Aqua Flies is a company committed to tying the finest flies on earth. We began at our roots with steelhead flies, but now we are expanding. Only the highest quality fly tying materials are used: AquaTalon hooks, Whiting Farms feathers, our brand of shanks and Intruder Eyes. Each fly is hand tied by the most experienced commercial fly tiers in the business and passes through stringent quality inspection.
The people behind Aqua Flies are dedicated fly tiers and fly fishermen who understand how to utilize top-notch materials, correct proportions, and precise tying methods to produce a superior product. We know the difference between a fly that will catch fish and one that just looks good at the vice. We have a history and depth of experience that enables us to combine proven tradition with unequaled innovation.
We take pride in our products and we are eager to share them with you.
Meet the People Behind the Flies
Doug Brutocao was introduced to fly fishing at the age of 15, when he was given a Fenwick 805 rod and a Pflueger Reel. But fishing was not enough; Doug also wanted to learn the art of fly tying. Spending countless hours at the vise and reading many books, he learned to tie flies for trout, steelhead and shad. After moving to Santa Rosa, California, he met Grant King and a whole new world opened up to him. He was introduced to the concept of commercial fly tying while at the same time maintaining a quality fly.
Through Grant, Doug got to know many talented Northern California fly anglers, including Bill Schaddt, Hal Janssen, Frank Bertaina, and Bob Nauhiem. Over the next 20 to 30 years, Doug had the opportunity to learn from these truly great masters. He honed his skills on the rivers of Northern California — the Gualala, Russian, Eel, Smith and Trinity. It was while fishing these rivers that he found his passion in the pursuit of anadromous fish. This passion has taken him to world class fisheries in Alaska, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Russia.
Doug’s passion has led to a life in the fly fishing industry. When he was 18 he formed Doug’s Bugs and supplied commercially tied flies to a number of shops in Northern California. Eventually Doug’s Bugs evolved into a distribution company for a wide variety of fly tying materials, tools, fly fishing books, rods, reels, and other fly fishing related products.
After selling Doug’s Bugs and taking some time off to tend the family vineyard, Doug got back into the fly fishing industry. He felt there was a lack of good quality, well tied steelhead flies on the market. Now Aqua Flies fills this void. Other fly companies have let the steelhead angler down, but Aqua Flies is dedicated to producing top quality flies that actually catch fish!
Stuart Foxall started fishing at age 4. By the time he was 8, he was spending every weekend fishing for salmon and trout with his dad in Wales. He tied his first flies with feathers from a pillow and thread from his mother’s sewing kit. A Turrells fly tying kit soon followed, and Stuart has been tying flies ever since.
Stuart caught his first salmon on a prawn from the River Severn when he was 9, and it proved to be a 16lb grilse! Around this time, his father began taking the family up to Scotland on fishing holidays. He caught his first salmon on a fly from the River Avon.
With 5 or 6 trips each year to Scotland, Stuart spent many hours on the Avon, Deveron, and the Upper Oykel, which he describes as a great spate river where the salmon could be stalked. He was quite intrigued with the salmon’s responses to various flies.
As a young man, he pursued a career in football and temporarily set aside the fishing trips. This prompted him to spend even more time tying flies. He wasn’t seeing what other people were using, and constantly invented his own patterns. He would send his flies on trips with his parents, who used them very successfully on many rivers. Stuart’s favorite salmon pattern is Bill’s Bullet, which he named after his dad. It has caught numerous fish from all over Scotland in all conditions and even landed two salmon, over 30 pounds, in a week on the River Nith.
After a tough battle with cancer four years ago, Stuart took the “trip of a lifetime” to Alaska. He has returned every year since. On that first trip he heard about steelhead fishing in Northern British Columbia, and was enthralled by tales of unbelievable takes and fights. To say that he became obsessed with steelhead is an understatement. He travels to North America 2 or 3 times a year to feed his addiction, and is constantly incorporating new tying methods and theories into his own fly designs.
Still an avid fly tyer, he usually ties a few patterns every night to relax after work. If you ask him what he’s thinking about, he’ll tell you “Awww… I wish I was fishing!!!”
Greg has dedicated the past 25 years honing his fly fishing and tying techniques while fishing and guiding tributaries most anglers today call Steelhead Alley.
