- Who is Doug McKnight and how did you end up in Yellowstone, Montana?
I grew up fishing in Pennsylvania and fell in love with the greater Yellowstone area on my first visit in 1997. I now call Livingston Montana home, it is ideally located in one of the best areas in the western US to fly fish for Trout. We have an amazing variety of of water in our backyards, big rivers, small rivers, spring creeks, lakes, reservoirs, freestones, tailwaters. If you live to fish, this is a great place to be.
- Whats it like working for a legend like George Anderson? And how did you end up becoming a fly tying designer for umpqua?
It is pretty neat to work for a guy like George, this guy has been there and done that, and is widely recognized as one of the best all around anglers in world. I have learned a ton about fishing, rigging and tackle from him and really love to watch this guy go out and catch fish. George also has a great shop and guide staff, which I am happy to be a part of, a great bunch of guys that really have a passion for what they do.
I got started with Umpqua in 2003. Bruce Olson, their sales manger is a fly genius, and he has never been afraid to take a chance on my fly patterns. They do a great job with their flies.
- Whats the biggest fish you’ve caught? And whats the biggest you’ve caught on a dry fly?
120 # Tarpon in the Florida keys on a floating shrimp pattern, which I consider a dry fly.
- Montana has endless oppurtunities when it comes to rivers and lakes, what’s your opinion on private spring creeks?
If you are into spring creeks and tricky fish, you at least once in your life have to come to Livingston and fish the Spring Creeks, Depuys, Armstrongs, and Nelsons. They are truly remarkable and challenging waters. I have gotten to know them after a few years of guiding them, they are awesome places to fish. They are never easy , but the rewards, as well as the opportunity to learn, are never ending. A good angler can really do well on these creeks, and you frequently see some very large fish. For someone who has never fished in a situation like this, it can be difficult and frustrating. I never mind paying to get on private water, these days you can burn an equal amount on gas driving somewhere out of the area to fish.
- Dries, nymphs or the darkside?
Funny you say darkside when you refer to streamer fishing, it is really the darkside of the fish we are talking about. I have been a fanatical streamer fishing ever since I learned how to do it. If you have ever seen a big Brown Trout blow up a streamer, you know what I am talking about. I love dry fly fishing too, we have great hopper and dry stonefly fishing here, as well as good match the hatch type fishing. I also really like sight nymphing on the spring creeks and for big lake fish. The coolest thing in fly fishing for me is the visual take, and you will see it better with dries than you ever will with wets. Taking a fish on a dry fly is the ultimate for most fly fishers, but to me it doesn’t matter as much which method is more pure, the joy is watching the take and letting them swim back home after release.
- Cutt, bow, brown, brook or bull?
I love them all, but it’s gotta be the Brown.
- Family or flyfishing?
Both. My wife Shayla, is a great angler, one of the best line menders that I have ever seen, guides love people that can mend. My son just turned 3 in April, can’t wait to get him out more on the water. He got his first fish last summer with a little help from Mom, while I rowed.
- You live in one of the greatest flyfishing destinations on earth. Where do you dream of going flyfishing?
I really like flats fishing for Tarpon, Permit and Bonefish. Montana winters will make you dream of warmth, clear water, and sand. I put a lot of my free creative time at the vise towards coming up with new patterns for these fish. I also think about Patagonia quite a bit in the winter time, I have had some spectacular trout fishing in Argentina during the winter months. It really reminds me of Montana and the streamer fishing down there is just crazy at times for some really big fish. However, from March through November, all I think about is fishing around here.
- Whenever we go fishing in the states, people look at us like we’re crazy when we go fishing without a boat, walking miles from the parkinglot. On the other hand, we think it’s wierd to see people floating a river with a stereo, $700 waders and a 1000$ flyrod when they cast 5 feet with a huge indicator (why not use a spinning rod?) Whats your take on American vs Scandinavian fly fishing culture?
Most of the guys that I have met from Scandinavia that are out here to fish are pretty serious and are out here to fish there asses off.
There are plenty of guys from the states who come to Montana and walk miles of river too. We also have plenty of people who are out there on the water and are not all that serious about doing anything. I usually do not listen to music while I fish, but I do have a few friends that will put some music on, and if you are catching fish it’s great. Recently on the Yellowstone River, while fishing with my buddy, I had an epic hour of streamer fishing to a Black Sabbath album. The opening few riffs to «Iron Man», bang…fish on! That was the first time that I have ever caught fish with the stereo on, it was pretty sweet.
- Do you know anything about Norwegian flyfishing? And how often do you visit vakmag.com:)?
All I do know is that I would love to go fish there sometime, I will be a regular reader of vakmag.com from now on.