About: I live and work in Winona, Minnesota. I started this journey after receiving the basic gear for christmas in 2007. I began fishing later the next year in June. Something clicked, fly fishing quickly became a large part of my life. This is a record of my journey which also doubles as a way to recall information and learn from others. 


Caught on Sept 29th, 2pm size 10 Yellow Hopper

1st Year Fly Fishing June 2008-Present: I spent the summer scouting streams and hunting trout. I learned information regarding fishing regulations and locations, access to water, trout and their behavior, casting, and the basics of fly tying by reading, asking questions and using youtube.com.

Having Fun!

Summer Afternoon Fishing for Rainbows

I caught few fish at first but after hours of practice I started getting the hang of it. Catching a few has helped push me to learn more and more so that eventually I can anticipate my prey and consistently catch trout under varying circumstances. I started fly tying early in the fall just prior to my first trout season ending. Starting with a basic kit and a poor quality vice I whipped out an oversized awkward looking Zebra midge. I was soon spying ebay looking for my new vice. I got my Renzetti Traveler in the mail and this changed my path once more, making it far easier to work with the materials I had on a stable hook. 

After spending the off season reading and tying I learned more and began developing more solid opinions about ways of doing things and how to approach aspects of fly fishing. With this in mind I still have more to learn and even more to re-learn.


Soft-Hackled Brassie tied by The Winona Fly Factory

With the start of the new season I will be researching my waters, tying from found natural insects, and catching trout. I will also be volunteering for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency starting this summer testing the waters I fish. 

-the Winona Fly Factory


21 Responses to “The Fly Factory”

  1. Curt Rees said


    I found your site after seeing your comments from the Driftless Angler blog. I’m impressed with (and appreciative of) your photos and the details you share. Like you, I’ve been fly fishing only a couple years but love it. If you ever want to fish the Timber Coulee in WI this spring/summer and want someone to show you around a bit, let me know. I’m no expert, but have spent enough time on the TC and its tribs (Spring, Rullands, Bohemian) to know how to catch a few fish and not get lost!

    Peace in the New Year,


  2. winonaflyfactory said

    Thanks for the comment. I have big plans for the warmer months and exploring some Wisconsin streams are on my plans. Keep in touch, I’d like to get to know that side of the Mississippi.

  3. Len Harris said

    Very nice site. Give me a shout any time and we can talk trout.


  4. winonaflyfactory said

    Will do Len, thanks for visiting.

  5. Ben from MN said

    Like the site but not digging the Google maps nor the stream name listings. Takes all the fun out of exploration and adds pressure to specific locales. I find that discussing general areas will suffice in most cases, and many times I find guides naming non-primary angling sites for a variety of reasons. I am sure your intent is simply to share, educate and inspire but I encourage you to consider the longer term impacts of such detailed reporting. Tight lines.

  6. winonaflyfactory said

    Thanks for the comment, and I’ve re-read all of my posts scouring for location information. There are a few, I’m thinking about re-uploading the Google earth images and cropping the Long/Lat. out but other than mentioning the Whitewater and stating I fished a tributary of that system the only specific name I dropped was Forestville. I do try to be careful not to give away too much, I am personally of the opinion that if someone wants to know they can ask me and just like I asked for a spot or two to get started I might hint in a good direction but I’m not about taking the leg work out of this, thats half the fun. Thanks for the comment, gave me some food for thought. Take care.

  7. Gotta get you on some of our limestoners out east. You have a great site! We drive past you every year on our way to Montana. It would be great to be able to take a break from the road trip and get on a few trout with you. Stay in touch, and keep up the nice work on the site!

    Eric Stroup

  8. Seth said

    I too also have a couple of spots if you are ever down by the praire du chien area we can get after a few trout. Great Site!

  9. swittersb said

    WFF…your site always evolving for the better. You are doing cool things…seriously…keep up the fun energy…SwittersB

  10. twood9 said

    Stumbled on your site and think it is great…excellent details of not only how, but why you fish…..
    in reading some of the comments, i notice a lot of guys looking to go fishing…
    i suggested to andy roth too to maybe have a forum for guys/gals looking to go out for a day or two and share some streams…i agree with you that finding streams is half the battle, but for novice/intermediate anglers like my self, it is nice to have some partnership to keep the energy level up!
    thanks for sharing, and i would welcome any email thoughts….

    • I agree with you, I am very willing to help with suggestions on locations. Location with regard to conditions can make it much easier to catch a fish. I think the location of where you go is best determined when looking at time, both how long your on the water and what time your on the water, also the weather and water conditions. We can email further about ideas and locations if you’d like. Keep in touch.

  11. twood9 said

    that sounds great; how do i email you?

  12. SherpaB said

    I came across your site awhile back and have been looking through it for some time…Excellent! It is fun to see someone growing to be an accomplished fly fisher and tyer right before your eyes. I’ve been doing it for quite some time (20+yrs) but I havent come across someone with the enthusiasm for the core of the sport like you have…well done and good fishing to you and your friends!

  13. darklake said

    Great site! I love your photography, your curiosity, and your attention to detail. And, of course, the fact that you write well about fishing…. It gives me an opportunity to vicariously fish the driftless in between actual trips down there. Keep up the good work. You and WB make a great pair!

    • Right on man! Thanks for the encouragement. I have felt my writing progress during the last year, trying not to make it too boring/technical but not to leave that stuff out as well. Take care.

  14. Matthew said

    I’ve been reading your site for a couple of months now and am in awe of your knowledge. I live in Rochester and just got in to fly fishing a couple of months ago. I would really love to pick your brain about entomology, fly tying and the path you took to get where you are now. I am already hooked, no pun intended, and want to be as knowledgeable as possible. You may email me if you so desire. Any help would be extremely grateful! Your blog is inspiring to read as well.

  15. David said

    Im here in Winona with my 6 year old for a hockey camp- big fan of your site. I want to introduce him to my passion while we are here.
    Can you rec a flyshop in town and some easy wading close-by water were a novice is likely to catch something>


  16. Justin,
    Love your site, and your passion for fly fishing.
    I am a fellow Trout Bum who has just moved here from Oklahoma City where I spent 7 years fishing and guiding the Lower Mountain Fork river in SE Oklahoma.
    Just finished guide school and looking to hook up with someone who shares my passion for trout and would like to become fishin’ buddies.
    I don’t know anything about the area, but have a lot to offer someone with the time and willingness to hang with me!
    BTW…was told to get a hold of you by a fellow trout bum on another fly fishing forum in the Sierra Nevada’s of California.

  17. Mike Otte said


    Let me know how the “so you think you can chance” works out for you. Make it look prettier than I made it. Great meeting you, laughing it up, and talking about our little friends the trout. I’ll let you know when I head up there again. Take care.


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