He is the founder and former owner of Steelhead Alley Outfitters, which is an all-inclusive educational fly fishing guide service focusing on Steelhead and the tributaries of lake Erie.
Greg was a long time contract tier for the Orvis Company, winning their prestigious fly tier of the year award in 2008, and has worked with Hareline Dubbin and Flymen Fishing Company on innovative fly tying materials and components.
Many of Greg’s articles, fly patterns, materials, and guide services have been featured in numerous national publications, fly fishing literature, television shows, and various media outlets. His patterns and techniques have been instrumental in the evolution of Great Lakes fly design.
Greg’s First book Titled “Fusion Fly Tying” Steelhead, Salmon, and Trout Flies of the Synthetic Era wasreleased in September 2015, and was awarded Best New Fly Tying Book at ITDF/iCast 2016.
Watch for Book #2 in the near future!
Currently Greg resides in Michigan, and you can find him at Schultz Outfitters where he is a part of the daily shop operations. If you can’t find him, it’s because hunting season is open in his home state of Pennsylvania, he’s personal fishing, or hosting anglers to select destinations within the country.
Dennis started fishing in his late 20’s and quickly developed an addiction, enveloping himself completely into the sport. He enjoys spending time in the wilds of British Columbia and quickly realized that he needed more flies. He took several classes from local fly shops and practiced hard for several years which led him to commercial tying. He was pretty consumed by the art, managing to learn every style along the way and was well tuned with the growing trends of the fly-tying industry. Dennis appreciates all of the fly-tying styles including the classics, and practices when time permits, but his specialty is saltwater flies. He learned so much that teaching became second nature and sharing the variety of techniques he learned along the way with fellow tyres only seemed to fuel his passion further, to create and design.
Believe it or not, tying flies wasn’t always as easy for Dennis as it is today. When he was first introduced to it by M&Y Fly Shop it took him several attempts at fundamentals before getting it right. Only after 3 years of practicing and tying all sorts of flies did he feel his work was ready for the public scrutiny. Only when he started tying for Ruddick’s Fly Shop did his fly work evolve. He was inspired by Malcolm Ruddick’s love for saltwater fly fishing, along with Shawn Bennett and Lise Peters of Moonlight Flies, who introduced the epoxy trend to the West Coast of B.C. in the mid 90s.
Being in British Columbia, Dennis has had the honor of being taught by some of the most respected people in his community, such as, Brian Chan and Philip Rowley, leaders when it comes to entomology and trout patterns for our Stillwater lakes. South of the border his saltwater work is greatly influenced by Bob Clouser, Lefty Kreh, Bob Popovics, Bob Vererka, Dick Brown and Drew Chicone, just to name a few.
His home-based busines The Fly Box produces well over 60,000 flies a year. His online website sells flies all over the world. THE FLY BOX boasts an impressive inventory of local, specialty and hand-tied flies. Dennis only uses good quality materials, for the perfect fly. His work can be found in local fly shops in the Lower Mainland, such as M&Y Fly Shops, Sea-Run Fly & Tackle and Pacific Angler.
Through his modern approach in the use of fur, feathers and synthetics John Ryzanych has become widely recognized as one of the sports leading creative tiers. His original designs, including the Fat Head bait fish and Air Head top water fly, are used the world over and considered cutting edge for their unique functionality and greater representation of the things sport fish eat.
His company, ICON Products, manufactures and distributes specialized fly fishing products. The body forming material SOFTEX is complimented by a line of market leaders like Fly Stages (fly tyer’s vise mounted organizer), Perfect Loops (“engineered” braid loops for perfect line to backing connections) and The Catch & Release “Zero Limit” line of conservation message apparel and decals.
In addition to managing the operations and development aspects of his company, John regularly performs tying demonstrations at both domestic and international fly fishing venues, and contributes articles to the sport’s leading magazines. He is also a board member of the Northern California FFF, advisor to the California Department of Fish and Game, and recently successful in sponsoring conservation legislation in his home state of California.
When time allows, he pursues his passion for fishing the salt waters of the world!
