My first casts with a fly rod were to wild rainbow trout.  To be honest, that was the quarry I spent a good deal of my early life as a fly angler targeting.  I’d dip into the foothills of the Sierra with my uncle to throw bushy dry flies between boulders.  My eager gaze impatiently waited to see the spotted nose of a rainbow pierce the surface and take my stimulator back down with it.  When I’d lay asleep at night thinking about what it meant to fly fish, images of baggy waders and khaki vests were the framework I built from.

Just after my freshman year of high school, I left the familiar rolling hills of California for the flatlands of Texas.  It was there that I began filling my fly box with oversized deer hair poppers and Clouser Minnows.  I spent three years as a teen hopping fences in search of productive farm ponds lined with cattails.  The bass and bluegill in those unpressured waters proved to be the perfect place to learn the nuances of fly casting and provided the perfect outlet for teen angst.

Many years later, as a semi-productive member of society, I’ve found myself living amongst high-rise buildings in downtown San Francisco.  We’ve got great casting ponds in Golden Gate Park and some really nice beaches that hold a few fish as well.  However, I wouldn’t call San Francisco a destination for fly fishing.  What it does provide though, is a great jumping off point for just about any fish you could imagine if you’re willing to get in the car and do a little driving.

On free weekends, I’ll head north for steelhead or sometimes south for surf perch.  There are some relatively local spots where you can find tailing carp and hungry bass.  The shadow of the high Sierra isn’t far either.  Brookies fill little high alpine lakes and golden trout use every minute of every day to feed during their short growing season.  In the summers, I’ve found myself hitting the road to wade the waters of Oregon, Utah, and Montana in search of cutthroat, browns, and the occasional bull trout where it’s legal. Once back in the city, and in need of a tug, there are a few spots I can sneak away to for striped bass or tiny native trout.  Although I’m never really getting any one species dialed in, the variety of fishing that can be had keeps me creating long lists of new places to explore.

As fly fishing continues to evolve for me, the traditional images of an old man casting dry flies fade from my dreams and are replaced by streamers, carp, and Paula Shearer hoisting 15lb bull trout out of a river accessible only by helicopter.  Although my roots will always be firmly planted in the high mountains, right next to a swirling riffle, it’s the variety of experiences and fish that keep me lusting for the next trip out of the city.  Variety, they say, is the spice of life.

Living in San Francisco, a city with a rich history and tradition of fly fishing, Tyler splits his time between leading a K-8 school and adventuring throughout the American West in search of native salmonids. His deep passion for the outdoors was forged during family camping trips in the Bay Area, while stalking bass on North Texas farm ponds, and over countless road trips with friends. While the pursuit of trout and steelhead provide for adventures, stories, and friendships; he recognizes the importance of conservation as a way to protect the ecosystems and fish we all enjoy.

Check out more of Tyler’s work on his Instagram and his website!