Show Weekend!

Show set up Thursday morning.
So happy to see this girl. Love her to bits. Aidan Darby-Miller photo
Fly Fusion and IF4 booths.
The Western Canadian Fly Fishing Expo is over, and I can't quite believe it. It was a fantastic show, with attendance at an all time high. The chaos started Thursday morning at Spruce Meadows with the show set up. I showed up early to help with the overall set up, and then helped Josh with the Out Fly Fishing outfitters and Echo booths. Before heading over to IF4, Josh, Stevie, Nick and I stopped at the river to test cast a few rods. We had a spectacular turnout at IF4, and we premiered the most recent addition to the IF4 line up - Sheebang - which was very well received. Afterwords we headed out for a few drinks, and even though Puj couldn't come out to Calgary, he was still there in some capacity.
Stevie and Josh testing spey rods.
We missed you Puj!!
Ryan and Chris in the M&Y booth.

Patagonia....love it.

Stevie working hard at the Echo booth.

Out Fly Fishing outfitters booth. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!
Friday, Saturday and Sunday were a blur of new faces and old friends, seminars, presentations, casting, dinners and late nights. Our booths were all busy as good be, and show attendees were happy to stop and say hi, ask questions and take information. We were thrilled that the Expo silent auction raised over $5000 for Food for the Hungry Canada, and their clean water project in Guatemala. I want to personally thank all of the exhibitors I called to harass for donations for their incredible generosity.
The morning commute to Spruce Meadows.

Ape presenting at the casting pond.

Tying flies. Diane Michelin photo

Late night dinner and hockey with great friends.
I was able to crank out a few flies at the OFF booth, and traded a couple for one of Diane Michelin's amazing prints. It was a privilege to meet such an amazing woman, finally. Her artwork is absolutely outstanding - check it out here: Diane Michelin; Fly Fishing Fine Art. Naoto took a set of flies home to photograph, a new pattern I'm calling Candy Stripe. Take a look at them here: Naoto Aoki Photography. While you're at it, flip through his albums, I've been a fan of his photography for years.
The first tie of the Candy Stripe.

My beautiful print by Diane Michelin.

The flies for Diane.
Sunday came way too fast, and we ended the weekend by dancing the night away in downtown Calgary. It was so great to see some good friends again, including my amazing April, Nick Laferriere (another amazing artist, designer for Fishbum), Stevie Morrow (Dean/Bulkley River guide, comedian), Ryan Heitz and Roger Baker (M&Y), James Cunningham (North Haven guide and great friend), Rick Whorwood (guide, instructor, fellow GLoomis pro staffer), Chris Seipio (GLoomis/Airflo rep), all the Pieroway boys, and so many more. One of the best things about this industry is all the amazing people. Thanks for another amazing show and more amazing memories.
Until next year!!!!


Ms. V

It's been almost four years since my last post dedicated to the lovely April Vokey. Since that time, she and I have come a long way, in both our friendship and our personal lives. I've known Ape for almost nine years (ahhh! that makes me feel old), and never did it occur to me when I saw her first come through the door of Michael & Young how important she would become in my life. Assertive, with her long blond hair and hot pink high heels, she baffled me on our first introduction.

Ape fishing the Vedder at last light. Spring of 2005 (I think)

Nothing like having someone run from the bar above you to help finally land a beautiful wild steelhead. April Vokey photo
At that time I knew hardly any women that fly fished, and none that were younger than I was, and definitely none that looked like April. Talented, passionate, and beautiful, Ape is one of the most important people in my life today. We have had our issues, but with time and effort on both our parts, we were able to get past the unnecessary drama and create a friendship that is incredibly special and unbreakable. Ape has been a rock during my worst moments, and I know that if I'm in need I can call her and she will be there for me, no matter what.
Fighting my first sturgeon...I had no idea what I was in for. I think I'm giggling and grimacing in pain at the same time. April Vokey photo

Speaking of running, Ape flew over these car sized boulders to take this shot. April Vokey photo
I'll never forget the day I received a call at work. My call display showed that it was Ape, and I answered with a bright "Hey, how's it going?" The response was a quiet, shocked "Not great. I almost died last night." My panicky questions were answered with the news that she had been involved in a head on collision that quite easily could have taken her life. We were at a very rough point in our friendship at the time, and yet, drugged and broken, she had called me. Watching her through her recovery and knowing how much she still deals with because of the accident, I have to say I have never seen so much positivity and perseverance, not only to  recover her health but to become a better person to herself and her loved ones.
Within a few weeks of her car accident Ape was crushing fish on the lakes. This one was around 12lbs, and the only fish caught that day.