Jason Hartwick is the owner and head steelhead guide for Steelhead on the Spey Guide Service. Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, where he learned to fly fish 20 years ago, Jason hooked his first steelhead on the nearby American River and has been crazy about steelhead ever since. Although he grew up in Sacramento, Jason considers Northern California’s Trinity River his home river. He has been fly fishing for fall, summer and winter steelhead in the Trinity River watershed for nearly fifteen years — captivated by the variety of steelhead fishing the Trinity provides fly anglers throughout the year.
While Jason has been an avid fly rod steelheader, his interest intensified eleven years ago when he discovered two-handed (spey) rods. He found that the spey rod made steelhead fishing much more enjoyable… and a heck of a lot easier! Increased casting distance came nearly effortlessly and allowed him to cover more water, while the longer rod made mending line a breeze. He embraced the spey casting techniques and with new enthusiasm honed his steelhead fly fishing skills.
As a fly tier with many years of experience on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers, Jason’s fly patterns are influenced by the conditions found there. In the late summer and fall, water levels are often low and clear and floating lines are the norm. The flies used in these conditions are tied with just enough flash to grab the fish’s attention. Natural subtle materials, such as peacock, pheasant and wood duck, are blended together to create flies that will entice a steelhead to strike in even the clearest of waters.
When not on the Trinity or Klamath, Jason spends time on the coast of California and Southern Oregon pursuing winter steelhead. His fly tying skills are not limited to subtle summer steelhead flies. For the tougher winter conditions, Jason ties bright marabou tube flies and weighted tube flies designed to fish big, off-color waters.
A natural teacher, Jason’s love for fly fishing finds its highest expression when he instructs others in the art of pursuing steelhead with a two-handed fly rod. Older anglers are amazed at how little effort is required to make casts that cover more water than they ever could with a single-handed rod. They also discover how less effort casting translates into more time on the water. If you have yet to experience the thrill of steelhead fishing with a spey rod, Jason strongly urges you to give it a try!
Jason is a talented videographer and photographer, see some of his work on Instagram.
Learn about Jason’s guiding at Steelhead On The Spey
It was on the Big Sur River where in 1972 Brett Jensen caught his first fish on a fly. It was more than just a special moment; it is what triggered a lifelong addiction to fly fishing.
With the opening of the Millpond Fly Shop in San Jose, CA, in 1973, Brett quickly became friends with owner Len Bearden, and through Len was exposed to several talented anglers. Exposure to pioneer anglers like Bob Quigley, Hal Janssen, Dave Inks, Dave Whitlock, Bob Edgley, and Lawrence Summers had quite an influence on Brett. But, it was Ed Hamada’s influence and mentoring that encouraged Brett “to think outside the box” and approach not only fly tying but fly fishing creatively.
In 1977, Brett left his home town of Los Gatos and moved to Palo Cedro, a small town east of Redding, California. Since then he has guided and photographed his home waters, becoming recognized for his innovative fly patterns for both stillwater and steelhead. He has been a guest speaker for Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers conclave. He has presented numerous slide programs and tying demonstrations for fly clubs in Northern and Southern California, Arizona, Oregon and Nevada. His photographs and articles on fly tying have appeared in several popular fly fishing publications. In 1989, together with lifelong fishing partner Rick Jorgensen, he started Klamath Connections and for several years ran a successful guide service on the Lower Klamath River.
It is the Klamath that Brett considers his home river and the Klamath has been the inspiration for many of his summer and fall steelhead patterns. He ties his patterns with attention to materials that not only give his flies a look but lets them perform as designed when fished.
Since embracing the two-handed rod, Brett’s fishing time has been spent pursuing salmon on the rivers of the North Coast, and chasing steelhead in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and of course on the Klamath.
Mike McGovney was born in California and moved to Alaska when at a young age when he first held a rod in his hands. Very quickly, Mike developed an obsession with all types of fishing, and by the age of 11 years old that obsession turned into a lifelong passion for fly fishing. Growing up in Alaska was an ideal place to foster this passion, and Mike soon became knowledgeable about all the spots where the fish were biting and began learning how to tie is own flies. Mike has previously owned his own a fly shop in Anchorage, Alaska known as World Wide Angler, and he ran that shop for 12 years until deciding to move on to his next adventure. Mike now resides in the Pacific Northwest chasing fish year-round. Mike travels all over Northern America, and the world, and is skilled and knowledgeable in both fresh and salt water fishing including, but not limited to: tarpon, bonefish, steelhead, rainbow trout and so much more.
