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Trouts Journal

Introducing: Erik Myhre

Ivan Orsic / Dec 14, 2015

Trouts: Let’s start from the top on this, how did you get your start in fly-fishing and what was it about the sport that kept you coming back.

EM: I grew up a short bike-ride from the banks of the Mississippi river in WI, so fishing was how I spent most of my summers when I was a child. When I moved to Colorado after college it seemed like fly fishing opened up a lot more water than conventional gear, so I decided to give it a try. Fly fishing appeals to me because it is one of those sports that you will never truly master. There is always something new to learn. It's just mind boggling how deep you can go into this sport if you really want to, yet you can catch your first fish and enjoy the stoke we all love in as little as a few hours.

Trouts: You grew up in Wisconsin, a long way from the mountains. Describe your first experience fly-fishing in the Rockies?

EM: I had wanted to learn how to fly fish for a couple of years after moving out here, but didn't have any idea how to even start. There's just something about living in the West and fly fishing. One day my co-worker mentioned that he was into fly fishing, so I convinced him to show me the ropes. Soon after we took an extended lunch break and he took me to Boulder Creek, where I caught my first fish on the fly. It amazes me how much I've learned from that day. At that point, I knew I caught a trout, but couldn't have told you if it was a brown, rainbow or something else! Nowadays it's fun to go back to WI, because I actually grew up in the heart of the driftless area. There are so many little coulees and creeks to explore that any trip home to visit family now includes some time on the water.

Trouts: Tell us about your favorite fishing memory.

EM: Fly Fishing has created so many great memories and altered my life so much, this one is really tough. There are two that really bring a smile to my face whenever I think back on them. A few years back, a friend and I quit our jobs and drove from Colorado to Argentina in a '83 Westfalia Van, to do some exploring and trout bumming. As you can imagine, there were some unforgettable memories made along the way, but there was one particular day in Tierra Del Fuego where the wind became unusually calm, the light was perfect, and the brown trout were looking up. Those aggressive explosions on our hoppers in an isolated and remote location with just my friend and I taking it all in is one moment I will never forget.

My second favorite memory is a trip I did with my Dad. After my wife surprised me and took me to Alaska to fish for my first time for my 30th birthday, I couldn't wait to share the same type of experience with my Dad. The next year a friend and I took our Dads up to Alaska and drove the entire Kenai peninsula, fishing all the rivers along the way. The look of joy on my Dad's face when he caught his first big rainbow on the Kenai river was incredible. Considering he was the one who instilled the value of getting outdoors in me, it was a special moment that I'll never forget.

Trouts: Now tell us about your least favorite fishing memory. -

EM: I was fortunate in that my very first saltwater outing was to satellite tag tarpon to better understand their migration patterns and what needs to be done to help protect their species. Our first day consisted of great weather, but I didn't get any solid shots. The next three days we had a massive tropical storm sitting on us, so conditions were tough. On the final afternoon, the skies cleared and I finally got a legitimate shot at a big girl on the flats. I made a great cast, and after four days of silently reminding myself to strip set, as soon as she ate, I did the best trout set of my life. As you can imagine, the fly came whistling back towards me and I have yet to see a tarpon up close. If I could take that set back, I would.

Trouts: Let’s pretend money and time aren’t an issue, if someone told you to pack your bags right now and go fish somewhere for a week, where are you headed and why?

EM: Another tough one. That's the thing with fly fishing. The more you do it, the more you learn about what you can catch on the fly and where you can go to do it. My number one trip at the moment is probably Golden Dorado in Bolivia. The Golden Dorado is one of the most amazing looking fish I've ever seen pictures of, and the adventure of going into the jungle to target them is very appealing to me. If you haven't been able to tell yet, I love to travel and explore, so any trip that involves adventure and exploration is right up my alley.

Trouts: Favorite river in Colorado?

EM: This is another tough one, as we are lucky to have so many to choose from. If I truly had to pick one, it would probably be the lower Blue. The scenery is amazing and the fish are as beautiful as they come. The Gunnison would probably be a very close second.

Trouts: Perfect post-fishing beverage?

EM: Jameson. I enjoy it just as much when it has sat in my truck in the hot sun all day as I do when it's been chilled in the river while I fish. It goes down easy any time of the day.

Trouts: What tunes are currently being played in your 4runner?

EM: I have such an eclectic taste in music, I'm almost embarrassed to mention the range! If you were to ride with me to the river though, at some point you would probably hear Jim Hendrix, Guns N Roses, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Black Keys or B.B. King.

Trouts: Favorite piece of fly-fishing gear?

EM: Probably my collection of Hatch reels. I find their craftsmanship and clean-lined machining amazing, and look at them as pieces of art that I can rely on to get the job done no matter where I'm at around the world.

Trouts: If you could only fish for one species the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

EM: This past year I kind of latched onto Cutthroat trout. I managed to catch a handful of cutthroat species I had never caught before. I find them to be the most beautiful of all of the trout species, and love the idea that they are the predominant native fish for most of the country. I'm a huge proponent of restoring them back to their native ranges in place of introduced species here in the West.

Trouts: When the going gets tough on the trout stream, what fly are you reaching for?

EM: It may sound like a bland answer, but a Walts Worm on a tight line has gotten the job done for me just about everywhere I've fished. There's a reason classic patterns become classics.

Trouts: When you’re not on the water, what are you doing?

EM: If you were to ask my wife, she would probably say “If I'm not on the water, I'm in transit to the water.” I truly eat and sleep fly fishing these days. The only thing that comes close to my passion for fly fishing is probably hunting and photography. No matter what I'm doing, it usually involves being outdoors. Whether that's showing my three year old daughter the way of the fly, or hiking the whole family over the next ridge to find a place of solitude for the weekend.

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