in seeking to carve a new notch or two. If your interested in my Botswana Africa trip, Kamchatka Russia, Lake Marie Alaska, USA guided adventures. Now is the time to get in touch and lets get a little crazy about this quiet sport we all love. As of this month many openings are still available for these trips and I welcome fly fishers of all ages and skill levels to either e-mail me via this monthly column or call (415)-332-3803 Sausalito California for more details and possible dates. Why not join a once in a lifetime expedition and forget about chasing those poor overfed hatchery-raised zombies your always bragging about!


   The special limited edition numbered fly rods designed by famed rod maker Ira Stutsmen and my self have been almost sold out. The 100-rod offering is now winding down to last few in the series. This one of a kind custom traveler with leather carrying case is a fully functional heirloom quality rod that will warm the hearts of generations of fly fishers. The rod can be seen by clicking onto the hot link on my web site at www.danfallonflyfishing.com. Ira will tailor make the rod to your exact needs in regard to weight or length. One cannot attain a fly rod like this beauty anywhere and it is an attention getter to say the least. Exotic wooden handled adorned with Nickel Silver and the look of fine Bamboo sets it apart quite nicely.


Those interested in my spring beginner-intermediate two day fly school. Dates available are Saturday, May 19th - Sunday, May 20th. For more details contact Dan Fallon at (415) 332-3803, www.danfallonflyfishing.com.



 Written by Dan Fallon, March. 2002 ©


For Dan Fallon's earlier and later columns; visit the table of contents


Read Dan Fallons biography and contact info




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