A Pacific Northwest native, Brett Wedeking was born with steelhead on the brain. He has spent over 20 years pursuing these elusive creatures, and most of that time with a spey rod in hand. Every winter he spends countless hours guiding fly anglers on the hallowed waters of the Skagit and the Olympic Peninsula swinging flies for ghosts. He spends part of the year guiding for chinook and steelhead in remote Alaska too. His fly designs and steelhead fishing philosophies reflect knowledge gleaned from Northwest luminaries like Harry Lemire, Mike Kinney and Dec Hogan. Wild steelhead are his spirit animal.
Steelhead are far from his only pursuit however. Brett also fishes and guides Puget Sound for sea-run cutthroat, from his 17′ Lund. He lives in Seattle, near the saltwater and his passion for this fishery is evident in his high regard for these native trout. This year-round, Seattle centered fishery is one of the most fun and dynamic fisheries on the planet and Brett is always concocting new patterns and plans to catch cutthroat.
His fly fishing pursuits are wide ranging. He has fished trout across the American and Canadian West, Alaska and New Zealand. He also knows the heartache and pain of chasing permit, among other species, across the flats of the Caribbean and Hawaii. Brett’s varied experience and contact with a multitude of tyers and anglers influence and inform his fly designs and constant tweaking and revising, in pursuit of effective and attractive patterns.
You can see some of Brett’s flies on his website: Tail Out Anglers
His first offering with Aqua are a set of West Coast striper flies, developed and tested while living in the Bay Area. These patterns combine color, profile, weight and castability not often seen in the striper scene. And, they simply work.
Lincoln Gray has been fly fishing for 36 years. The passion for the sport began early, with his father and brother learning the sport on the well-known Rogue River in Southern Oregon. Lincoln continues that passion; with his Lincoln Gray’s Fly Fishing Adventures business that includes schools and guided trips.
Lincoln lives in Chico, Ca and has fished Lake Almanor for over 20 years. The Feather River and Lower Sacramento River for over 25 years. He is a well-known instructor, guide, writer and fly tier. Several of his Hex designs were featured in the Summer 2008 issue of Fly Tyer Magazine and are now being produced by Aqua Flies.
Lincoln also works as the sales director for Sierra Stream & Mountain, a company that includes the Sierra Stream Fly Shop, Tie-Fast Tools and Jay Fair Eagle Fly Fishing and also distributes RIO Products, SA, Redington and Loon Products. Lincoln is a pro-staff member of Hyde, Sage, Redington, RIO, Ross Reels, Simms, Smith, Tie-Fast Tools, Jay Fair Eagle Fly Fishing and Peak Fly Fishing.
Visit Lincoln’s website: Lincoln Gray’s Fly Fishing Adventures
In his early 20’s, Kevin began guiding in West Michigan as an alternative to graduateschool. Now more than 20 years later, he has never looked back. Kevin’s passion isswinging flies for migratory fish, but he loves to fly fish for any predator that swims. Henow resides in Newaygo, Michigan, guiding around 200 days/year on the MuskegonRiver System (and fishing whenever he can).
His steelhead, smallmouth, and troutflies have been published in books, magazines, and online. He has written articles forinternational, national, and regional fly fishing magazines.Kevin is featured in a handful of DVDs and has authored current DVDs for steelheadand smallmouth bass. His most recent title is “Striking Steel” a DVD about Midwesternsteelhead fishing. Other current titles are “Searching for Steelhead” and “Big Appetite,small mouth”.
In recent years, Kevin has participated in fly fishing shows in Indiana, Cleveland, Ohio,Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Warren, Michigan. During the off season, he oftenspeaks at fly shops around the Midwest. He also speaks at clubs and gives photographyrelated programs focusing on fish, fishing, and wildlife.
In addition to fly fishing, Kevin has developed a passion for outdoor photography.Through photography he hopes to capture the special character of Midwest fish, rivers,and wildlife.
Keep an eye on Kevin by visiting his one of his websites:
Learn about Kevin’s Guiding: Feenstra Guide Service
See some of Kevin’s photos: Kevin’s SmugMug
Kevin’s DVD’s and More: Swing a Big Fly