My father and I recently fished with you on the 21st. First of all "Man was that AWESOME". Thank you so much for an enjoyable day of SRC pools. Rolled muddlers a couple of inches from bedrock, twitch, Bam
I have never thrown dry flies at steelhead before, but I have to say, what an incredible feeling. The most remarkable feeling of nervous anticipation I had was locating the "player". I don't think I can put it into words. Just having a steelhead rise to a fly made my whole day. Hopefully my dad and I will see you again, this time with a tailing steely.
"As a long time fly fisherman, now totally dedicated to the pursuit of steelhead, I have had the pleasure of fishing with many guides on Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia rivers. Although many are excellent fishermen and many know their home rivers well, very few work as hard for their clients or apply as professional an approach as Dennis Dickson. Far from the passive approach of fishing the well known lies regardless of conditions, Dennis seeks the ideal rivers and locations based on day to day and seasonal conditions, using everything from pontoon boats to jet powered rafts. You will not find a better instructional guide who can work with fly fishermen or women of any level and successfully put them into fish... words could not describe the look on my girlfriend's face (a novice fly fisher) when she hooked and nearly landed a 30 lb. king salmon on a summer day with Dennis, nor can any book or article adequately detail the nuances of a given river to an experienced fisherman like Dennis can. I recommend Dennis Dickson to any fly fisherman or woman, at any level, who is interested in a true professional, who is genuinely interested in providing a quality service for his clients."
Way Yin, M.D.
As a female flyfisher I am always somewhat apprehensive when meeting a guide for the first time. Although past experience has been positive, I cannot help but think sooner or later I will meet up with one of the "Rogues" so many have written of.
This definately was not the case with Dennis. He put us both at ease within the first few minutes, and had us laughing within ten. Not an easy feat at 7:00 in the morning with either one of us! His job was going to be tough
all day; neither of us had touched a single hand rod all winter, and had never caught anything bigger than trout on a fly rod.
I found as the day wore on I was having as much fun riding the river on the pontoon boats and listening to another of Dennis's stories as I was fishing. But, as luck would have it just when I thought I couldn't cast again I felt that famaliar "tug" on the other end of the fly line. Only this time it was followed by line stripping off the reel at an alarming rate. With Dennis standing next to me and his patient and calm voice guiding me, we landed the
fish in about 15 min. MY FIRST STEELHEAD!!! After several pictures and much admiration he was set free.
It has now been over a month since that fine day and I still find myself staring at the pictures on my desk and dreaming of the next one-
Thanks Dennis, looking forward to the class in June.
Just a quick note to really thank you for the great day yesterday. It built my confidence a ton to know that my fly is in the right place. I was so relaxed and enjoyed the day very much. You are truly a master of your profession.
I just wanted to drop a note to rave about Mike as a guide last Thursday on the Grande Ronde. I would have enjoyed the day on the river with Mike even if I had not caught a single fish, but was absolutely delighted after I was able to catch three steelhead on flies that day. It got even better, however. I had to be back in Walla Walla by early afternoon on Friday for Parents Weekend at Whitman College. I was so enthusiastic by our success on Thursday, I decided to fish a couple of hours Friday morning before heading out. As a testament to Mike's teaching skills I managed to land three more steelhead between 7:30am and 10:00am that morning. Needless to say I will be back to the Grande Ronde in the future. Its a beautiful river with obviously very good opportunities to hook and land steelhead on flies. What a trip!
Again, Mike was great and I look forward to the opportunity to fish with one or both of you again. Best wishes.
Thanks for giving Noah and I such a great trip. We also found a blitz of fish at the lower camp the evening after you left us. Five big fish from one run in one afternoon was just awsome! These fish were much bigger than I expected, Noahs 6 wt was barely a match for one of these monsters. These fish looked like they should have been in the Skagit!
You and Mike did a wonderful job of guiding us. After searching out a bunch of rivers, it was clear that every run you put us in was a primo opportunity. You guys clearly know this river and give this advantage to your clients. It was a pleasure to have you share this special river with us.
You have made Noah and I lovers of the Grand Rhonde. I am sure you will see us again!
Thanks again....................DR.Richard Gubner
Just want to say a big thanks for a great trip! I really appreciated the time you spent with Jeff working him through some of the "fly fishing 101" basic's, he really learned a lot from you. A special thanks from me for putting me onto my first Sauk Steelhead, it was tough going with the beautiful warm summer like day but you still managed to put me onto the right spot to hook that big Buck. After missing a hook up in the morning (after you told me where the fish would be! ) I didn't want to blow another chance you were dead on with the location of that fish, most people would have floated right by. It always amazes me the power a Steelhead possess. Even though it was getting a bit late in the season that fish was still very strong and put up a great battle. I always tell people there is real value in hiring the right guide and once again you proved my theory correct ( not sure about the guide who was sleeping on the beach every time we passed him!) if you want to catch Steelhead on the fly do some research and hire the best fly guide you can. Mike you really know your stuff, I would highly recommend you to anyone wanting an experienced professional "on the fly" Steelhead guide. I was expecting a couple cheese sandwiches for lunch, when you pop out the stove and made a hot shore lunch I was blown away, that really hit the spot and helped carry us through the afternoon. Looking forward to coming down to the OP this fall/winter and fishing with you, I should be throwing the Spey by then.
