TBT Squeeky's 1st Fly Shop Gig

TBT Squeeky’s 1st Fly Shop Gig

TBT Squeeky’s 1st Fly Shop Gig

This was my first fly shop gig. My first fly fishing mentor Pat Ward opened this little shop, even a bit smaller than HH, in Gold Creek on the Naches River. The Naches is a tributary of the Yakima located on Hiway 410 Eastside of Washington State. Mt Rainier.

They year was 1994. I had been fishing for a couple summers. My first trip to the Mighty Mo was in May of 1992. So I already had some worldly fishing travel! Hah!

I tied a few patterns commercially for Pat at the LBS. I remember tying size 12-16 Prince Nymphs. Weighted and un-weighted. The weighted ones with red thread on the head to differentiate the two. This was all previous to the beadhead revolution.

Check out that Subaru in the foreground. Sweet huh. Still go the studs on it based on the color of those wheels. That was when I was teaching skiing full time at White Pass Ski Area. Studs needed for sure. I was living at the summit of HWY 12, White Pass, in those days so the commute to the shop was about 45 minutes. Down the Tieton River drainage over to the Naches. Both tribs of the Yakima.

Fished them both a ton. Mostly the Tieton though. The Naches was a bit out of my comfort zone. But do remember a couple of great summer days catching them really on a grasshopper. A Daves Hopper.

I really did not pull a shift at the Little Bug Shop, but I did sit in there and spin up flies for sale. GRHE in a couple flavors. A few PT’s. Several caddis dry fly patterns. Including he Elk Hair Caddis. A different time for sure in fly fishing.

Lots of stories and memories form that early period in my personal fly fishing life. Fun stuff for sure. Way less to worry about.


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  • Thanks for sharing….Its a good circle to share stories such as this.
    Exhale slow… pause…Your past has many layers of cool.

    Cheers from a Canadian friend.

  • That’s awesome Mark. With your story telling ability, memory, and experiences, you should consider a book of memoirs. I’d buy it. Mostly for the fishing secrets. Love the blog, read daily, appreciated.

  • A great story Mark – thanks. I had an old Outback I sold with 360K miles on it – spouse sort of suggested I sell it but loved that buggy – pounded many a mile chasing trout, steel and smallies here in Michigan 365. A while back, you wrote about Pat Elam caddis patterns…. is there any way to learn about those pattern styles? A caddis hound here. Thanks!

  • cliff nagatani
    February 7, 2020 8:19 am

    1992? I got there July 1989 and remember saying as I drove across wolf creek bridge “how the hell do I fish this?” Good memories Mark.

  • Thank you for sharing your story and this pic. I am a fanatical reader of fishing authors and their personal journeys. Passion seeps from their words and I feel it in yours. Consider sharing more as you (and I) have seen so many changes to our beloved Craig, Montana.

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