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About Ard

Basic Information

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 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

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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A Great American Has Passed From This Life;

by Ard on 08-26-2018 at 10:26 PM
We don't do politics but this is my blog and I don't feel very political when I recognize the passing of Senator John McCain.

Long before it was ever a matter of debate I learned that this man had suffered greatly because he served this country in battle during the Viet Nam War. He was only one of many but he was one whos name I became familiar with because of his position over the past 35 years. I remember when our POW's were repatriated and in the years to come would learn this mans

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Updated 08-26-2018 at 11:11 PM by Ard

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A Topic That Comes Up Often;

by Ard on 08-23-2018 at 10:13 PM
Water's high and it's pouring down more rain so I'm home all day. I read threads on our forum here then scanned the Salmon Fishing Forum and checked all my Fish & Fly e-mail notifications, then I read some other forums. I read a question and the replies to the question and was moved to try to answer.

Streamer fishing is the same thing as Steelhead fishing with Spey flies or any other fly. Same goes for salmon fishing, it's swinging a submerged fly trying to get a fish to grab

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A Thank You From a Member;

by Ard on 08-23-2018 at 06:52 PM
For quite a few years I've been quietly answering questions to the best of my ability based on my own experiences fly fishing. I write onto threads, I write things, I guess you could call them articles here on this blog and I answer private messages from members also. Maybe I should have saved every thank you I ever received but I didn't. This has been the most disappointing season of the 14 consecutive seasons fishing here in Alaska and I guess I needed an 'atta boy' to come my way.

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Something I wrote to another Forum;

by Ard on 08-13-2018 at 01:53 PM
I also moderate on our Salmon Fishing Forums and wrote this reply on a thread where a member posted he was "Losing the will to fish". This due to terrible returns in the UK rivers the past few years. This year they have bottomed out. I've been a member there for years and the members are accustomed to my rambling posts. Below is what I had to say on the thread.....

It's not just you, I still go and do some casting. This allows me to stay sharp and to get better with various

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