Have a great summer and say hi to the old guide sleeping on the beach, tell him I said he's got a great kid following in his foot steps. Cheers,
Just a quick note as follow-up Dennis. My sons and I found this to be one of the most memorable experiences we have had as a group. You and Michael are true professionals and we learned tremendously from both of you. Eric and Matt are both hooked on fly-fishing now and they are making plans for our next trip together. I think we will probably join you on the steelhead trip next fall for sure. This was simply a great time and I can’t think of money better spent than investing in this trip.
My Brother and I went out on the Stillaguamish North Fork with the expressed intention of learning what in a year and a half of weekly bumbling on our own we had been unable to learn. In one day Dennis taught US ("ALLEN and my other brother ALLEN") More than All those previous hours on the rivers and Hundreds of dollars worth of books had, HOW TO CATCH STEELHEAD, I Caught two that day, even as I added to my vast collection of casting knots. In short if you want a teacher and/or a guide to the world of the steelhead on a fly you can't do better than Dennis Dickson, and you will learn the "Cop Car" to.
Hi Dennis, I wanted to pass on my groups sincere thanks for the great time we had fishing the Grand Ronde with Mike, Oct.8-10. He was great!... Food and guiding were great. We all had a blast.
I am also passing on to you a request for Mike's e-mail address. You could even pass this message onto him. we wanted to exchange some pictures and information and they requested that I just request this through your contact. Tell them the boys from Nevada wish them the best and thank them a lot.
Mike, I just wanted to thank you again for the great time fishing two weeks ago on the Skagit. All the tips and tricks paid off huge in my trip to the Metolius River in Oregon this past week. I found lots of stories posted on the web about large bull trout in the Metolius during the winter. Assuming they would behave like the dollies on the Skagit, I managed to land several large bulls (one just over 22 inches!) over two days. I used the same straightforward technique you showed me: look for good seams and then work a good strip cast down the line. The few locals I encountered thought I was crazy when they saw me rigging up your big streamers on fast sink tips. Apparently the bulls are the hardest to catch and quite rare, so it was huge confidence booster for me.
I also had a great day at Swift Creek on the Skagit last Tuesday after the course before I headed down to Oregon. I landed 6 chums and 1 Dolly of various sizes and condition. My best chum was a beast that went on several crazy runs and took me right down the bank past Swift Creek. All but one fish was hooked in the mouth, so again that was a huge confidence booster as most of the others around me seemed to be snagging them.
I'll definitely get in touch with you guys again for some winter Steelhead lessons on the Stilly or Sauk.
Mr. Dickson, I have never had the pleasure of fishing with you, but have always been impressed by your ethics and talents. I am a flyfishing bum and love our sport just as you do. About 35 years or so ago a good friend of mine William Survey was hiking with his beloved son William (Willie). As a father of two myself and knowing how proud you are of your own son, this story will hit home. Willie slipped off of a cliff that day and plunged to his death in front of William Sr. To this day William has never lived that day down. A few years after this tragedy, William designed a fly with olive body, speckled pheasant hackle and a red tuft of rabbit fur and named it the Olive Willie in memory of his son. Soon after that he designed a red beaded version and it too carried the name Olive Willie. The Olive Willie has been a must have lake pattern for us in the know for 25 years or so. Seth Taylor , who now works at Creekside had the Olive Willie put into a couple of different magazines years back in tribute to William Survey. William and I used to lake fish often together with Kevin Stubbs and Seth but his back is bad and he no longer fishes much. Sir this fly is not trademarked nor is it patented, and I am sure you have been using your own version of this for 30 or so years. We all have a home pattern somewhat like the Olive Willie. The bead head damsel is a direct knock off of the Olive Willie. Is there any way credit could be given to the old man who invented it and the son it was dedicated to? That's all I ask. Keep on looking out for us steelheaders and tight lines sir.
"When looking for a fly fishing guide to introduce me to steelhead fishing, I was initially taken by Dennis' values and leadership in speaking out for conservation of the resource. Fishing with him, I was pleased to discover that he is an exceptional teacher and knows his rivers intimately. He is a professional in the best sense of the word and I am looking forward to our next trip together."
