The latest fly tying interview features Loni Nelson, who goes by gin.and.lonic on Instagram. I'm excited for this interview for a couple of reasons. The first is that Loni is the first woman we have featured! The second reason I'm excited is because my brother and I met Loni randomly in Idaho. We were coming home from a trip to Henry's Fork and stopped to eat. Loni was our waitress and noticed our The Drift Shop Trucker Hats and struck up a conversation. She mentioned she love to fish and works at the local shop, tying flies. We knew we had to do an interview so here it is!
TH: When did you first begin fly fishing?
LN: I started fly fishing when I was about six. My dad has always been involved in fishing, and I was raised to love it from the start. I don’t think I actually caught one until I was about eight on the Yellowstone River, but I was very stubborn about sticking it out until I had it down.
TH: What led to your decision to start tying flies?
LN: A family friend was very into it, and had inspired me, but I didn’t really know how to get started. When I was in last year of my undergraduate career in college, I was informed that there was a beginning class offered. I was hooked after the first class.
TH: What was the first fly pattern that you tied?
LN: The first pattern I learned was a simple San Juan worm, with an egg attached to it.
TH: What is your favorite fly pattern to tie?
LN: My favorite pattern is wooly buggers, because there is a lot of room for creativity in the pattern. I collect different furs that I have found interesting ways to incorporate into my flies.
TH: Which fly pattern of yours are you most proud of?
LN: The pattern I am most proud of is a rubber leg salmon fly. Attaching the rubber legs was a bit of a challenge for me, but once I got it figured out, I was very proud of myself.
TH: What has been your most memorable fly fishing experience?
LN: My most memorable fly fishing experience took place on the Snake River. It was in November, and snowing, but my friends and I decided to throw on some neoprene waders and brave it. Everyone was catching small rainbow trout and having a blast. I got a hit that felt different though. It weighed more than the trout we had been catching, so I had assumed I caught a monster rainbow. I was so excited to catch the hog of the day, only to realize it was the largest whitefish any of us had ever seen. I was basking in the glory of catching a three pounder non traditional fish, when one of my friends reeled in an eight pound rainbow, that was absolutely gorgeous and put my catch to shame.