Enjoying the sunshine and a beer after catching an invisible fish "this big!" on the Sauk with K8.

Spey casting practice with Bruce Kruk and Greg Wolf on the Columbia.
Many of my best fishing memories include April, including when I finally landed my first winter steelhead on the Vedder, and my first Thompson steelhead without Aaron. We were the female element with a group of friends on a rained out weekend on the Skagit, the pair of crazy Canucks fans in the bar in Key West, the idiots who drove 22 hours to Idaho to fish for 2 days in the Casting 4 A Cure event. She was there for one of my best days of steelheading ever on the Bulkley, and took me out to hook my first sturgeon.
Loading up the boats on the Hoh.

 "Endless rain and the Skagit at 65,000 CFS = a bunch of friends stuck in the cabins for five days = a lot of beer = Mike Mills skinny dipping in the Skagit River while the rest of us watch and laugh from the warmth of the rigs at the boat launch.....awesome!" quote from Chris Andersen

No one can pose in waders like Ape.
You might find it strange to hear that we rarely talk on the phone. Neither of us are "phone" people, we do much, much better one on one. Ape's got an incredibly busy schedule, with hosted trips, schools and seminars all over the world, and personal trips and summers guiding on the Dean. We're lucky to see each other a couple times a year.
Ape and Colby, somewhere in Montana, en route to Idaho.

Her first brown, and on the dry, at the Casting 4 A Cure event on the South Fork of the Snake.

Bulkley River, 2010
She and I have very, very different personalities: Ape is fiery, self motivated and outspoken, an extrovert who says what she means and has an insane work ethic. She doesn't take shit from anyone, and will defend her beliefs and her loved ones with fierce passion. I'm sweet and quiet, the introvert, admittedly a little lazy, with a desire to please and an aversion to conflict.
Apparently our laughs and chatter could be heard across the river. Only Ape can get me to out of my quiet zone while fishing. Annette Lauder photo

Oh look, still laughing... Annette Lauder photo

Fish on! Fantastic day on the Bulkley.
I think we balance each other out, as we can talk about absolutely anything, and have for days in a row. We spent 24 hours a day together on our seven day trip to the Florida Keys, and it was one of the best trips of my life. Relationships, business, family, men, sex, fishing, you name it, we've discussed it. It's a privilege to have someone in my life who I can be utterly honest with. Ape compliments me, hugs me when I need comforting and kicks my ass when I need a push. One of the best parts about a great friendship is having someone who believes in you; its an incredible gift to have someone who makes you believe in yourself, and I never feel better about myself than when I'm with April.
Best trip ever (despite hardly catching anything) in the Florida Keys.

My first tarpon, so happy to have Ape there with me. April Vokey photo
Business owner, guide, professional fly angler, conservationist, tv host, columnist, instructor, fly tier...a list of dynamic descriptions for an amazing woman I choose to simply call my friend.



Are you ready?


 Here we go 2013!
 There's so many exciting things to look forward to this year. First up, I am proud to be working for Fly Fusion Magazine and the International Fly Fishing Film Festival. My roles with both companies will be multi faceted, and I am so excited to be a part of such amazing teams. I had the opportunity to watch the 2013 Festival last night, and I have to say that the submissions for this year are fantastic.
In its third year, the IF4 has nearly doubled the number of screenings from 2012, so head to the website to check for a screening in your area. We will be continuing to add dates in the next few weeks.
In a couple weeks is the Western Canadian Fly Fishing Exposition here in Calgary. I have to admit that I may be abnormal in that I love trade shows. Yes, the days are long, your feet get sore, you lose your voice and invariably you stay up way too late. But I love it all. I get to see old friends, meet new ones, and play with new gear. There's a certain atmosphere that exists during trade shows that I find exhilarating. Call me crazy, but I can't wait for this year's show.

In April I'll be heading back to the coast for the Cast & Blast, a three day event hosted by Whistler Fly Fishing and Pieroway Fly Rods. There will be casting and fishing, conservation, rod building, photography and tying seminars (including one by yours truly), an auction for the Steelhead Society of BC, a film fest, fly tying comp, good music, artwork, contests, prizes and meals, late night bonfires, and, quite possibly some drinks. Trust me, this is going to be more fun than you can imagine.

In between these awesome events I'll be fishing the Bow when its not too cold and hopefully getting back to BC for some steelheading. I'm sure I'll be adding more events to this list very soon, and I hope to see some of you very soon!