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Date of Birth
November 8, 1954 (63)
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 was fascinated by the television program “The American Sportsman”. This program often featured Lee Wulff and Curt Gowdy fly fishing all over North America. My young mind was indelibly etched with images of 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 where that show 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

Recognizing Evidence of Spawning Brown Trout In Fall

by Ard on 10-31-2017 at 10:04 PM
Here's another bit of memory & experience that I entered onto a thread where a new member ask about how to know if you're about to walk into a red. Of course I got into a little more depth than I had planned when I clicked on the "Quick Reply To This Message" icon........... I wonder what part of Quick Reply always seems to elude me? At any rate I tried to answer with enough detail to provide a young fellow new to trout fishing a little more knowledge than he had when he joined the

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Updated 11-27-2017 at 10:07 PM by Ard

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Fish Charges Downriver, Should I Break It Off?

by Ard on 10-16-2017 at 10:43 PM
Another thread reply that got pretty in depth and I thought worth saving here

My streamer rigs are stepped down in tolerance from a 50 pound double loop at the tip of the fly line to the 12 pound tippet. Various connections are 25 or 35 pound so if a fish breaks off it is the tippet that goes. That heavy braided loop at the tip of my lines is more about protecting my welded loop line than the break strength. All of my backings are 30 pound strength and I make sure I have good knots

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Dedicated Streamer Rods?

by Ard on 10-14-2017 at 09:41 PM
This is another copy from a post I made to a thread. The topic was in regard to buying a new streamer rod. I've been sorta quiet for almost a year when it comes to offering an opinion but I started writing and just kinda kept at it for a while. If you didn't stumble across this on the forums maybe you'll find it interesting, or maybe not

Comments welcomed of course............here's what I said.

Although I've seen several threads dealing with this same question over

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Another Year winding down;

by Ard on 10-13-2017 at 11:28 PM
Although this may go down as the single worst fishing season I've experienced since I was just a boy using a hand line in Pennsylvania's West Branch of the Susquehanna River there's always reason for hope.

Yesterday I had planned to take my boat and drive 80 miles to launch into a river I haven't fished for 4 years. Fall fishing in this particular river is generally quite good but as I started rolling out the drive I had second thoughts. Generally good carries with it a certain cavet,

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Updated 10-16-2017 at 01:13 PM by Ard

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A Bit of Redundancy;

by Ard on 09-28-2017 at 03:01 PM
This info is also posted to the Spey fishing sub forums here but why not go for blanket coverage, thread posts can quickly be buried unless there is a recent reply so...........

I made these last night, they are my take on the Dee Monkey Fly on tube. They are relatively simple but have proven to be worth having and having more than two. I'll make 8 more so that if I were to God forbid, lose one or two I won't be left with no Monkey with which to spank the fish :

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Updated 10-16-2017 at 01:47 AM by Ard

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12-13-2017


12-12-2017



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