Just wanted to thank you again for a couple of excellent days with you and Michael last week. The guys and I had a blast. You two are not only exceptional guides, but people of that caliber as well. I look forward to seeing you over a line again before long.
Have a good fall,
Thanks again for designating the North Seattle Boys and Girls Club as the benefactor for the donations from all of us who participated in your One Fly Flyfishing Contest. It is really appreciated.
I have added Derek Smith, the Director of the club, to the cc.
Derek, can you provide Dennis with a summary of the donation amounts and a brief write up of appreciation from the club?
My wife Julie and I just got back from last weekend's trip to the Grand Ronde. I must say that we had a great time and it was worth every penny of it. Both guides, Mike and Jonathan, were great. As I said during the
Sauk school, I wanted to give my wife Julie a good first trip for steelheading. And she got exactly that. Mike and Jonathan worked with her both days and she was extremely satisfied and excited about all she learned from them. The third day, in the morning, she bounced out of the tent and announced to me that she was going fishing and it was up to me to load the truck!!! And that's what happened. Now to get her on the Skagit this winter or the Stilly this summer and get her first steelhead. I'll definitely book a trip for her with one of them and
she'll get her fish for sure.
I had a great trip also, catching a hatchery fish early on the first day made it easy for me to relax, try different techniques and enjoy the scenery of that fabulous area, The group we were with were very convivial, great conversations, we got along good and the whole trip was enjoyable. And of course, Bill at Boggan's made the food and hospitality excellent. We'll look forward to next year. I'm going to book several
days with Mike on the Kalama to sight fish this September and look forward to that as well.
Btw, Mike said you really like to tie flies and see different patterns so that's why I sent that selection. Those were examples of what I used to tie for the guides and shops in the Keys that I serviced with custom ties. You'll have to excuse the ratty nature of them as those were my personal flies and I always fished my seconds, the ones that weren't cutting the grade to go out to the customers. The fish don't know the difference and they catch fish as well as the top grade ones. So enjoy if you so desire. They all were very good producers and caught fish regularly. I'm going to adapt several to apply to the steelhead swing.
We'll see how it works out.
I'm going to buy a Yancy line from Mike. I can't say enough about your son. He's a great kid and I'm sure you're very proud of him. You're letting the business pass into good hands and it will stay a success. He took care of all our needs, was very attentive to the group as a whole, always exhibiting a pleasant demeanor. His instructions, as well as Jonathon's, to my wife were very clear and she got that jump in skill and confidence to really feel that she can do this sport. So I gained a true fishing partner as well as my best friend as a result. That is priceless. She and I will benefit from this trip for years to come.
Thanks very much for that.
So here's to a good year to come, I'll see you and the boys for sure
"Imagination is more important than knowledge, the important thing is to not stop questioning."
"Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something - wearing stripes with plaid comes easy."...
I had such a great time with Mike & Jonathan that I would like to make plans to return in 2007. I was thinking of combining two trips with you & Mike in the same week, if possible. I would like to join you for the 3 day float trip and combine that with a repeat the same type of 3 day experience that I had with Mike & Jonathan. Is this type of combined trip a possibility? 3 days was simply not enough! I also may want to come a little later in October. I was part of Mike's first trip this year.
Thanks for the great experience on the Grande Ronde in 2006! I landed
several steelhead, and one of them was the hottest wild male steelhead that I have
ever had the pleasure of catching! Mike has it all on video too.
I had a great time Sunday on the Stilly. Caught both small and large Deer Creek fish, native rainbows and SRC. Jonathan was a great guide. We spent about 3 hours hiking over the course of the day but Jonathan took me to a pool that was jugged with fish and empty of the Labor day crowds. My wife Robin enjoyed the walk and the beautiful river views and our Italian Greyhound Eddie learned to swim as we crossed the numerous tailouts. It was hilarious watching him trying to fight the current (he weights all of 12 lbs). Will forward you some digital pictures.
What openings do you have available for the Grande Ronde? What airport would I fly to? Lewiston ? Seattle and drive?
Hi Mike & Dennis,
Just thought I would drop a line to say what wonderful fishing I had with you guys the other day, on the Skagit River. As you know, I am what you might call a pretty hard core, steelhead flyfisher. I was somewhere between, interested and skeptical about this winter surface flyfishing. I should have learned my lesson when my buddies talked me into skating dries for the humpy salmon with you guys last fall but as fun as that was, I think this maybe even better! Mike & I jumped fish right off the get go, and at my poor count rose seventeen big Dollies (excuse me, Bull trout), all on my Yakima trout rod. I never did break out my spey rod that day, but hey, that was my call. Keep that that Dolly Skater in house. I have never seen anything like it. I can see why you like it for Alaska silvers.