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About Ard

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Date of Birth
November 8, 1954 (64)
About Ard
Biography:
My real name is Ard Stetts, because it's a small world you may either know me or we've fished the same rivers & creeks at some time in our lives.

I was born in 1954 at Williamsport Pennsylvania. I began fishing in the sixties and became fascinated by the television program “The American Sportsman” when it came into being. This program often featured Lee Wulff and Curt Gowdy fly fishing all over North America. My young mind was indelibly etched with images of Atlantic and Pacific Silver salmon cartwheeling through the air when they were hooked by a fly. At my young age I could not really conceive of exactly how far I was from Alaska or Newfoundland where those shows had been taped but I knew I wanted to go. Fishing was a fascination, a dream and I had rather humble beginnings at it. I started fishing when I was eight years old in the West Branch of The Susquehanna River with a throw line and used stones as sinkers with red worms for bait. A throw line (if you’ve never seen one used) works along the same principal as the sling that David used on Goliath. The difference is that the axis of the spinning rock is on a vertical plane and the stone has a fishing line attached. By the time I was twelve I owned a spin casting rod and reel. My father was an amateur naturalist and a Geology buff but not a fisherman. After I was confirmed by our local YMCA as a 'Shark' in the swimming classes I was permitted to join my neighborhood friend and his Father on a trip to a trout stream. I caught a stocked Rainbow on my first cast, and like that fish I was hooked.

By the time I turned fourteen I had a fly tying kit and a 1968 entry level Ike Walton solid fiberglass rod & South Bend #1200 reel with level line. My Father had passed away and fishing time had become even more important for me. My sister’s employer, C.W. ‘Bill’ O’Connor, a prominent angler, and the owner of “E. Hillie’s Angler’s Supply House” of Williamsport Pa. became my fly tying mentor. It is to him that I owe my tying skills. Bill taught me how to create a good wing whether it were quill for a dry fly, saddle feathers for a streamer, or marrying swan, turkey, and pheasant for the wing of a classic Salmon fly. He always had time for me. It was from him that I learned how to select the best when I was shopping for materials for tying. I enjoyed tying feather wing streamers because they set me apart from anyone I knew. Other fishermen I came to know avoided them as being too difficult to tie. They acknowledged that streamers were said to be quite effective but most didn’t tie any. I eventually adopted the streamer as more than a “default fly” to use when other means of catching fish failed. I made streamer fishing my primary plan and only changed strategy when the rising fish made it obvious that dry fly fishing was certainly at hand. My success with the “Big Wets” has been great and I continue tying and fishing them even here in Alaska where I catch Trout, Char, Grayling and Pacific Silver Salmon on them.

Like my childhood inspiration the late Mr. Wulff, I have traveled and fished from the far northwest shores of Newfoundland to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains and finally here to Alaska. I have spent a lifetime fishing, floating, and walking beside the waters of this continent. I don't quote many people but John Denver could have been talking about being alone on a river when he wrote; "You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply".
Location:
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
Interests:
Outdoor Activities; fly tying, photography, cross country sking, snowshoing, motor cycling, etc.
Occupation:
Licenced professional fly / Spey fishing guide and outfitter.

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Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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Recent Entries

Here's a good one!

by Ard on 02-13-2019 at 03:43 AM
Recently we had a post about Casting on the lawn..... wherein the poster told that he does his 'Practice' on the lawn and that the welded loop on his fly line came apart. The post was answered by well meaning members who made all sort of suggestions as to what may have been at the root of this welded loop becoming FUBAR. I thought the replies suggesting that it may be the type of grass he has on his lawn were especially amusing. I posted what I'm placing below on the thread. Naturally it went without

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About Closing Fisheries to Protect Them;

by Ard on 01-26-2019 at 03:08 PM
I stuck this on the thread on the forum, like many replies it ran a little longer than 50 words I thought it was worth saying so now there's a copy here too.

I think we can sum things up by saying that in some areas and specific waters it's a mess.

Education is a familiar refrain, been at the top of the charts for many years but honestly you can only educate the willing.

Regulations; there's another top ten favorite but for regulations to be effective

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The Fight........

by Ard on 10-01-2018 at 04:56 PM
Blogs are a neat concept, I think so because this is a online space where I can air some thoughts without provoking a heated debate. If you are here then you had to choose to click so here's something I've wanted to write for years.

I'm not sure how long ago it was but there was a point where I graduated from enjoying the feel of a fish struggling on my line to catching a fish. I can remember when I was still in the single digit age group when I reeled in this little chub and actually

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I've Always Had to Work For Them but I made it that way.

by Ard on 09-23-2018 at 01:07 PM
As far back as I can remember fly fishing I didn't like it when there were other people around while I fished. The exception was when I had a fishing buddy for 24 years. Steve learned how to fly fish through our friendship but he didn't always go with me thus I still fished alone a whole lot. From the early days in my teens hiking deep into the mountains extending to today I'm constantly making an effort to avoid other fishermen and suspect many of us are this way and we all have our reasons. I

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Updated 09-24-2018 at 11:30 AM by Ard

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The Big Spruce

by Ard on 09-13-2018 at 04:00 PM
So many times people have said to me, "I wish I had a place like that where I could just go and relax like you do". I've told them the truth, that being that if that;s what you really want there are plenty of them available. They are called Lodges and for anywhere from 3500 to 6200 per week you can go to a wilderness surrounding, fish, and at days end put your feet up and relax while you reflect on the day. But the cabin on the lake? Not the spot if relaxing is what you have in mind.

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