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 Flytier bios

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Adrian Cortes

"A few years ago, I approached the challenge of tying classic salmon flies without a vise seeking to find the epitome of flytying. Within a short amount of time, I became comfortable tying and successfully fishing these vintage patterns. Interestingly after "success", the excitement waned...the challenge and novelty became "passionless". I remember asking myself "what's the point?".

Within 15 minutes of that question, the phone rang with a friend I met on the river named "Bucky" inquiring if I knew any tyers that might be willing to tie steelhead and classic flies for the Fly Fishing Collaborative leather wallet. It was certainly a remarkable exchange and since then the passion to tie flies has been sustained with the concept that talent is gifted not for one's own weak self achievements, but it is granted to benefit those that need help. Because of FFC, I enjoy tying flies with the purpose to help those that need protection."

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Todd Hirano

Todd Hirano is a native of Kauai, Hawaii. His former life as professional musician led him to Oregon in 1988.  While in Oregon, he formed a strong interest in steelhead fly fishing. A 19 year return to Hawaii from 1990 to 2009 kept him distant from regular steelhead fly fishing opportunities, but periodic trips to steelhead country kept his steelhead dreams alive until his return to Oregon in early 2009.

Todd's biggest influence in steelhead fly fishing came from Bill McMillan though the book DryLine Steelhead.  Reading about the thrills of raising steelhead to surface flies took firm hold of Todd's being.  Subsequent personal experiences and success with surface fishing sealed Todd's fate as a die hard with dry fly fishing for steelhead.

It is this passion that lead to the development of the Little Wang.  Todd wanted a surface fly that was highly visible and would stay on top in all but the most extreme surface currents and the Little Wang is the result.

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Peter Donahower

Peter Donahower learned to tie flies from his 6th grade teacher, Mr. Stream (no joke). Over the past decade, he developed the art of tying steelhead flies; particularly hairwings tied with the Ed Haas method of slipping guard hairs into the tapered loop eye and lashing them down to the shank. The entire pattern is then tied over the butts, creating a wing that cannot pullout and allowing for a small, whip-finished head.

Peter draws inspiration for fly design from traditional west coast steelhead flies, as well as vintage Atlantic salmon patterns.  For Fly Fishing Collaborative, he ties four patterns to cover the range of hues every steelheader should have handy: dark, bright, medium, and drab. These flies are: Undertaker, Skunk, Purple Peril, and Orphan.

Peter is a featured contributor to Swing the Fly magazine, and his work appears in America’s Favorite Flies. He is also a wild fish advocate and Native Fish Society River Steward. Peter is honored to tie for Fly Fishing Collaborative.

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Jeremiah Bawden

Jeremiah learned to fly fish at a young age under the watchful eyes of his grandfather, father, and uncles along the banks of the Provo and Green Rivers in Utah. They taught him to spend every day looking for the beauty and splendor of the natural landscape, protecting it so that others may enjoy it in the future. This, when paired with his grandfather’s dedication to service, helped to shape Jeremiah’s career path in the environmental sciences and his commitment to the FFC. He feels fortunate to be able to use his passion for fly fishing and fly tying to make a difference for impoverished and trafficked women and children around the world.

You will frequently find Jeremiah tying a steelhead pattern in-hand or trying to raise steelhead on a skated dry fly on a stream somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

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Jeff Hollamon

Jeff Hollamon was introduced to fly fishing in 1998. At the age of forty, his interest in the sport grew rapidly when he discovered how much he loved the facets of fly fishing. One day he quietly adopted his father-in-law’s fly rod during a trip to the McKenzie River. Also, early on, he frequented the free casting clinics sponsored by the local fly shop, Kaufmann’s Streamborn. Shortly thereafter, Jeff Hollamon became enthralled by the sport. Like a pilgrim he began to make regular trips to Kaufmann’s in order to gaze around and ask questions. “It didn’t take long to get lured in and hooked for life,” he says. “During each trip or adventure, one thing always lead to another” (i.e., rods, reels, lines, flies, clothing, books, feathers, hooks, et cetera). Not long after starting to fly fish and visit the fly shop, he also began tying his own flies. The first fly he tied in a class at Kaufmann’s was a Woolly Bugger. Since the first fly, Jeff has tied a vast array of patterns. Today, he ties mostly steelhead flies. He thinks fly fishing for steelhead and tying steelhead flies challenges both his creativity and patience. Jeff enjoys the sense of satisfaction he gets from catching fish on something he made himself. He has learned from several mentors throughout the years. He is also always grateful and appreciative to learn more about fly fishing and fly tying. In the past few years, Jeff jumped at the chance to tie flies for the Fly Fishing Collaborative (FFC), at the Royal Treatment Fly Shop, and the NW Fly Tying Expo. Jeff lives in Sherwood, Oregon with his wife and daughter.

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Evan Winnett

In late 2015, Evan started tying flies in hand (without a vise) to donate to FFC. Upon fishing his first attempt at an Atlantic Salmon Fly, he accomplished a two-year-long goal of landing his first steelhead. This ignited a passion for classic Atlantic salmon flies. His hope today is that his flies allow others to share in the meaningful experiences that come from the tradition and art of fishing classic flies.

Evan lives on the outskirts of Portland with his wife, Cassie, and two ferocious domestic cats.

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Craig Smelter

Craig began tying flies as a teenager 43 years ago. Initially, fly tying provided a source of directing youthful energy that was not always headed in a very positive direction. By the late high school and early college years, Craig was selling flies commercially to help support his growing passion for fly fishing as well offsetting college expenses. After college, Craig’s fly tying ebbed and flowed as it settled into an outlet for relaxation and/or preparation for the next fly fishing outing.For the past 30 years, Craig’s favored type of fly tying has leaned towards his favorite type of fly fishing, which is for steelhead. The development of the Intruder type steelhead fly has captured Craig’s interest for the last 10 years and he spends as much time as he can trying to develop the best Intruder. He tries to closely match the flies for the many river conditions that can be encountered through the course of the four seasons of steelhead fishing. There are many of these seasons that one can enjoy living in the Northwest.

Several years ago, Craig came upon the FFC booth at the Sandy River Speyclave. Striking up a conversation with Bucky about the mission of FFC, Craig became intrigued in the idea of tying flies for a greater purpose. Craig left the speyclave that day thinking that God gave him the gift and passion of fly tying many years ago and through FFC he can use this gift to assist with meaningful work. Since that encounter with Bucky, Craig's fly tying has taken on a new meaning knowing that every fly supplied to FFC will (in however of a small way) help support those around world benefitting from mission work of FFC.