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About Ard

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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

The Industry Ethics Opinion Thread, the long reply version;

by Ard on 04-13-2018 at 07:49 PM
I often copy lengthy post replies and put them here in an edited version so they don't become lost in forgotten threads. If you didn't run across this one on the forum here it is with additional content to be found below the salmon picture. A guy ask a question and things just went long from there.......

Quote Originally Posted by rando View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't salmon and steelhead fishing, fishing for spawning fish?
Isn't spawn the only reason those fish enter river systems?
If it is so,

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You Just Might Be An Elitist If....................... ...

by Ard on 04-12-2018 at 02:19 AM
That poll I put on the forum about using Scents on flies brought the 'E' word out in a few responses so I took a little time and wrote this. I think we've all heard Jeff Foxworthy's 'You Might Be A Redneck If' routine and that's the play with this posts title. It's an attempt to explain myself a little more to newer and old members alike.

So, You might be an elitist if..........

If you started out fly fishing the hard way. What's the hard way in my own experience?

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Updated 04-12-2018 at 03:10 AM by Ard

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Just One Voice Alone In The Wilderness..........

by Ard on 04-05-2018 at 03:45 AM
I have worked to establish a good relationship between myself and the regional staff of the department of fish & game here. Today I found an e-mail in my box telling me that the agency was going to "look at" establishing a protective status for rainbow / steelhead trout in my home river. The trout in this river are one of the only populations in south central Alaska that do not enjoy some level of protection from harvest and that may change.

You may or may not know that

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The Forum Has Changed, What Do I Think?

by Ard on 03-12-2018 at 12:34 AM
I wrote this to answer someone who ask me what I think has happened that changed this forum from what it was like say eight years ago or so.

Warning: I have written what was on my mind. You may not agree and that's fine with me but I was ask and so I wrote. I used to write articles this long when ask about how to fish a feather wing streamer but no one has ask that for years.

Basically this question came after a barrage of threads about fly line weight designations

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Updated 03-12-2018 at 01:43 PM by Ard

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An Old Bamboo Rod I restored Back in the 1980's

by Ard on 01-24-2018 at 05:02 PM
This is a reprint from a forum thread, the post is just too detailed to let it disappear when that thread is forgotten.

I received this rod in pretty rough condition in the late 70's or early 1980's from a friend Jerry Zapola who had inherited it from an old fellow from upstate New York.

Here we go.

This is the entire box 39 1/2" L X 3" W X 1 3/8" H The planned red oak veneer pieces are just a little under 3/16" thickness, I doubt

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04-21-2018


04-20-2018



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